The Desert Fathers

The Walrus - - CONTENTS - By Karen Solie

With or with­out a bindle of crys­tal meth, they made their anchorage in Egypt’s Wadi El Na­trun, or the dis­man­tled Marine Corps train­ing base of Slab City,

Cal­i­for­nia, wa­ger­ing long-term skills against pur­chases — in tran­si­tion, tak­ing losses — and burn­ing, if not with a sen­si­ble fire, in the pride of spe­cial­ized knowl­edge.

Snake­man re­lo­cates the red di­a­mond rat­tlesnake and north­ern Mo­jave rat­tlesnake from res­i­dents’ trail­ers to his own to live along­side him with the scor­pi­ons and guard dogs, it’s tough to have riches and not love them.

St. An­thony sold his land, gave the money to the poor, yet in his Outer Moun­tain sanc­tu­ary cried I de­sire peace, but these bad thoughts will not leave me. All burned in body, in con­tem­pla­tion, as the lonely burn, a mu­si­cal state. The brethren as­sem­ble for a meal, or, from the last free place in Amer­ica, watch the Navy at war games bomb­ing the Cho­co­late Moun­tains, but Snake­man prefers to ex­er­cise his hob­bies — sal­vaging un­ex­ploded shells, point­ing guns at peo­ple, an­tag­o­niz­ing snow­birds and short-term RVers com­mu­nally parked by the East Je­sus

Sculp­ture Gar­den and preach­ing virtues of soli­tude.

As into vo­ca­tion past and fu­ture dis­ap­pear into the im­per­sonal desert. Tourists and doc­u­men­tar­i­ans of at­mos­phere from vil­lages along the Nile, or fun­neled through the derelict town of Ni­land, seek in­sight but wish some­one would do some­thing about the trash.

Leonard Knight’s Sal­va­tion Moun­tain beck­ons in three-storey robes of mul­ti­coloured la­tex.

He ar­rived with a half-bag of ce­ment and some paint and kept at it for 26 years. But just as An­thony de­camped to his In­ner Moun­tain did Leonard to the El­do­rado Care Home, and even the tat­tooed her­mit of the Isle of Skye took up a flat in Broad­ford. A cell will teach you ev­ery­thing. All it asks is you give it your mind. Snake­man wars against the body that would de­stroy his spirit.

Some­day, he says, I will be all flame.

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