Albuquerque to Truth or 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.




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)




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)




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.




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


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.  🙂