Posts Tagged 'fire'

Las Conchas

Fine dry onion skin,
leaf bones disintegrate.
Charred cooling eggshells
leave embryonic remainders.

Leaves writhe white,
heat and hollow winds
blow southeast, strong
black river runs rapid, runs

away. Ash blood current
carries redemption downstream,
red bats dive in unfamiliar fields.
Carbon, phosphorus, loss.

Exquisite corpse found in Corrales living room

leaf in water

We stayed up all night because of the fire and the hot ashes and the fear. As the sun was rising, I said to Carl, “Don’t worry now, now that we’ve got some daylight, I’m sure we’ll find them.” Carl is my neighbor, a decent fellow overall, although we don’t agree about a thing. He leaned back in his chair and yawned.

“Probably right,” he said, and gathered up his gear, put his coffee cup in the sink, and left without much more to be said. The ashes that cover a dry, brushy area during a fire hang thick in the air, straining the lungs and sitting heavy on the skin. For the next four days, we all roamed around, grey and wheezing, like asthmatic zombies. Then the rains came.

Puffing up mini clouds of dust, when those first droplets fell, some of us thought we might be dreaming. I did, anyway. If felt cool, wet and dry, heaven washing away the tarnished past.

I had an inkling, and I saw it in their eyes, too, that we might actually have some change in direction, that the powers that be might possibly have it in them to look kindly on us just for a moment, to give us a break.

The rain, at least at the beginning, gave me hope. It cascaded down the dry hillsides and filled the arroyos with the rushing cries of a herd of horses suddenly released from their pen in the clouds. The water frothed under the bridge, began to spread out beyond the edges of the wash, losing energy like a tired old lady at the end of her daily walk. The rain, too, began to tire, slowing in its descent, ambiguous about falling from the sky. Mischievous drops bounced on the driveway, splatting roundness turned flat. The imprint of envy left some drops small and unable to make an impression, impressionable driveways were begging for more, they truly envied the rain, fall, dance, strike, spill, evaporate, reincarnate full again, a cycle a driveway could only dream of from its flattened, squished and gray existence in front of the white two story bungalow.

As the rain fell, a child sat in the bay window and watched as it ran from the driveway into the street, gutters filling and running fast into some unkown adventure. She sat there for what seemed like forever, and must have fallen asleep. When she woke, she found she was no larger than a mouse, and that she was riding a wide green leaf in a rushing stream to who knows where. She reached into her pocket and drew out a small, unfamiliar book. “How to Get Along in Any Language at All, Wherever You May Be,” said the title page, and she opened it to see how she might begin.

“Chapter One,” she said aloud, and looked around her as she noticed that the rain had finally stopped and her leaf had come to dock in a quiet green yard.


This is an example of an exquisite corpse. It’s a collective freewrite project. Everyone in the group has paper. Write for a predetermined number of minutes (5 minutes per person in this example). At the end of that time, everyone hands the paper to the person on their left. Looking only at the last line, everyone continues to write, and then passes it on again after five minutes. Continue until the papers return to their original owners. Again, looking only at the last line handed to them, the original writer finishes the piece. Thus, each person has a beginning and an end, with all the middle pieces having been handed around. This one took 30 minutes to create.

Collectively written by Teresa, Rosemary, Jan and Mike (did I get that right, guys?)


Sky caves

Clouds, Albuquerque

Clouds, Albuquerque - from Albuquerque Daily Photo

Sky caves collect where ice and air interact with heat and wind. I collect sky caves. I collect sky caves and gather them high where the clouds are piled. The clouds are piled and at the top the ice crystals form. I wait.

The winds blow, the grasses lay flat, storm crashes against the sky bottom all at once, and then there is fire. I gather the fire and pour it into the river and it boils up again into the sky, where it hits the sky caves with a great crash and then there is rain.

There is rain, sent down by the air gods, not me; they gather the ice and shake it hard with fire. When it comes down to earth the trees hold their hands up and shake their wild heads and laugh and cry all at once. The tree people cry for water, joy and sex soaking into the roots, and for pain as their arms are broken and thrown down in the wind, and the branches lay on the ground, which is clay mud and runs red like blood to the river. The ground is a river running red with mud, my collection has shattered, glass in shards have scattered and broken against the bosque floor. The sun warms, the water runs fast, the morning birds wake. They sing the air gods to sleep, high in the sky caves that rest, now, silent and still in the thin air.


20 minutes, writing group. Topic: Ice. Thank you, Mike!

To see a storm in central New Mexico, see the link below from You Tube. My neighborhood has more cottonwoods, wild giant trees, being in the bosque itself, but this is beautiful viewing also.

** The embedding feature for this video is disabled, but you can still watch it by clicking on the You Tube logo. My understanding of protocol in You Tube is limited, for now.

Uncle Pig


In the spring, Uncle Pig burned leaves, while the ground was still damp and fire was relatively safe. Never in the fall, when the autumn leaves would burn crisp and fast, like when he was a boy and he and his cousins experimented with a soft dry patch out back that rose on a light breeze like a breath from a dying man, up and out into some destination that they hoped would remain unknown. It became known altogether too fast, a short jump from their own 5 acres to the center of town and then down to the river, where thank god it put itself out. That incident was long out of public memory until it happened again, some 50 years later.

Uncle Pig did not get re-elected to village council that year, on account of the fire, and in fact his picture was eventually removed from the Town Hall offices, where every elected official was hanging, except for the dog catcher who was found to have sold many missing dogs to a cosmetics research lab, and now Uncle Pig, who tried not once but repeatedly to burn the village down to the ground. This burning desire was eventually found to be related to a small but powerful tumor in the right temporal lobe that convinced Uncle Pig that the only truly cleansing substance on earth is fire. Fire leaves nothing but sterile ash in its wake, he told his attorney, at the trial where he was not allowed to testify. For his entire 73 years, he woke every morning, lit the fire, made the coffee, and got to work. Every spring, he burned leaves in the recommended manner, until the year when he lit the fire in October, to purify, to sanctify, to leave a pile of ashes where everything he used to know could be carried away, lightly, on the wind.




When I was a kid this other kid, who was mean and dangerous,
tied me to a tree. He had a can of hairspray and a box of matches.
My mother came out looking for me just as that kid was about
to start spraying and throwing those lit matches at me.
I guess some people are just born lucky.

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July 2020