Tag Archives: Santa Fe Poet Laureate

#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.

#17 NEW MEXICO FRAGMENTS (1-4) by Valerie Martinez

1.
The sky’s a triplet—
indigo, navy, dusty pink.
Thirteen gargantuan ravens.
Bits in their beaks; Asian eyes.
Cheeky moon playing Jupiter.
I count nineteen black branches
and Lorca’s three gold letters:
SUN.

2.
The curve of the horizon
and white interior walls.
Which is to say,
a woman and a man
in a room of light,
and the earth supine
under a violet sky.
Is to say, the ceremony
of the body. A hand wanders
to a chip of wulfenite,
a mile away from the arrowhead,
dug up. To say,
I pull the clay up and out,
round and high as I am.

3.
We cannot explain our love of mountains,
clay-red, dotted with piñon, chamisa, yucca.
Perhaps it is the expanse between them,
the sky which fills the space, immense,
the breath opened up like a holy book
blank and ever-blue, on and on.

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.

#1 Matachine El Rancho 1.1.11 by Joan Logghe

He said so you remember
that night in El  Rancho
he wagged his tongue?

He said, welcome the newcomers
they are the heart also
of this valley

The word Valley makes me
hollow so rivers can flow
in a time for rivers

I have seen the snow
bless and bless the mountains
thirty seven times,

ten danzantes in ribbons,
and the malinche all in white
the two abuelos, Montezuma,

we planted corn
when the thunderbird
disappeared from the mountain

I was here before the roads
were paved and yet
vague as a newcomer

this valley goes on before
goes on after, he points
to the sky just in case

someone, up there,
needs us.

Joan Logghe is Santa Fe’s third poet Laureate, teacher, winner of an NEA in poetry, and co-founder of Tres Chicas Books. Her books include The Singing Bowl, UNM press and Love & Death: Greatest Hits with Miriam Sagan and Renée Gregorio, which won New Mexico Book Award.