Albuquerque to Truth & Consequences to Tucson: Feb 9-12

Saturday, Feb 9, 2019

After dragging our stuff down the stairs and out to the front porch of the funky hostel, I went back upstairs and photographed the scene outside the window of my room.  I was happy to start heading south; sloping downwards, the altitude pressure let up on my lungs.   Hurray for strength.

 


(BH)

 

Driving the 150 miles toward Truth or Consequences, my mind drifts back to driving I25 to I10 several times in the past, once photographing as much of the sky, rocks, mountains, mounds of dry brown dirt, as I could (at the same time steering). My plan was to string it together and put it into a long foldout book, writing a poem along the top and bottom. Many of the photos are still in my archive, but the plan never came to fruition.  New York City demands took over.  Now I shoot a few new photos, and later dig up one from 2005. What I discover: my regular camera was much better than I phone8 and yes there has been a change in the shape of the earth.    (BH)

 


(2019)  BH

(2005) BH

 

Adios Albuquerque. We headed out to Truth or Consequence, NM.  Peaceful, wide open desert, then mountains came into view.  We pulled into T or C and had a bite at the Passion Pie Café. Too early to check in at The Rocket Inn, we strolled around and visited the Geronimo Springs Museum. A very interesting First Nations fellow, Herald, greeted us at the desk.  The museum was a lot bigger than it appeared from the front. There were several rooms full of photos, well-labeled archeological native pottery, and materials from the old West, saddles, long rifles, chaps and frayed, but charming, pioneer dresses. I was especially intrigued by a chronological lifeline and photos of an Irish immigrant, who became a well- respected and upstanding member of this community, settling here some generations ago and whose sons and daughters have continued living in the area. His name was Sullivan, which is my grandmother’s name and her parents immigrated to America at about the same time and from the same county in Ireland, County Cork.  I found myself thinking that possibly we might be related. (MO)

 

(BH)

 

Waiting to check in to the Rocket Inn, after visiting the museum, we drove around Elephant Butte.  The Rio Grande is almost a trickle with a big towering dam but nothing to dam up, and a small body of water with a few houseboats in between gigantic barren rocks. The highway swerved around the upper edges of the rocks and we both agreed as we followed the curves, the whole scene was spooky. (BH)

*

In Truth or Consequence we arrived at the Rocket Inn.  It seemed the nicest spot so far of the motels and hotels we’ve stayed at. The owner, Val, (who we wish now we’d taken a photo of —such a striking, cool looking woman) had bought the inn in rundown condition about 25 years ago and had completely renovated it by herself. She literally did much of the physical construction updating. Our stay there was a treat. (MO)

What a relief after the hostel: the Rocket Inn was clean, warm and pleasant.  And we did not have to lug our things up to the second floor. We decided that all we wanted to do was stay in the motel and rest.  (BH)

 

 

Feb 10, 2019

Driving out the next morning across the desert to Tucson, we chatted about how lucky we were to have children despite it taking time from our writing. And how much our children mean to us.  Then we mused on marvelous flat desert with scattered bushes & low stubby grasses.

Rain storm between Hatch & Deming. Fierce sky, but mostly wind and light rain. (MO)

 


(BH)

 

As we drove along the two lane highway between Hatch and Lordsberg, to our left there was a brown storm, probably a sand storm coming and on all other sides dark grey clouds. I hit the gas peddle going faster.  Could we beat it? Some drops fell as we cut across the desert. Whew. Not today.

 

(Selfie)

 

When we pull into Tucson, we call Charles Alexander & Cynthia Miller and arrange to meet for dinner at Delhi Palace on Broadway.  What a pleasant surprise to sit down with old friends for dinner.  A very warm welcome. (BH)

*

We pulled into Tucson and the first real warm weather of the tour. Barbara had lived here a few years ago and so knew her way around. We drove up N. 4th Ave, which was lined with happening restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores new and used, and lots of quarky shops. Of course, we had to go into the used bookstore first and then Antigone Books, buying a book in both!  Then went up the street to Café Passe, an old haunt of Barbara’s.  We hung out till our casita was available. Later we had dinner with Charles Alexander and his wife at the New Delhi Palace. Cynthia is a painter (Cynthia Miller) and art teacher.  She has shown her work in NYC and other cities and is deeply involved in the art scene here in Tucson.  (MO)


MO, BH, Cynthia Miller, Charles Alexander

(MO)

Feb 11, 2019

Drove around town. Settled in. Barbara found Yoga studio for her practice.

Emailed David and Laura Wilk, who would soon be in town for a winter stay. Will be so fun to see them as usually they are far away on the east coast. (MO)

As I drive around town showing Maureen this and that, slowly the map of the city started re-surfacing in my brain. I lived in Tucson from 2006 to 2010.  Now people have moved, grown old, some died, and some are still here.   I say over and over to Maureen: I really love this place, the land, the plants, the houses, the people.  Very strong life long friendships began in my stay in Tucson.  When I lived here, I served on the boards of POG and Chax Press; there was also a tight community of poet friends, including Frank Parker, Charles Alexander, Cynthia Miller, Tenney Nathanson, Sue Carnahan, Dawn Pendergast, Paul Klinger, Bonnie Jean Michalski, Jake Levine, Tony Luebberman, Laynie Brown, Rodney Phillips, Chris Sawyer, Lisa Anderson Cooper, Lisa Bowden, and others.  We curated poetry readings (bringing in poets from around the country) and held reading groups (studying such poets as Barbara Guest, Charles Olson and Robert Duncan).  I also remember sitting zen with Tenney Nathanson every Sunday.  (BH)

 


Casa Libre on N. 4th Ave, home of many poetry readings and events
and once a place where retreating poets could find a space to stay. (Photo by MO)

*

In a yoga class this morning at Yoga Oasis, the teacher was playing Krishna Das music and she talked about how lucky she was to have met him and how he was once nominated for a Grammy.  I sit quietly smiling to myself, remembering years back singing Kirtan and going on retreats with Krishna Das every week in small groups in NYC at  Jivamukti; this was years before he became famous. My very close yoga pals Lisa Schrempp and Kate Donovan were there, too, and then they both moved to Tucson. When I tell Maureen about it and call up one of his albums on my computer, Pilgrim Heart; we both start singing, smiling and laughing, especially when I show her how we used to dance around the Jiva studio: Hare ram, hare ram ram ram, hare hare /hare krishna, hare krishna krishna krishna, hare hare/ and so on. Now to sing with KD would require going to an auditorium with a crowd of people.  But here we are in our little casita singing together.  (BH)

Feb 12, 2019

Had lovely breakfast at Charles and Cynthia’s home.  Barbara went to yoga and Cynthia and I sat outside on the brick border soaking up the sunshine.  Two humming birds flitted about in the olive tree outside their front door. We were so close to them, but they seemed completely unafraid of us.  Cynthia said her mother had befriended the hummingbirds for years. Even taking one that had fallen to the ground in bad weather into the house in a tiny soft box, then as the little one came to, putting it outside and free. It seemed like the hummingbirds had grown to trust her mother so much, and now her, that they perched without fear on the branches near us. (MO)

 

We read on Saturday. See poster below and let others in Tucson area know.  Thanks.  🙂

Albuquerque: Feb 5-7, 2019

Feb 5th, 2019

We drove away from the Comfort Inn in Clovis past the Golden West Flour Co building as we watched heavy military aircraft come in for landings. The Cannon Air Force Base is 7 miles SW of Clovis.  It’s under the jurisdiction of Air Force Special Operations Command. The population of the base is around 2,000. More herds of pretty cattle lolled in the pastures, Angus and Herford. The day a greyish mauve cast. Then there were rams with curving horns and sheep. Highway 84 West runs along side the railroad track where long freight trains passed us going in the opposite direction.  A dead coyote hung off a wire fence, fur ruffling in the wind, shot and left as a warning to other coyotes no doubt.

What is it about New Mexico. We just crossed the border from Texas and the skies opened like a fan unrolled all around us. Suddenly it was all sparkling blue with swirls and white puffs of clouds. A Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

Driving, we noted abandoned farmsteads and a regular old ghost town. Then appaloosa and buckskin in a high pasture.

Arrived in Albuquerque at the Mother Road (route 66) Hostel. We were early and no one at the front desk, all locked up. We found a cool coffee shop nearby to wait, tho just as we sat down to enjoy our scone and tea we saw they were closing at 3:30 and it was 3:25! They let us linger a little, then we drove back to the hostel and took a walk till they opened.  The Mother Road is a bright yellow, older building with many rooms and a very accommodating atmosphere. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly and the security is top notch.

I emailed Margaret Randall, wonderful writer and activist living in Albuquerque http://www.margaretrandall.org, and we made plans to meet for dinner tomorrow with her and her spouse, Barbara Byers, a terrific artist. http://www.barbarabyers-books.net (MO)

 (MO)

February 5/6, 2019
Woke up in Clovis NM, tired,
sleeping rough in a bed
body in a vata state, gotta calm
down, clear lungs, take turns,
driving, car climbing upward,
lived under this same blue sky
umbrella years before,
the sloping planet earth,
eat tempeh sandwiches
& drive into Albuquerque’s
mother road hostel, two
rooms pro-soundly possible
in the hostel, dinner
at Annapurna, communal
breakfast with a guy
from Ireland en route to Mexico
another guy profoundly
in the know, political
history & all, cold and rainy,
small yoga class, slow-ga,
just what I need, the women
advise chlorophyll for
altitude sickness, coupled
with lung overuse, windy,
clear and cold, unpack
our coats, radiator cold,
missing a bullet, visit Margaret
Randall and Barbara Byers,
talking  art, writing, two lives
having lived/living art, Cuba,
Roma,paintings and asemic
writing, home to Central Ave/
Hwy 66, still breathless
Maureen carries my bag.
(BH)

*

February 6, 2019
We met Margaret Randall and Barbara Byers at the Orchid Thai Restaurant on Central Avenue.  We meant to take some photos with Margaret and Barbara at their house where we gathered after dinner, but we got lost in conversation and forgot.

(BH: As I was sitting quietly there, a bit breathless, I noticed how beautiful Margaret was as she reclined on the couch talking to us about all her trips and adventures. I wish I had taken a snap.)

Barbara took us into her studio and showed us her art book projects, as well as some of her recent asemic work and paintings.  Margaret gave us a copy of her recent collected poems.

(MO)

Feb 7, 2019
Compared to our last reading in Austin at Malvern Books, the bookstore reading in Albuquerque was a bit disappointing in terms of turnout. The weather was unseasonably cold and apparently affected the attendance.  We were very happy, however, to read for the small group that included Barbara Byers, Mark Mills  (a friend of Elinor Nauen’s), a few of BH’s on-line students, Sherry Wright and her husband David (of San Francisco) and Dara Elerath, a very talented young poet and graphic designer. Margaret Randall sent her regards; she wasn’t well enough to attend. After the reading we went to the Flying Star Cafe with Barbara Byers and Dara.  Here’s a link to one of Dara’s poems: https://aprweb.org/authors/dara-elerath

 

US 84W: Feb 4, 2019

One Eye Open & Driving

One eye open, the other still sleeping
yoga between beds, reach up, wake up
curtains drawn, passersby pass by
sky blue and wide, Texas style
pumping gas, a cow braying in a trailer
miles and miles of wind mills
a dry treeless main street town
Post Texas library with no bathrooms
love of the word, pee in MacDonalds
no such thing as decaf, a donut
from Donut Depot for Maureen,
all of a sudden Lubbock &
a scruffy guy with a cigarette
dangling lays down his bike
and snaps us beside Buddy Holly’s
glasses, 
sun in my eyes, hello
from Cricket Street to Broadway,
urban coffee decaf and Tumeric Latte,
then off we go tracing the wires,
along US 84W, listening to Arthur Blythe
remembering entering Alvin’s Finer
under Blythe sound with Allen
& with Detroit friends, flat flat
land in 4 directions, finally hot,
in theTimes read out loud
about prisoners in Brooklyn,
without heat, zero degrees, banging
on the walls & we’re 26 miles to Clovis
and Mexican food at Leal’s,
just a hop skip & jump to our beds
(Barbara)

                                                                        For Patrick     Happy Birthday!
Feb 4th 2019
Left the very fine Microtel Inn in Sweetwater, TX , headed for Clovis, NM. Driving straight along beside acres and acres of graceful and elegant wind turbines, we looked for a town with a coffee shop.  In Slaton we found Donut Depot, but no coffee or tea after 11:30 a.m.  And definitely no decaf.  I’m finding Texas does not do decaf. No decaf lattes.  When I ask for decaf they seem to question my sanity. Like why are you drinking coffee if you don’t want caffeine?

We went off route in Lubbock to see the Buddy Holly Museum/Center where a giant replica of his glasses sets out front. Being Monday the museum was closed, but we delighted in posing beside the dark geeky frames. A man on a bicycle came by so we asked him to take our photo. He mentioned that Sunday, Feb 3rd, the day before, was a gala 60thanniversary for BH at the museum. Sigh, had we only come a day earlier, but it was great to be there now.  BH was and still is my favorite rock n roll singer.

In Lubbock we found a perfect coffee shop and, of course, no decaf lattes. But they did have decaf coffee, so I had steamed milk with that. Lubbock had a lot of shuttered storefronts, boarded windows, abandoned shops. Rather surprising in a city with fabulous red brick streets.

We left Lubbock for Clovis through country sides dotted with little homesteads, scrubby trees, and solitary oil rigs on little farms.  (Maureen)

 


(MO)

(BH)


(BH)

(MO)


Found inside a bible in Sweetwater Texas Microtel Hotel.

Austin Texas: To and Away: Jan 31-Feb3, 2019

Jan 31, 2019
As we headed out of NO, a man pulled up alongside us at a stoplight and motioned. We rolled down the window and he said, “I know two good looking white women like you wouldn’t be worrying about getting any trouble ‘bout it, but your brake light is out on the right side. If it was me I’d be worrying, cause they’d be coming after me!” He was a sweet, funny fellow, laughing as he talked.

We drove long stretches of LA. St Charles came up on 10 west as we listened to Ray Charles sing “Tell your mama, tell your pa, I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas.”

News flash: Every senate republican backs a rebuke of Trump’s troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. We didn’t brake when we saw a police car and resolved to replace the light when we got to Beaumont.
In Texas 3:01
Speed limit 75 (MO)

February 1, 2019
In the morning in Beaumont Texas, we set up our mats in between the beds and did our  yoga practices, then downstairs we ate some grits in the “complimentary breakfast.” After loading the car, we stopped at a gas station to ask where we could get a brake light.  We were directed around the corner to a truck repair.  The young man kindly took apart the inside entry for the light and showed me how to install it. He sent us to an auto supply. We left Beaumont without worrying any longer about the police stopping us and confiscating my old Honda with all our kitchenware and books.  (BH)

*

Foggy then thin sun. over Trinity River, then overcast & fog again. Darker skies. We chat about our past and places we’ve lived. A host of trucks on the highway and now pastures of Texas long horns. (MO)

*

I don’t remember much about the four hours of driving along I-10 to 71.   Pretty flat, one big frightening power plant, then a little strip of curvy roads and we came into Austin.   (BH)

*

When we arrived in Austin we drove to the University of Texas at Austin, where our hosts for the night taught. The campus was vast and we drove, confused about where we were supposed to meet Johnny, Barbara’s friend. We called him on the cell and after driving in what seemed familiar circles we finally saw him gesturing to us. We had some time before Rebecca, our other host, would be ready so Johnny gave us a tour of part of the enormous campus. 50 thousand students go to UT at Austin. We strolled uphill to the famous turtle pond and took some quick pics of the many basking turtles. Then walked by an amazing sculpture of stainless steel and aluminum replicas of canoes intertwined by Nancy Rubins, titled Monochrome for Austin. I snapped photos from all it’s jutting angles.  (MO)

snaps by MO

In Austin we stayed at Johnny and Rebecca Hartigan’s house for two nights.  I’ve known Johnny since he was about nine years old.  He is family to me.  His mother was (and still is) a dear friend and when Johnnie was a child, he traveled to carnivals and fairs with my husband, Allen; they had a special bond with each other.

Rebecca and Johnnie kindly offered us shelter, food, laundry and great conversation. We stayed with them for two nights. They are music lovers–Johnny plays the accordian, dobro and concertina, and Becca plays the mandolin. See below for a wall in their living room.  Johnny is an anthropologist; in his last book is Care of the Species, he uses ethnographic ideas to study botanical gardens and knowledge.  He is now working on an ethnography of wild horses in Galicia, Spain. For more info on his work, see–
https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/anthropology/faculty/hartigan   Rebecca also works for the UT, educating and managing a large group of high school teachers who then teach their students college level statistics.

snap by BH

That night, we had dinner together with their daughter, Zia and her friend, at a vegan restaurant, called Beer Plant, thereby making all of us happy, those who drink beer and those who don’t (me). When Zia arrived, I was surprised at how much she still looked like the little girl who spent the night with me in 2005 in Tesuque, New Mexico; she’s a beautiful, vibrant young woman studying civil engineering.  It wasn’t long ago when women did not major in Engineering.  Hurray for Zia.  The next day we had lunch at the Sour Duck, another crazy beautiful delicious place. And the next night at the Spider House. (BH)


Maureen, Zia, John, Rebecca in Beer Plant ///  Teague and Zia in 2005 // photos by BH

February 2, 2019
In the morning the weather was still misty and damp. Austin is close enough to the gulf to share  humidity with desert plant life.  I went on a hike with Johnny, heading down a path behind his house through a wooded area, following a dry creek to a flood plain and finally ending at the public library (possible 3 miles). (BH)

 by BH

Thanks to Becky Garcia at Malvern Books. She did a great job of organizing their space for our reading and also promoting the reading.  Fernando set up a table with our books and Rebekah introduced the three of us. There was a big attentive crowd. We read with Ashley Smith-Keyfitz, a young, exciting Austin poet.   Here’s a link to her reading one of her poems–
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUcVqz9UFVE

*

Michael Anania, longtime friend, Poet, essayist, and fiction writer, who I hadn’t seen since I had reddish hair and he had black, came to our reading at Malvern Books. Fabulous to see him again after so long a time! We had fun catching up a bit and in his usual energetic fashion he turned me onto one of the books on display: Duets by Edward Byrne, a little book that tests the boundaries of translation. I’ll say no more, but you must check it out as Michael’s excitement about it is not to be questioned.
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/michael-anania
(MO)


Audience by BH

Ashley by BH

MO by BHBH by MO

Three Poets’ Shoes

After the reading, we went out with Ashley Smith-Keyfitz and Ben Keyfitz.  We ordered vegan sandwiches from a food truck called To Dine outside The Spider House; apparently there are hundreds of food trucks in Austin. We sat outside in the misty weather eating our burgers and chatting about poetry, Austin, New York, families and . . .

Ashley & Ben by MO

 by MO

 

February 3, 2019
On the road to our motel in Sweetwater Texas, we talked about many things. As we passed by miles of grazing and farmland, one of the more interesting conversations was about Maureen’s potato farm. She owns some property in Minnesota, the farm where she grew up.  The house is ramshackle now, maybe collapsed, but she has this idea that she will put up some temporary structure, like a little trailer or a yurt or something like that and she’ll go out there for a few months of the year and raise potatoes to donate mostly to an organization that for example supports the homeless, and raising just enough to pay her electricity for the year.  It will be called the Bud Phalen Potato Project, after her uncle who farmed there.  I see her there on a flat country landscape digging and planting potatoes and at night, laying on the hood of her car, looking up at the stars and writing poetry.  (BH)

snap by BH

Another interesting thing, as we neared Sweetwater, TX, the landscape became an enormous wind farm. Literally hundreds of wind turbines, their elegant slender bodies, creamy white and stunning, engulfed the hilly view. They seemed to go on forever and we noted that tho the development of wind power is a boon to the environment, the problem of their wrecking havoc on migrating birds and water fowl is a grave one. We chatted on noting that this was an issue that was being investigated. I thought I’d read somewhere that some kind of sonar device was being worked on that could be installed in the turbines and would signal our feathered friends to avoid that area. But we agreed it was still a complicated issue. Improving the environment, yet wounding the creatures in the environment. (MO)