Weary eyes opened wide
propped up on toothpick espresso cups
licked clean, licked smart

the woman in the wide-brimmed hat
warm breath, wild thoughts
tells us of visions,
the dessert dunes
camels in hand
Mount Tahat in the dust kicked up

no way!
some shout
   get outta here!

Some just get by
drinking the beads from the tea leaf
deeming the day hydrated—

get those visions outta here
       put the dollar bills on the pine table—

She insists.
Let’s talk about what it really is.
Let’s keep awake and keep
on—Algeria’s waiting
hope’s fading
Tebboune’s proposed new constitution—

outside the dusty windows
cow bells are ringing, fire alarms
in the high buildings, feet trample
the gravel like bulls, the people are
up to elbows slitting chickens, waving bloody signs
above heads like hurricanes

The world is falling, look!
all that to care about —

But she insists.
That’s not all there is.
Dreams like ocean water
subdued, sun-streaked,
blanket the dust and cover
blistered skin like medicine.

Keep your hat on.
Let’s keep awake.
Clouds shade the fiercest mountain daze.

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