The Sunday Poem: Rich Boucher... Almost Lost: Walking the Old Tukishima Trail through Albuquerque

The restless wit of Rich Boucher continues to explore our city.  “I think of this poem as an ambitious (hopefully successful) exercise in linguistic and cultural sleight-of-hand,” he writes.  “I hope you dig it.”   Forewarned, bring a shovel...maybe a flashlight.  Our future awaits.

Since moving to Albuquerque in March of 2008, Rich has been performing and writing steadily in the Duke City, and is a regular contributor/editor at Living day to day with physical abnormalities caused by the consumption of Monsanto’s supercorn, Rich is also an educator, adventurer and an unlicensed psychic.

Almost Lost: Walking the Old Tukishima Trail through Albuquerque

At the intersection of Paseo and Central,
we waited until the sun went down to move,
we waited always until sunset to get moving;
we waited until the sun told us it was time
and then strapped on our goggles and backpacks,
trudging first through the frosty, unforgiving gorge
that runs through the Castle Adult Video Megastore
and all the way down to the existing and blustery airport.

Rappelling down from the Sunport snack bar,
we noticed the cherry bushes nearing their bloom,
noticed the moonlight’s purple, christmassy glow
until we touched ground at the Dairy Queen in Old Town;
this was the way we would settle bitter arguments:
pick a spot somewhere on the Old Tukishima Trail,
the one that runs all through and around the deep of Albuquerque
and then climb, hike, grasp and leap our way
from some kind of point a far from home until hopefully
the point b of our roadrunner-scented floral driveway.

“At some point on the trail you need to brace yourself
and climb underneath the 7-Eleven behind the library,
adjusting your headlamp until you see the tell-tale shimmer
of daylight dancing on the surfaces of the stream there;
grasp for edifice and look for artifice as you emerge
through a manhole in the middle of the corner of Atrisco;
wend your way across the North Valley on a Sunday
until you reach the base of the Frontier Restaurant,
which lies majestically near the University of New Mexico”.

Every time we had to break out that taped-up and stained map
of the Old Tukishima Trail (and of all its curious points)
we would wind up laughing so hard at the notes we wrote
the last time we made this risky trek across the city
that we’d forget whatever hassle prompted us to grab our gear
and go spelunking for truth over the Lotaburger on Fourth;
we would not remember what we could not agree on
after exploring the depths of the ceiling at the Diner on 66
and that, too, was one of the benefits of too much sun out here.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 268

Comment by cathyray on May 6, 2012 at 4:56pm

Thanks, Ben, for waking me up to this poem. You knew I'd love it! In 1968-69-70 we had a "drag" a trail we would travel. We called it AwLottaMacFrIps: A&W on Wyoming & near Constitution, Lotta Burger, Macs down to Franks & by Vips Big Boy on Central where we would join with tons of others on their own particular trail, we would all go round & round that block. Really enjoyed this poem.

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 6, 2012 at 5:29pm

Thank you so much to the both of you! 

Ben, I'm honored that my poem brought some memories back to you - that means a lot to me and is award in and of itself for the work on this poem, so thank you. cathyray, thank you so much for your comments, too, on my poem. It seems like I may have struck a chord here!

Comment by Jules Nyquist on May 6, 2012 at 5:39pm

Rich, as always, I love your view of the world and especially our city. Excellent!!!!

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 6, 2012 at 5:51pm

Thank you so much, Jules!!!!

Comment by Susy Crandall on May 6, 2012 at 6:31pm

Very meditative....a true Duke City meditation....

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 6, 2012 at 6:43pm

Dear Susy: thank you so much for what you said!

Comment by Dee Cohen on May 7, 2012 at 5:23am

Hi Rich, what a clever metaphor for discovering our city and, may I say?, life in general. Your skewed vision is perfect for ABQ. Thanks, D

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 7, 2012 at 7:38am

Dee, thank you so much for your words on this! It's been an.......interesting few years since I moved here. I love the city. It can be as whackadoo as the day is long, but it can also be indescribably beautiful. But more so. More so than other cities. I hope my vision adds to the pot!

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on May 7, 2012 at 9:21am

Hi Rich--like this one--yr avid fan of course.  Funny how the three D crisscrossing effect seems so truthy--god, we all do that.  and then we laugh not remembering why we were mad .  must be mojo in this city for hearts on the verge--love the inner city spelunking. 

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 7, 2012 at 9:42am

Thank you so much, Merimee! And I'm glad you saw that whole mojo part in this, the end of being mad. That actually came out of nowhere  - to ME, anyway - as I was writing this. Thank you again!


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