Monday, June 26, 2017

Songs for the displaced: 1

There is
Terror in
The morning
Especially the
Summer when
The light lasts
The sun springs
Up at 630.  Counted
A thousand
Stars before that.
When I wake
I'm scared
My muscles 
Twitch in
Witchy circles
I bolt from bed like
A crazy baker
Trying to save
A burning 
Cake he left
In the oven
Overnight.  My 
Dreams consist
Of ex lovers 
Traveling in
Large semis,
Impossible buses
And aeroplanes.
We're always left at the
Same place:  a lame
Ranch house
Below the Sandias
Where we find 
Curios, maps, jewelry 
That costs a fortune.
But the machine
Is always broken,
We cannot 
Go anywhere. 
There is the shaking
The hard shaking
In my legs and arms
As I wake consider
My day:   A long
Drawn out sun,
Some rain after 
A walk, stop
Running away.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


This hammered out darkness
has been here for while.  I’m
reminded to recall darker
ages. but I hadn’t expected
the fall to whittle me away
shredded, carved, discarded.

About those ages:  young
I picked the apple tree & dreamt
of leaving,  packing up
books, towels, credenzas
in a truck that was going
somewhere I’d expected
but somehow didn’t know:

it’s the time, dear one, to
make decisions.  The wind & rain
have come on strong.
Sheltered as you are,
someone has written doom
somewhere in a book more
like the symphony of humanity
scored by the devil, odd
notes and a trail of codas
as it becomes a sequence

of sirens going off in the night.

Light in La Jornada del Muerto

The daemon of Southwestern
light wove in and out
of the thick summer clouds.
Now the war’s been going on
For 70 years, at least.  Even Bear
saw the happenings—the
last beat-down on the rez
made him sick.  If you start
to lecture about the future
you’ll lose.  Nothing cuts
through times that
no longer exist, perchance
perhaps a page from a book

radioactive, not yet
burned for warmth
the war in that phase
a deliberate attempt
to break the mad ones
down, making new
made mad ones only this
time with other enemies

who I shall not mention
For the State is large
on me these days, heavy
as canvas sacks filled
with depleted uranium. 
And what to fear. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Because I'm Not Chicano

It's because my family's
been living in Cruces
since the 1860's. Its because
my mom's father was
Apache, but there are
plenty of Germans, too.
I grew up watching
my dad's mother
making tortillas
my dad's dad practicing
the fiddle so he'd
play well at the wedding
that weekend.  Any wedding
in Cruces, any time they
needed a strong, resonant violin
player.  But my parents
who spoke Spanish
with me lived in the
suburbs of Albuquerque,
sheltered me from
that life.  So I

went out to Cruces
this summer, went
to Tucson, too
where the other half
of my family
lives.   There
is the pain of the
desert, pain of separation,
the infinite desecration of land
of peoples,
but I am not nor will
ever be a part of the pain
you write.  It's my own
pain that's my muse
and I like Lowell more
than Castillo.  I'm sorry
if this fact offends you.

I am sorry I am not
en la frontera fighting
our battles, which seem
more like yours, not
mine.  I have children
to raise, and their
mother's Irish-Italian,
that is, we are now
Americans and have no
need for tribalism, even
though the world
is ruled by such.

My real friends
laugh, and those who
know my work laugh.
I will go all over
this country reading
and blazing like a fox tail.
For I am hot as hot coal
there is nothing to stop my words
now, no redneck county sheriff
to tell me shut up, Mesican, or
shut up, Indio.  My children
are free and mixed and I am alive.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

South Fair Acres Road

I have been
in the Sonoran
Desert, the high
Chihuahua too,
so dry the desert
took most of my sadness
the way the heat
out there drains
you of water without
you knowing.  108
in Bowie.  Later,
that day in
Truth or Consequences
eating stuffed
sopapillas.  All of,
all of my friends
down in the Great
Eastern Forests
or living or living.
In drenched metropolitan
scenes, havoc
of the suburbs.  Shame
that I, between dry
old cities, could take my
car, take a turn on
some old highway,
drive into the salt
flats, chasing dust
devils all day.  Or that
there would be no
one out there, and I
know this because
from my little hotel hovel
in Cruces it would take me
not time at all
to be in desolation,
away from the river,
a bus ride.  A simple
walk to see the stars alone at night.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

NM HWY 185

When my grandmother
Josefina died, my grandfather
Felipe let all the rabbits
go.  The fat ones,
the wise ones
who knew she liked
paella with rabbit & shrimp
she bought at the Albertson's
in Las Cruces.  A dish
her mother taught her.

Today at the old farm
there's nothing but
wood to burn.  An empty
house, the fields wild with
volunteer cotton.  I couldn't even cry.
There are the old photos
folks I'll never know,
land I'll never plow.  Shadows
from the old hickory
in the yard--a ghost place
that I'll never see again.

So on the ride home, along
El Rio Grande, which is full
of promise, full of water
I fell for the desert again,
I said your name
wishing you could
see the farms and fields
rushing by, the river
at its height, the acequias
which mean so much.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Mariposas Sin Mundo

How long
will the butterflies
last.  Your son
says fifty years.
Maybe one or two left
in the high Montana
Rockies.  He says
by the time you die, dad
the sky will be forever
pale gray unforgivable,
like the sheer weight
of steel on the world.
Like Atlas you say,
holding up a
losing proposition.  I am
always "suffering dreams
of a world gone mad."
My ethos savory
like a burnt offering.
Most of us
happened to Earth, unaware,
weather unpredictable, late
spring and early summer confused.
But the morning glories
still fight their way
out of the clay
to honor the Sun God and
the Prince of Flowers
who'll have nothing
to do with us, anymore.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Guitarists at Noon

It's not as if
they were drunk,
acting like Russian
Cosmonauts.  In the
neighborhood it happened

while the dishes were being
dried, while the floors
were being swept.
Now you know
the august truth:

even a tether can
break.  High up
in granite or even
when you're towing
an old Volkswagen:

you might see it
like a ghost
chasing you.  Like
La Llorona in the
twilight beckoning

while the crepuscular
light does it work, whispers
that you stay.  And let me
tell you there are
so many ways to go

on this ride.  One time
the Hardy boys
jumped into the mix.
You never know what
might happen.  Just

a story here and there
like so many mulberries
smashed into the sidewalk,
signifying summer, all
there is to come.