Good morning, Albuquerque! Only two more Sundays left until I hand the reins of the Ditch Rider back to Jon; have you been having fun? Have you liked this? Have you liked me here? I hope you'll all answer; I have a feeling that Jon would love the feedback on how I did for him (and you) while he was away. Please please please LOAD UP THIS PAGE with feedback and comments. Let's give the computer servers at DCF a neck sprain! But enough about me. Listen now, it's time for a poem...
...I love this poem by Margaret Randall. I love the possessed, cool surety of the speaker of this poem, and how the voice just lays the truths down on you. I love its economy of language in the interest of its salient points about progress and militarism and gender and inequality and bombs and most of all (in terms of our VERY fallible "leaders") about what hindsight can afford us versus what it can tend to do to us. Notice the opposition Margaret uses between the stillness in the spaces between the words. There's a close to staccato feel, a kind of steam rising, coming up above the lines that she uses to scorch that which needs to be burned. Ultraviolet lines. I came away from this poem marveling at its silent blue fire. Here's a little extra for you: I asked Margaret in a recent email conversation what it is that she most likes about the city of Albuquerque, and she had this to say: "What I like, no love, about Albuquerque is where it is. The surrounding landscape has spoken loud and clear since I was a child, and after years away I longed for this landscape--desert, mountains, canyons--which had also become important in my poetry. I also love the poetry community here. I doubt there is a city in the country with more or better poets, or more interesting venues for reading and listening." I couldn't agree more. Margaret, the mic is yours...
How They Grab Our Words
He sent his water boy to play the evidence:
weapons of mass destruction aimed at us.
When no WMD were found, he said: Not
sorry. The world’s a better place.
Judged necessary sacrifice; 4,486 US soldiers dead.
A million Iraqis: collateral damage after all.
They used to ask: What were you wearing?
Now they go on about Boys will be boys.
Do animals think? Do the disappearing glaciers
mean anything at all? Is up finally down?
Five years out of office, for the first time
the bully president gains a positive image.
They say we always like our presidents more
It’s all about the way they grab our words
and run, the end zone solidly in sight.
Margaret Randall's most recent collection of poetry is THE RHIZOME AS A FIELD OF BROKEN BONES, available at Bookworks and other bookstores around town, as well as on Amazon.com. This fall three new books will appear: a poetry chapbook called DAUGHTER OF LADY JAGUAR SHARK (Wings Press), a collection of essays titled MORE THAN THINGS (University of Nebraska Press), and CHE ON MY MIND, a feminist poet's reminiscence of Che Guevara (Duke University Press). In February she attended the International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua, where 160 poets from 60 countries raised their poetic voices. These days one of her passions is writing for New Mexico Mercury, our city's vibrant new digital publication. Margaret thinks Albuquerque is the best city for poetry in the country.
Poetry submissions are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Poetry Event News: This week's installment of Local Poetry Event News is about an event happening on Wednesday, July 17 at 7 PM at The Source for Creating Sacredness, located at 1111 Carlisle Blvd SE: OUTSpoken Queer Poetry Featuring the Albuquerque Adult Slam Poetry Team (as distinct from ABQ Unidos, the city's youth team). This event is hosted by Erin Northern, a wonderful local poet in her own right. If you'd like to read, there will be an open mic portion of the night that begins at 7 PM (you should get there early, as the sign-ups to read or compete in the slam are posted at 6:30 PM); the open mic portion of the night (you get five minutes if you want to sign up to read) will precede the feature performance by the combined poetic might of slam team members David Maile, Gigi Bella, Jessica Helen Lopez & Zachary Kluckman. The host would like guests to know that the topics for poetry are OPEN for both the open-mic and the slam. The OUTSpoken Queer Poetry Slam and Open-Mic is sponsored by The Local Poet's Guild, ABQSlams & Albuquerque Pride. There's a $5 suggested donation asked for at the door for this event. Any questions? Please go ahead and visit the OUTSpoken Facebook group page or email your questions to email@example.com.