We had an inexplicable day off from school today. Taos was also blessed with an afternoon of intermittent rain. We are hoping for a coming season of reliable precipitation for our water, our food, our peace of mind. The wish is unlikely in an era of mega drought. But today, there was hope. Today I offer a poem written during the summer of 2011 when New Mexico experienced a dreadful season of wildfires.
Enjoy The Summer of Combustion:
This is the summer of burned Santos and fear of prayer.
People drinking water from dog dishes and coughing
fits of flu. This is the summer of restless
teethclenched sleep and poetry blight.
The summer of wandering the riverbank
finding coyote carcasses
washed from eddies of molybdenum and gold.
The summer of learning how to make love
not be love. It is not the season for love
letters boxes of chocolates and dedications. Instead it’s hands
on hamstrings man and woman
panting. Swallow each other
art of body blessed blood
and sweat. This is the summer of pregnancy.
Pocketknives in trailer parks. Dead end
murders in Tres Piedres. Cocaine run
petty happiness. Mas muertes. Prison
construction. Cell after cell after cell after
scarring abuela with the edges of bandanas.
Banderas at the bodega
resetting property lines with New Atzlan land grants.
Tú ganas nunca.
Qué viva Tierra Amarilla.
The spark of war.
This is the summer of choosing sides.
The stray dogs staring at you while they shit
Like which one of us is civilized?
Low altitude military osprey flyovers
bombs dropped from NORAD drones
the War Chiefs petitioning the FAA
for clear skies during sacred times.
This is the summer of never flying again. Throwing
frisbees with children. See them smiling
something defying gravity
one hundred feet at a time. Smiling
stuck in dusty hot rattlesnake gravel pits.
They are happy simply playing with wind
plastic and chains.
this is the summer of combustion
forests up in smoke
carrying our prayers
sixty seven percent contained
five hundred thousand acres
hotshots whack-a-mole the national forest
ten percent contained
twenty thousand acres
embers carried on sixty mile per hour gusts
forty thousand acres a day
no rain for a moon cycle
downed power lines sparking
contained the mountain sangha
the land of creation stories
the bands of refugees in gymnasiums
weapons grade nuclear waste
the wild west
Earth mishmashing with spirit
tangled and piping hot.
Headwaters tapped bone dry.
Evaporated dams steaming. The lost source
the lost supply. Too many
found the bridge
toed the railing
and tested their wings. Too many
and not enough wishes.
This is the summer of rampage.