Out West in the 21st Century

poems, prose and photos

on Living in the West

by Craig Rock

Looking down at the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point in Utah.

The American West is the history of everyone who has lived here to work and play in this very majestic, compelling theater of open space with endless challenges. Hopefully, our history in the long run is so much more than the exploitation of people and natural resources. If we can focus on the things that join us together rather than the forces that separate us into warring camps, maybe we’ll have a chance to make this a better place for our children and their children, and so on. These writings and photographs are some thoughts and images that I have gathered over the past 45 years. It is a work in progress. I can be reached at: duniterock@gmail.com

All photos and writings copyrighted 2013 by Craig Rock, unless otherwise stated.

"One writes out of a need to communicate with oneself and with others,

to denounce what causes sorrow and to share what gives joy.

One writes to counteract one's solitude and the solitude of others."

(Eduardo Galeano)

Genoa, NV

Chiricahua AZ

All Along the Fault Line

by David Bolton

A pine high in the Sierras

a spot of green among glacier-carved stone

a bonsai overlooking Spooner Lake,

roots splitting boulder.

Ah, to walk with old friends

to be one with the wind

to cease the chatter of the mind.

Before a meadow speckled

with the colors of Seurat,

we stood in a butterfly cloud,

a thousand flickers of orange and black

rising from the path.

Amidst birches, we smiled at dancing doubloon leaves,

two middle-aged couples with ailments indeed,

but our hearts still quickened

over what may lay ahead.

We felt our senses keen

an overlook humbles the eye.

Craig uttered Wordsworth,

about the world being too much

with us – yet for time short and true

though we may not be pagans suckled in a creed

we lost ourselves in the mystical vastness.

-- Dedicated to Denise Becker and Craig & Susan Rock


Lunch Time, Financial District

Anywhere U.S.A.

by Craig Rock

The hungry man musing about better times

watching quarters fall, meter-like

sometimes dollars into his near empty hat

making it comfortable for office man

to enjoy lunch while sitting back in sun

in line for giant steps

grabbing firmly everyday for promotions

on wishbones never letting go.

Two o’clock and 62 degrees

time and temperature

for office man

to scurry back to cubicle;

For hungry man

to dissect waste cans

opening discarded paper bags

and rumpled wax paper

finding occasional gold nuggets

no wishbones just skin and pieces of

Kentucky chicken-scented bones.

the homeless man and

the office worker sharing

lunch time

eye balls rolling on both sides

never catching each other's gaze.

Dead Horse Point, near Moab, Utah

Crowley Lake, Elevation 7000 feet, near CA/NV border

Toy Soldiers and Old Forts

by Craig Rock

Old fortress

ragged brown stone windows

glowing gold from sunlight

giving depth

to Mediterranean mountains

against ocean-blued skies.

Sending stupors of silent awes

to those who gaze

at your glow,

forgetting the glory of your soul

where thousands once died

to save your place.

Swords and shields

are put away now

no reason to be


to the forever-small boy

who plants his torn flag

in a strategic cavity

that sends his soul to glory

and gives you immortality.

Port Townsend, WA

Trillium Lake, British Columbia

Dunsmuir, CA

Fort Worden, WA