Image by Jinen Shah


the madrigal, volume iii

Code of the Desert

by r.w. haynes

“Codes are tools,” she gasped, crawling in
The desert, “but the tool I need, here and now, Is a tall, cold pitcher of Heineken.
To Hell with literature, anyhow.”

“One man’s Mede,” as McLuhan said,
“Is another’s Persian,” and it isn’t clever

To forget that most mere words are dead

But the desert goes on like this forever.

The codes offering escape avenues
Are lying around back at the oasis,
Some with the old books, some with the booze, And, after dark, they alternate places.

R. W. Haynes is Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, where he teaches early British literature and Shakespeare. His recent publications include studies of playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote.  In 2016, Haynes received the SCMLA Poetry prize at the Dallas conference of the South Central Modern Language Association. Two books of his poems (Laredo Light and Let the Whales Escape) appeared in the summer of 2019.