Monthly Archives: April 2012

#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.

#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.

#58 Kinship by Rae Marie Taylor

“Maybe it’s the rain”, she said
as her hand sketched its fall

eyes wide, face turned to me,
sure
“Maybe it’s the rain”
as if so sweet a secret were not quite believeable
grace revived by rain, kinship revived by rain
water
rushing day after day
in the high desert

abundant wild grasses and white iris growing
without the grumbling of gardeners
only the acequia, lapping, every morning

tall, broad sunflowers, awkward with beauty
scarlet penstemon blooming long past their spring
spinach, corn and rain
she said, “Maybe it’s the rain”
rice grass waving, thigh high
feet slithering on logs
over the river
thundering meanders
as her hand sketched its fall

Rae Marie Taylor performs in poetry venues in New Mexico and Quebec, and has authored and produced several one-woman shows-among them An Earthly Hour: A Human Time at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, as well as the Spoken Word CD Black Grace with the musician David Gossage.

#57 An Aged Navajo Artisan by Larry D. Thomas

(Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, NM)

sits serenely on her blanket
so as not to distance herself
from her hallowed Mother Earth.

Hand-tooled silver
astonishes the still cool shade.
Turquoise dazzles widened eyes

like nuggets of polished sky.
As she watches the buyer
walk away with her last

turquoise bench bead necklace,
she lowers her head
as if in prayer,

stomaching the loss
of yet another
vestige of her soul.

Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, was the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate.  He has published eighteen collections of poems, most recently A Murder of Crows (Virtual Artists Collective 2011).  His New and Selected Poems was long-listed for the National Book Award.

#56 Music from the Curb by Robyn Hunt

Acequia lady picks up her mandolin
rising from the damp ditch of short sleep
her gathering gait accompanies boom box
baritone wheels passing on the wet street
as Mexican accordion croons through
car windows. Down the block one weary
dishwasher steps out for a smoke
cheap spoons a jangle in his big damp
pockets. He inhales then breathes out again
harmonica toke he can’t hold in

Sister in the kitchen cradles her instruments
bread knife and silver barrel sharpener
like drumsticks    she slices the air with tenor
enchantment while in outer rooms
we drink without seeing

The hollow windy etch of leaves missing
from trees spooks me. Bus comes by
push brake hiss at the stop sign corner
where I stand frozen       one wistful O
in the mouth of the bronze in the artist’s yard
floats as if a piano in her esophagus
is escaping.

Robyn Hunt’s poetry appears in various publications, among them, Mothering Magazine and the New Mexico Poetry Review. She resides in her native Santa Fe with novelist husband and teenage daughter where she works for Las Cumbres Community Services providing outreach and support for infants and families in need.

#55 Transplant by Joey Nicoletti

9/11. The alphabet of the Sandias
shatters in World Trade Center window glass
on CNN. Jet streams scar

the Rio Rancho sky,
with high tide inevitable
back east. My father drives

his bus on the other side of Manhattan.
My worries jump out
the smoldering floor

of the first tower.
I call his cell phone again:
dial tones engulf my living room.

Joey Nicoletti is the author of Borrowed Dust (Finishing Line Press) and Cannoli Gangster (Turning Point Books, 2012). A graduate of the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College and former poetry editor of Puerto del Sol, Joey currently teaches creative writing and literature at Niagara University.

#54 Colcha Treasure by H. Marie Aragón

Where did it come from?
I’m not sure.
Carefully wrapped
in mother’s archival chest of scented cedar –
an embroidery-stitched colcha shawl

Push Pull Loop Anchor

Made of long, wool strands from churro sheep
herded from New Spain to New Mexico
Natural, indigenous dyes –
Charma bush, Brazilian wood chips
and traded indigo,
Touched by earth and sky

Pull Loop Anchor Push

Smoky-blue sabanilla cloth
Rough, textured tapestry –
Motifs of flora and fauna,
Long tassels sway in the
high-desert breeze –
A simple grace

Loop Anchor Push Pull

My bones inform me that –
traveling from San Geronimo to Torres
over the Sangre De Cristo Mountains
along the Purgatoire River
Mi Abuela, Apollonia Benavidez
packed her dishes, a silver cross
and the colcha shawl in a chest of scented cedar

Pull Push Loop Anchor

Wrapped in familial history
One ancestral strand
connects my body and spirit
in my broken moments –
A tender embrace

Anchor Push Pull Loop

 

*Colcha Treasure   Translations: Colcha is a traditional mending approach used by the Spanish pioneer women to strengthened cloth that had holes.  Later it became an art form for making coverings for beds, furniture or simply a shawl.

Dedicated to my maternal (Mi abuela) grandmother, Apollonia Benavidez

Published 2011 Santa Fe Literary Review.

H. Marie Aragón, a member of High Desert Poets lives and writes in Santa Fe.   Her work is often grounded in her ancestral history in New Mexico and Colorado.  Marie’s work is published in various literary magazines.

#53 OR RED CLAY by GT Gordon

San Francisco de Asís Church,
Ranchos de Taos

A complex is just a thing.”
-Wittgenstein-

This is not about retablos.
Or santos.  Or reredos.
Or the history of the Church.
Or how it was restored.
Or los pobrecitos de la tierra who built it.
Or an irenic monk who inspired it.
Or The Shadow of the Cross, pitched black.
Or PenitentesGenizaros.
Or the chollos who prowl about the Plaza
In tricked-out lowboy hoppers, heavy on hydraulics,
Sin mufflers, superfine, mellowedout,
All-chromed-up customized Malibus, El Caminos
And Chevelles, flaunting skirts and ground effects
And bras, cranking up da’ gangsta, hip-hop, rap.
Or the past, present, or future Hispanic culture.
Or designer giftshoppes y gallerías upscaling it.
Or fannypacked, Evianed, shutterbugs preserving it—
Cells holstered, strapped to thighs beneath blueteeth.
Or architectonic:  Form/Function.  Bauhaus.
Or the niceties of Nature.
Or Poetry, for that matter.
Or the meaning of the Rood, prefacing it.
Or anything even remotely religious.
This is just about an adobe church.
Named for a man.
Or red clay.

Recent books include GROUND OF THIS BLUE EARTH (2012), EVERYTHING SPEAKING CHINESE, recipient of the Riverstone Poetry P Competition, and FROM FALLING (forthcoming 2013), while individual poems have been nominated for Pushcarts.  Additional recognitions include award NEA and NEH Fellowships.  GT lives in Las Cruces and works in Southeast Asia.

#52 Recuerdos of Hostess Twinkies at Shalako Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, Circa 1978 By Susan Nalder

Public radio announced the imminent demise
of the Hostess Twinkie today – memories surged
Blizzard bluffs turned raspberry pink,
Paintings by the sun on late afternoon snow
Coldest spot in America that early December day
No wind, just bright crispy bitter dry in the nose
When the Shalako came down from Greasy Hill
they crossed the field and came in thanks
for the harvest and rain and to bless certain homes
Turquoise icons – as tall as the houses
adorned by eagle feathers with a clacking beak
swayed and bobbed in ancient ritual dance
Their route was lined by a colorful crowd
Bundled and wrapped – sheepskins and Pendletons
Indians and Anglos, we all blew frost-breath
Ceremonial guardians chased transgressors
Whacking at heels with spiny yucca sticks –
Steamy hot fry-bread was wrapped in notes
from tribal elders,  purple-ink mimeograph
redolent of history and old boarding schools-
reminding the BIA school-teachers
like-it-or-not, in the weeks before Shalako
that children may slumber, be tardy or absent
from long hours preparing, ancient ceremonies
Mudheads danced before one porch
for some old ladies done up in pink-foam curlers
Right out loud, those Mudheads told everyone’s secrets
from the bedroom and the checkbook
for everyone to hear and howl or shrink in horror
Comanche impersonators danced on rooftops.
Elders in Shalako houses chanted prayers
Holy men recited creation stories
Spicy piñon smoke perfumed the air.
Red chili mutton stew warmed our stomachs
Frosty air painted my cheeks, by dawn
I was high on coffee and a Hostess Twinkie

Susan Nalder lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place she has called home since 1975.

#51 El Bosque del Apache by Carol Moscrip

heaven must be made of this floodplain,
constantly streaming in broad ponds
darker blue in patches than the high desert sky
ripples tripling their patterns
sunlit brilliance on the flow
a curtain of rusty salt cedar
thistle heads starched on their stems
a circumference of mallards
rufous tail of Copper’s Hawk
flashes in and out of sight
white-barred Harris Hawk’s dark kites
swooping on air tides, let loose over the breeze
black-masked Sandhill Cranes,
six fingered wings spread,
thrash the marsh in a mob,
sly Kingfishers, caped in celadon,
stalk clumped reeds,
stabbing eyes of slow frogs,
a Great Blue Heron on one leg
holds its breath for eternity
as snow geese settle in by the cloudsful,
in the distance, shadow-rumpled foothills,
seashell-laid mesas, wave-signed bluffs,
dark cones beyond —
bison-clouds trail by

Carol Moscrip, a Stanford graduate with a M.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara, has lived in Albuquerque for over 30 years, during which time she has been active in the local poetry community and has worked as a teacher of writing at high school and university levels. She is the author of four chapbooks and a book of poems, Straw. Her work has most recently appeared in Malpaís Review, Adobe Walls, and Beatlick News as well as in these anthologies: Fixed and Free Poetry Anthology, Harwood Anthology, The Spirit That Wants Me.

#50 YA’AT’EH FROM THE 89TH INTER-TRIBAL CEREMONIAL by Karin Fank

Unpacked, we settle
on the balcony of room 241
at the Red Rock Inn
in Gallup, NM.
From all compass points
compressed sand rises
out of loose sand,
desiccated and imbued
with hues from salmon
to maroon to beige.
Brave juniper and salt bush cling
to crevasses and jagged outcrops
etched by sudden angry water.
Tumbled rock and broken boulders
speak of irritable fits of wind.
But to the east stand
remnants of Jurassic dunes
where fires flash
and drums tattoo. There
we refugees from lands
where water vapor reigns
will ease into the dry
serenity of Red Rock park.

Karin L. Fank resides in Missouri but visits New Mexico every year for the Inter-tribal Ceremonial. His poems have been published in the Rockhurst Review, the I-70 Review, the Mid-America Poetry Review, the Coal City Review, the Little Balkans Review, and KC Voices, and have won several prizes.


#49 Climbing Santa Fe Baldy by Donald Levering

Just below the tree-line
bright green flames
of conifers’ new growth

Melting snow and wind
have scoured all down
to exoskeleton

leaving a thousand words for rock
composed of consonants
jutting into crisp air

Approaching the summit the sound
in your head is the wind
taking place of thought

Glacial glare
alternates with lunar scenes
as clouds flit across the sun

To say the view
is of mountains and rivers without end
is to say the present moment

where each breath each step
is brokered against thin air and gravity
is to be cherished

Donald Levering has two poetry books forthcoming in 2012: The Number of Names from Sunstone Press and Sweeping the Skylight from Finishing Line.  He is a former NEA poetry fellow and a featured poet in the Academy of American Poets Online Forum. More information is available at: donaldlevering.com

#48 A Courtyard In Taos by Linda Thompson

I cannot say why this cottonwood
reminds me of my father.
It may be the sturdiness,
the solid comfort with which it plants itself
upon the earth.
It may be the limbs
that take up more than half the sky,
wide and strong enough to hold a house.

I cannot say why this thick and canyoned bark
reminds me of my father’s freckled shoulders
as he straddled a kitchen chair
and waited for mother to cut his hair.

I cannot say why I imagine
I will hear a deep humming
if I press against this trunk
and it will be as if I am resting my head
against my father’s chest,
listening to his great heart
numbering off his days.

Linda Thompson lives on Vancouver Island in BC. She has attended two writing workshops with Ellen Bass and Marie Howe at the Mable Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico where these poems first saw the desert light. Linda has been published in several Canadian anthologies.