Hot Flashing through Death Valley

by Lisa Martinovic


Like so many before me
losers and drunks
high-rollers, mobsters
actors and whores, like all of them
I am leaving Las Vegas today
and I thought I’d take the scenic route
see the desert, Joshua trees
but now it’s high noon
in Hellhole Gulch
and I’m sweating high caliber ammo
the heat is assaulting me
up from the pavement
down through the sunroof
but the hottest blaze of all is my internal
combustion — this nuclear chain reaction
fission or fusion, I don’t know which but it’s out of control
a surging inferno from belly to brain
in wave after blistering wave
and of all the times and all the places
I am hot flashing through Death Valley

But I’m too young for this!
It’s a mistake
I tell the guy at the health food store
where I’m pawing through supplements
for a cure
he looks at me dully
his tattoo is fresh
his girl is fertile and he doesn’t give a damn

that I haven’t changed my clothes in six hundred miles
and three states because who cares?
No one is flirting with me anyway
at this impossibly dazzling national park
where they charge me twenty bucks
just for the privilege of driving through all that splendor
But it’s too late to take another route for spite, damn it
Ready or not I’ve got a hot date in the desert with

Destiny fuels my engine in Furnace Creek
with geothermal juju
and sparks the tail of my comet
with a Santa Ana firestorm

Leaving a trail of scorched sagebrush in my wake
I’m rocketing up the spine of the Eastern Sierra
where I meet a guy in a hot spring
overlooking Mono Lake
Oh, I am in my power, baby
I slather my naked-ass self with succulent green silt and
mount a boulder, arms flung wide to the high desert wind and
I think I am pretty damn cool and
I just know he thinks I am one wild and sexy babe
he wants me in a big bad way and
he has no idea who I am and
he has no goddamn idea how hot a woman can be who’s just come
hot flashing through Death Valley

But the truth is I’ve been racing cross-country
to get to California
where opportunity hangs like ripe figs
in a Mediterranean garden
because I am overdue for fame, damn it
yeah, fame and love and money
and everything else that made this country great
for every sinner and fool to come out of Vegas
and anywhere else you can name
And I want to make it while I’m hot
while I’m this hot
while I’m so hot I could fog your glasses
melt your contacts
singe your retina if you stare cross-eyed
I’m so hot that younger women
turn their petals towards my radiance and bloom
and the alternative energy people want my secret

I’m so hot I sleep without blankets and baby—
trust me when I tell you
I will keep you warm
I’ll melt your butter
bake your bread
pop your toast
and toast your buns
Better watch out you don’t get a sunburn in my afterglow
Because I am outta here
I’ve got to hurry up and get my piece
of the pie before it’s too late
before the heat from my spine
melts the seat of my getaway car
before my patience burns down to the quick
and sets this road