Crestone Poetry Festival:
Feb. 27 -28

February 19th, 2021

Please join us for a FREE virtual Poemfest with your favorite poets…

from the Sangre de Cristo mountains and beyond. Our virtual festival this year will be a reunion of the community we’ve enjoyed the past three years. The fourth annual Poemfest will be different from those in years past, but we will feature some of the best writers in Colorado and New Mexico, and we will pass the gourd.

Visit Poemfest.com to register!

 

 

Snow Birds

February 19th, 2021



Waxed speed beneath me,

new skis tooled by my son

carry me faster than before

but slower still than he, pole-less,

and my husband, giant snow boarder,

who thrill in the wind and blur,

the skill of the bump

and jump, theft of air,

laugh derailing death again.

 

They wait, they wait

for me, raise a hand to catch

my scanning eye, shooting

down the backside final slope,

always five or more minutes behind.

They hold my place

in the lift line. I don’t mind

being slow. They don’t mind

being cold.

 

It is Peter Anderson’s 65th.

Our two families, having spent

the morning separate, meet

at the food yurt to celebrate.

Beer, burgers, and chili cheese

dogs gone, gray jays hungrily

look on, panhandle shreds

of hot dog bun, and my son

and the snowboarders speed off.

I hang back with the oldest three

of the Anderson clan and we

begin our descent, four

leapfrogging peers

of the slow switchback,

the quiet snow.

 

Soon, submerged against

my will in speed trance,

the center of the earth

having its way with wax and me,

my half century knees and hips

somehow managing, I

find myself alone, ahead,

surprised. Not behind!

I stop, look back.

Seconds pass.

The Andersons emerge

like a flock of swans, floating

threesome of silent elegance,

telemarking down the slope,

long lines traced behind like

wakes of huge hearts,

the snow an EKG tape

spooling steady, slow.

 

I let them pass then stop near

where they pause to gather,

confer: mother, father,

grown daughter.

Downed they are, but

featherless, unruffled,

barely stirred by slight

breeze carrying to me

Pete’s voice, upbeat, a crumb

of witness and wisdom offered

to his daughter, Rose, who listens

open, bright faced,

to how she can improve

her stance, her form, a language

beyond me, and she,

unselfconsciously, sets off

to try it out. He watches

her knees and toes alternate

lovely angles, oiled hinges

carrying the smooth machine of her

over snow like hushed wings,

and, satisfied, he follows, and

her mother, Grace, too.

 

Audience of one,

I choose to slow to watch

the scene unscroll like celadon ribbons

from above, gravity pulling my friend

toward everyone she loves. Grace,

the final dancer, her symmetries

shifting, disappears

around a bend, the whispered end

of the mountain ballet.

I Instead

February 10th, 2021

Having hoped

in vain

to become a tree

into which no one

carves their name,

I instead

write poetry.

2020

family organism

December 13th, 2020

I want to say, please see

your arms and smile my back

my hours your broken strut

your roof my road to sleep

my heart your sacred head

your bardo prayers my seat

my silent miles your breath

2020

let late november

November 28th, 2020

barely warm coals die

in thick ash, let them

 

sun warms my death pose

on the couch, grinning

 

lush green geranium

settles into light, low

 

lifts one bloom

to a large smeared window

 

2020

Midnight Transmission Reading

November 25th, 2020

Here are four poems from my recent reading with hosts Jesse Maloney and Orlando White. With the help of a vile vial of liquid ginseng, this old girl managed to stay awake past midnight!

For more videos of this and other Midnight Transmission readings, please visit Jesse 5-0 Productions.

Blue Daughters
Minefields
Sutra for Letting Go of Aversion

Walking the Burn Reading

November 25th, 2020
Walking the Burn

Mother Dharma

November 20th, 2020

A child is a slow

moving thought

you watch.

 

Its departing birth

a new entrance,

subtle, inching back

into into into you.

 

You surrender

your eyes, let it

commandeer hands,

arms and legs,

eat your heart,

guts and brain,

become your bones,

your size, watch it

dissolve into a dazzling

dangerous world,

into its own child.

 

Helpless, welcome

it like sky burial:

child into child

into child burial.

 

Embrace the lineage

of generous forgetting,

your liberation.

 

2020

Midnight Transmission Promo

November 18th, 2020

Enjoy this new late night reading series hosted by Diné Nation poets Jesse T. Maloney and Orlando White, transmitting the Word from the Rez. It was an unforgettable experience for me–an honor to read with such powerful women and be buoyed up by that smart, gentle audience in the digital realm. Jesse and Orlando are everything you want in a host: gracious, kind, humble and humorous AF. Clips from the evening will be posted soon.

The crumble on the muffin was connecting with an audience member who is the daughter of my most beloved college mentor, Dr. Joellen Jacobs, the woman who, nearly thirty years ago, walked me into the house of poetry, holding my hand through every image and cadence of Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and, later, Stevens’ “The Snow Man.” I found a home. The sonic, imagistic and philosophical joy I experienced in these two poems have guided my aesthetic choices for decades.

I hate to say it, but what a trip when it’s true: it’s a small, small world.

D-Con

November 7th, 2020



We found his box of green pellets, stuffed

the poison in our cheeks, carried it away

to a high place out of reach of the children:

a plastic bag of pillows dangling from a top bunk.

We tried not to swallow en route, leapt the chasm,

made a dozen deadly deposits in the pillows,

hoped against hope the toxic dust would not

dry us up, turn our blood against our own hearts.

In the meantime, in the daily hurried rituals

of scurry, gather and hide, barely sleeping,

we forgot where we tucked away our riches.

When it snowed, a woman found our pine nuts

in her snow boot. When she spilled her coffee,

grass seeds cached in towels high on a shelf

spilled out like confetti into her mouth. The next day,

stuck to threads of a cotton nest chewed into a mattress

pad stored under the bed, she found our mother

a brown, dried horror husk, mealworms long dead

in the small bowl of her skull, the ribs of her chest.

 

2020

Grocery Store Orchid

November 7th, 2020

I’d never buy one.

It was a gift from a woman

who believes in me. 

Quite soon

the stalk yellowed,

flowers drooped and fell.

The orchid, my orchid,

spends most of its life 

as leaves, teaches 

under water me

by spilling over, dying off, 

teaches wait for me 

and time, as always,

is beauty’s only currency.

2020

The Old Phones

October 30th, 2020

The old phones were family pets,

shared, oily, of heft, a comfort, 

yet also retractable weapons

you could chuck at your sister, 

black her eye and reel in

like a slick catfish. Yes, they were 

small, warm bodies or, at least, body parts, 

you could innocently fondle, a young cat 

cradled against your neck with spiral tail 

you could wrap around yourself 

a dozen times, a DNA boa, a fetus 

whose umbilical cord could stretch 

across the kitchen, down the stairs,

through the hall, pulse invisibly under 

your door where you could wait forever 

on the floor for that boy to say something 

into the dark shell of your ear floating 

inside the flowered womb of your plush 

carpeted bedroom. You could listen 

to his busy signal, the silence inside

his steady breathing, all heart 

beats. You could hear the voice

of your mother in the distance,

humming receive, receive, receive.

2020

handbuilding us

October 10th, 2020

love scores me / slips me 

sticks me / smooths me 

to you before we / grow leather hard

carves its / name into this

body we’ve become / fragile greenware

handed into fire / one earthen vessel

we hope for no fissures / we hope to hold

whatever we must / water wine blood 

even cracked / a bowl can hold 

almonds pencils / seedling coins dust

2020

your heart an opus

October 6th, 2020

three dimensional muscle

sculpture in your chest, yes, baby,

she said, we forget

2020

with thanks to Wendy Videlock

Stained

September 23rd, 2020

I wrap all my bright
jagged shards in lead, solder
their seams, hold them up.

2020