#10 OUT OF THE BLOCK by Gretchen Fletcher

I carried the bones of Euterpe*
in Samsonite through security,
their rattle turning heads of guards.
In Taos I unpacked

the barren sticks of calcium,
arranged them in the desert,
an homage to O’Keefe.
Baked fleshless, they lay lifeless

without lyric till, watered by a stream
of words in the desert, sung by La Loba,
the one who brings the dead to life,
the bones of Euterpe rose up

like those summoned by Ezekiel,
ligamented themselves into form,
grew flesh, and leapt. I had to buy
Euterpe a seat for the flight home.

*Euterpe: the muse of lyric poetry

Poetry readings, awards, and book signings have taken Gretchen from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, New York City, Dallas, and Houston. She publishes articles about her travels and leads writing workshops for Florida Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress.

#9 To the Muse by Glenna Luschei

I know that I have been derelict, joined Facebook
though only for a fortnight.

Oh, Muse, let me return to the freedom of the West
when you and I lived raw, before I left for Lotus Land
and forgot my home. Return me to those days
before my taming when I flew with kingfishers.

Let me become the wonderer I was, in the New Mexico
orgy of creation, let me beat the snare
drum in my heart, that pulsar that would strike
in the planets from inner and outer space.

Oh, Muse, grant me that second wind where I run
and run and can’t think of anything but One,
the race of God and Man.

I don’t know who is in front of me or behind me but
grant me the snap of the finish tape across my breast.

Glenna Luschei is the founding editor of Solo Press, now in its 45th year. Along with her support of magazines and publishers, Luschei works in the arts community. She lives in Carpinteria, California, where she tends her garden and her avocado orchard.

#8 Santa Fe Wedding by Winsome Charter

Growed up & thrust
Into the stillness:

Moon showing its hid face
Stars like spilled salt

On a black table
Who will clean this mess

Up who will
In the star-addled night

Thwart and throttle
Teeter near the edge of what-all’s

Got you girl
Little angel of the valle

Little bear-cub little howler
On the llano all growed up

Little cholla
Little yucca with your spiked hair

Waddling the fenceline
Listing on the cusp of

In the white gown of
In the pink church of

Saying I do saying yes
Little doggie saying whoa

Winsome Charter, born in West Virginia to parents who belonged to a charismatic church where they handled snakes and spoke in tongues, left home at 17. Her upbringing still lingers in her interests in incoherence and poisons, and thus poetry. All her poems appear in the online journal SCREWRENT

#7 Desert Shrine by Sharon Niederman

The little shrine is still there
Five miles west of Socorro
On a dirt road through the desert
Suggesting respite on a harsh journey
Someone loved it well enough to spray paint
The doors gold, the rocks green, to entwine
Plastic flowers among the cholla branches
To arrange toy relics from a Mexican mercado
Neatly, carefully, on the barren ground
A cross stands here now, in remembrance of Edith Silva
And burnt-out votive candles fill a trash bag.
I didn’t open the doors this time
As we did on that October day
Curious, laughing, a little frightened
Handwritten prayers flew out
Carried away on the wind
I tried to catch them, to replace them
You watched, let them fly away.

Sharon Niederman is a longtime New Mexico journalist, novelist, photographer, and poet living in Raton, NM. Her most recent work includes: Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico. She is the author/photographer of a dozen books of NM travel and history. Her debut novel was published by UNM Press.

#6 Gallery Talk by M. Kaat Toy

“The heads are useless,” the painter explains.  “They don’t work anymore.  So I gather around me friends from the natural world–flowers relieved of their vibrancy, seedpods dried and broken open, bones of animals from air, water, and land.  They bring me the news–releasing me from personal history like the flood that washed through my studio.  A shriving.  Every day I put the news down in shrines that celebrate not making but that which is already made–made for us.  They emanate energy.  Great beings of light here to help us remember what we are and who we are show themselves–the interface between the possible and the impossible.”

A native of central California, M. Kaat Toy has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in English from Florida State University. She is published in a variety of genres. Her collection, In a Cosmic Egg, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (www.finishinglinepress.com).

#5 Ghost Ranch, Midnight by Wayne Lee

I can just see the shapes O’Keeffe
saw at night: Kitchen Mesa, Piedra Lumbre,
Chimney Rock.

But the moon shines huge, Mars glowers red
over red rocks, Venus hangs radiant
above Abiquiu Lake.

This is the stuff of dark art,
the black smock of genius—the hallowed
high plateau brushstroked ghostly white.

Wayne Lee (wayneleepoet.com) lives in Santa Fe and works as a copyeditor for The New Mexican. His collections include Doggerel & Caterwauls: Poems Inspired by Cats & Dogs (Red Mountain Press), Twenty Poems from the Blue House (Whistle Lake Press) and a forthcoming full-length collection from Red Mountain Press.

#4 Finally the Moon by Kimberly Mathes

On her 42nd birthday, as she drives home past bluffs and mesas, gliding
east of the sunset, which expands like a rose, she commands curves
of gratitude. Three decades as an adult, two divorces, one

unexpected child have driven her to this place where
four lanes thread New Mexico’s Badlands, and her life
winds northwest on NM 550. This moment, her heart expands

like the sky ahead into bloody reds and pinks and a soft yellow
highlighting the horizon. She cups this bounty. It is all
before her; it is all behind her. One man in a baggy jacket,

hands shoved into his pockets, walks the shoulder looking down.
He, too, is headed towards the night. After arrival,
she will transcribe the lines of the road into lines

of a poem and see letters coalesce into words.
She will greet stanzas, experiment with enjambment,
deliberate form. It takes four decades for this

confluence to occur–as transitory as clouds. Seventy-five
miles per hour reveals ideas born in places: canyon,
volcanic rock bed, sealed into black

waves, high plains desert silhouetting
a lone juniper, absentminded tumbleweed,
and, finally, the moon, blossoming into crescent.

Kimberly Mathes teaches English at San Juan College in Farmington, NM.  She currently is pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas El Paso.  In 2006, she was a recipient of a NEH grant which allowed her to travel through Central America and southern Mexico writing poetry.

#3 Hiking in Hyde Park After the Fire Ban is Lifted by Carolyne Whelan

We walk, hands heavy, barely breathing despite
these deep huffs I make behind you.

I am working to suck you from my chambers.

Dear friend, seven years is too long for merely hello
at a Greyhound station, a walk to the tracks outside a bar
en route to some catalyst. I loved you enough
for the both of us, and you, it turns out, loved me
the way you love the desert. You can’t leave it
so in an act of kindness, you let me go, a genuine

consideration. Marriage material you said once
when I slid up close to you and you pulled back,
our hands still holding, all of Albuquerque
shining bright from the highway. If you could
leave this arid place you would and if
you could have opened me
like a wound seven years ago, I would have
let that scab form into a scar of you.
All we have now is a six-pack of Santa Fe,
sunburnt toes trying to hike your dusty imprint
from the soles of my sandals. I know,
you just can’t leave. Your dog runs ahead,
and back to us and ahead again. The thing I love
about dogs is that they are aggressive in their moments,
their want. The way they lean in hard
against the challenge of my embrace.

All we have now is a cot and a Conan movie,
a rearranging of my sentences into something that won’t
disalign me, blow apart this nest I’ve taken seven years
to build in less arid climates. What we have now is a husband,
a girlfriend and these deep full breaths. These cliffs.
Your hair is shorter. Mine has grown in.
We’re getting older and still wear each other’s old clothes,
the rips only getting bigger with time.

Carolyne Whelan received her MFA in poetry and nonfiction at Chatham University in 2009. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bicycle Times, Willows Wept Review, and Qarrtsiluni. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA as a part-time legal secretary and writing instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County.

#2 Driving to Dripping Springs by Maril Crabtree

New Mexico sunset stains the sky behind me.
The Organ Mountains ripple in the distance.
This parched land used to be Apache hunting grounds.

Ahead lies Dripping Springs, wild nest of caves
that once gave water and shelter to travelers.
New Mexico sunset stains the sky behind me.

Now sounds of new-home building and roaring
lawnmowers compete with desert silence.
The Organ Mountains ripple in the distance.

These plots spread man-made grass on terra cotta
earth. Barbecue grills smoke store-bought meat.
This parched land used to be Apache hunting grounds.

*A cascade poem

Maril Crabtree’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently I-70 Review, Persimmon Tree, Third Wednesday and the anthology Begin Again (Woodley Press, 2011). A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has two chapbooks, Dancing with Elvis (2005) and Moving On (2010) and is Poetry Co-editor for Kansas City Voices.

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