Poems of the Southwest

Regarding that Trip We Never Took to Taos, Robbie

What possessed you
when you called me
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

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.
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
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

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

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

the hair's austere
the face
almost not there

she's Gone

following her nose

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.

Back to Poetry Index