Monday, September 17, 1990

BLUE WINDOWS freewrite



                  
Betty's window frames are the color of the sky
Lucia starts each morning with a cigarette
The sun weaves patterns through the vigas,
the bars in the adobe walls
imprisoned sunlight
the leaves of the cottonwood
elaborate on the small breeze
and cast long slanted shadows
on the wall
Mayflies dance vertical spirals
in endless progression
like an elevated vertical infinity sign
Maybe it's because they don't live so long
they make the sign
Cathedrals of light spewer from the steeple
a sign of light flooding the room, the walls

Beyond the cottonwoods
a garden of cosmos alizarin godetias and cornflowers
Someone has just laid a lawn squares of a living carpet
the mayflies dance above it
The window in the wall with its vigas
casts ladders of light across the patio floor 
and onto the lawn
a bridge into another world

This morning I awoke in a strange house
made tea, but drank coffee instead
that familiar slow ponderous crunch 
of Betty's foot on the gravel
an old woman who spends her final days 
in this house her parents built
soon she will move to a fine new apartment on the Santa Fe river
The house is getting to be too much for her, she says.

The infrequent rain has stained the wall
with heiroglyphic code.
There is no water in the Santa Fe river
This is the end of the trail that leads to Mexico City
the mute clarion announces Sunday
Yes, today the sun also rises (to borrow a line)

I held a Pueblo pipe stem in my hand at midnight
No bowl, but as I made the proper pass from right to left arm
I felt the medicine anyway
A tuft of coarse strawberry hair—a scalp?
We introduced the notion of scalping our enemies
Who was more savage? 
The names speak for themselves
Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa
They all rode into town one way or another
We arrived in a white ford with the latest technology
computerized excess

When the shadows of the cottonwood leaves
fall on the ground, they make circular patterns
like cluster of people
Teenagers line the plaza last night in tight knots
the light intersects shadow on the peach
This is like arriving next door to home 333 on an aqua door
I used to live at 333 Third Ave
My life dominated by the second prime number
or third of you count zero
Is zero a prime number or is it transparent like water,
like sly only giving the appearance of un divisibility

A cat wanders along a high wall the watertower on stilts
peers over a neighbor's fence into their private refuges
We are always seeking refuge.
Lucia and Betty talk on the island of bed amid boxes
We are four women in transition
young Michael, the only balance
Soon we will need to plan our days here, so little time

Words to know: Bering  Straits
civilization, Ice age mountains
boulders migration, mammoths, obsidian
stone age mica surplus specialize cahokia
an endless progression of shops up canyon road
one gallery after another in all the same hues
art for sale in cloying pastels

the written word
should be clean and bare
clear as light
firm as stone
two word are not
as good as one
            —anon

Two blocks from this palace where I sleep
where Delgado crosses the Santa Fe River
is where the Rosenbergs were arrested says Lee Rosenthal
Tomorrow we go to Los Alamos
the cottonwoods where the Manhattan Project was born
I am chasing my own ancestors across New Mexico
Last night we had rain, today the cottonwood leaves 
have that preternatural rustle of fall in the air 
a state of being

The peaches are gone from the windowsill 
I miss their elegancy against the cerulean sashes 
I've bought Betty nectarines as replacements
though I know it won't look the same 
Today we go to the pueblos

They say rainbows signify hope
over Frijoles Canyon 
Clouds dressed in salmon hues
four corners for rainbows 
lightning striking the earth


9/1990 (not sure why I put 1991 as Hotel La Flnda, Taos is 1990)


Lucia Hammond, her son Michael, Betty Rosenthal. Lucia's college friend Lee's mother
I gave Betty Rosenthal ? a copy of my mss in 1993 when I visited her again with Celia Woloch. She had moved to the shed out back. It was done up all adobe & whitewash. A stunning space. 333 Delgado, Santa Fe, NM


June 20, 1953: The Chronicle’s front page from 63 years ago covers the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage. “Their deaths ended a day of suspense in which nine appeals were made to judges in Washington, New York and New Haven, in which the U.S. Supreme Court denied their final appeals and in which President Eisenhower again refused them clemency,”
sfchronicle_vault





My New Mexico poems with Celia are here: Sept. 1993




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