Archive for the ‘New Mexico Poems’ Category

Caminos

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

 

 

The arroyo follows water
that passes through.
Mineral-red, intent,
it wants only
the way of water
that does not gather.

Along it, sprays of chamisa brush
resist browsing creatures,
resist need of rain,
grow fists of gold blossoms-
the daughters of stoics
with their shoulders to the sun.

From the juniper-clustered bend,
coyote watches its joke,
its scat cairn,
without a care for audience.
She will hunt at dusk
where sinkholes evaporate slowly,
lapping with her tongue
beneath the tamarisk.

And now, early snow settles low
with strewn pebbles.
Daubed with arroyo red,
it will wash the desert again
toward the Rio Grande.

The snowmelt will flow
from Taos to Matamoros.

Ravens laugh.
Their throats of madrona wood
and tumbling stone,
they ride wind currents
every day,

up and down the arroyos.

 

High Hillside

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

This is a second version, a major revision, of the original High Hillside. Gracias to my sometime mentor for the urging.

 

In this dust, the scent of feathers,
of peregrine in the cedars.

This dust, ground by wind, softened by rain,
is juniper and gentian seed,
the scent of elk hooves up from the ravine.

This hillside bared by lightning
is ash in the pollen,
is sage budding above the industry of ants.

A place to bring a year and offer it
to dust, to wind-polish,
to weigh its white ribs in the light.

To be, again, a peregrine in the cedars.


Newcomer Hiking Outside the Village

Monday, July 12th, 2010

 

Between fenceposts to high desert trails
is a gate of brittle juniper sticks and sagging wire
to public paths on the henna-powder mesas,
the mesquite-meal lomas and the chaparral.

Beyond the cottonwoods just over west,
gunshot pops on the sportsmen’s range.
The dry land in between bristles at leaning fences,
at toes inside my huaraches.

Neighbors know it is tame enough
or they have faith enough, under wide skies.
Women like me, with freckled arms, walk out here,
willingly meet eyes with ocotillo blossoms
and dawn coyotes.

At the gate, I look back to crossroads
for approaching trucks,
for sunglass glints, glances from souped-up cars.
To be unseen. To be alone and unseen.
I can, its likely true, outrun you, imagined one.
But not your bullets, nor a blade from behind thick tamarisk.

No one sees me…

Below the first hill, a rash oasis,
a wash mosaicked with splintered glass,
the widespread tesserae of bottled beer.

At the second, a frame of rusted bed springs stands,
an upright grave marker for a sun-eaten engine
on a sere battleground littered with latex viscera.

The third, a downslope scatter of blue cans,
and red, that gave-in to hard heels of old children,
oh, how they gave in.

I hope no one sees me.

Here, fourth hill, is a vantage to green-gray grasses,
to ridges watched by natural spires.
This trail, now, chuffs softly under my treads,
sprays powder and pine duff up onto my legs,
out here, where pinyons drip incense sap in dry air.

Your air, old children who live in town,
who ride low, and high,
of whom I am afraid.

Loma: little hill

Guest Notes on a Frontier Adobe

Saturday, July 10th, 2010


An earthen house sheds at night.
Terra cotta landslides fan out from walls
behind dishes on shelves, below windows,
onto portal stones and the dusty garden.

Adobe swells in the cool desert night,
with moisture, and dreams of sleepers in its hold.

A double sedative to those within,
thick adobe and damp sage below windows
bring on ancestral dreams
of silk and water, antler and milk, fire and mazes,
places the sleeper has never been.
In a house with walls that drink them in.

Morning, all dreams are respired in the desert sun,
from interiors through the filter of shelter.

Waking sleepers are light as whistles,
the dreams blown through them.
They open curtains, grind dark coffee.

As the house shifts and dries,
they sweep its edges.

Hay-Making Music

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Fence wires hold ends of three horse hairs
from the tail of old Paulo in the meadow.
He grazes, bends, noses the green,
white neck tender and taut as a bow-stroke
of horse tail on a cello.

An old mowing machine disagrees
with itself in the hayfield.
The farmer tends the coughs and roars, the stalls.
He hums, cuts hay and rolls it through dusk,
cools it in damp mounds.

Crickets rouse under purple sage..
The songs they rub, legs like hairs,
into the night air, repeat repeat.
Paulo blinks through the barn window.

He sleeps lightly. The farmer listens.

Driving Side Roads in Northern New Mexico

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Cottonwoods rim the two-lane, an alameda out of Española,
a forearm extended into the High Road villages.
Seven miles on, the hand opens to Chimayó,
one palmful of adobe farm homes and a sacred site.

“Martinez,” reads the mailbox on a garden wall.
Packed-earth, the painted wall beams blue.
The Oritz house naps behind a fence of roses, of flames on old vines,
and the Sanctuarario curio shop stands banked by a stone wall
painted Sangre de Cristo red.

Just before the turnoff to “The Lourdes of the West”,
where dirt, rather than water, is sacred when blessed,
a corrugated shed crumples in the weeds
between two fallen companions:
A bulb-headed truck that slumps in the gravel,
a peeling cottage growing gray thorns in the sun.

Across the rusted shed doors, a sign
brushed on in white-paint letters
leaves a forwarding address: Moved to Arroyo Seco.
Moved to Dry Ditch.

Alameda: a road lined with cottonwood trees.
Sanctuarario: sanctuary, church.
Sangre de Cristo: blood of Christ, name of nearby mountain range.