This is my favorite kind of post: an Albuquerque poem written by a great Albuquerque poet. Take a walk with Margaret Randall through the present and into the past. You just might meet yourself coming the other way.
A feminist poet, writer, photographer, and social activist, Margaret Randall has published more than 80 books. She lives in Nob Hill.
True Grit of Old 66
In the steamy vortex between First and Sixth
a high-rise cluster of concrete
shrouds itself in colored light
to con the competition,
white stucco molding its undoing.
The Sunshine and El Rey
have parted company
from first-run glitter,
Skip Maisel’s is just a store now
and only the Kimo
retains its whisper of grandeur.
Alvarado’s ghostlike features push
through a bus and train depot’s
hoping to impress
when Rail Runner’s red and yellow
bathes the station in commuter promise.
Is it the true grit of old 66
we need back
or a nod to today’s reality
in a city where different
is no longer confined
to the pages of a guidebook
and Indians from India
buy Indian tacos
at the Pueblo Cultural Center
along with those
who never even came
from somewhere else.
New neon and pedestrian walkways
make their stab at gentrification,
trying year after year
to pull life back
from All American malls.
don new masks.
But each Saturday morning in May
after sandstorms have settled
and heat climbs its trickster scale,
a faint breeze
moves down Central
where the ghost of a young girl
yet to be granted or withheld—
walks head thrust forward,
between a bleat of tears
and words sounding thin
on aging wind:
Wait, wait, wait,
here I come!
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