Sunset and Feathers
Breathing in the wind.
Swallowed by the sky.
Something always is –
Teachers in more ways than one,
Beads on the proverbial Rosary
Thumbed at by abuelitas in the
Glow of a candle.
I always ask her,
“Grandma, did you pray for me today?”
“Of course, I always do.” She’d say… as she always does.
That’s the beauty of us,
Men and women
Cracked from a different rib,
A place where pain
translates to attention just the same and we
Through prayers and stories
We live on.
Carlos Contreras is a two-time national champion performance poet and local educator. Co-founder of JustWrite, Contreras leads writing workshops at an adult correctional facility. He also hosts the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Voces program. As part of Albuquerque’s Urban Verbs, Contreras creates alongside Colin Hazelbaker and Hakim Bellamy.
There is no chile in Española
No apples, no peaches, no plums,
The only cherries are on the
Slot machines at the big casino.
There is a Sports Bar,
Replacing the Line Camp.
Three dollar breakfast buffet,
With Keno. Fallow fields,
The junkie’s tracks,
Low riders rusting, replaced
By Toyotas and Cadillacs.
In the 60’s, right here, I saw
Both Kennedys–Bobby and Jack.
Every house in the Valley
Had their pictures hung, like
Santos, above the TV set.
When I was seven,
My Grandmother brought me with her
To buy chile and apples–
“The best there ever was,” she said.
Taught me how to peel and can,
I thought, what a place to live–
The green of cottonwoods and fields
The Rio Grande, black lava rocks
And hot springs all along the canyon.
The road to Taos,
The blue of Truchas Mountain.
My twenties, thirties, forties spent
Coming back again,
Peaches bought from
The kind old Russian woman,
Apples from Martinez in Velarde,
Crunch and snap, a bit of heaven,
And green chiles , hot and succulent,
To see my family through the winter’s cold
A fire in the belly, and the mouth.
But now, there are no
chiles in Española,
Except for the supermarket imports–
Chiles from Hatch, peaches from Califas,
And the cherries in the slots.
Georgia Santa Maria is a Native New Mexican photographer, artist and writer, and has been published in many anthologies and on the web at Duke City Fix and Duke City Dime Stories. Work includes 2 self-published books, “Lichen Kisses” and “Miami Hippy Mommy Cookbook.” She lives in rural Northern, NM.