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2021 Albuquerque American Place Arizona New Mexico Oklahoma Poems

Defend The Road

I stand on the side of the road. For she has stood for me, stood for Freedom, for choices, for opportunities un-bounded. Of course, she stands for interruptions as well. Dead ends; roads closed; terminus and for some she is the end of all things before her. The end of a journey; the end of a life; the end of a generation of prosperity. As I stand on the black tar in the hot desert, the orange glow of the sun casting my shadow across the glimmering mirage that dissects her never-ending sprawl across the sand, I can’t help but feel lost. Evacuated from time and space. I don’t know if the sun is rising or setting. There are no clues but my own presence observing the history of her procession across this place. I fall to my knees as if to pray, kiss the hot gravel and feel the surge of every road I’ve ever taken — After hours of driving through the Rockies we reached the end with a washed out road and had to turn back the way we came. The miles of road we travelled all night from Walla Walla to Las Vegas on the bus, the city a beacon of light shining out of the desolate night. Trading cigarettes for whiskey with a Navajo man at 6am when I wasn’t old enough to have breakfast in the casino back in the days before anyone cared that you weren’t old enough to be in the casino buying breakfast and pulling slots. The long drives from Prescott to Oklahoma along I-40 (aka Rt. 66), Albuquerque being the mid-point where I always remembered the dancing cottonwood leaves shining behind the bridge as we pressed on for Texas. The back and forth between Lansing and Louisville via Indianapolis or Cincinnati where the highways were pulmonary arteries throbbing with American life. All of this pavement laid down over the bones of those whose land this once was. So many forgotten dreams of the dead who got in the way of the road’s progress. So much progress fallen under the knee of authority that presses faces into pavement until they can’t breathe because they believe this black road must be painted with white dividing lines. These bypasses that left behind and isolated these segregated communities who now struggle and cry for the American dream that was paved to make way for Amazon and the next off-ramp to the nearest Wal*Mart. And, yet I must defend her. She has given me so many choices; taken me time and again into the beauty of our mountains and forests. She has driven my dreams of change and fueled my ambitions to do something bigger with my life. She has done nothing to us or for us, yet she lets us be good or bad or something or no one. She is my friend and my lover and I must forgive her abuses by the hands of the unworthy. I must revel in her possibility to bring dreams into the night of our awakening dawn.

Categories
2021 American Place New Mexico Poems

I must be in the right place

The blue screen won’t load
The news is old
The fire is hot
The coffee is cold

I must be in the right place

The wind whistles through the trees
The air wheezes as I breathe
The dirt is dirty with blackest soot
The trees have fallen exposing roots

I must be in the right place

I am in the write place
With time to think
And craft this space
With smoke in my eyes there’s time to blink

I must be in the right place

With many miles and tires worn
My skin the sun seeks to absorb
The camp is set, the children fed
No fingers, smashed, no nothing bled

I must be in the right place

Categories
2021 Poems

WMAO

4 Million steps
On this journey of circles
Around
and Around and
Around
A hamster on the wheel of life
Deleting my center of gravity
One ounce at a time.
But, these travels were not made alone
My constant companions
On the same quest
To chase away
This Angel of Death
Who has cast his dark shadowed
Wing over this Covid World!
We’ve walked long and hard to find
The daylight waiting
At the end of this tubular night.
I’ve never felt better
After years of addictive tendencies
I find myself emerging
From our Mother Earth
Changed…
Once the pale grub in a hole
Now, the Cicada out to sing
The songs of summer!

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2021 Albuquerque American Place Bird Song Poems

Won’t Run From Love

Sly, daring, road running
Time of Love, not quite spring
But the waning days of winter sing
Of the promise — A Whisper
Of the returning season
Of raising a new generation
Of cunning birds…
This one with Lizard in mouth
An offering for his devote
Lifemate and lover.
In the road they dance
And show that they have
No patience for the changing clime
Rare to take flight, in pursuit he might
Soar from rooftop to rooftop.
With coos, clicks and beeps
He woos his sweet and as we pass
They pay no mind to our kind.

Categories
2021 Ars Philosophica Poems

Grocery List

Always out of
Toilet paper
Never enough
Dish soap
We just ran out of
Dog food
Can’t wash my hair
Without shampoo
Why are we so concerned
With all these things
What if we cared as much
About caring
Seems like this list of what
We’ve run out of
Needs to include more things
Like Love
We sure could use some
More compassion
We seem to have run out of that
Thing called peace
We need to see if we can find more
Forgiveness
Maybe if we could find some
Strength
We could get through the day without
All this Hate

Categories
2021 American Place Poems Utah

A Horse Named “Unlucky”

Boys are dumb and I was one.
My brother yet another…
Having started our vacation in canyons
With adventures beyond our imagination
My brother and I headed out for a walk
Into the sandstone curves of Arches’ rocks.
Taller and faster he tracked on ahead
And separated we became instead.
Too far out to go back, without the
Brother I lacked, I kept searching around ’til
I found him at the edge of a sweeping bowl.
And, down deep in that hollowed out hole
Laid the scattered bones of a horse that
Became known as “Unlucky.”
Fascinated by this find, into that hole we climbed
Only to leave ourselves with no escape route.
After hollers and shouts, our luck too had
Run out and we resolved to settle
In for the night. Our backs to the wall
We sat with whistles to blow
Tunes as our call out for help.
As day finished up and the sun drifted
Down, it’s hard to know how long we
Chirped. Long enough that our Mom, full
Of worry, dragged Dad out to search
For these dumb boys who kept running off.
These whistles that they bought us
For just such a cause had led them
Unto our holey predicament. Mom found us
In our hole, with our backs against the wall,
Chirping like birds getting ready for the night.
Our father she found to haul us out of
The ground, too happy to scold,
These boys they raised to be bold.

From the Journal of Judy Sutherlin

Categories
2021 Albuquerque American Place Poems

Ghost Town

The City is full of Ghosts
Not the dead kind
The impressions of existence
Left behind.
Rarely do we see the signs
Like Coyote
Never revealing her constant
Presence.
She only comes out when
No one else can observe her.

Yet, as I walk out in the
Quiet snow this morning
An entire ecosystem reveals
its passage by…
The rabbit who I’ve never seen
On my street
Has walked around my car
Looking for what I might
Have dropped to eat.

Many, many people whose paths
Are clear from footprints
In and out of their houses.
The robins and finches who
Have come for morning meal.

All is silent but I know they are there
Revealed by their impressions…

Like Racoon and Coyote
Solo trails without human companion
The handish print and claws
And the canine with no walker.

Categories
2021 Albuquerque American Place Poems

Assailant One

Perception is not reality
Just ask The Mountain
She is an illusion…

Presenting herself
Like a bear on hind legs
Much grander much
Bigger – A whole lot
More terrifying.

But the mountain lies…
Not One Mountain at all
Many (mini) Mountains
Each requiring its own
Accent.

Each of a scale and
Magnitude to fatigue
The sojourner who seeks
To run his toes through her
Sands.

She is grand, but
Not how she seems
From a distance.
From afar, un-assailable!

Yet, peel away her layers
And you may find a
Passage unto her loving
Bosom.

Categories
2021 Albuquerque American Place Bird Song Poems

Golden Boughs

The trees acknowledge me
Nodding their heads
In the breeze

Contrasted pillars
Of black and white
Glowing golden

Packed full of
Black birds
Suddenly silent

Then bursting away
In a tightly packed
School of flight

Growing calls
Of the animals
Preparing for the night

Herons tall
And purple
Pecking their evening meal

As little perfection
Can be found in this world
This moment, one–

Lifts my spirit and
Makes me bound
Giddy as a child called to home.

Categories
2021 Poems

Nevermind what I wanted

I wanted to be a
Rock Star
Drank enough to fall
Out of a car
But the beat, beat me
And the band disbanded

I wanted to be
A Novelist
Drank enough to make
Hemingway blush
But the narrative eluded me
And the book was shelved

Now, I have abandoned the bottle
And picked up my pen
Ever the poet, my poems my friends
Who have never abandoned me
In the moon’s blue light
Whose occasional outburst
Blooms before my sight

Words my salvation
When in anger this day
Softens the danger and
Beckons me to stay
True to my word
In a world that lies
Awake in the darkness
With new lines to try