Archives for posts with tag: New Mexico

by Katrin Talbot

Where I’m staying,
you can’t see neighbours,
just piñons, mountains and
the distant shimmer of
a city below in the evenings

Here, expansive solitude,
song of high desert finches,
ravens ripping through
the soundscape,
a gentle breeze cooling
you in the shade

So where do you put
the surprise of a
whinny next door?
A simple and astonishing
declaration of

After the startle,
this equine delineation,
worthy of
a gilded frame,
hung in memory’s
grand hall

PAINTING: Blue Horse by Franz Marc (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I spend quite a bit of time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as photographer for the International Shakespeare Center-Santa Fe, where my daughter is the artistic director. Every visit yields new experiences, poems, memories. This poem is from an unforgettable first morning at the gorgeous house my daughter was housesitting last summer. All I could see in my poetry head was a frame around the moment.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Australian-born Katrin Talbot’s collection The Waiting Room of the Imperfect Alibis was published by Kelsay Books in October 2022. Her collection The Devil Orders A Latte is forthcoming from Fernwood Press,. Her seven chapbooks include The Blind Lifeguard and Freeze-Dried Love (Finishing Line Press), Attached: Poetry of Suffix, The Little Red Poem, and noun’d, verb (dancing girl press), and St. Cecilia’s Daze (Parallel Press). Wrong Number is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She has two Pushcart Prize nominations and quite a few chickens. Visit her at

Elegy for My Trees
by Feroza Jussawalla

The weather is turning;
not, as it usually does,
when liquid gold
comes and goes,
dripping from amber branches
that shed their emerald ear drops.

This year there is no crunch
to the gold dried to airy thinness.
It is soggy damp. Slippery and sliding,
causing falls.

The skies have been weeping,
Filling the ever-overflowing rain barrels.

The continuous damp chill,
has wilted my Afghan pines
traumatized by the drought
in and around me, unready for this
bounty of water.

Many years of dry drought
have not prepared, desert sand or bark,
to absorb
what should be a gift of rain.

Instead, damp bark leeches water
releasing pine beetles, for
busy woodpecker heads to
peck, peck, peck,
tap, tap, tap.

It is a wonder their little heads don’t
fall off,
similarly making them fodder
for the lone hawk that sits
on his dying throne
a throne that I must soon have felled
before it tumbles and crumbles.

No, this water has not been a blessing,
as it breaks the banks of rivers
used to dry edges:
“This is how we were meant to be,” they say,
“to be streams in a desert,
For, when we are full and flush,
greedy gold diggers, mistaken mine cleaners,
break veins, that loose
poison into our life blood.”

Petrichor turns to putrifaction,
as drowning roots, lose loose soil
threatening to topple
stately majestics that must be felled
before canyon winds blow them over.

No, we have abused mother earth too long,
and now she lets loose wind and weather,
tides that bring in the amakua, as sharks
that bite children by the seaside.
This niño does not bring a blessing,

Santo Niño, can you save us with your rebirth?

PHOTO: New Mexico storm (Sept. 30, 2017). Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is an elegy for MY eight big Afghan pines that had to be felled, a couple years ago, in 2015, when our desert environment received and excess of rain. In 2015, the gold King mine waste water spilled into our rivers, in the one year that we had an excess of rain and the rivers were full. Thus, the water could not be used.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Feroza Jussawalla, is Professor Emerita, of English, at the University of New Mexico, Albuqueruque. She has taught for forty plus years and published several works of criticism on Postcolonial Literatures. Her collection of poetry, Chiffon Saris, was published by Toronto South Asian Review Press and The Writer’s Workshop, Kolkotta (2002).

licensed kevin berry
The Very Large Array
by Barbara Crary

The plan: casual, a site suggested
on the internet, a way station just off
the interstate, something to do while
on our way to more interesting things.

The Very Large Array, a designation
to which everyone responds, “What on Earth…?”
And I have to admit my own uncertainty —
Radio telescopes? Big white dishes with antennas?

All searching the heavens for unexpected patterns,
disruptions, anomalies light-years away. Now
I’m no stargazer, and maybe I can find
the Big Dipper on a good night, Orion too.

So why am I here? Perhaps the long stretch of highway,
an adventure on the open road, a morning spent exploring
someplace new, even if only a barren plain of
scrub and wiry grass, a few cows and fewer people.

As we drive, we search the horizon until at last
the telescopes come into view — we think —
tiny white dots against impossibly blue sky.
expanding almost imperceptibly as we approach.

Driving for a half hour or more before arrival,
we should have realized the surprising truth —
the dishes are huge and spaced miles apart,
a shock as we enter the gates and get our bearings.

It was the clash between expectation and reality.
Science, yes, but not just science, technology and the
raw beauty of stark white machines looming against
the bright blue sky of the high desert plains, the synchronized

movement of twenty-seven mechanical behemoths
creating powerful synergy in the unforgiving sun, forever
searching for our place among the stars, stars now obscured
by daylight, but still present, waiting for us to awaken.

The combination of the known world of mechanics and
science with the vast unmapped reaches of space, the
human desire to explore, drawing you down a two-lane
desert highway to a place to make sense of the seen and
the unseen.

PHOTO: The Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico, by Kevin Berry, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Very Large Array (VLA), comprised of twenty-eight 25-meter (82-foot) radio telescopes, is designed to allow investigations of many astronomical objects. Astronomers using the VLA have made key observations of black holes and protoplanetary disks around young stars, discovered magnetic filaments and traced complex gas motions at the Milky Way’s center, probed the Universe’s cosmological parameters, and provided new knowledge about the physical mechanisms that produce radio emission.The first antenna was put into place in September 1975 and the complex was formally inaugurated in 1980, after a total investment of $78.5 million. (Source: Wikipedia)

Crary 1

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I visited the VLA as part of a trip to New Mexico three years ago. Although we visited many landmarks in the state, including Carlsbad Caverns, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and the cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument, we are most likely to reminisce about the unexpected and awe-inspiring delight of these space explorers in the western desert.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My husband at the Very Large Array in New Mexico (2017).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Barbara Crary is a retired school psychologist who lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She started writing poetry several years ago and often writes in short forms such as haiku. She also enjoys the discipline of creating found poetry using words selected from existing texts. Barbara was a contributing poet to the collection, Whitmanthology: On Loss and Grief and shares her work on her blog

PHOTO: The author at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

city of albuquerque photo
the faux of July (Albuquerque, NM)
by Richard Vargas

this year the Rio Grande
is a brimming artery
pumping life into the
heart of this high desert land
where coyote scat dries
hard on a dusty dirt trail
in the late morning sun

at the water’s edge
i set to fire the bundle
of sage carried in my hand
gently wave sacred smoke
around me through me

i turn to the west
where an ocean almost
dead spews up whales
with bellies full of plastic
and fish with glow-in-the-dark tumors
as radiation from across the sea
drips into the water and
it’s old news

i turn to the north
hear the cracking of ancient
glaciers retreating while
floating ice caps break
into chunks clung to by
starving polar bears so lean
we can count their ribs
as we show our concern
by posting frowning emojis
on our Facebook

i face east where today
machines of war will be
displayed as a reminder
we are governed by those
who mock compassion
and good will towards
those in desperate need
governed by those who sow
seeds of hate and flaunt the sword
so the egos of the rich
can gleam and shine
like the golden calf
they worship

facing the south
i can only weep
seeing the floating corpses
of a father and daughter
holding onto each other
together fleeing the horrors
and atrocities taking
over their homeland
fleeing into the hateful
clutches of an ugly people
ruled by fear who rip children
from the arms of parents
locking them up in cages
of genocidal dreams
and the toxic gasps
of a dying empire

you can keep
your beer and hotdogs
your fireworks and
parades dripping
with phony flag waving
and citizens who don’t
know the words to
their precious anthems

today i will mourn
hang my head
heavy in shame
with tearful eyes
watch gray smoke
drift on currents
of wind rising into
an unforgiving sky

dropping the sage
into the brown water
asking the Rio Grande
to accept my humble offering

the river spits
it back

PHOTO: Rio Grande River, Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Sandia Mountains in background. (Courtesy of City of Albuquerque, NM, used by permission.)

vargasABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010. He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference, and facilitated a workshop at the 2015 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. His three books of poetry are McLife, American Jesus, and Guernica, revisited. He edited/published The Más Tequila Review from 2009-2015. Currently, he resides in Monona, Wisconsin.

hartke 1
by Ken Hartke

It rises like a ziggurat in the desert.
Torn by the wind.
Shattered by the elements.
Stabbed by blades of ice.
Blasted by the heat
of countless searing summers.
Hammered by lightning and
shook by roaring blasts of thunder.
The mythic monster’s head lolls
in its everlasting giant’s sleep.
The Diné’s old legend cast in stone.
Climb up. Go higher.
The far horizon unfolds
to reveal range after range of
fire-formed hills — blackened,
broken, and brittle in the sun.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Cabezon Peak, a volcanic plug, is a landmark of Navajo ancestral lands. It represents a slain giant’s head (Ye’i-tsoh) in their mythology. It is part of the Mount Taylor volcanic field and rises 2,000 feet over the desert in New Mexico.

Photos by the author. 

hartke 3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ken Hartke is a writer and photographer from the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, but was originally planted and nourished in the Midwest. His New Mexico images now inspire much of his writing. He has contributed work for the Late Orphan Project’s anthology These Winter Months (The Backpack Press), and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. He keeps an active web presence on El Malpais,, and other places.

Scott-GatsbyCover PHOTO: Poet Scott Wiggerman with his copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology outside his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He hopes the photo gives a little flavor of his town, though it was garbage day and the bins are on the street. He’d hoped to feature a hot air balloon — a common sight in his area — but his husband David just missed capturing the image. Scott’s poem “Gatsby’s Soliloquy” appears in The Great Gatsby Anthology (Silver Birch Press, 2015).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Great Gatsby is my favorite American novel, one which I have read over and over again. I honestly don’t think any other American novel comes close to capturing the spirit of the time (and, of course, I like the “Scott” in the author’s name!). One of my prized possessions is a copy of The Romantic Egoists about the Fitzgeralds and autographed by their only daughter Scottie.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Wiggerman was born in 1954 on a Marine base in North Carolina to two Chicago-born and bred parents. His formative years were spent in Chicago and a nearby suburb, McHenry, with four other siblings. Scott moved to Michigan, where he received a B.A. from Grand Valley State University (1975), and both an M.A. and an M.L.S. from Western Michigan University (1980). He moved to Texas in 1980, where he lived and worked for 35 years. Retired from the Austin I.S.D., where he served as a high school librarian, he has devoted himself full-time to writing, editing, and teaching poetry. In 2000, Vegetables and Other Relationships came out from Plain View Press, and in 2011, Presence was published by Pecan Grove Press. In between books, he edited several anthologies, including Big Land, Big Sky, Big Hair; Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga; and several editions of the annual Texas Poetry Calendar, through his small press venture, Dos Gatos Press. In 2011, he and husband David Meischen produced Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry, followed by Wingbeats II in 2014. In 2015, shortly after Scott’s third book of poetry Leaf and Beak: Sonnets was published by Purple Flag (Chicago), he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is presently compiling poems for a Southwest Persona anthology—submissions remain open through November 30. Visit his poetry pages  at this link:

Crescit Eundo
by Gary Glauber

New Mexico caressed me
under thin covers,
lured me with temperate clime
and spicy cuisine, with tales
of mystical angel visits and
prettily crafted wares.
Enchantment was the first kiss.
I embraced her carefully,
red sun on field of yellow,
aware of what some consider
sacred and fickle behavior,
back to suitors from another realm,
Spaniards seeking conquests,
additional notches on a long belt
that circled a smaller world.
I slip away, careful not to burn,
knowing I will ever crave
her native treasures,
her dark hair, high cheekbones,
and ritual sweetness,
the tantalizing spaces
on blanket of sky.
Not knowing myself then
I was doomed to travel,
a lover always lost.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Church, Taos Pueblo National Historic Landmark, New Mexico, 1942,” from the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941–42, documenting the period ca. 1933–42.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I first visited New Mexico in October of 1989, and have been enchanted by the state ever since — the art, the culture, the ghost stories, and more.

Me and NM pottery

Gary Glauber
is a poet, fiction writer, and teacher. This April he took part in Found Poetry Review’s PoMoSco project. Recent poems are published or forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Pilgrimage Magazine, West Trade Review, The Great Gatsby Anthology, Indian Summer Quarterly, The Bookends Review, Deep Water Literary Journal,, Yellow Chair Review, The Legendary, Xanadu, and Think Journal. He is a champion of the underdog who often composes to an obscure power pop soundtrack. His first collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is now available on A chapbook, Memory Marries Desire, will be available from Finishing Line Press this fall.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author with two souvenirs from New Mexico.

by j.lewis

books portrayed
a thousand different birds
color-plumed beyond imagination
yet new mexico
would show me only two

feathered icons of a lonely world
seen through childish eyes

every day was presaged
     by dark depression
       as though poe’s raven
       had sadly adopted me
       sorry his first victim
       had slipped the noose of reality
     or by the common
       cheerful smallness
       that made chickadee and me
       twins of different species

so it was then
when my days were made
of two colors only
     as the crow flies
     as small birds pecking
     in the snow
     for seeds of happiness

new mexico
did not know

PHOTOGRAPH: “The Chickadee,” age 12.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Not until I was an adult, trained as a registered nurse, did I begin to realize that I had suffered from depression as a child. During my childhood, the notion that children could have mental illness was considered silly, except in extreme cases, so there was never any thought given to my behavior, other than the exasperation of parents who already had too much to deal with. Looking back to that time of my life, it is clear that I had perceived it as being very bleak. My poem “birds” uses the darkness of a raven and the dull coloring of a chickadee to illustrate those feelings. I am fortunate that the depression didn’t stay with me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. His poetry and music reflect the complexity of human interactions, sometimes drawing inspiration from his experience in healthcare. When he is not otherwise occupied, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California.

two-coyote day at Rinconada Canyon, New Mexico
by Richard Vargas

black rock mesa walls
eternal gift from
distant volcanoes in
quiet deep sleep

high desert sage winter-dry
brittle skeletons anchored
in ancient dirt peppered
with rabbit droppings

etched into cold hard
flat rock surface
shapes and figures of
another time when

man heard wisdom
carried on the breath
of the mesa winds

at night listened as
the stars whispered
dark stories of
the beginning
and the end

SOURCE: Guernica, revisited by Richard Vargas, Press 53 (April 2014). Order a copy at

IMAGE: “Black Rock Mesa Walls” (Albuquerque, New Mexico) by Richard Vargas


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The petroglyphs on the westside of Albuquerque are mysterious and other-worldly. Animals, humanoid stick figures looking like crude drawings of space aliens, weird designs and scribbles. What did the artists really see, or were they just f**king around? Shamans high on ‘shrooms or a bunch of kids taking swigs from the bottle and doodling? No one really knows, and we probably never will. (Photo by Richard Vargas.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Vargas was born in Compton, California, and attended schools in Compton, Lynwood, and Paramount. He earned his B.A. at Cal State University, Long Beach, where he studied under Gerald Locklin and Richard Lee. He edited/published five issues of The Tequila Review, 1978-1980. His first book, McLife, was featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac in February 2006. A second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press in 2007. His third book, Guernica, revisited, was published in April 2014, by Press 53. (A poem from the book was featured on Writer’s Almanac to kick off National Poetry Month.) Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010. He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, and was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference. Vargas will facilitate a poetry workshop at the 2015 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, and he has read his poetry in venues in Los Angeles, Chicago, Madison, Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Taos, Indianapolis, and Boulder. Currently, he resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits/publishes The Más Tequila Review, and will facilitate The Más Tequila Poetry Workshop this July at the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference.

FARM NOTES (Excerpt)
by Simon J. Ortiz

…”What would you say that the main theme
of your poetry is?”
“To put it as simply as possible,
I say it this way: to recognize
the relationships I share with everything.”

I would like to know well the path
from just east of Black Mountain
to the gray outcropping of Roof Butte
without having to worry
about the shortest way possible.

NOTE: With an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, Roof Butte is the highest peak of the Chuska Mountains, which run in a north-northwest direction across the Arizona-New Mexico border.

PHOTO: “Roof Butte” found at