Tag Archives: Poems about New Mexico

#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

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.


#190 The Related by Page Lambert

Alone, far from home, my son said he cooked
the ribs, all of them, for two days until
they were white as stone, these pronghorn
bones, stripped of fiber and family, slivered
meat like flakes of obsidian, marrow
rich with memory.

While we talk I remember the Pueblo flute player
in Santa Fe pulling the rooted story of forest
from the wooden reed, how his people’s song
floated like windblown leaves, like the swift
running dreams of a hunter far
from home.

My son said the doe’s meat was
tender, that he used nearly two bottles
of barbecue sauce but only one bullet, he said
that the meat from her ribs alone would feed him
for a dozen days.

I wonder if he knows how his stories feed me,
how my milken memories drip like
resin down rough tree bark, onto the
cluttered forest floor, among the bent
needles and bristle-coned caches where
squirrels skitter and daylight fades.

 grew up in the Rocky Mountains and calls Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico home. Recipient of AROHO’s 2013 “Wise Woman Fellowship Award” and Colorado Authors League “Best Blog of the Year Award” for All Things Literary. All Things Natural,  her essays, poetry and books are widely published. She coaches writers, leads outdoor adventures, writing seminars, and enjoys keynoting. www.pagelambert.com.


#175 Postcard to New Mexico by Sandra Vallie

It’s gray here and almost nothing
more needs saying
in Michigan winter a survival
course in tricking your mind desperate
remainders of sun, color and light winnowed
from holly berries, mulched pansies a faint

reflected summer shimmers open
to lavender and mango skies mountains
(always the mountains) vision of dry rivers
and chamisa New Mexico blossoms belief
collapses past and future, here and there
until tonight in the damp, cold dark

I walk from this gray here, my past
down this brown-grassed hill dive
through the iced pond swim
into the Rio Grande
walk into “the tent of your blessed funkiness”
into Albuquerque

*”the tent of your blessed funkiness” is from Dee Cohen’s poem, “Slouching Toward ABQ.” “Postcard to New Mexico appeared in a slightly different form at  The Sunday Poem at the Duke City Fix.


Sandra Vallie’s work has appeared in Adobe Walls, Airplane Reading, Red Ravine, and in the Sunday Poem at Duke City Fix. Sandra’s blog, Writing It Down In The High Desert, can be found at sandrarenee.com. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

#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.


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.

#171 America Dreams of Roswell by Jeannine Hall Gailey

The forbidding sugar of hot desert sand
and hallucinations of mushroom clouds
linger in a city where you can still get pie
with a fried egg on top, where you might catch
a glimpse of UFO dazzle. Even the lampposts bloom
into alien heads. Barbed wire might keep out enemies
of the American dream, where the tiny famous lizard’s legs
cling to sad, solid rock. On the Trinity site, that sand
turned to green glass. The scientists were unsure
about igniting the whole earth’s atmosphere, nevertheless
the violet light demanded goggles. Shadows of ranch houses,
their neat boxes burned deep into the ground.

Jeannine Hall Gailey is Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of Becoming the Villainess and She Returns to the Floating World. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner. She teaches part-time at National University’s MFA program and volunteers for Crab Creek Review.

#168 Patrick Swayze in New Mexico: Star Sightings You Don’t Write Home About by Dominika Wrozynski

He hunkers in plaid shirts now, hides lips that made women
swoon behind year-old stubble, spins the corner bar stool
at The Hitching Post, the rancher dive that only serves Bud.

The El Fidel and Joe’s Ringside have 86ed him already, joined
his name to the list of honorable mentions, like the brothers
who fought pit bulls behind the Immaculate Conception

Church. But this Las Vegas, New Mexico, city of Billy the Kid,
and Doc Holiday’s Saloon. Roosevelt’s Roughriders remain
dusty knickknacks in an adobe museum, open only

on Wednesdays. Here the devil says goodnight, at the base
of the Sangre de Cristos, where Jesus would have run out
of water and loaves, would have to settle for iced tea

and hot tortillas made daily at the Spic n’ Span Diner,
once a laundromat. No matter what he did, Jesus could
never be from here. Patrick, too is only humored

by the bartender because she remembers ingesting
electricity, tonguing his face on the television screen.
So when we see him, we want to throw him a doughnut,

a rope, a life raft, dress him in black Carhart, waterproof him
for the coming monsoon season. It is what happens to children
whose parents have grown old. We fear his passing. But above

all else we want to shift his beer belly into the center
and surround him with college co-eds, because we are all
better than to let Patrick Swayze drink alone in a corner.

Dominika Wrozynski teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Florida State University as a Visiting Faculty Instructor. Her latest poems have appeared in The Crab Orchard Review, Slipstream, The Portland Review, and The Spoon River Poetry Review. She also has Polish-English poem translations in the latest issue of Espresso Ink.

#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.


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.

#165 Curse of La Llorana by Catherine Ferguson

          no flower burning the lining of her heart

not even a prayer
more of a curse
building inside the lining of her throat

inside her mind the white gown is brown from weeping
tears drown the moon
her mouth spits electric eels
skin of her face scalded

she paces the river

the sound of her body is a mourning dove
killing the night

wanting to be free of herself
she blows the wind of her weeping into the village

a painter wakes with a start
draws a scream on his canvas
sunflowers wither in night’s garden

she keeps drowning her babies
splash against mud

can never say I’m sorry
can never sleep
the mad yip of coyote is her company
thunder claps on Black Mesa

scream has turned from sunflower
to no-flower
splitting the seams
of her breasts

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.

#164 Road Runner by Phyllis Hoge

The speckled road runner that built a nest
in the high crook of the half-dead tree
across the street from me
walks over
strides, bobs up her tail
snatches a black beetle out of the weeds
and, circumspect,
guages my two cats.

No contest, and they know it.
She, businesslike, not snobby,

unhurried, wrapped up in her job,
struts back where she came from.

Before moving to Albuquerque Phyllis Hoge wrote, published, and taught poetry at the University of Hawaii as and initiated the first Poets in the Schools Program in America. She also taught at UNM for several years. Phyllis has published nine books, most recently “Hello, House,” illustrated by Maxine Hong Kingston.

#163 For Taos by d.stribling

There is a place where dogs lay about in the warmth
of November sun. Where a stream catches shards of light
before reflecting them back up into the cottonwoods.
A place where dwellings quietly crumble into the dust of centuries.
Where wooden crosses grow in their Spanish garden.

Where the forbidden welcomes only those who understand.
Where piñon smoke wafts and curls its way to join
white clouds in a brilliant blue sky. Where the old ones
peer out of soot-darkened corners, their gnarled hands grasping turquoise
like old cedar trees holding together piles of rocks.

There is a place where countless footsteps catch countless more.
Where silent hawks circle high above; their spirals pulling spirit into the sky.
Death is always nearby here. I come here to die, as I have before.
To shed the unnecessary things, to waste away until
the dust swirls by to gather up the pieces of old skin I’ve left behind.

There is great sadness, as alcohol leaves strikingly handsome
shells of bodies propped against the wall outside the Taos Inn,
their spirits caught somewhere between the neon and starry black sky.
There is unspeakable joy as the very young dance with the Earth.
And laughter as cars wait for free range steers crossing dusty roads.

There are green chilies, blue corn posole, and Silver Coin margaritas.
Michael’s Kitchen, and Charlotte’s fetishes at Bryan’s Gallery.
Cottonwoods I count on being there as I counted on Ruby
the bookstore cat being there until she went away to the sky.
Taos writers, painters, artists—my heart, my soul, New Mexico.

Dee Stribling is a writer of poems and prose currently living in Hillsborough, N.C. For many years she has spent as much time in New Mexico as possible. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks, a memoir, and a documentary.

#162 The Great Drought by Mike Burwell

The clouds have not come
for a year of moons.
Thunder is the sound in our bellies.
The old man who knows medicine,
we impaled on sharp juniper poles.
He brings only vultures and night.

Our corn, our squash, dry
in the fields below the mesa.
Water will not fill the rooms of our dancing.
We have no strength for song.

Our wives have skin like lizards,
Our children grow large in the belly.
We desire more violence, warlike death,
instead we melt, bend over close
to the earth like our corn.

The old man dreams the future like the sun:
dry tombs among the rocks.
Night’s molten stars dance over our cliff village
like countless black horses
their lucid eyes flashing.

Mike Burwell recently retired to Santa Fe after 30 years in Alaska writing environmental impact statements for the Feds and teaching poetry at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His poetry collection Cartography of Water was published by North Shore Press in 2007. He founded the literary journal Cirque in 2009.

#155 Out of Frame by Meredith Trede

based on with love from Jess and Inez
by Nancy Callahan

The newly awakened, acrylic sisters
glory in their rebirth, murmur as one,
Mira, did you see her, ella la loca,
their best girlhood friend, crazy old Rina,
gone to the city, almost a star, how
she wore furs to the funeral in June,
the motor car, papa, the rum laden
fruitcake, the trip all the way to Seneca
Falls, the hired hand, was there a baby,
rumor, worry, unshackled heartache
resound through the ethers, finally
set free from the sepia tintype
Grandma kept by her side: millinery plumed
by birds gone forever, cameos centered
on choke collared dresses, implacable
eyes locked to the camera.  On back
in browned ink with Spenserian flourish
With love to Aunt Ida from Jess and Inez.
From their place of honor on the parlor wall
the stern-faced young women who
whisper together, Look, does she see us?

Meredith Trede holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and was recently awarded the 2012 Nicholson Political Poetry Award, a residency fellowships at Blue Mountain Center, Ragdale, Saltonstall, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Virginia and France, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

#153 Manita Memories by Irene Blea

I grew up where the mountain smelled of loam
piñon wood burned in cast iron stoves
berries grew close to the ground
embraced by seven shades of green beneath a blue sky bowl

after working with old women
while making lye soap outdoors in large black kettles
I knew I could lift, fly, soar high
over giant boulders, faces carved in stone

I was a parade of untamed mustangs wearing silver and jade
rubies, and ribbons, emeralds and amethyst in my full mane
turquoise, lots of turquoise
I circled in my ceremonial dress

In flight, I talk to flowers, plants, and trees
converse with wind and wild strawberries glistening near a stream
with the aroma of piñon I enjoy shades the various shade of color
indigenous faces carved of stone.

Dr. Blea is a New Mexico native and has a doctorate degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. For twenty-seven years she wrote academic articles and textbooks. She now writes novels, but she has written poetry since the age of nine.

#152 Nike Cortez by David Maduli

last time i ever seen corey he had put on
weight and scars
and brass knuckles
still had those cortez though
zeus messenger’s winged slippers
skywalk slouched off the airplane glue
brown paper bag plumes

first period last row home ec palm opened
into a butterfly grasp
pulled me in notebooks coated
with public enemy lyrics
swept me to all the skate spots
those were the days of vision
streetwear and vans caballeros before
he traded them for black cortez

laces ivory like the enamel on his teeth
firework jokes made the whole class laugh
down to the jagged sole
conquistador sneakers norteño feet
sauntering inside our masks

i crosswalk away count each painted bar like years
an elephant tusk stripes the jet nylon and suede
corey kicks the fuck out the kid on the ground
the swoosh glows brighter than white sand

David S. Maduli is a writer, teacher, deejay, and father.  Son of Filipino immigrants, this San Francisco native spent his high school years in Alamogordo.  Winner of the 2011 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, he is an alumnus of the VONA and Las Dos Brujas writing communities, and resides in Oakland

#150 History Dream #24: Po-Woh-Ge-Oweenge by Richard Downing

                              – for Maria Montoya Martinez, pueblo potter

She concocted the black on black finish. What was she doing here?
Yes, I do think that would look nice on a mahogany coffee table bordered
with rust – excuse me – burnt umber curtains. Very nice.(Very generic,
very you, who I will – no, must – wish a nice day and offer my thanks
for shopping at Pottery Barn®)

She never meant the thanks she offered each customer nor was she mean
in her assessment of their taste in pots – “Vases,” remember
to call the higher priced ones “vases.” And she really did try to remember
to do that and the other dictates needed to be followed in order not to get fired
from this store in this economy. I have fired many single pots more worthy of your
mahogany tables, of more worth than anything in this store. She thought this
only because she knew this to be true.

She watched a woman and a look-a-like daughter step through automatic doors.
She felt the rush of warm air, felt her finger tips trace the moist imaginary coils
of a pot she would she soon be firing, had the pot been real, in the ovens
of San Ildefonso. Of course her pueblo lacked air conditioning. She missed the place
she had always wanted to leave, dismissing its dirt paths to adobe huts and a make-shift
studio as hot as the red New Mexico sun. Did this mother and daughter, both looking as
crisp & cool as the air inside the store, know she had exhibited
at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, that she had become an immediate success,
that she – her pots, her black-on-black pots – had won
great acclaim and made Pueblo de San Ildefonso the place
without which Pottery Barn® would never have been
more than a glint in the mind of a housewife pressing instructional clay into pinch pots
for a community college arts class that would not count toward a degree,
only provide time away from an alcoholic husband, pinch
pots that would be fired and placed first in drawers
and then in boxes for the move out after the kids were grown
and gone to wherever kids go when they can no longer stand
the sounds of liquor and the silence of glazed clay?

Welcome to Pottery Barn. She instinctively placed her hand over her heart,
covering her name tag: “Maria Martinez” hid behind her fingers. She thought
of the horse manure, of the sheep shit she had used to effect the desired finish.
Neither mother nor daughter acknowledged Maria’s words or presence.
Like distant tourists they were already holding a vase up to swatches of fabric
they had brought from home, and Maria was leaning hard toward the heat.

Richard Downing won the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Poetry Peace Prize, Writecorner Press’s 2010 Editor’s Award, and New Delta Review’s Matt Clark Prize. Publications include Potomac Review, Juked, Dire Elegies, Against Agamemnon: War Poems, and Prime Number. Four Steps Off the Path is a 2010 YellowJacket Press chapbook contest winner.

#134 Fishing the Guadalupe by Jon Kelly Yenser

Headlong for miles upstream and full
of stones, at last the water flattens
and backs up on the other bank,
under cut, a pool deeper, greener
than any so far. An hour to nightfall
I have time to work the run. An osprey
sits lopsided at the top of a snag
watching as I wade midway, threading
a mayfly onto a tippet so thin
I fumble it twice. The cutthroat begin
breaking the surface now and now again
until the pool is dimpled everywhere.
The hatch thickens the air like dust.
I play out the line, and loop it and make
one false cast before the osprey has seen
enough: impatient, indelicate, oblivious
to drift, he lifts off, hovers and flops
headfirst. He flaps up with the last fish
caught today in his balled claws.

Jon Kelly Yenser was born, raised, and educated in Kansas. He’s worked as a teacher, a journalist and a fund-raiser for several universities. Poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Diagram, The Massachusetts Review, Natural Bridge and Adobe Walls. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife

#132 EXT. SHIPROCK, NM HIGHWAY – DAY by Sara Marie Ortiz

The cat’s face, still curvature of gray face and eyes, still held such possibility; I leaned in closely
shutting and then opening my eyes to its blood-matted gray and red jumble of flesh and fur,
rib cage poking out, lighted by a midday Shiprock sun and the glint of asphalt underneath and all
around. I shut my eyes after leaning in close, cupping my hands, to mouth, eyes, throat, trying to
breathe around the smell of the thing, breathing finally and deeply into the cup of my hands
knowing and not knowing what world was contained there.

Even subtle light is light.
Even that from the cobalt and milky glass lamps hanging above my head.
Even while asphyxiating quietly.
Even while at Starbucks.
Even then.
Even subtle awful light is light.
Even if you’ve not the eyes or heart or breath for it anymore.

Even then.
The truest terror of this, the most awful beautiful thing I’ve encountered thus far in this space: I
brought a girl child into the burning and breaking world and, no matter how many times I see her
with my own eyes, I still don’t know if she exists.
It seems that the dreams I dream and fail to remember are the realest and most vivid, as they exist

mostly at the periphery, and I know that (for the most part) this is where I live.

A holy map.

I cannot rightly tell you, in dreams, and vis-à-vis a waking insomnia, that did manifest as some

sort of lifelike thing, how many times I drank, and deeply, from the cupped brown hands of

crying women. My arms were broken. I missed home. And I was so fucking thirsty. What better

three reasons are there for drinking from the cupped hands of crying women?

An Acoma Pueblo memoirist, poet, scholar, documentary filmmaker, and Indigenous peoples advocate, Sara is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts creative writing program and holds an MFA in creative writing, with a concentration in creative nonfiction, from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She lives in Seattle, WA and Santa Fe.

#97 Homesick Zuni by Michael M. Pacheco

Johnny Blackeagle left the bow and arrow
The AK-47 was now the weapon of choice
He left Zuni land for the mysterious territory of Allah
Like a good soldier he drank the kool-aid, no questions

Johnny Blackeagle’s people had pride and customs
His new Afghan neighbors have self-esteem and traditions
The rugged Hindukush mountains resemble the Zuni’s
And their worship to someone almighty resemble his practices

The Kabul River reminded him of the Zuni River
The children begging for candy, little Kachinas come to life
Women tending to their cooking, sewing and cleaning
Men tending to their squash, corn, beans, and maybe poppies

So much alike between Johnny Blackeagle’s and these people
So little that separates them as children of God
And then comes another order from higher up
There are insurgents here just like there are in the rez.

Michael Pacheco’s debut novel, The Guadalupe Saints recently won Second Place in the 2012 International Latino Book Awards. His novella, Seeking Tierra Santa, was released in May 2011. He’s been published in Gold Man Review, Boxfire Press, Acento Review, Red Ochre Press, Label Me Latina and Airplane Reading (twice)..