Monthly Archives: August 2012

#127 At the Edge by Ellen Roberts Young

Beyond sand
stirred by
many feet I
step carefully,
called,
not invited.
I can name
few plants,
don’t know
which seed
rides my sock.
Quail
know me
as stranger.
Roadrunner,
rabbit scurry.
Drawn out, I
can’t stay long.
This landscape
knows bone
and flesh
has no use
for names.

Ellen Roberts Young lives in Las Cruces, NM.  Her chapbooks Accidents (2004) and The Map of Longing (2009) are published by Finishing Line Press.  Her recent publications include Common Ground, Slant, Melusine and qarrtsiluni. She operates Kery’s List, a monthly list of literary events in southern New Mexico.  Her blog is www.freethoughtandmetaphor.com.

#126 Tears and Wood by Cara Fox

The Santos family comes to gather.
They have lost their Abuelo.
The one with crazy eyes.
Padre opens the sala for them
to sit, hum handed-down songs.
He moves the longest bench inside,
has Kaya set a bowl of drink
in their mourning room; it has fire
in it, the kind that makes large men
sway, sometimes shout,
smash cups to the ground.
Thirteen candles burn behind
the casket carved by a son—
the eldest living. Old man, dead
in a suit. Women of his family
touch his cheek for the last time,
quickly cross themselves.
Nod in chairs for hours. Rows of
tears, generations. And wood.

Cara Fox is a freelance writer living in Taos, NM. Her poems have been published in a variety of local, regional, and national journals and magazines that include Animus, The Dunes Review, Stuff Magazine, The Aurorean, Puckerbrush Review, The Café Review, Stolen Island Review, Venus Envy and Bangor METRO Magazine.

#125 Gathering Poles at Quaking Aspens by Gloria Dyc

Gathering poles for my coyote fence
I bend the leafless aspens, once gold
some break easily: these I take
But where there is pliancy in wood
there is still life, another winter
I leave these, and strip away the bark
from some poles scorched in a fire
and find the secret work of insects.
An ocean sound moves the forest
soon ice and wind will loosen roots

Twenty poles from Quaking Aspens
make for two feet of  fence
each year my roots loosen
In the stillness of practice
the bow of my spine is pliant
my pulse is an ocean: red, red
I travel in a vessel
made of paper and wood

There were four Buddhas
three had faces veiled by silk
One was prone, ready for birth
his carved ivory skin worn
 through centuries was like the
wood stripped of its bark
to reveal the secret glyphs of being
 
2.

I hear the coyotes taunting the dogs
as they pass through the arroyo;
the days shorten, the cries come earlier
I fasten pole to pole with baling wire
the fence wouldn’t keep coyotes out
but I have nothing to protect:
the practice is my winter count
When the moon unravels itself from the clouds
and floats on the clear lake of space
I think: this is how it will be in the end
a brightening of a candle in a paper lantern
and then a darkness lighter than light

Gloria Dyc is a Regents’ Professor of English at the University of New Mexico-Gallup where she gas taught English for 25 years. She has published in numerous small press journals and is forthcoming in the 2012 issue of GARGOYLE.  She is on the editorial board for RED MESA REVIEW.

#124 badlands of eternity by John Macker

-on the occasion of outgoing NM governor Bill Richardson refusing to officially pardon
                                      Billy the Kid.

con permiso, Billy,
one hundred and thirty years later,
we still count your unpardonable sins
on both gun hands,
your kind, senorita gnawing buck-
toothed smile killed,
and your victims
are no less colder or deader
for the experience.
A horse is good down to ten below.
In Anton Chico the land is flat, motion-
less,
inhospitable, and frozen but open-hearted,
hombre,
its adobe streets were full of love and snow
and long on memory.
That night, the moon alerted
the desert that your short life
was in eclipse, the winds shriveled
darkly at the horizon.
Now, you can ride out your coldest nights,
reins in your buckteeth
across these badlands of eternity,
Paulita clinging lustily to your gun belt,
the wind’s got your back-
Hell, Billy,
we’ve all got your back.

John Macker has lived in northern New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail for over 17 years. His most recent book of poetry is Underground Sky. He is also the author of Woman of the Disturbed Earth among others. He has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes.

#123 Red Willow by Joshua K. Concha

So…did they really turn this village into a ghost?
Most days more visitors than living in the empty turtle shell
and swallows are flying low between Huakwema towards
Huama today, predictors of heavy
wet grey anvils that widen high, that we need
more than four cardinal directions to orient ourselves.
Where no one gives thanks for just one day,
a little piece everyday makes all the difference
in getting to the lake with flowers
in the greatest meadow
created for charm.

There used to be huge cottonwoods,
right by the Pueblo at the end of Veterans Highway,
around the old granary where summer shade was vast.
Now featured at the end of that paved corridor:
as much a bombed out structure
as any in Iraq, one small building in ruin
as traffic monitors spray down the fine sifted soil,
rake through ragweed
their motions smooth parallels
of leg and tool and arm.

Ceremony comes into the wheel when
quiet-time means nothing, doing
nothing at all, not even a little piece,
but a peace makes its way to the sleeping
earth needs no disturbance, no thanks.
The saw-horse whinnies, “The village
is closed!” to our cars.
But you can walk in quietly—
you must keep warm.

Rio Pueblo yawned its icy jaw wide—
awake. Red Willow sheds gray to green
and sisters with mothers ululate
quivering sounds of strength along
loins of sun and moon in a race.
It is the world’s heritage that
both make it across the track
to come back in a dance.

Joshua K. Concha lives and works at Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. He earned a Bachelor of University Studies degree from UNM in 2011. Focusing on English and Psychology, he graduated summa cum laude. He enjoys making jewelry, sculpture, watercolor, writing, and playing guitar.

#122 Firefly by GERALD HAUSMAN

The corn grows to make more corn.
The horse on the mesa, white sun
turquoise blue, roan red, no-color night.
The corn grows, old ones come
singing.
We listen, knowing
the old dance
ends in dark and light,
day and night
the flash of a firefly.

GERALD HAUSMAN was a NM resident for 22 years. He and Navajo artist Bluejay DeGroat often collaborated on published translations. The NYT Book Review called Hausman’s Tunkashila “An eloquent tribute to the first great storytellers of America.” Gerald lives in Florida and teaches a writing workshop in New Mexico yearly.

#121 In Corrales, Totem Ranch by Judy Fitzpatrik

After the rooster disappeared, the doves
refused breakfast.  Lined up along the wire
they watched me scatter scratch in a sweeping
figure eight.  Their eyes followed the swing
of my hand.  In each small throat
a coo waits.  Without the rooster’s crow,
there is reason to invite quiet.

In the back garden, moonflower seeds have sprouted.
The dog has dug up the purple robe
looking for a place to lie down.  Warm water
dribbles from a green striped hose.

These days I notice bumblebees nursing
at the hummingbird feeder; thin, curled leaves
on an apple tree.  Twice a day
I check the pepper plants for worms.
I know how long the yucca has been in bloom,
and when the first morning glory blossom appeared.

I walk slowly enough to see the world in detail.
I imagine myself some kind of older plant.  Like trumpet vine,
with a flexible stem that follows a rough adobe wall.
Or Spanish broom with prickly solid stalks
and small occasional flowers.  Not yet an old
gnarled cottonwood, but headed in that direction.

Judy Fitzpatrick most recently worked for the SouthwestWriters Critique Service. She taught continuing education writing classes for thirty years. Two chapbooks of her poetry have been published. These poems are from her manuscript entitled: Headed in That Direction. She lives in Corrales with her husband and a large 4-legged family.

#120 Borderland by F. G. Mulkey

(on the first anniversary of my death)

Sister moon,
enlighten hunter trails, guiding
pathways that challenge throughout night,
defending medicine on wings of prey,
if I go, let my fighting pony roam to
where legends cross the start of time
and travel the end of empires, searching skin
past those swollen rivers from mountain
storm, vision song,
if I go, wash the mud from my pony
and bake it in the sun, adobe bricks for
your doorway to enter each direction.

F G Mulkey has been published in many literary magazines. His forthcoming publications will be featured in ClockHouse Review in the summer of 2012. He has lived in Santa Fe and Albuquerque since 1981 with wife Jan, and currently finishing his new book of poems titled, West of Night.

#119 El Chupacabra by Catherine Ferguson

I hung from the iron bar on the swing set,
stepped back, the bar hit me
above my right eye–
stitches. How could a metal tube dislike me so?

The chupacabra yelled
when my sister and I were silly about the toothpaste.
He pulled me off to the bedroom.
Thunder.

I am being taken to another country
in the back of a truck driven by the Chupacabra.
It is unlikely that I will find a place to stay.
Hitchhiking becomes a question of where to sleep.
I get so tired and even though the Frenchman
kissed me, he is not my friend.

The scar over my right eye heals
and becomes part of me. I do not realize my friends are high.
I don’t really get anything about money or drugs.

The Chupacabra got me pregnant.
I’m working at the gift shop.
As always my waist is pushing out the band of my skirt.
I hit my stomach hard.

The scar becomes my face.
I was so looking forward to picking grapes
in your country.
Even now my nightmare: not knowing what I’m doing
in a place.

It could have been me or the Chupacabra.
But I’ve never been drawn below that thin line.
I don’t swim there.
I like my feet on the ground and a cat
at the foot of the bed.

Catherine Ferguson is a poet and painter. Inspired by landscape and animals she creates watercolors, oils, retablos and poems that express her love of nature. Catherine is the author of eight chapbooks.  In 2007, she received the New Mexico Book Award for The Sound a Raven Makes, with two other poets.

#118 Albuquerque August by Mary Dudley

I’d like to try my hand
at painting sunflowers
in the manner of O’Keefe:
vast canvases of turquoise sky,
perhaps a stretch of yellow corn,
and then those flowers—
the guardians of gardens.
Flat faces like Kansas Swedes.
Golden.  Stalwart.  True.

Petal is too small a word
for those fat blades
like butter knives
around the center—
a black pie of seeds like tears—
with leaves like green spades.
They form tall pyramids.
Bordering the squash and pole beans,
They march against the sky.

Don’t call me to look at roses,
although they have their grace.
Sunflowers rise over red tomatoes;
green cucumbers climb their stalks
and so do violet morning glories.
Sunflowers bend over sweet summer.
They shine with the hottest suns.

In 1968, Mary Dudley moved from Stony Brook, New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico.   She moved to the South Valley in 1970 where she and her husband have taught school, gardened, and raised their two daughters along with sheep, goats, and chickens. They still live there.

#117 Chaco Canyon by Susan Elbe

What lives here now crisscrosses morning,
the sun, long-legged,
yellow-eyed coyote, slung low
and nosing through rooms of extinction.

Dust drifting in a shiv of light remembers
what it was to be
water hissing deep in alcoves,
the snake in shale.

Telescoping doorways diminish return.

On a burning wall, the earless lizard
feels its own blood sing.
I rest myself against the secrets
mortared into stone and wait for them to tell me.

But only locusts click in creosote and wind
shuttles through wheat grass.
The rest, a silence
more desertion than pure absence.

I cannot call the lost ones back.

Their names on my tongue,
strange diphthongs,
dark whisks of water on the sky.

Susan Elbe is the author of Eden in the Rearview Mirror and two chapbooks, Light Made from Nothing and Where Good Swimmers Drown. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin but has traveled annually to New Mexico for over 30 years. You can learn more about her at http://www.susanelbe.com.

#116 milagro #10 by Richard Vargas

mountain fires
and strong winds
send smoke our way
eyes burn and a breath

becomes a gasp for air as
lungs turn into
flip-flopping goldfish
taken from their bowl
and dropped on a
hot sidewalk

at night
sliver of new moon
filtered through haze
is dark orange
the color of chile

ripening in the fields
just before it turns
blood red

chile moon
deadly moon
taking my breath away

the price i pay
to be smothered with
your beauty

Richard Vargas was born in L.A. and has two books of poetry published; McLife, 2005, and American Jesus, 2007. Vargas earned his MFA from UNM and was awarded the 2011 Hispanic Writers Award from the Taos Summer Writers Conference. He resides in Albuquerque, where he edits/publishes The Más Tequila Review.

#115 Smoke Screens by Pamela Yenser

Heartbreaking mornings
cry out from the throats of trees
darkened by snow melt.

Sandia Mountain
turns to watermelon pink
and spring turns to dust

in torrents, tearing
parched cottonwoods limb from limb.
Red moon, soil, sun, me.

Arizona burns
across our western border
and down our gullets.

Pamela Yenser once lived in Roswell, where her father, a retired Army pilot, flew her over the crash site of the “flying disc” associated with the so-called Roswell Flying Saucer Incident. Her family moved away in 1949, but she returned sixty years later to teach and write in Albuquerque.

#114 The Santo Niño Will Not Visit Turin (excerpt) by MJR Montoya

There is a Santo Niño magnet
On Belinda’s dashboard.
Faded brass with
Lace metal ornamentation,
An acrylic globe with the
Painted image of a little boy,
Shackles on his feet.
The patron saint of prisoners,
Of miners,
Of people in need.
He was the baby Jesus who ran away from
His mother,
And wore out his shoes,
Leaning on his staff,
Putting nightmares in his basket,
Feeding mercy to the
Thirsty with his water gourd.
“Did you not know where to find me, dear mother?”
He says while the temple trembles,
While the old teachers watch him take his leave.
People still put brand new pennies and baby shoes in his shrine
In Chimayo.
The Holy Child of Atocha,
But
He is not there,
He is out in the hills,
Ignoring the wolves,
His blue garb hiding out in between the stars,
His cockleshell completing
The smile of Orion.

MJR Montoya is a native of Mora, NM.  He is a professor of global structures at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management, a Rhodes scholar, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  His poetry is collected in a volume entitled Era of the Glass Calavera.

#113 Valley by Meriam Sagan

a long time ago
twenty-five years or more
I took a Greyhound bus
north through the mountains
to visit you in Taos

an old lady
sat next to me
carrying a fruit tree
with its roots
wrapped in burlap

getting off in Espanola
at the old station
she said: a dios
not just adios
to me

it’s God’s mercy
that I’ve been
on this earth at all
lived to see you
my friend again

Miriam Sagan founded and runs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. The author of over 25 books, she blogs at http://miriamswell.wordpress.com. In 2010, she received the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

#112 Parched by Adam Nunez

My father and I bought a Taos condo together
and filled it with our life’s possessions. He laid his oak
boar-bristle hairbrush on the counter, his exercise band
and June issue of Reader’s Digest

beside the varnished drawer handle. I stacked my jeans
and laptop opposite, the blue lights of my computer
flashing on his glossed magazine. We shared nothing
but the view of dormant volcanoes,

and long nights of his mucous coughs and spit-up.
Each day we woke, I flapped the wrinkles out
of my jeans. He brushed his hair to a picture of himself
in the Navy fifty years ago, and exercised his aged biceps.

I sat with my computer off. At noon, we dozed on the porch
and bolted instant oatmeal from paper cups with plastic spoons.
We bobbed our heads in slight agreement that microwaved
water tasted of dull hums of the desert’s delicate drawl.

We thought the mountains would soon clear their throats
and eat their own peaks and with them, we would fall
asleep in the heat. Nights, we never hugged like tomorrow
might not come. I sometimes felt guilty for sleeping.

Then we died on the same windy day. The desert traipsed
through our windows to nap on our eyelids. We stepped
out of our curled bodies and blew the tired sand
off our skin. Our voices ground our stone lips

like glass-pack mufflers and cracked pumice. We stood,
the Taos busts of Pliny the Elder and the Younger, eyes
of fleshed marble. The unspoken father-and-son
I love yous hung in our lungs like swallowed teeth.

Adam Nunez is an MFA student and teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico. He writes to discover his family’s history as migrant farm workers. Adam’s work has appeared in Connecticut Review and LUMINA, and one of his poems took second place in The Atlantic’s 2009 Student Writing Contest.

#111 What If a Nice Dinosaur Lives Here by Bradley Earle Hoge

My older son’s hand fits in mine
like a moment of time,
his younger brother sleeping
on my shoulders, as I lead them
through the Great Room
of Carlsbad Caverns for the first
time. “Look at how the rock flows,
“I say, “as if a river left it here.”
“What if a dinosaur still lives here,”
my son replies . . . But my mind
has already wandered. As we walk
through this frozen world,
I can’t help but think the smooth
calcium carbonate walls look
like candy coating poured while hot
over a surprise inside, preserving
an unknown flavor until someone
bites through it.  If I could take
my sons through these walls
we would swim into the ancient
reef that guarded the shores
of the Permian ocean, we would taste
the brine now crystallized
into Guadeloupe Mountains, flee
from sharks with shovelnoses,
chase trilobites into the sand,
pick crinoids like flowers
from the reef . . . Until my son’s 
Daddy?  returns me to the present
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,
Sweetie, there aren’t any dinosaurs
in this cave.”  “I know, Daddy.  I know
they all died a long time ago,
but, what if a nice dinosaur
still lives here?”

*This poem first appeared in the anthology Singularities: Writing From the Center of Edge from Plain View Press in 2001.

Bradley Earle Hoge’s poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies including Chronogram, Rattle, Tertulia, Stickman Review, Tonapah la, entelechy: mind and culture, and Tar Wolf Review. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks. Bradley lives in Spring, TX with his wife and three children.

#110 Spring in the Desert by Amanda Chiado

Truth or Consequences was all consequence.
Tweet birds waited with apprehensive song
on the line.  My father called them fat asses
and made them popcorn every day.
Isabella, not yet two, walked with me
hand in hand down Caballo road
collecting heart-shaped rocks
while he slept, and slept and slept.
We caught glimpses of the river.
My dad used to toss a fishing line in it
and wait around real cool with his cigarette.
It wasn’t much more than mud now.
My dad was dying.  Two days before
we inhaled his last breath,
a blue electric day called on the angels.
The open clarity of my New Mexican sky,
a big door sucking us through.
Swigging a little last booze, we slipped
him into his darkest shades, wrapped him
in a blanket threaded with turquoise yarn.
He sat in the borrowed wheelchair whispering
in the warm, warm sun. I wanted to give him
another season then, many, many more.
I think he liked the sing-song of the birds,
the echo of their wings as they’d startle off
of the sheet metal fence he’d made.
I bet he thought, it’s probably time to go—
It’s almost Spring.

Amanda Chiado is an MFA graduate of California College of the Arts.  Her work can be found in Best New Poets, Forklift, Ohio, Fence, Witness and others.  She is currently shopping her first poetry manuscript Monsters, Superheroes, Bimbos and Other Fast Food.  She works in Hollister, CA as a California Poet in the Schools and Preschool Teacher.

#109 THE SAME SWEET FOLLY by V.B. Price

From “Chaco Elegies”

There are those to whom we are vermin,
or sources of food, or impediments
along the way
to the “inevitable.”
There are days when the sky tries to blow us away,
or drown us or dry us up
and we resist.
We hold in common
this Resistance
to change that discounts us,
holding on to our doors
like ants against other ants,
holding on
against trifling horrors,
holding on
to our gardens,
our children,
our calm nights,
all of us in Troy,
in Argos, Cuzco,
in Chaco and Hopi,
in Watts, Los Chavez, East L.A.,
this family of the homely
clinging to home.
There is no barrier between us.
We are continuous as the history of air.
In the Resistance
we learn
to want nothing
to be
less important
than us,
to diminish
only
the demon
jerking the hand of the grabber.

V.B. Price (born August 30, 1940) is an American poet, historian, author, editor, teacher and long time political and environmental columnist. He is a member of the faculty at the University of New Mexico’s University Honor’s Program and is an adjunct associate professor at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning.