#45 Shiprock by Terry Lucas

(Tsé Bit’a’i)

Cutting your way through dust storms, waves
Of sand blow over your prow, settle on foils of stone,
Wash down the ribs of your hull to crystal sea.

         The Navajos say you sailed from the north,
         
A great bird saving their people from the flood,
         
Crashing into the desert, burying all
         
But your wings and tail:  sole cremain of salvation.

What is it that makes a man or woman
Set out on foot for you?  Your jagged masts that reach
For gibbous moon?  Ancient lens of atmosphere?

         The old ones still believe the blood
         
Will return to petrified feathers,
         
Carry them away when the flood returns.

Grasses and sedges with no names, abandoned
Frames of cars and trucks, a valley of dried bones
That will never rest, that will never rise again?

         Shiprock, cry out from beneath the desert,
         
Call your brothers and sisters from the flood.

The overwhelming flood of sand
Is all that will mark their graves.

         Sand enough to stem the flood.

 —

Terry Lucas’s full-length poetry collection, In This Room, is forthcoming from CW Books in February of 2016. His work has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, Crab Orchard Review, Great River Review, and Green Mountains Review. Terry is the Co-executive editor of Trio House Press. For more information, see www.terrylucas.com.

#44 The Hum by Leslie Myers

Our tour guide tells us there is a hum in the air here,
In northern New Mexico; he asks us to tell him when we hear it.

He tells stories as we travel along in the bus, monologues in a mellow voice
That often puts me to sleep. I struggle to stay alert for that humm
And for his stories too; I don’t want to miss any of it.

The bus begins to add a new sound: ba-dum ba-dum, louder, ever louder.

Our guide’s gentling monologue about what we see out our windows
Shifts in subject but stays sweet and soft: “Humm We may have a flat tire….
Hummm There are several options….Hummmm Mr. Bus Driver, what do you think?
That is when I first begin to wonder: Could the hummmmmm be coming from our guide?

The driver is up against a hard decision on this narrow road; stopping is difficult
With all these walking, praying pilgrims. Somehow he does it.

Slowly, we all pile out of the bus and the pilgrims on foot wind around us,
And around our beached-in-the-desert, whale-of-a-bus.
They are heading for the miracle place, Chimayo Sanctuario.
One struggles along carrying a cross larger than he is.
One family passes us taking turns pushing a wheelchaired child.

The day is cool, the sun is brilliant, and my 93-year-old fellow traveler,
Huddling with me in the only small patch of shade there is,
Agrees with me that we know what’s good for us, and maybe the others out in the sun don’t.

Standing with her in our shared space of shade and peacefulness I begin to think
About what is good for me. I see this about today: Good Friday, 2011, is a day of circling-back.
Twenty-one years ago today I left my first husband after a quarter century together.
Nineteen years ago today I found the love of my middle years, the one I miss, still.
And last year today I left a man I cannot describe without feeling pain.

I ask myself: “What’s happening here?” and I hear only “Hummmmmmm.”

Leslie Myers painted most of her life, and recently began writing. Raised in Minnesota, she raised her own young family on the east coast and worked as a nurse/psychologist. Now retired, she lives in both Santa Fe, NM and Boulder, CO. She says, “Both inspire me, in strikingly different ways.”

#43 mirage by Carl Palmer

no trees no traffic just this ruler straight
interstate leading to a blue mountain
range floating beyond the far horizon

silver lakes evaporate at our approach
a sea ahead completely covering the road
retreats in the heat before we can arrive

deserted ancient ocean sand not even damp
as another oasis appears draws us never nearer
to ever distant mountains in the western sky

Carl Palmer, twice nominated for the Micro Award and thrice for the Pushcart Prize by poetry magazine editors, is from Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, VA. Carl now lives in University Place, WA. MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever

#42 Long Ago by Sarah Sarai

and not yet wanting to be Catholic
            I took your grandmother to Mass
Palm Sunday   Easter   An adobe church
probably   I most remember her
shrunk in the way of old women   A fit-in-
the-pocket bundle of
skin softened in time and a black veil
You have good manners
she whispered   We were kneeling on hard
wood   They’ll take you far 
Point of fact I didn’t get far but somewhere
I arrived somewhere
When my sister gave me Story of a Soul by
Therese of Lisieux she wrote
For Sarah   Who’s Almost a Catholic
The foolish expect a payoff
unaware there is nothing to anything and
if you are lovely rich
confident assertive sleep well rise early
don’t argue have an iota even of
discipline you stand a chance   My goal?
Not to be Orson Welles calling Rosebud.
All joining is in a galaxy below breastbones
Was the glinting Rio Grande
wild in your grandmother’s girlhood?
I’d spy it carving itssliver
through the valley   tall cottonwoods
rooted on the river’s banks
 

#41 FIRE CLOUDS by Alice Lee

In one of the overpriced galleries of Santa Fe,
We discover the work of a Japanese potter.
She uses the micaous clay of northern New Mexico.
The pots, all shapes and sizes, fired traditionally,
Create dark areas on the luminescent surface.
Unearthly, they glow,
Like the setting sun on the horizon,
The night settling into itself.

Alice Lee has been published both nationally and internationally in many journals and anthologies. She has been awarded artist residencies at Hedgebrook, Yaddo, Villa Montalvo and England and France. She is the former editor and publisher of Orca Press and Whistle Lake Press. Besides writing poetry, she also enjoys painting, gardening and travel. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband, writer, Wayne Lee, and her two golden retriever service dogs.

aliceroselee.com

#40 Evening in Santa Fe by Terri McCord

We chase context
with a camera,
sunset in place midway—

you wink one eye
minutes later sky
begins its slow dissolve,

descent. One word you mouth,
your lips an “O” like the sun.
I cannot hear you.

I make the sky look
torn through my lens—
clouds are rips you seem

to mend with your arms
outstretched as if
you are a scale.

We move together to higher ground.

It is on the tip of my tongue now.
What I wanted to capture.
The sun, a pill I swallow.
That close.

And the light just right
for this shot
as we glow without.

A visual artist and poet, Terri McCord is at work on a series of photographs and artworks utilizing her poetry. She received her MFA in poetry from Queens University in Charlotte in 2006. She has taught various ages through the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Artists Roster.

#39 Fire of the World by Kathamann

Evidence of shimmering dimensions.
Hawks born into explicit skin and bone.

Landscapes of fearful heat.
We drain the mountains of its land.

Lay hard on the long light.
Surviving fire is news.

Copper cavities crammed inside stone.
Spoiled blossoms sculpted and afraid.

We call the atoms around us to move the spirit.
What is equal often divides.

Kathaman has been involved in painting and sculpture in the Santa Fe arts community for thirty years.  She is a retired Peace Corps Volunteer/Afghanistan and registered nurse. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines, including Waving and Malpais Review, as well as included in several anthologies.

#38 Sunday Morning in the Valley by Charles Rossiter

The family homestead is nearly 200 years old
with a back yard full of goats
chickens, dogs, and pot-bellied pigs,
and this is in Albuquerque
the part of town they call The Valley.
It’s where Priscilla writes her poetry
and serves up huevos rancheros with her
perfect blazing red and mild green chile
on Sunday mornings.  It’s a tradition
Priscilla says, pouring another round
of strong coffee, black as her hair.

            Grandma did it and now
I live in the house
            so I do it.

Grandmother spirit abides
in huge cast iron skillets,
bright woven fabric that covers
the dark wood sideboard,
the long farm table
fifteen of us gather round
on heavy hand-carved chairs
that would be at home in
the governor’s mansion.

We go for seconds on the tortillas.
I take mine with lots of red and green,
lots of good talk with people I didn’t know
an hour ago.   Jimmy skips the mild green
and has to wipe his wet forehead
with a red bandana.

Then we all go out back to pet the pigs.

Charlie Rossiter, NEA Fellowship recipient and, hosts http://www.poetrypoetry.com.  He is the author of four books of poetry, a past PLR contributor and has been featured on NPR. Several of his other NM poems appear in All Over America:  Road Poems. More info: http://www.charlierossiter.com.

#37 Breakfast Burrito by Gregory L. Candela

Down lies
a larded
tortilla
for grated
queso
composed
on the black
comál
los dos
crisped on
the stove by
madre mia.

Hash browns
sweet onions
parsley
the crunch of
fried pig—
the sweet-acute
juicy ache of
Hatch, New Mexico
chili verde
all rolled and
handed
into the mouth

opens spray
nozzles
held
under the tongue by
involuntary firemen.
Dust, straw
manure the
crazy
koshare
clown
burns down
his own barn.

Gregory L. Candela has resided in New Mexico since 1972. He holds a doctorate in American literature and is author of a volume of poetry, six produced plays and editor of 6 volumes of poetry and prose. Recent publications include poems in The Harwood Anthologythe RagMalpaís Review, Adobe Walls and Sin Fronteras (Spring 2012).

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