Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

"But how far do I have to go?"


.


Street scene, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico: photo by Laura Hertzfeld, 18 March 2009



"But how far do I have to go?"
He shook his head and pushed me out the door
With eyes as blue as the sky
And as big as all Utah.
The wind hummed Mood Indigo
As he left me in a cloud of dust,
Rubbing my eyes
And checking my manuscript book.
I walked as far as Truth or Consequences.
The wind bit and stung me.
Bugs bit into my skin.
The desert was wide, quiet.
I saw it as a job.
I kept on walking.






Roadside signs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
: photo by Laura Hertzfeld, 18 March 2009



 

Airstream trailer with car and water tank, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico: photo by Laura Hertzfeld, 18 March 2009

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Carrizozo_Lava_Flow.jpg

Carrizozo Malpais lava flow, New Mexico. The lava flow varies in width from 1 kilometre along its slender neck to 5 kilometres at either end. Within its curving borders, the Carrizozo lava flow has a uniform dark colour, thanks to its basalt content. Basalt tends to flow easily, and this lava flow is described as a pahoehoe flow -- advancing through lobes or toes that separate from a cooled crust. The high point on Carrizozo is Little Black Peak. This is a cinder cone -- a simple type of volcano made from congealed droplets and blobs of lava that erupted from a single vent. Near the lava flow’s north-eastern end is the town of Carrizozo. Both south-east and north-west of the lava flow, the landscape appears dark, but this results not from volcanic rocks but from vegetation-lined hills
: image by Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory, using data provided by the US Geological survey Landsat-7 satellite, 30 July 2009 (NASA)





NASA image taken by a crew member aboard the International Space Station, flying at an altitude of approximately 235 statute miles on 27 June 2011, showing the Las Conchas fire in the Jemez Mountains of the Santa Fe National Forest in north-central New Mexico. The fire is just southwest of Los Alamos National Laboratorie
s: photo by NASA/Associated Press, 27 June 2011 (NASA)



Hauling coal at night from Peabody Coal Company Black Mesa strip mine. Is resultant run-off from strip mines destroying portions of Hopi Indian agricultural land?: photo by Lyntha Scott Eiler, c. 1973 for the Environmental Protection Agency's Documerica Project (US National Archives)




Totem pole at a trading post (for tourists) on Hopi Indian Reservation, Arizona
: photo by Lyntha Scott Eiler, June 1972 for the Environmental Protection Agency's Documerica Project (US National Archives)




Smoke from the Las Conchas fire turns the setting sun red over the Jemez Mountains behind the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico: photo by Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal via Associated Press, 28 June 2011



The bridge that separates the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, from Los Alamos National Laboratory is shrouded in smoke from the Las Conchas wildfire: photo by Craig Fritz/Reuters, 28 June 2011



Hopi Prophecy Rock, near Oraibi, Arizona: photo by Tribal Ink News, 9 February 2006

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/White_sands_vegetation.jpg

Sparse vegetation in the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument: photo by Daniel Schwen, 4 April 2004


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/White_sands_sunset.JPG

Sunset over White Sands National Monument, New Mexico: photo by Franzinho, 22 August 2009

11 comments:

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Yes. A heart's country.

TC said...

Thanks, Red. You do know that big sky country.

This was writ c. 1977. Long gone now, those drygulch hitchhiking days. The cloud of dust way down the highway might or not be a pickup truck...

There was a school of belief that held the Blue Star Kachina was on course to deliver the People into the Fifth World in late 2007. Sightings captured all across the Southwestern deserts -- a blazing blue star. The heavenly body then being observed was in fact this:

Comet 8P Tuttle

That Hopi prophecy (carved on the rock at Oraibi, see petroglyph), as told by the Elder to Frank Waters, went as follows:

The Fourth World shall end soon, and the Fifth World will begin.

This the elders everywhere know.

The Signs over many years have been fulfilled, and so few are left.

The end of all Hopi ceremonialism will come when a Kachina removes his mask during a dance in the plaza before uninitiated children.

For a while there will be no more ceremonies, no more faith.

Then Oraibi will be rejuvenated with its faith and ceremonies, marking the start of a new cycle of Hopi life.

That time is not far off.

It will come when the Saquasohuh (Blue Star) Kachina dances in the plaza and removes his mask.

He represents a blue star, far off and yet invisible, which will make its appearance soon.

These are the Signs that great destruction is coming.

The world shall rock to and fro.

The white man will battle against other people in other lands -- with those who possessed the first light of wisdom.

There will be many columns of smoke and fire such as White Feather has seen the white man make in the deserts not far from here.

The Emergence to the future Fifth World has begun.

(Frank Waters: The Book of the Hopi, 1963)

And of course, there is/was that other medicine man involved in all this.

Mood Indigo: Ellington Band, featuring Johnny Hodges

Mood Indigo: Regina Carter painting the Ellington classic a new shade of blue (2002)

... Oh, and it turned out the lawyer the Hopis hired to take on Big Coal, back in the day, just happened to be on the payroll of... yes, Big Coal. Full circle.

Unknown said...

In 1970 I was a poet with a few pennies hitchiking to New Mexico.

I wanted to join the communes I'd heard about up north of Taos, so I went there and I joined. It wasn’t hard, you just showed up and stayed as long as you wanted to or could stand it.

It was a good time, or so it seemed, in a lot of places. I thought things were going to get better in our country. I thought the commune was one of those things that would make it better.

Eating peyote in teepees with Taos and other Native Americans, singing songs to the gods all night long made me feel hopeful that I would not have to go anywhere else. There’s a lot more to the story but your pictures make it clear.

I worked in some big mines before I left New Mexico.

What exactly does it say on that Hopi prophecy rock?

Oh.

Thanks Comet 8P Tuttle.

Not far. Not long now.

Harris

TC said...

My medicare cane has spoken to me deep in the night, from its ready-position (leaning against the gurney), and it said: Never again attempt to travel... without your cowboy poet friends.

(This post by the way owes its inspiration to a Son of the Pioneers of the Grand Concourse.)

TC said...

Slight correction oops, said "medicine man" back then -- should have made that "medicine man and woman" (Regina Genius Carter).

And Harris, harking back to that Tribal Epoch, we had a good friend down there in the Four Corners epicenter who built his house on a mountainside around a giant rock... he was a (sort of) professional researcher of the Paranormal, specialty Cattle Mutilation... his theory, backed by exhaustive research, was that the Mute Jobs were being done by aliens who were arriving in black helicopters to carve out the innards of cattle in order to discover... something about radiation, nuclear weapons bases, uranium mines, dead cow's skulls... all very Georgia O'Keeffe-Goes-Outer Space... he and I were working on a giant article, all the geographical core data concerning the mute sites and mines and military locations marked by little flags and special coded symbols... in time the theory buckled a bit under its own burden of gravity, and at that point the aliens turned out to be working for, naturally, the govt, I think it was... in fact (by the way) all of this has been subsequently confirmed by "history" (??)... but and so anyhow, our friend heard about a rummage sale at Los Alamos, hightailed it down there, bought up an entire wardrobe full of vintage Los Alamos Security Guard unies, stored them in his closet under the big rock.. and when, as was inevitable, the feds beat their way up the mountain to bring a reckoning, they found those uniforms, figured our friend for an inside-inside connected-guy, apologized politely, and left.

We had in mind escape to a hideaway in Ranchos, in that period. As the world turns.

Indians from the Pueblo would stand motionless outside white people's cars in the supermarket parking lot, staring in, saying nothing.

Hazen said...

World, meet wall. (That third foto).

Johnny Hodges: all bow down, while listening to Mood Indigo, and Diminuendo in Blue, from when Duke took the band to Newport back in ’58. There's a blue hue to so much these days.

All the way.

Wooden Boy said...

It's good to hear a violin speak with such force and clarity.

There are worse deserts to walk into; these days all too near.

Unknown said...

How quickly forgotten the Mayan Calendar predicting world's end in December 2012. Thoroughly re-explained as the ending of one age and the beginning of another. Nothing really all that dramatic, you know? What are a few years give or take in such a transformation? Do bells toll? Does petroleum drown the coast of Thailand?

Harris

De Villo Sloan said...

Now that's a Tom Clark poem. Great!

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

The wind hummed Mood Indigo

The desert was wide, quiet.
I saw it as a job.
I kept on walking.

. . . still walking (medicare cane or not), wind still humming . . .

8.2

light coming into sky above still black
ridge, white curve of moon above branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

space which is around lines,
surface perpendicular

in relation to there, field,
system of coordinates

silver circle of sun rising above ridge,
line of clouds to the left of the point

Nin Andrews said...

I agree. It's a great poem!