Tag Archives: New Mexico Centennial Project

#191 the sacrifice is always by Marc Thompson

here in the art room
of Hennepin United Methodist Church
Minneapolis, Minnesota
where silent men and women travel
to the center of the labyrinth
in their stockinged feet
as women and men have done
for eight hundred years

(here where Jesus lies
in his mother’s arms
under a brightly painted halo)

the sacrifice is not
in the journey
in its twists and turns

the sacrifice
is always

here in Santa Fe
the New Mexico village
where toughened peasants carry
heavy crosses and heavy beliefs
side by side     side by side
on crutches and wheelchairs
in cracked leather boots
twenty seven miles to the desert
shrine of Chimayo
just as they have for two hundred years

(here where Jesus bleeds
bright red paint
from fly-infested wounds)

the sacrifice is not
in the journey
in its twists and turns
and desert heat
  
the sacrifice
is always
arriving.

Marc Thompson currently resides in Minneapolis, MN where he is a stay-at-home dad.  He thinks it’s the best job in the world.  Marc received his MFA from Hamline University, and his poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, England, Australia, Canada, Japan, and cyberspace.

#186 ACOMA TALE by Faye Snider

Shadows faded as a desert breeze,
seven thousand feet above the sea,
hover over this sky isle village
of thirty-six families,
three murky cisterns, two trees,
a cluster of quarter-moon outhouses,
flat adobe roofs—some sporting
wood stove chimneys.

Artisans at doorways stand at tables
filled with pots,
most machine-made-white,
hand decorated. I search for the rare,
rose hued & hand crafted—colors
birthed from ground herbs & flowers,
pulverized charcoal.

I’m drawn to the husky timbre
of a woman’s voice. Her eyes
flash as she holds up a six-inch clay pot.
She points to its thunder bolt “for energy and life,”
a float of clouds she names “a boundary,”
the round-backed jet bear “for food and skins,”
a tiny hole “to store seeds.”
She cushions the pot in the palm of my hand.
It rattles the sound of rain.

“How much?” I ask.
The man by her side steps up,
collects the money, wraps the pot.
Left wanting, I turn back to the woman
who digs & hand-coils clay,
creates pigment to paint her tales.
“Thank you for your story,” I say.
She nods, the fire in her eyes flown
on silent wings.

Faye Snider turned to writing poetry during her career as a clinical social worker/family therapist. Post career, she received her MFA from Pine Manor’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing. A New Mexico enthusiast, her poetry and personal essays have appeared in the Ibbetson Street Press literary journal, Alimentum and Sugarmule.

#179 Paloma Negra by Byron Aspaas

Looking through the looking glass the glass that shields
me from wind from rain from clouded sun poor bird
looking through the looking glass looking back at me stands
the statuesque strange stoic bird an empty hole where
its heart once beat poor strange bird a hole in its heart
holding heads connected to its feathers connected to its
shoulders staring back at me eight pounds on each fin
two heads swinging smiling poor empty strange bird
weighted down with nowhere to fly standing cold as
stone alone in mold near billows of smoke circling and
swirling processed scents of stale tobacco hollow
prayers poor empty weighted strange bird stares glares
looking at me through me judging you judging me
where I sit protected behind the looking glass poor cold
empty weighted strange bird odd shaped head
unfamiliar body shivering squeaking alone weighted
with stone prayers molded looking through the looking
glass the glass that shields me inside the glare behind
oily smudges reflect appear blank statuesque stoic
strange
me.

Byron Aspaas (Diné) is Tachiiníí and born for Todichííníí.  Currently a creative writing student at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Byron writes poetry and creative nonfiction.  His ambition is to become a teacher, a writer, and most importantly a storyteller. He resides with his partner, Seth Browder, in Santa Fe, NM

#174 La Jicarita by Belinda Laumbach

Una montaña bañada con sol.
sonrié, despierta.

Otro día, perezosa
y cubierta con nublina.

A veces enojada
envuelta con nubes negras.

Por la noche fría
tapada con nieve.

Las estrellas cristalinas
le dan diamantes.

Una montaña viva
con arboles verdes.

El sol la baña y despierta.

Sonrié

La Jicarita

A mountain bathed with sunshine
smiles, awakens.

Another day, lazy
covered with fog.

At times, angry
wrapped in black clouds.

At night, cold
covered with snow.

The stars, crystalline
give it diamonds

A mountain, alive
with green trees.

The sun bathes it awake.

It smiles.

Belinda Pacheco Laumbach was raised on a ranch in New Mexico.  One of her poems was included in a publication as a result of a competition for Hispanic Women Writers of New Mexico.  Although bilingual, her poetry “comes out” only in Spanish and only around themes related to the environment.

#173 Winter Arrives Late in Albuquerque by Samantha Erin Tetangco

17 December 2010

The snow fell upon the city like a mistake,
erasing the mountains to the east—
no more watermelons, no more majestic climb
to the peak—and left instead an open horizon.
An eclipsed day shrouded in plain.

Samantha Erin Tetangco’s fiction and poetry have appeared and in Phoebe, the Oklahoma Review, Gargoyle, and others.  She has an MFA from the University of New Mexico and served as editor for Blue Mesa Review.  Tetangco currently teaches creative writing and composition at the University and blogs at writersmarch.wordpress.com.

#172 ZUNI DRUMS by Katherine B. Hauth

On the foot-packed earth of the plaza
Zuni drums beat

piñon fires
beat bread baking in hornos
beat sureness of solstice
beat out blue sky toward the east

streaked with pink clouds
beat in rain to reach fields
for life-giving corn
beat in harvest and planting

which turns into harvest again.
Drums beat from the beginning
to always
in circular pattern

spirits woven into earth living
beat for kachinas in body paint
and horned headdresses
approaching the plaza.

Drums beat for births
beat for deaths
beat for tattooed teens
beat for boy on broad shoulders

straddling black braid
thumping the beats
on his dad’s Yankee cap
beat for grandmothers in flowered shawls

who no longer hear but know the beat
through the earth and their feet
the pulsing of creation.
All hearts beating.

Let Zuni drums beat
beat   beat   beat !

Katherine Hauth turned to writing after careers as teacher and personnel analyst. She’s published poetry for adults and children and two children’s books. What’s for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World, 2011, Outstanding Science Trade Book and Junior Library Guild title, received a 2011 New Mexico Book Award.

#169 THE ELECT by Jean Nordhaus

The sun has chosen one piñon to exalt,
one tree from a forest of others,
as when, in a film, the camera will select

one face to focus on, one girl
to follow in her progress
through her soul’s adventure. And now

a mountain bluebird has alighted
on the topmost branch of the piñon
like a Christmas angel—and now

the bird has flown, carrying away
the sanctifying ray of light, so the tree
is once more just an ordinary piñon

among others. And the girl,
without the auteur’s gaze, is star
of no one’s movie but her own

with no beam of light to hallow her,
no camera to peruse her face, her every
gesture with the eye of love.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland and married to a native New Mexican, Jean Nordhaus lives in Washington, DC but sojourns frequently in Taos. Her books of poetry include The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn (Milkweed Editions) and Innocence (Ohio State University Press.) She is currently Review Editor of Poet Lore.

#166 Picking Capulín by H. Marie Aragón

In a small tin bucket
she carefully strips
the branch of capulín.
Juices fill the creases
of her fingers stained
crimson and purple.

Tía Corina, always wears
an apron over a cotton dress;
she has a hump on her back,
no teeth, never a lover.

She helps her mother
clean the house, make the beds,
prepare the food
wash the breakfast dishes
as her sisters walk to school –
the school that her father built.

The Spanish Peaks stand in the distance.
A fleeting scent of pine needles,
sweet clover and wild lilies tease her senses.
En los campos de verano
her daily world vanishes.

Come late August,
the green chokecherry leaves
turn red, mustard, then brown.
Keep the horses at a distance as
dry leaves are sweeten with poison,
but the fruit is ripe for jam.

Boil jars twice for safety
apples for pectin, cook then crush.
Capulín bubbles in la olla
on the wood-burning stove.

She tests the jam on warm tortillas –
astringent taste of capulín makes
her mouth water – confuses the palate.

After the purple jars are stored in the winter cupboard –
Tía Carina unties her apron, puts on her camisón,
takes down her bun, lays her head on the pillow
and dreams of sweet clover, wild lilies
y el rio that runs to the sea.

*Translations:

Tia Corina                          (Aunt Corrine)

En los campos de verano   (In the summer fields)

la olla                                   (cooking pot)

camisón                               (night gown)

rio                                        (river)

Published Spring 2011, Malpaís Review Vol, 1, NO. 4

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.

#161 Graveyard in November, Albuquerque by LewEllyn Hallet

only this cold wind gives the tumbleweeds life
walls and tombstones catch
and hold them fast
trapped
they rattle peevishly

plastic flowers fade in the sun
near the heart-shaped markers and
rows of stones
sprayed silver

Mary, of all comfort, stands at the mausoleum
her hands cut off
her head turned upside down

LewEllyn Hallet has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico, and is currently an MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University. She received the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from Southern California Review in 2008, and was a finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award.

#159 Designing the Deck in Las Cruces by Dick Thomas

“Architecture is frozen music.”

-Cecil Balmond

Not just the mocking bird in the century plant,
the white wing doves on the fence,
the thrush in the mesquite,
we wanted to hear the mountains to the east,
the city to the west,
to hear dark sky
and the bend of Italian Cedars
shrill with starlings.
We wanted to hear what happened
when the sun fell
and the red orange light faded to purple;
we wanted thunder and lightning
to lay its bow over our bones,
and rain to drum in our small plot of grass.
So we drew a line, stretched it out,
turned and tuned it toward the horizons,
fret, board, body, and bridge,
and let it sing.

F. Richard “Dick” Thomas has nine collections of poetry, include Frog Praises Night (Southern Illinois University Press), Death at Camp Pahoka (Michigan State University Press), and his latest book, Extravagant Kiss.  He is co-editor of Sin Fronteras Journal/ Writers Without Borders in Las Cruces, NM.

#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.

#9 To the Muse by Glenna Luschei

I know that I have been derelict, joined Facebook
though only for a fortnight.

Oh, Muse, let me return to the freedom of the West
when you and I lived raw, before I left for Lotus Land
and forgot my home. Return me to those days
before my taming when I flew with kingfishers.

Let me become the wonderer I was, in the New Mexico
orgy of creation, let me beat the snare
drum in my heart, that pulsar that would strike
in the planets from inner and outer space.

Oh, Muse, grant me that second wind where I run
and run and can’t think of anything but One,
the race of God and Man.

I don’t know who is in front of me or behind me but
grant me the snap of the finish tape across my breast.

Glenna Luschei is the founding editor of Solo Press, now in its 45th year. Along with her support of magazines and publishers, Luschei works in the arts community. She lives in Carpinteria, California, where she tends her garden and her avocado orchard.

#8 Santa Fe Wedding by Winsome Charter

Growed up & thrust
Into the stillness:

Moon showing its hid face
Stars like spilled salt

On a black table
Who will clean this mess

Up who will
In the star-addled night

Thwart and throttle
Teeter near the edge of what-all’s

Got you girl
Little angel of the valle

Little bear-cub little howler
On the llano all growed up

Little cholla
Little yucca with your spiked hair

Waddling the fenceline
Listing on the cusp of

In the white gown of
In the pink church of

Saying I do saying yes
Little doggie saying whoa

Winsome Charter, born in West Virginia to parents who belonged to a charismatic church where they handled snakes and spoke in tongues, left home at 17. Her upbringing still lingers in her interests in incoherence and poisons, and thus poetry. All her poems appear in the online journal SCREWRENT

#6 Gallery Talk by M. Kaat Toy

“The heads are useless,” the painter explains.  “They don’t work anymore.  So I gather around me friends from the natural world–flowers relieved of their vibrancy, seedpods dried and broken open, bones of animals from air, water, and land.  They bring me the news–releasing me from personal history like the flood that washed through my studio.  A shriving.  Every day I put the news down in shrines that celebrate not making but that which is already made–made for us.  They emanate energy.  Great beings of light here to help us remember what we are and who we are show themselves–the interface between the possible and the impossible.”

A native of central California, M. Kaat Toy has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in English from Florida State University. She is published in a variety of genres. Her collection, In a Cosmic Egg, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (www.finishinglinepress.com).