Friday, July 29, 2016

Zachary Kluckman

The Buoyancy of Potbellied Boys

A sobering thought. Water
is stronger than I, for all my thick-shouldered girth. Frog stroke.
Kick back to move forward. The same philosophy our mother taught
for self-defense. Kick back. Swim, little fish, trust the current.
Avoid every hand with its hook. This is survival. Practice.
Young, I punched myself in the face.
Hard enough to crack bone. Prepared the taste of blood in my mouth.
No surprise when the older boys came to the fight. Choked my-
self to discover how long I could hold my breath, in case
I should find myself short of air, victim of violence or old age.
Asked my friend’s father, the Marine, to bind me with the best knots he knew.
                                   Broke loose, under 2 minutes
to freedom. You never understood this fear of captivity,
this need to prepare for every violence and ready defense. To kick
back. A sobering thought. Water is stronger than prayer.
Quicker to take you to god. I would have learned to swim,
If our teacher had not let you drown. Had not stared so hard
at our father’s thin body, she missed your move to the deep end.
You live there now, though I pulled you from the water. Sister,
the water was stronger.
                                   Pulled thrashing with fear
from the bottom, I never took another lesson. I pretend
my fight for the surface made me a swimmer. A devout minnow,
silver-finned like mother, with praise for the river. Pretend
the fist to the face, the blood in the knuckle, made me a man.
A sobering thought. A man’s past
can drown him as readily as water. Past 40, my knees are not
as strong as your memory. Your face under water. But my children
have never seen the mirror I carry near rivers, to remind myself of the sky.
Never seen the fight inside of their father. The pillow I hold over my face
to test my breath. A sobering thought. My need to defend them from
the fear, as fierce as their need to swim. Blood, once more,
the reason I jumped in the water.

Zachary Kluckman

Zachary is an award winning 
author and poet 
"recently named the 2015 Slam Organizer of the Year 
and 2014 Slam Artist of theYear 
at the National Poetry Awards. 
A three-time team member representing the city 
of Albuquerque at 
the National Poetry Slam 
and touring artist, he has 
performed across the nation, 
sharing the stage with many 
of the top artists in the world. 
His writing, performances and workshops . . .  have earned him distinction, but at heart 
he is an activist, 
youth advocate and community organizer."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bruce Holsapple

Hi Larry,

What I've been up to, besides no good:  I just submitted the page proofs and index for The Birth of the Imagination:  William Carlos Williams on Form to UNM Press.  The book is due out in November (2016).  I'm reading a lot on the sublime, Longinus, Kant and Burke, and on the Enlightenment.  The sublime, they believed, contains an element of terror, e.g. fear of God.  And I am attempting lately to restain the porch, but every time I'm begun painting the rain moves in. 


Fear of God

A hullabaloo outside
a squall moving in
the winds howl over the roof
growl about the corners
bawl, yowl

I am so mortified

Is anyone not struggling?

Write out the grievances:
crushed sore shabby harassed
Why did I get smacked so bad
grumble, grumble
the various toxins available,
rattlesnake, black widow

weird dirt orange trick
tiger leg flicker stifled child
the felony tip glow
a match lit, sulfur tang
red clandestine decay

Why ask people to read such garbage
Light a candle, will you, Jack?
Because it produces in them an unholy dread
& it is sort of delightful

Okay, I had no ulterior purpose but to write
& confess, it breaks the fixation
the reportorial, What I thought was
What I believe she did
What I feel besides broken hearted

a relief to be rid of yourself
curl into a black cloud, rain
can almost rumble rumble
hear the storm clouds below
you mean above
I mean above & below

I mean I always carry raincoats when I travel
you never know when someone special
might knock

Well, you could step outside
& get banged as easily

Okay, but still you never know what pivotal event
fatal interview, you probably should
straighten your tie, pull aright
this could be the moment
you’re taken aside for questioning

Has your humor dried with age?
Yes, dried out, cracked

Bruce Holsapple

Review of Wayward Shadow and info about Bruce's many Audio Recordings of Poets!

Matthew Conley

“That tattoo”

That temporary tattoo
is permanently

That tat
so you:
-unnatural blue

That tat
                 it's true,
I have my own bone

Matthew Conley

I’m humming through a tiny airport at near 90 mph watching the smoke from the Dog’s Head
fire off to the northeast news kiosk.
Wait that can’t be right.
Maybe: I’m sleeping behind the wheel somewhere outside of Albuquerque, Arizona, once called
Tucson, New Mexico in another life. Yeah
that’s it: I’m steering a Subaru bed using a round pillow while a big orange snooze button keeps
kinking the horizon ahead.
My “Teacher’s Summer” is turning into a year-long sabbatical in this transitional place called the
southwestern United States. My desert home is just another stop on the road trip, but this time
I’m leaving my library behind me like an ant: follow the chemical trail hint of divorce and social
For a decade I’ve been at the University of Arizona working with international students (the last
5 years) at the lowest acceptable (for American institutions of higher something) English
proficiency levels and it has been wonderful as in “full of wonder.” Having conversations with
young people from China & Saudi Arabia & Khazakstan & Angola & Mongolia is usually the
exact day I want to have on planet Earth. Occasionally attending workshops led by cutting-edge
experts working on problems I “solved” (hahaha) 3 years ago in the classroom. But when I spoke
up my speak up didn’t use the big words like their talk down. Yet.
And as much as America has been on fire this Summer of 2016, I have let my amicable end-of-
relationship proceedings be that much smaller in my mind. Life invites me to stress so to make
room I take brooms to my me. “Gone awaaaaay” are meat & alcohol. “Here to staaaaay” are
daily yoga & herbal tea. Preach a little & practice more. Now my last June in Tucson is behind me. That is something indeed.
Once the Sonoran sets me free I’ll 2nd Master’s Degree, this time in Education. Another U.S.
school, probably mid-Atlantic, a graying mid-90s Legacy wagon parked outside. Power to the
People This Summer “) -MjC
Matthew Conley was born in Walt Whitman’s hometown but prefers a tighter line. Most recently,
a poem of his appears in The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide (University of Arizona
Press, 2016).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Judy Grahn

From old friend and former Placitas resident (a  time ago) Judy Grahn. And please see Judy Grahn.

Hi Larry, I spent a lot of time this month crying over the police murders of innocent black people, as well as the murders of Dallas police. Also reeling from the RNC misogyny expressed toward Hillary Clinton, and my guess is some of that wrath is infused with racist hysteria. News for me personally—finishing up another collection of poems for Red Hen Press due out next year, and working on stories that chase after spirit in nature, ways nature reaches out to us and we use her creatures to make meanings.  Very happy that two friends from high school! came to visit me for my birthday. A 60 plus year friendship, amazing. Recently someone asked me why I write poetry given that it doesn’t make any money and takes so much effort. I know the answer: because it saves my life (really) and also keeps me curious and optimistic. Love to you and Lenore, please keep on singing your song.
Judy Grahn, Ph.D.
Poet, Writer, Professor at Large

Here's a collage of images and a couple poems from ye olde Oriental Blue Streak in 1968, a mimeographed poetry magazine from duende press. The Centipede's Poem and In Larry's Room are 2 of the poems she generously contributed. Thank you, Judy. The top left photo is by Lynda Koolish from Crossing Cards. The top med photo was taken in Placitas where she was living . . . . book covers from books Judy sent me . . .

Max Finstein and others, loved Judy's poems in this issue . . . love, larry

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Don McIver


in the Rio Grande gorge, cottonwoods conspired with Russian Olives
pulled as much water out of the river before it merges with the Red.
Those pesky humans dumped chemicals,
mine tailings,
nitrate laden water,
agricultural runoff and top soil in their river.
They stopped it.
The trees conspired to change the flow of the river,
stored it up in new lakes,
had a highway of deer teamsters
carry the water down to the cottonwoods and Russian Olives
in small quantities and bottles
and not let anyone else have it.

in the depths of Elephant Butte, bass conspired with trout.
They tired of Jet Skis, tow boats,
water skiers and tubers,
top water lures and crank bait,
casual swimmers, three day weekend barbeques, 
and drunks.
The fish nibbled toes,
dragged innocent children down to the depths,
stuffed and mounted
them on water made walls.

in the Rio Grande Bosque, cranes conspired with ducks.
They turned on dogs, 
horseback riders, and joggers.
The cranes ignored the grain that BLM rangers left behind,
posted memos and trail signs,
organized field trips,
and erected educational walks for viewing:
bird watchers,
and the elderly.

in El Paso, Texas and New Mexico water managers conspired to take more of the Rio water away from human farmers, pueblo communities, and the desert. If the courts can mediate a settlement, Albuquerque can sprawl even more; El Paso can grow even larger; and the natural communities and habitats that depend on the Rio can fend
for themselves.

Deeds are written; titles notarized for water, a naturally occurring chemical compound.

Don McIver

"Resting after bagging Mt. Wheeler 
(New Mexico's tallest peak)."

Don is a former member of the ABQ slam team, a host/producer of KUNM’s Spoken Word Hour, the author of The Noisy Pen, and editor of A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene. He’s performed all over the United States, produced, curated, and hosted poetry events big and small including the 2005 National Poetry Slam, and been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.  He's a teacher by trade at Central NewMexico Community College, where he also manages the tutoring center. For more information on Don, please visit his writing blog, Confessions a Human Nerve Ending.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Laurie Macrae

Laurie "grew up in Albuquerque, spent six formative years in the Bay Area during the sixties, and returned to New Mexico in 1969. She has been an activist all her life and a poet, periodically, since her teens, when she was mentored by Tuli Kupferberg and other Beat poets of the San Francisco scene.

She has spent almost 30 years as a librarian, mostly in NM but for 6 1/2 years in San Diego where she retired to pursue mental health activism. She writes, swims, and does battle with the behavioral health system, which is at best inadequate and at worst abandoning the population it should serve."

California Dream

Awake, a boat,
Sinew stretched
Between the hollows
of the bolstered bed

Grains of sand sift
in the sheets
The slings of sleep so recently adrift
Warmed by friction, ignite

The same quarrel
with each wave:
To sail into the deep 
Where ancient hunger
and dread collide

Where a swell,
plunderer of senses,
Seduces each synapse 
with undertow allure

And a beach
Benignly beckons
As Pacific turbulence dresses
For evening in
a flash of green

Or raise a clouded eye to dawn 
Again the damp sea air, the clutch 
Of my own arms 
Against the bluster of the day

Warped limbs planted
on a shifting deck 
Sucked from beneath me
By the rip of time, I stagger 
But I stand

Laurie Macrae
     Nov. 10, 2014 San Diego

Mementos! (Hope you don't mind my adding this, Laurie.)

This was choice, a lot of fun to do, thanks
to the Taos Poetry Circus friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

John Macker

Hi Larry & thanks.
Guest edited latest Malpais Review w/14 Colorado poets: "there is nothing so beautiful as the sound of dreaming across borders" & wrote an essay on Venice West legend Tony Scibella. Also Herrera, abeyta, Camp, Stablein, Tani Arness, Kell Robertson, Simon Ortiz, etc etc. Nice issue. Also participating in panel discussion on Southwestern author Frank Waters with John Nizalowski & Alexander Blackburn up at the Harwood in Taos on Wed. Aug. 3rd. 7 p.m. Going to write an essay on Todd Moore for last Malpais. Busy working & worrying about the state of the world. Here's a poem about some things I've been thinking about.


                    −for Joe Somoza
On any other Sunday if the kitchen
light had a voice it would sing
like Mavis Staples
all the birds would be
politely silenced by the poet
who sits in his
Las Cruces garden on mornings
like this for
twenty-two years
writing poems
in the shade of a tall tree
so he wouldn’t later on
lose his mind.

The rooster would crow dawn up
from polished black to soft blue
full-throated throughout the neighborhood
many of the children would go
politely and without incident to mass
my prayer flags would still have nine lives.
On any other Sunday,
nobody would rise haunted with the
ghost sickness or deny the Coyote within.

Anybody would believe the full moon
or at least the ghost of moon
as yellow as yarrow
as it traveled across the shores of our eyes
or June with its rampaging fahrenheits.
Each tree is an indeterminate amount of
time rooted deep
I think, therefore I think I’m an act of faith
unfathomable morning
I’m walking through cottonwood snow.

John Macker
thanks for all you do, Larry. I very much like your latest books. Bravo.

well maybe life as a poet is worthwhile after all - thank you John

Geoffrey Young


Is there a gun more dangerous
than the one whose owner
defends his god? Look
where we are now, worlds poisoned

by belief. How far is it to the horizon,
to the Sun going down, to Thou Shalt
Not? Grab something of value
from the burning house!

Be smart, be fearless, be focused
on present necessity, with liberty
and yogurt for all. Here’s my vote
for the equitable distribution of goods.

One pie, one family, one Earth, one knife, etc.
What’s a stack of cheese if we lose a planet?

 Geoffrey Young

i run a contemporary art gallery  (for the last 25 yrs). Geoffrey Young Gallery
i make my leetle books and do drawings, but only show other people's work.
my next show, Hanging Paper, is a group show.
will use the new colored pencil drawings in my next book (of short prose).

no title yet . . .

geoffrey young

geoffrey young

thank you, Geoff . . . 

Miriam Sagan

(and a photograph by Isabel Winson-Sagan) Miriam writes:

I'm blogging at Miriam's Well  which is always looking for work tied in to our interests. And I interview poets who have published a book. Email for blog submissions or interview questions is The current theme is "Letter To My Younger Self."

Right now I'm at Herekeke on Lama Mountain, working with my daughter Isabel Winson-Sagan on an ongoing collaboration of text and image. Here is a poem.

The tattooed girl
draws the mountain
surprisingly soft-lined
fences and trees,
as a child
obsessed by rivers,
black and red ants
crawl over the bark
of an old piƱon
traveling through gullies and canyons,
suminagashi lines
photograph by Isabel Winson-Sagan
on paper
pulled once
through ink floating on water
wet fractal
of a topo map
some place real yet imagined
right now
I might not even
Lama Mountain

Miriam Sagan

Katrina K Guarascio

How to be in love with a ghost

Sleep in his old t-shirt
savoring the scent trapped inside thread and collar.

Leave the smell of hair in pillow.

Mimic the sound of shutting doors
slapping goodbye.

Play a melody of afternoon thunderstorms
and chase the scent of rain
through the house.

Flick ash to pavement,
bare feet to sidewalk,
leave a trail from the rubble
that built your favorite mythology.

Refuse to release him
from mind and motion,
bite lower lip to keep words
from falling out.

Find a boy at the bar with the same shade of eyes
and a smile kind enough to resurrect the past.
Sing all the words to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in his ear
in a slow dance to last call.

Stare into eyes a little too long,
listen to stories with too much care thirsty for truths.

Tell him he reminds you of someone you used to know.

Then no longer hide bruises.
Show him the peaceful side of your nature,
the sleepless side of your soul.

Walk across the broken glass of beer bottles
to nudge him awake,
replace missing pages about last night
over a breakfast where you
laugh to loud to be in public,
still drunk from one another.

When he leaves
thank him for wearing the skin of memory
and gifting the kindness of patience.
Do not kiss him goodbye.

Reclaim evening habits,
curled in tattered wool sweater,
beer and cigarette,
tangled in all the parts of what once was.

Watch in solitude as the full moon creeps across the sky
and breathe in all that has come to pass.

Katrina Guarascio

Hi Larry,
I wish I was up to more poetry and writing wise. Right now, I am keeping myself busy updating my blog: and working on my novel. I've had few features this year but am hopeful to get out to more poetry readings in the future. I am the current editor of The Sunday Poem on the Duke City Fix and would love some submissions (hint! hint!) Send submissions to

The Sunday Poem is an ongoing feature of Duke City Fix (I did a round of editing for it myself) and Katrina is the current editor. Here's a list of poems.