#67 NEW MEXICO FRAGMENTS (4-9) by Valerie Martinez

4.
Seeing O’Keeffe’s “Patio Door”
we cannot but think of the tongue,
the tongue on fire. It floats,
as does the oblique darkness of door,
the adobe wall going left,
the sky’s blue mist lifting.
Here is the eye’s ruse, suspension,
the leaf gone green and hot yellow.
The breath. The utter silence.
Gone aloft.

5.
Nothing grows in this earth
without diligence and cut knuckles.
I nurse broccoli, eggplant,
invoke the Rio Grande,
capture a cup of rainwater
and mete it out meticulously
with cracked and unwashed hands.

6.
Why have you come
and who follows you
and how many new houses
and another paved road
and I’m telling you
I love this place because
so many do not live
here and here and there,
and there.

7.
At Malpais I thought the cold would break
my bones. Your charts were useless;
your eyes went blind with the sky’s glut
of stars. You crushed the last glowing ember,
said don’t touch me and I can die now,
why wait for something less than this.

8.
So much snow we telemark
from our front door. The dogs
wander clueless over white
and the neighbor girls pack jars
with snowballs, label them, line
the top of the back yard wall.
They read F-E-B-2-0-0-6 and X
and Meghan says the last one’s
for a miracle, so it never melts.

9.
What the high desert gives to your name:
one more wild chamisa,
the mesa striated with iron-red,
spider-web cracks on the windshield
and the monsoons, finally, one afternoon,
the smell of spruce and creosote
in their wake, all night, saying.

(Originally published in And They Called It Horizon:
Santa Fe Poems, Sunstone Press 2010.)

Valerie Martínez’s six books of poetry include Absence, Luminescent, And They Called It Horizon, and Each and Her (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, PEN Open Book Award, winner of the Arizona Book Award).  Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies. She was the Poet Laureate of Santa Fe for 2008-2010.

Advertisements

#66 GEORGIA O’KEEFE’S COW’S SKULL WITH CALICO ROSES, 1931 by Andrea Bates

As if it were a bolero she strung around her neck
when she wanted death to come close, but not to claim her,
cool feel of the skull against her collarbone,
dried white roses at her breast, milky whiteness
a reminder of the mothering she had not done
except to mix the paints as lovingly as a mother
mashes carrots, peas, and potatoes, swirl of the eating
palate spoon fed to baby, satiated on canvas.

How often had cattle slipped their skins
in that desert, vultures stripping the carcass and leaving
bones to the artist dressed in a palette of black
linen as if she were death’s handmaiden, only
to make the beast live again, resurrected
and nailed to a velvet ribbon, talisman to the music
of dried roses and sun-bleached koans, absent lovers
and adobe stones, a brushstroke’s light, persistent rhythm.

Andrea Bates’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Evening Street, Bellowing Ark, The Wanderlust Review, Main Street Rag, Cutthroat, The Asheville Poetry Review, and Natural Bridge. Her first chapbook, Origami Heart, was released by Toadlily Press in 2010.

#65 Missing New Mexico by Lynne Shapiro

Look, mom, a hoop dancer,
my son, five, pointed
out the bus window
at Atlas poised on one knee,
arms outstretched,
the world on his back,
Rockefeller Center &
5th Avenue,
at his side.
Earlier in the week he mistook
running water at the curb
for an acequia
like the one crossing our yard
in Santa Fe.
And then, that first morning
on the third floor of a,
concrete and brick school building
far from the Sandias
& the Sangre de Cristos
he carefully drew Kokopelli
calling the clouds
I smiled at his petroglyph
his new teacher simply shrugged.
By week’s end he proclaimed:
this is not a school;
there’s nothing real here, 
no kitchen, no place to play
in the dirt.

Lynne Shapiro lives and works in Hoboken, New Jersey, but keeps a supply of green chiles and chicos in her fridge.  Her poems and essays have been included in a variety of literary publications, including terrain.org, Decomposition: An Anthology of Fungi-Inspired Poems, qarrtsiluni, Blue Print Review, and Mslexia.

#64 Enchanted Skies by John C. Mannone

La noche es un mundo que la misma noche alumbra*
— Antonio Porchia

Over desert grass and creosote bush, clouds
glide as giant monsters, and soon the stars
will cry in glittered protest. They snake

by feet of constellations kings and warriors
who cavort the forest black chasing dragons
and demons of mythical night.

From amphitheater hills, I watch the stars
blink in and out of clouds as if a toreador
flicked his cape in front of charging bulls
that kick up stardust into Orion’s eyes.

But soon the creature will depart. So let it
swoop and hide unfolding dramas in the sky.
It’s only for a little while, the heavens declare

there is no need to shoot the fiery darts
of city lights and risk the piercing of the heart
of night.

*Night is a world lit by itself

John C. Mannone has been nominated three times for the Pushcart. Recent work appears in Conclave, The Medulla Review, Rose & Thorn Journal, Hinchas de Poesía. He edits poetry for Silver Blade, teaches college physics in Tennessee and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Visit The Art of Poetry: http://jcmannone.wordpress.com.

#63 In New Mexico by Judy K Mosher

It is here
below lenticular UFO clouds
that dance on these Sangre de Cristos
my breath deepens, belly loosens,
heart resets its rhythm.
 
It is
in this high desert called New Mexico
my mind empties;
vast open arroyos
wash away the waste of war.
 
Here
red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon
ride the airwaves instead of
Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow.
And when I listen deeply
 
I can hear pinon pine and prickly pear
share a drink at their favorite
underground watering hole.

Judy K Mosher, Ph.D. has called New Mexico home for over 25 years.  She is a member of High Desert Poets and has had poems published in Adobe Walls, The Santa Fe Literary Review, and Accolades.  In earlier incarnations, she was a college professor, counselor, and Jill-of-all-trades.

#62 Downwind from Pecos by Margaret Randall

Photo by Margaret Randall

Downwind from Pecos, cedar scent invades our nostrils,
transparent as sky’s unreachable blue
 
until this cloud that is not a cloud but poison plume,
smoke rising imminent on horizon’s shoulder,
 
reminds us Los Alamos is on fire again,
its people ordered to leave again
 
just as eleven years ago, ordered to leave
in that orderly fashion,
 
lines of careful cars, each keeping its distance
from the one in front.
 
Voracious cloud chews mountain ridge, spews ash,
its bloated belly menacing orange glow.
 
Thirty thousand 55-gallon drums of nuclear waste
wait restive as the flames advance and leap,
 
and other fatal chemicals cross their fingers
in this game of Russian roulette.
 
Government spokesmen look directly
at the camera, force eyes to focus,
 
say there’s nothing to worry about:
like Fukushima Daiichi, or Fort Calhoun
 
trembling on the banks of the rising Missouri,
before them Chernobyl and Three Mile Island:
 
each time-bomb dressed in the reassuring lie
until blood drains from noses and ears, skin buckles
 
and internal organs trip over themselves
in their rush to an exit whose door melts
 
before we can reach its threshold of deliverance.
 

Margaret Randall grew up in New Mexico, and after many years away returned in 1984. The New Mexican space and light are important to her work. Most recent titles include AS IF THE EMPTY CHAIR / COMO SI LA SILLA VACIA (Wings Press), SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH THE CORNFIELDS (Skylight Press), and RUINS (University of New Mexico Press). She is also a photographer, and often combines images and texts.

#61 On Returning to Tent Rocks with Friends by Jennifer Lynn Krohn

An exaggeration of memory:
trails once speckled
with obsidian pebbles, now dirt.
Hikers filled their pockets

with black glass tears,
nothing left, like wildflowers
driven to extinction
by nature lovers pressing petals

between dry pages.  The cave,
pocket of shade on the sunny cliff face,
always wore the scars of graffiti—
lovers scratching names into sand—

but you had to leave the trail
to find the canyon of blue and white
shadows.  Squeeze between the walls;
forget civilization.  Nothing

is as it was. Word of mouth
birthed weekend crowds.
A place destroyed by those
who loved it.  I share their fault.

Jennifer Lynn Krohn currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband.  She earned her MFA at the University of New Mexico. Her poems have appeared in The Saranac Review, Adobe Walls, RED OCHRE LiT, Prick of Spindle and more.

#60 Rumi in T. or C. by Mary McGinnis

Here by the deepest lake in New Mexico
Here with my love scars,
Some bronze fish,
Some old women emerging from the baths looking radiant

Here to wait for Jesus who has a favorite
Spot on the pier.
Here by a pond outside a restaurant
Where eaters can catch a fish for dinner.

I tap hello to the fish,
I encourage each hidden fish with my blessing;
As twilight approaches, I rattle my fingers
At a loping blue gull.

No disciples yet, just cowboys with angular faces;
I resettle myself, no longer lonely
For there’s love here too:
A sunburned couple amble in embrace.

Mary McGinnis has been writing, working, living and laughing in New Mexico since 1972.  Her full-length collection Listening For Cactus was published by Sherman Asher Publishing in 1996.  Her poetry has been published in over 75 journals and little magazines She has work in Good Company published by U. N. M. press.   She is inspired by the beauty and austerity of the New Mexico desert.

#59 EL TRABAJO DE CADA DIA by Gary Moody

el canto del jornalero en la sombra del santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
 
Anoche robé el alimento del perro de una mujer rica
Los potros broncos han escapado de la Caja del Río
Crin y cuero trenzado en mis dedos
Ya no deje una cicactriz en mis palmas
Bajo el vestido estrellado de la Virgen
mis manos gritan para el trabajo
en vista de un balneario para hedonists
Duermo sin el fuego
 
El alba criminal de mañana conjurará la nieve
Antes del mediodía ofreceré mis entrañas
a un halcón que pasa En el crepúsculo el viento asesinato
Dispersará mi polvo encima de nubes desenmarañadas
Los coyotes recordarán mi nombre contra la luna
El trabajo de cada día es olvidar

Translation

THE WORK OF EACH DAY

            Day Laborer’s hymn in the shadow of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Last night I stole food from a rich woman’s dog
Wild horses have fled the Caja del Rio
Horsehair and leather braided by my fingers
no longer scar my palms
Under the Virgin’s gown of stars
my hands beg for work 
Within sight of an hedonistic spa
I sleep without fire 
 
Tomorrow’s criminal dawn will conjure snow
By noon I will feed my entrails
to a passing hawk  At dusk the killing wind
will scatter my dust above raveling clouds
Against the moon coyotes will remember my name
The work of each day is forgetting

Gary Worth Moody’s first book, HAZARDS OF GRACE  will be published in June, 2012, by RED MOUNTAIN PRESS. A falconer, Gary lives in Santa Fe with the writer and artist, Oriana Rodman, three dogs and a Red-tail hawk.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑