Baja Journey–March 2018

Sue Kisses WhaleBaja Travels


March 2018




Malice Point


A shard of land

Aimed carefully

Ready to be flung

Or sprung

Or catapulted


Or thrust into a bay

Where bones of whaling vessels


Or vessels meant for war

Lie waiting for commands




Nothing Here is Natural

San Diego


Restored declivities

Controlled and managed

Two miles from the border

Where languages cross over


With wind

Like plastic bags and candy wrappers




Minimum Hourly Rage

I’ve earned it



After a day on the sea

His bones blinked a deep blue-green

Throughout the night




The Museum at San Ignacio Cathedral


A barrel vaulted ceiling

Of stone and masonry

A garage sale museum

Filled with unused

Perhaps usable things

Maybe someday

A wooden chair

A Harmonium

A Christmas wreath

A broken woodens cross


A chandelier

Everything is useful… This pebble for instance. If I knew, I would be the Almighty who knew all. When you are born, and when you die… Who knows? I don’t know for what this pebble is useful but it must be useful. For if it is useless, everything is useless. So are the stars.” Il Matto in La Strada





Desert Museum


Rib bones of a mammoth


Dusty bottles

Dry weeds

Skeleton of cactus

A rusty chassis of a tractor, or a car

Shells from somewhere,

Not here

Faded photographs of someone’s grandparents

Old postcards, perhaps prints of handcolored pictures

Giant ammonites



Postmodern sensibilities

No provenance

No discernable order


Sign the guest book

Make up your own stories

Have a coffee



Advice from Silko


“It is essential that the story be told, and that someone go on telling it.”




Migrating Words


I went traveling one March day

In search of migrating words

To watch them return to their lairs

And make new meaning.


Drab words gave birth to bright ones

Dark words wove brilliant coats for young ones

Words from far away or deep inside

Migrating words


Some words, like sand, carried impressions of

A heavy heart

Tread lightly on these words.

They contain thoughts and dreams

And everything that ever was or is

In every grain.


I stood on the bay


And they came flying in:

Great swarms of them

Already diagrammed and ready to be used


Short words, long ones

Hovered together near the shore

Some with many syllables took to tree tops

Sometimes there are too many on one branch

And then it breaks


Some of smaller words nested on the dunes below


Some sought ponds or great lagoons of ambiguity

These liked the feel of mud between their letters

The damp beneath their verbs

Some sought brackish water

And from their formed stale metaphors

And salty rhymes.

Some knew how to herd

Unruly paragraphs

Some used guile and tricks

To lord it over nouns


Words with actual feathers

Eccentric words, so seldom used,

Made odd choices

Defied punctuations chasing after them


No one knows how they know

Just where to go or when


And when they leave,

Sometimes one gets left behind

Or crashes into rocks

And slips into the wrong story.






A Lifetime of Whales in One Day


…one of us exclaims.

We’ve been playing among them

Like children

Singing, whistling

Giggling, laughing



Assigning motives to their every move.


All for a touch, a lip, a kiss, a tongue


But there is a border there, too,

A line we cannot cross.






Painted Cave



Strong arms held out before us

Make a handhold

Rungs of flesh

To help us scale

The rock strewn incline

Loose pebbles on sand

Scatter like bbs beneath our


We scramble on and grasp each arm

But not its language

Nor it ours


But then, one by one, we reach the top

And crouch low to crawl into a cave

And look into the shadows

And behold

A hundred painted

Notices from

Messengers we’ll never know

Whose story is this?

A language even more impenetrable.


“Go ahead, turn around. See the shape of your foot prints in the sand.” Silko








About Llyn De Danaan

LLyn De Danaan is an anthropologist and author. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman's Life on Oyster Bay was published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is currently a speaker for Humanities Washington.
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