Monday, January 28, 2008


If you walked into a healing chamber,
        would you use it?
I want to make a glass room
in the shape of a pyramid
where you can walk inside,
lay on a table to rest.
You can close your eyes,
Say your prayers.
Let your troubles disappear.

If I invent a sonic machine
hooked up to the chamber
        will you believe in it?
I want your afflictions to go away,
sure as the sun warms you.
You will be free
of diseases that destroy
your precious body
that should last in spirit,
for eternity.

If I install a steamer
inside the chamber,
        will you sweat away
        the toxins built up inside you?
Your skin will freshen,
pure and plump, supple
as a baby.
You will be happy and hydrated,
filled with positives
that spark your life.

Gary Larson Cartoon

I used to think tiny musicians hid in the radio,
quietly waiting until Mom turned the knob.
They always played soft lullaby music—
their job, to put me to sleep. They failed.
I'd stay awake at night, speculating.
How did they get in there?
Naïve of me to imagine small men
dressed in fine suits, ties and shiny black shoes,
playing inside a radio.
How many fit in there?
When did they know to stop?
Many questions I could not answer.

In Gary Larson's cartoon
a curious man
takes off the front panel
of his car radio.
Jazz musicians with their instruments
look guilty as they are caught inside.
The caption says, "Aha!
It's on my refrigerator.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Unforgotten Homeless

We called her Post Office Patty. Always wore jackets.
Hearsay shared among townsfolk, she chose life on the streets,
shrugged chances of comfortable subsistence, opportunity.

Waiting for Big Daddy from the Flea Market.
Word got around he gave her money—daily.
She ate at Luby's every night, back room.

Something about her—her eyes, shiny,
sky blue against rugged skin, thin, frail,
weathered as cracks in dry wood.

Slept in parks. One night, another homeless raped her.
She got pregnant. Baby taken away. She pushed
a walker around, blankets draped over the handle.

Summer and winter, helpless as a dirty, worn rag,
she limped away, dragging her feet. Stringy threads
hung from her extra-long pants, covering her shoes.

Old Mesilla

I remember bicycle rides through an old neighborhood.
A kind of rural feel in the 4-Points Cotton Gin area,
where rain puddles sit stagnant for days, harboring
mosquitoes. Illegal immigrants hiding in darkness behind
the gin. They bothered no one. The dense smoky air
during cotton processing, hovering like a bomb cloud,
bothered my asthma so I could not breathe.

On the edge of Old Mesilla, Mesilla Park, a quick
jaunt down the road, not knowing where division
lines begin or end. Remembering tall grasses, flowers
and fences, dirt and gravel with weeds along roadsides,
old, cracked adobe homes, makeshift-repaired
by unskilled hands. In a rental house with those obnoxious
barking wiener dogs running back and forth wildly
inside a chain link fence, destroying the yard until
it becomes a plant less, sinking desert sandbox.

Painted old mailboxes on unsteady posts,
ditches flowing of murky water, mirroring clouds
on good days. Humongous trees dedicated
to Audubon Society bird watchers, and the phone
bird, I used to call it, who tricked me every time
into running into the house to pick up the receiver.
Sunflowers taller than me guarding a vegetable
and herb garden, their heads drooping
from heavy weight, giving seeds to birds.

I miss the Richman's, grandma and grandpa types,
taking their walks up and down Union Avenue,
gossiping over the fence, telling tales
about building famous bridges and lousy neighbors
with junky cars taking up space in front of their yard.
And that Catholic preacher next door trying to tell me
my soul is not saved until I'm baptized,
and telling me stories about renovating a desecrated
old church in Hill, and starting a new congregation there.

I miss walks along McDowell road, Conway and Highway 28,
ghosts on a ditch road, the ghost dog and the phantom sports car
as I pulled out. I don't miss that retarded guy, Jesse,
with his tunnel vision and near accidents on his bicycle,
who came over to show me his battery-operated fan
the size of his hand that didn't work and I couldn't fix it.