Archive for June 2011

Santa Fe #8 Discovers, Street names, Dog dreams   1 comment

As I crossed Avenida Cristobal Colon wondering if this name meant Christopher Columbus and if not what Mr. Colon did to have his name up high and almost in lights – red, yellow and green (It does mean C. Columbus). I remembered my desire to rename the streets in the small town where I raised my children. Convenience and practical names make lanes, roads, and avenues lack interest. The streets were in alphabetical order one direction and numbered the other. The town I just moved from chose the practical over the appealing, too.  Now I live on Agua Fria where more cold water would be a blessing, but I like the name. I discovered that Agua Fria Street used to be called Calle Real (Royal Street) because it was actually the end of Camino Real (Royal Road) that began in Mexico City. I drive towards downtown on the old Camino Real, today’s Agua Fria, and the street turns in front of the Santuario de Guadalupe. This old road once forded the Santa Fe River and then became the Calle Real, which led to the Santa Fe Plaza.

Avenida, Camina and Calle are found here in Santa Fe. With my google online translator, which I used once for a poem, and which thoroughly tickled a poet friend that I would even try this and who translates poems from English to Lithuanian, (my poem turned out to be accurate for the most part per a Spanish-speaking person) I will translate a few street names that I enjoy. Please excuse any incorrect translations here and blame google translator.


Camina means


1. wayfarer










12.tread down






18.home in on

19.wend one’s way

20.tumble over


You can walk down A street or Z Street in some cities or Camina Del Rey (king walk) here in Santa Fe, and you may be such a chirruper that people turn their heads to stare or you may tread and toil your way home on B Street or Cerro(hill) Gordo. Gordo means











but when you are sweating up the fat hill of Cerro Gordo you might  chuckle at the person who named the street correctly, or you may be enticed to write a story about the fat man you met on Cerro Gordo with the most alluring brown eyes who enticed you into his dusty green carro where you chirruped all the way to Tijuana until the vision of Jesus in a walnut-banana pancake caused you to rethink your life, but back in Santa Fe regardless of the street name, or anywhere else, I frequently get turned around like anytime I walk into a new building, hotel, restaurant etc, so you can imagine the extra gas I’ve used in my new locale. It’s not even a big city but that hardly matters to my backwards route-taking brain. I wonder what people who don’t get lost do with all that extra time.  I stumble on to interesting places even if I can’t find them again, or, at least, not easily find them again. I remember Rosanne Barr doing a stand-up routine about women having homing devices in their uterus.  I think she’s right. I can find a man’s shirt in a closet that he’s been through three times and doesn’t find. When a child asked me where his Matchbox Scooby-Doo van was, I told him in the bottom right side of the toy box under the rubber Tarzan  and his great-aunt said, “How did you possibly know that?” My directional instinct isn’t missing, it just spins in odd directions.

When my dog Brando disappeared the day we arrived while we were unloading the truck and I frantically looked for him out on the street, several people told me, “Don’t worry, he’ll come back. Dogs know their way home. Maybe I just need a keen sense of smell to get where I’m going.

I’ve been wondering if my dogs dream about the yard they left in Nebraska. Anyone who has lived with a dog knows they dream. Their feet move as if chasing something, they twitch, whine, and make other strange noises as they sleep, so why not a dream about running along the wooden fence in that big back yard, the fence with gaps in spots and small holes where they stop abruptly and peer through at the two dogs next door who join them in their daily race along the fence. Or do they dream of that tree that had grown just enough in the past eight years to shade a big dog who liked to lie on the grass in a cool spot, or the smaller dog who found just the right place along the opposite side of the yard against the fence in the afternoon?

This morning I took the dogs out to pee and I could tell Brando needed to do more than that, so I put them in the house to get the leashes out of the car, because he was determined to find a spot that was not on our paved parking area (he likes tall weeds, grasses or flowers).  I shut the door before going to the car and locked myself out.  I tried crawling through the window, but there was a piece of foam board that didn’t allow me to open it wide enough, so that’s a good thing for anyone trying to enter Unit J (I’ve solved my dilemma about what to call this place I now live) and if the dogs treat an intruder as they did me that means they looked at me trying to get the window open and cocked their heads in wonder. They certainly are cute. So I had to yell for sleepy Ed to let me in at 6:15 this morning, but all turned out well, Brando found the perfect weeds in the vacant lot next door. And the neighbor didn’t see me trying to crawl over our Fred Sanford junk outside and into the window in my new Goodwill PJs.

We installed a used swamp cooler yesterday. One of those easy jobs that take all day. The bearing was no good and Ed needed a special tool to get it loose and was directed to a man who directed him to another man and said “Watch out he’s grouchy, and tell him that I sent you.” That opens the doors to all kinds of imaginings. No problems there but several other things like the wrong this-piece- of-plumbing and the window didn’t open wide enough and etc. but we got it done and spent one of the few cool nights sleeping since we arrived on May 25th. The rest of the summer will be cooler in Unit J.

After the swamp cooler was running, we relaxed to some blues music for an hour at El Meson (the inn), which was beyond a nice hour. It felt like a necessary hour. My Bose purchased a few months is not working and my car radio/cd player quit. Bose is sending me a new one. I had to find Staples today to send it UPS and the Post Office for another package and I DID IT!  After a few wrong turns and that was just in the mall area. One mall turns into another. How many malls does it take to make a city happy? I’m hoping it’s the fuse on my car stereo so I’ll be listening to Roy Orbison and Lucinda Williams again soon.

There are great Native American street names here also like Cochiti, Tesuque, Nambe, Hopi, Anasazi etc.

I also discovered that the Governor from 1878 to 1881 Lew Wallace wrote “Ben Hur” and has two streets, General Wallace Drive and Ben Hur Drive.


Posted June 17, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Santa Fe, Entry #7 Cave of Forgotten Dreams   2 comments

After watching Werner Herzog’s film “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” which filled my head with wonder and amazement, two oft-repeated quotes and one not so known kept coming to mind. Gandhi’s quote, “Everything you do is unimportant, but it’s vitally important that you do it” and “I am life which wills to live in the midst of life which wills to live” by Albert Schweitzer, and the lesser known quote by my therapist friend, Sarah, who said, “Everyone is doing their best. Why wouldn’t they be?”

I watched the film and imagined being one of the crew with Herzog and what that must feel like standing in front of paintings done 30,000 years ago by a flesh and blood living artist. Just a person  like one of us filled with apprehensions, doubts, senses and emotions. A person who made a conscious decision about what to draw on that rock wall, just as I make a conscious decision about what to write. So we both stand or sit with tool in hand because we have a reason or need or desire to communicate something or express something. We need to do this, something drives us to this. And the artists of these paintings thought about, considered, pondered how to best express what they desired to express. The shapes of the rocks emphasized the animal’s bodies and faces and they chose the best rocks before they painted. The artists did not draw child-like stick creatures, but picked their canvas spots carefully, and gave their creatures depth and expressive faces and bodies. How were these artists different from people today?  Not in the ways of technology that he or she would not understand today anymore than I would understand how to survive and thrive in their day, but like us, they have felt their heart beating faster, felt fear from a nightmare, know what a newborn baby looks like as he/she emerges from a comfortable womb to complete one of the many passages that squeeze us tight, and make us squirm in the light.

The 30,000 years seemed inconsequential as I watched the film. Each generation reaches adulthood thinking they have an edge of knowledge or that they are somehow different from the last, not knowing that someone else has thought their thought already, experienced it already, and any new skills they have also mean skills they will never know, so as Gandhi said, “Everything you do is unimportant, but it is vitally important that you do it.” Personal choices make a life. Will the world keep turning if you disappear, absolutely, so that makes the experience of deciding what and how to paint that buffalo all the more vital that you do it. I’m not sure what I mean, but I know I feel it. We are life which wills to live in the midst of life which wills to live and we are all doing the best we can at any given moment. It might not be the best for you or him or her, but it is the best you can do in that particular moment.

Some form of the world will continue with humans or without. We are here to experience, to choose, to breathe for the hours we have.  Whether you break at the thought of damned rivers or abused puppies or soar at the written word by a genius like Goethe, or when you watch the faithful sun rise once more, it is necessary that you feel “it.” You are a tiny, forgettable, incredible drop who may someday be wondered about by a person 30,000 years in the future. Your name is unimportant.

Posted June 11, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in FIlm, Uncategorized

Santa Fe Post # 6 Cement floors,   Leave a comment

Two days ago after I began feeling somewhat settled with everything unpacked, Ed said, “I’m thinking we should do the floor now.” My entire body rebelled at the idea of moving all the furniture and stuff that I’d just gotten into place back out again so we could stain and seal the floors. I wanted the floors done, but this again felt never-ending like we are stuck in the Twilight Zone. When we packed the house and studio in Scottsbluff, Ed kept finding things and finding things that he wanted to take with him that looked to me like they could very well stay right where they were.  But with a night’s sleep, I was ready.  Having a garage door in my living room has again proved to be quite convenient and we moved everything the next afternoon and evening except the big items which were easily placed outside through the big door the next morning. I’m probably projecting, but the dogs look at us like we are crazy every time we start moving furniture again. “Crazy humans! Why don’t they just lie on the couch and watch TV like they used to.”

I drove the dogs to spend the day with a lovely woman who does dog day care in Eldorado and after getting lost as is usual for me and which added to Tucker’s sense of panic at being in the car too long, we made it to Laura’s home and her eight acres. The dogs immediately began sniffing and peeing on every plant in sight. When I got back, Ed was cleaning the edges of the floor around the doors and corners, then we swept several times and put on our ventilator spraying masks to apply the muriatic acid, after that we mopped the floors four times and then had some fun smearing powdered colors of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and various other red, oranges, and black onto the floor to add some interesting mottling and depth to the floor before we sprayed on the stain and sealer. Our friend and artist Becky Deem came over to help spread some color. We laughed at some of our attempts and debated what worked best in our practice spots.

The finished floor looks much more inviting than the gray cement. Aahh! Exhausted but the satisfaction makes it worth the effort.

I cleaned up and drove out to pick up my puppies. Laura said Brando missed us the most and looked for us and whined a little as he waited, but they had a good day and were dog-tired when we got them home. Laura’s 18-year-old daughter bonded with Brando and told me that he is the most beautiful dog she’s ever seen. I agree. He’s not only beautiful, he’s interesting and wise and loyal etc. etc.  Tucker decided she’d rather stay with her new friends than ride in the car, but once home, she was happily carrying her football around waiting for someone to play with her.

We are making this space a home! And once I have banana bread in the oven, it will really feel and smell like home. I feel my mom is here cheering me on. She moved so many times before settling for a good many years in Bridgeport, Nebraska, and she welcomed new places even though the situations were not easy. Thanks to all the brave, inquisitive women I know – the ones who stay in one place and the ones who move about!

Posted June 11, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Have a Chair, Uncategorized

Santa Fe, Centipedes, Ojo Caliente,   4 comments

My plan was to write continuous entries and post them on my blog about the process of moving from Nebraska to Santa Fe, but the work and complications and details of moving began first thing every morning and left me ready for bed when the sun went down. My fingers are stiff and swollen as I type today. Yesterday when one more day of heavy lifting seemed like it would push me over the edge and I would gratefully fall, and Ed was also exhausted we decided to drive to Ojo Caliente about 40 or 50 miles up the road and soak in the hot spring waters. The hills, the lady walking around carrying a sign that said, “Please Whisper” the stillness and the warmth, along with the overcast day with its interesting clouds and the swallows that seemed to fly and dive for the joy of it eased my grouchy mind and sore body.

Being too tired messes with one’s thought process and causes little things to grow exponentially. Like stopping at the Black Hole in Los Alamos to pick up some wire to hang shelves. The wire is for a stack of white refrigerator-like trays that Ed has the idea of hanging on thin airplane wire from the ceiling beams. They will seem hardly there but provide us with interesting space for our books and other odds and ends. It seems that lately all I’ve done is follow orders and wait for one thing or another. On our way to Ojo, I waited with the dogs while he looked for the wire and accessories, not like a purse and shoes, but the things like clamps or crimps to attach the wire to the shelves and the beams. And the Black Hole is a black hole with aisles of stuff where some people can’t get enough of wandering the place to find exactly what they need or don’t need. It’s got everything from a pile of bowling balls out front and signs for peace and against bombs to army surplus clothing and signed photos of President Clinton and Hillary. So Ed and the guy helping him, also named Ed, searched drawers and bins, and hanging bins and nooks and crannies for just the right items, I took two restless dogs for walks outside and inside the crowded aisles where we could have easily knocked over ancient computer monitors with their long leashes and curious noses. I’m so old I not only recognize the typewriters but also have used them in my teens. Yesterday, a man on the radio said that young people are bringing old typewriters into bars for typing speed contests. While Ed was enjoying his time with Ed, I was thinking the Black Hole would swallow him and he would die happy and I would die grouchy 40 years later. But we made it out and to the hot mineral springs where I tasted the soda water pool, drank lithium water from a spout and watched a young couple get kicked out of one pool because they were doing a photo shoot of the girl in her bikini swirling and tying a scarf around herself.  Photos are permitted but not a shoot that distracts the guests from their business of relaxing.

When I left my husband 9 ½ years ago, I told myself that because I was causing this much havoc and pain, I must not just live the same life minus him. I must live my own fears and challenges and not be complacent. In some ways, I did live much the same life. I purchased a house in a nearby town and went to work everyday and came home and paid my bills, petted my dogs and mowed the lawn.

But buying the house that was all my own, paid for with my earnings felt much different from living in the house that I owned with him. It was a symbol of independence for me and sometimes I would look around and think about how I was earning money, paying for a house, and dogs and a car and all those things that make people feel “normal.” And it would surprise me. I did not have a degree until I was 43, and staying home with kids for so many years and being dependent on my husband for what we had, I understand my amazement and pride to be doing it all myself.

I felt there might be a point that I would give it up, a point where I would make a bigger change. Living in England before purchasing my house was living my own fears and trying new things, but buying the house, getting the dogs ended that kind of adventure for a while. Being here in Santa Fe where my living space is a metal warehouse with no yard and living here with my exotic bird, Ed, is my real experiment in living a life different from my previous years. Once I get passed the heavy lifting of moving, getting Ed’s benches and storage areas built with him, getting the floors painted, the kitchen cabinets hung etc. knowing the dogs are acclimating and each day when they find a place to poop and do it  and it won’t need to be a cause for celebration, and when I find all the places for them to run without worry about bubonic plague in fleas and prairie dogs and when I accept that the landlords here aren’t like landlords at home who are people you actually see and expect things from, and other small details like the cheapest gas, favorite coffee shop and all that stuff, I will settle into my new experience like meeting Judy Natal at Tecolote Café this week. When the waitress asked if I would like to sit at the community table or alone and I said either would be fine and then thought to myself,  “Why did you say that. You don’t want to sit at the community table and make small talk.” The waitress led me to the community table near a woman on one end. Two men sat at the other end engaged in a conversation. I smiled at the lady next to me. She was reading, “Just Kids’ the book about Patti Smith and Mapplethrope written by Patti Smith. I read it a few months ago. I busied myself with a local magazine. Some words passed between us when I received my enchilada plate with beans, and we began a conversation. Judy is a photographer from Chicago and her brother is a successful poet who has a small press where he and his wife design and make chapbooks. We talked about Santa Fe, dogs, moving. Judy was very nice and was in town for some kind of review of her work, which I did not ask more about and regretted that I had not. She took my name and I googled her when I came home and saw her extensive resume and her interesting work. I emailed and told her I appreciated her humbleness.

Just getting new tires and stumbling onto this small restaurant while I waited  resulted in a creative connection. Not that this did not happen at home in Nebraska, but the artists were fewer and the mindset different in many ways.  My last day there, I hugged the poet John Ewing  and told him goodbye in the Union Bar. John’s a brilliant cowboy poet who can hear a story in the bar and scribble a rhyming poem on a napkin and recite it to the person who told the story. He wished me luck in New Mexico. I am already lucky. Lucky to know Nebraska, lucky to be here today with the centipede that just crawled across the floor.

Posted June 3, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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