It's the desert and it's too damn hot and things about are still, motionless to the extent that you swear you can hear their atoms expand and produce a muted groan . There is a crackle to the things that move, an irritating grate when the rustle of clothes rubs against perspiring skin and seem to slather the salt of sweat deep into the pores. Everything is cast under a light you can't keep your eyes open for. It is the punishment for merely being alive . Howard Altmann creates this precise sense of the desert with his poem "Desert Sounds", a meditation, of a sort, on the inflamed emptiness that is the desert stretches where the imagination starts to notice the induced surrealism of what is close, torched and motionless.