Archives for posts with tag: desert

Peter_Carsten
SAHARA
By Diane Castiglioni

In the desert
this condition laid bare
stripped of pretense
deprived of case
the veils sundered
awareness brought to the edge of
insanity
for its clarity
near purity of need
absolute dependence
on this order
this composition
this near impossible
traverse
hairline width for deviation
an atom’s breath for dissention
“lighted fools the way to dusty death”
this craving
this delicate precision
here
in this place of

infinite need for shadow
demands
the presence of
slakes the thirst of

the courage required
necessitates the presence of strength
in extreme balance
like life itself to be wrought so
multitudes of sequence, proportion, levels,
relative, absolute perfection

            yet

            another place another time

            crimson sunsets
            and warm climes
            the taste of sand
            and burnt sirocco
            roaming caravans
            your sunsoft skin
            and miles and miles to go………………………

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written while living in Morocco, traveling with camels and a group of locals through the dunes. It speaks to the intensity of an unrelenting sun during the day and sleeping on the sands at night, carrying everything we needed to survive, most importantly the savvy knowing of the people who lived and breathed that land.

PHOTOGRAPH: “A Camel Caravan Crosses a Landscape” by Peter Carsten. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

moi-morocco2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diane Castiglioni is a contributing author to the French work Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (Bouquin Laffont, 2011) and an editor of the International Cooperation for the Development of Space (ATWG, 2012). She has poems published in France, Lebanon, and New Mexico.

scott_mcguire
DESERT SPRING
by Veronica Hosking

Every morning I wake to greet
Sunshine and love my warm retreat
Back east they are shoveling snow
My desert spring lush in dry heat

Though the desert is not as green
I will not offer up a keen
Glad to miss seven feet of snow
Now where did I put my sunscreen?

IMAGE: “Sonoran Desert, Spring Bloom” by Scott McGuire. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

hosking

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Hosking is a wife, mother, and poet. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English education at Buffalo State College before moving to the desert. Her poetry has appeared in Stone Crowns, Poetry NooknarratorINTERNATIONAL, and Silver Birch Press. She was the poetry editor for MaMaZina from 2006-2011.Veronica shares poetry about raising her two daughters and being a housewife on her blog vhosking.wordpress.com.

O'Keeffe-BearLake-600
MOVING TO THE DESERT
by Ronald Baatz

I cannot live here when I am old.
It is too cold for many months out of the year.
As it is, I am having a rough time dealing with

the cold now. When I am old I want to live
in the desert. I suppose this is a common goal
for people who live in the cold. Although, thankfully,

this past winter was a blessing, so unbelievably mild was it.
The morning newspaper explains why
there is such an abundance of yellow jackets.

I was stung recently. I was sitting on the green lawn chair
at the back of the house, minding my own business, reading,
when suddenly I felt an itch on my leg. As I scratched this itch,

one of these yellow jackets let me have it. It had managed to crawl
up my leg, underneath my pants. After stinging me
it fell to the ground and walked away; for some reason not flying,

perhaps too exhausted from having stung me.
My first instinct was to kill it; instead I just moved away from it.
I will leave these heavenly purple mountains to the bugs and the bears

and whatever else wants to claim them as their own.
I do not want to be exposed to such cold when I am old.
I want to bake in the sun. I want to be like a dried fig.

If I had money, then living here would not be such a hardship.
I’d be able to defend myself from the cold with money.
But there is none, and there appears to be nothing I can do

to rectify this problem. I live where the winters are harsh and
I have no way of keeping myself warm. I am profoundly disappointed
in myself. I will not even have the money necessary to move

to the desert when the time comes. So why do I even talk about it,
dream about it. I have been pathetic at creating a decent income.
I will die in this lousy cold. I can see it all now: when I die

others will come to take my body away, my belongings.
They will make a thorough search of my room for money
that I might have hidden away, and they will find not a dime.

Then they will unearth thousands
of poems, and they will know why.

Woodstock, 1985

IMAGE: “Desert Abstraction (Bear Lake)” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1931).

Ronald Baatz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ronald Baatz lives in Troy, New York, with his wife Andra and their cat Mooche. His last book, Bird Standing, was published by Blind Dog Press in Australia.

saija_lehtonen

MONSOON SEASON

by Veronica Hosking

vk3

IMAGE: “The Beauty of the Desert” by Saija Lehtonen. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I chose to write about monsoon season for my half year poem, because the rains come in July and bring life to the desert plants. I also enjoy writing concrete poems. This poem can be read two ways depending on whether you start from the left cactus branch or the right one.

hosking

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Hosking is a wife, mother, and poet who lives in the desert southwest with her husband and two daughters. Her family and day job, cleaning the house, serve as inspiration for most of her poetry. “Spikier Spongier” appeared in issue two of Stone Crowns magazine in November 2013.  “Desperate Poet” was published on the Narrator Central website and reprinted in volume four of Poetry Nook in February 2014. Veronica keeps a poetry blog at http://vhosking.wordpress.com

Image
THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.

Image
LIGHT-YEARS
by Hester Knibbe (Translated by Jacquelyn Pope)

It’s a beautiful world, you said,
with these trees, marshes, deserts,
grasses, rivers and seas
 
and so on. And the moon is really something
in its circuits
of relative radiance. Include
 
the wingèd M, voluptuous
Venus, hotheaded Mars, that lucky devil
J and cranky Saturn, of course, plus
 
U and N and the wanderer P, in short
the whole solar family, complete with its
Milky Way, and count up all the other
 
systems with dots and spots and in
that endless emptiness what you’ve got
is a commotion of you-know-what. It’s a beautiful
 
universe, you said, just take a good look
through the desert’s dark glasses
for instance or on your back
 
in seas of grass, take a good look
at the deluge of that Rorschach—we’re standing out there
somewhere, together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hester Knibbe’s books of poems include Oogsteen (2009) and Bedrieglijke dagen (2008), both from De Arbeiderspers. She received the A. Roland Holst prize in 2009.

PHOTO: “Desert Snow” by Wally Pacholka/Astropics.com, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Note on photo: Constellation Canis Major with the brightest star of night sky, Sirius, shines above Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park (December 2008).

Image
MY GREAT AUNT SPEAKS OF NIGHTS IN HARDIN COUNTY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

Preachers said God made Texas nights this dark.
That’s no comfort to girls home by themselves.
She could hear tongues and praises loud outside;
old wives, children, men of coal or lumber —
lots of folks shouting and carrying on,
given more to water-witching than prayer
come first light. It’s how folks fought loneliness.

 
Beyond the plank steeples rising in swamps,
this fur trader’s daughter spent nights alone,
her father trudging forgotten dirt trails 
impassable to anything with wheels.
Bound for some reclusive trapper’s cabin
he’d return by way of any roadhouse,
stumbling past the decay of tenant shacks.

 
She recalls those nights squinting through windows
waiting for his shadow to reemerge
soaked with rain and pelts — a feral hunter.
The last time I paid her a call, blindness
was slowly dimming her central vision.
Sometimes a stray voice makes her turn and look,
rain tapping glass like a startled stranger.

PHOTO: Jeffrey C. Alfier reads from his collection, The Wolf Yearling, at the Poetry Society of Texas Poetry and Music Festival (Midland, Texas, May 2013). Find The Wolf Yearling at Amazon.com.

Image

Jeffrey C. Alfier acquired a keen poetic vision from years of living and traveling throughout the Southwest. Composed mainly in syllabic verse, The Wolf Yearling (Silver Birch Press, 2013) exhibits strict attention to tightly controlled language that renders, in rich imagism, American deserts and mountains, the plains of the Trans-Pecos, border towns, and the sandy soils of east Texas.

Poem from THE WOLF YEARLING…

LATE LIGHT IN THE SANTA CRUZ VALLEY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

If you can dismiss the moon’s pale ascent
you might hear wingbeats in the fading light,
dusk calling hawks to perch in cottonwoods
and toll a deadpan vigilance eastward
toward sierras that ruddle to shadows.
 
These hawks are connoisseurs of what it takes
to die when small prey barters noonday sun
for nightfall’s cooling of dry riverbeds,
waiting out the heat under my trailer.
Canted on one wheel, it tilts back to earth.

REVIEWS: 

“Alfier’s sharp lyrics come upon you like a door slammed by a hot desert wind might wake a lonely man into a new life. They are demotic, lived, and, without being sentimental, hopeful that our little span of being human matters after all.” DOUG ANDERSON, Poet-in-Residence at Ft. Juniper, Amherst, Massachusetts, instructor in poetry at Emerson and Smith Colleges

“If the forbidding and starkly beautiful American Southwest were condensed to the nuances of language, Alfier would be its quintessential oracle...I know of no poet writing today who handles the demanding form of syllabics (while consistently maintaining line integrity) with the consummate artistry of Alfier. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I give this fine collection of poems my highest recommendation.” LARRY D. THOMAS, Member, Texas Institute of Letters, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate

“Each poem is a testament to Alfier’s unflinching observations and hard-fought love of the Southwest. This is a rich portrait of a stunning landscape…The Wolf Yearling is a gift.” KEITH EKISS, author of Puma Road Notebook

Find THE WOLF YEARLING at Amazon.com.

Silver Birch Press congratulates Jeffrey C. Alfier for his 2013 Pushcart Prize nomination. 

Image
THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.

For his inspired poetry in The Wolf Yearling, Silver Birch press will nominate Jeffrey Alfier for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. 

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeffrey C. Alfier is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and was a 2010 nominee for the UK’s Forward Prize for Poetry. In 2012, he was nominated for a Breadloaf scholarship. In 2006, he received honorable mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize, and in 2005 won first place awards from the Redrock Writer’s Guild of Utah and the Arizona State Poetry Society. He holds an MA in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills. Having served twenty-seven years in the U.S. Air Force, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Alfier’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals and his chapbooks include Offloading the Wounded (2009), Before the Troubadour Exits (2010), The Gathering Light at San Cataldo (2012), and The City Without Her (2012). He serves as co-editor of San Pedro River Review

Image
THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.