Poems of the Southwest

Regarding that Trip We Never Took to Taos, Robbie

What possessed you
when you called me
year-before-last?
Every now and then
something does.

I could hear the fear you'd built up, dialing my old numbers
- then relief's breathiest breath:  You'd found me!
My voice was masseuse and you were loosened
into blissfully assuming that your ace
is safely in the hole.

I remember what you said then about sidescripts:
describing me as yours and you as mine;
delighting how these hold apart
from main scripts of our lives, but stay
for staging sometime.  Or not.

Well, it's been not for a long time, Robbie
and while you've been hanging onto your one marriage
I've been tossing quite a sequence of them back
- so if I ever had a main script
I've lost track

You went on to say you felt ready to see me
and we talked about driving together to Taos;
I promised I'd show you the best route: the back road.
I told you that's the way I always love to go.
You said, I know.

How come you need the notion
- just the notion -
of a sidescript
backroad
lover?

For thirty years
you've kept on dreaming
- only dreaming -
about being an outlaw
with me.

When the urge strikes next
it could be chancier to waste it
than to risk me:
You'll be past fifty
and I'm so not so very scary anymore.

I've cut out skipping down expressway medians
- with or without wildflowers in my arms -
and I seldom break in zoos
to wish the animals sweet dreams
because I'm not eighteen.

What's more, by any stream
in almost any weather
I can be trusted not to turn into Ophelia.
And I hardly ever climb a tree these days
to play my flute at dawn.

I guarantee you would survive a trip to Taos in my company.
Being damn near out of the mad lady business
I've become something you could probably handle:
I am fun now, Robbie.
Not radium.

I've got a few grey hairs among the ginger
but I'm prettier.
Wittier.
And I've learned a luscious lot more about lovemaking
- plus nearly as much about Taos.

Why, I could lead you right to
the best room
by the plaza
with a fireplace
and big windows opening toward the mountains.

In here are carved chairs, dark
from centuries of touching. 
Touching.  And the fluffiest
bounciest fourposter in town.
For real.


Chants to a Terracotta

1.  the drum carol

for one
month's rent
exactly
an armload:
clay fisted to knees
heavy arms
and broad shoulders
wide moccasined feet
the left softly outwise
the right one with toes tilted high;
with tickle
or music
alive.

plains daughter
horse rider
legs bowed like a baby's
now amply reclining
in permanent dreamstate
yahei
yahei


the Sleeping Ute
the gallery called her;
her ring is Blue Lake
come the people
the dancers
the singers
the wise men
and women
the healers
the children
to light:
where sky fills
with spirits
at night.

here she holds
the darkness
I come close
on tiptoe
the spirits
with drumbeats
are chanting
they're making
a music
for me:
you really
know how to
spend money
yahei.

2. 
the hair's austere
the face
almost not there

she's Gone
to
Sleep

following her nose
to
heaven


Santa Fe Style

When business is slow
I do some reading

so the bartender confided

unpleating a scarf
to show me
Tarot cards.


©1985,1987, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris. All rights reserved.

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