Poem by the Indomitable Joan Logghe

Written for 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading at Ethyl the Whale

Our Lady of Sorrows Fiesta: Small Things

Even though the world is ending
I am fighting off frown lines
and even though there is no hope
I named my daughter Esperanza
and even though I hear the science
and the Artic ice calving and pipelines and penguins,

I teach poetry, the least useful most important thing
and even though I do not carry special knowledge,
I think of Pittsburgh, a man carrying THE END IS NEAR
sign in 1963 on Fifth Avenue, a small thing
as I walk to my ballroom dance class

and even though, I wipe carefully the counter
in case Buddha or the Messiah may arrive,
and with a jar liberate the wasps and spiders
so they might live long and prosper, small things
and though there is storm surge
I put on jewelry, small things

And if it were happening to my house,
if my child were swept away, if then, what
and always I dislike people saying
“That is a First World problem,” because usually it is
and though the earth is swallowing its children,
I gave birth three times, and though my grandchildren’s

have five hearts, I tilt my head so my double chin
won’t show on FaceTime, and though we are dying
of unnatural causes, I laugh, as the comedians are prophets
and I’m playing those Leonard Cohen songs of a Saturday,
even though I take a petrol Sabbath, small things
and let the world come to me bearing its beauty.
I walk the razor’s edge between dark and light
the beauty way. Life on the narrow edge
we go on living in the even so.
September 2019

Photo by Elizabeth Jacobson

100 Thousand Poets for Change–Tomorrow

In Los Alamos, where the line up includes Jane Lin, Mary Cisper, Kelly Dolesjsi, Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan, Zoe Robles, Meridian Johnson, Darla Thompson, C Pirloul and others…please join us!
Saturday, September 28, 4:30 at the Co-op.

and in Santa Fe

September 28

1-3 pm
Ethyl the Whale at Santa Fe Community College. 86 College Drive, across from the La Familia campus clinic.

Rain or shine—it looks to be nice weather but we have a back-up indoor space for rain.

There will be a tent and chairs. Bring water, hats, blankets, and whatever you need to feel comfortable.

Bring your friends! We’ve had great publicity, including interviews on Hutton radio and KSFR.

How exciting!

Bronka Nowicka Translated from the Polish by Marek Kulig

My mother slices tomatoes, but they themselves bleed out. She mixes them around once to the left, once to the right. She says nothing to me.
Why are you allowed so little?You can’t turn back time with a spoon. Nor can you using a wooden knobbed mill with a pepper-scented drawer, nor with a finger stirring the air. You can’t link gardens.
If you could tie, like pieces of string, present and past gardens, in it would be me and my mother wearing an oversized, hand-me-down hat. We would say to each other our names and then go play house.
Earlier I’d take off of my mother that poor hat covering her eyes.


No Homeland No Fear


‘No homeland, no fear’: A conversation with the radical art collective that imagines a borderless America

Back in the mid-1980s, years before any part of a border wall was constructed, Guillermo Gómez-Peña helped jump-start an art movement at the San Diego-Tijuana border. He and a larger group of artists contested the idea of the U.S.-Mexico border as a dividing line, picturing it instead as a circle, a “place of encounter, reinvention, and utopian possibilities, as opposed to a site for violence or hatred,” he said.

Courtesy photo
An image from La Pocha Nostra.

Winter Workshop with Miriam Sagan!

Miriam Sagan Weekend Retreat
Friday Evening – Saturday January 24-25, 2020.
At Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, Placitas, NM
REGISTER HERE: https://www.julesnyquist.com/catalog/item/1420675/10415453.htm
Keeping A Poetic Diary will emphasize techniques that can bring journal keeping alive and create finished pieces. We’ll work with lists, letters, flash memoir, and more—as well as traditional Japanese approaches of haiku and prose (haibun) and poetry with visuals (haibun). Expect timed writing, reading aloud, doodling, a look at blogging, and inspiration. Models range from Joanne Kyger’s twentieth century “Strange Big Moon” to Sei Shonagaon’s tenth century “Pillow Book.”

  Miriam Sagan is the author of DIRTY LAUNDRY (100 Days in A Zen Monastery, New World Library) with Robert Winson and A HUNDRED CUPS OF COFFEE (2019, Tres Chicas Press).  Miriam lives in Santa Fe, NM.

More on Iconic Haiku–Miriam Sagan & Bill Waters

I recently got asked to pick a haiku that somehow is representative of my work. I was struggling with that.

Fellow writer Bill Waters said: This reminds me of the anecdote, Miriam, where a smart aleck comes to Rabbi Hillel and says something like “Teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” In response, Hillel says “That which is despicable to you do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary.”

So when someone says, essentially, that you should sum up all your haiku into one “best” or “most memorable” one, I’d ask you: Do you have a favorite? One that sticks in your memory? Maybe that would be the one you should go with.”

So, here is what I sent the editor:

footprints in snow
crescent moon, all my
beautiful failures

This haiku was written for the Snow Poems Project, curated by Edie Tsong in Santa Fe. It featured poems written on local windows. Mine adorned the Convention Center–https://miriamswell.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/snow-poems-2/
I wrote this haiku one cold evening. I went out to get the mail. I saw both
my footprints behind me and the moon above. Approaching 60 at that time, I
was flooded with a sense of the ephemeral nature of my endeavors. But it
wasn’t a sad or hopeless feeling. In fact, I felt happy for my effort while
realizing human striving doesn’t really get anything. People don’t like the
word “failure” and I emphasized it on purpose, maybe to shake the reader.
For my 60th birthday I collected my haiku into a chapbook, titled from this
poem–“All My Beautiful Failures” from Miriam’s Well–and gave away a
hundred copies.

Bill continues musing: Personally, I’m not big on memorizing my own poetry and can seldom call more than a few to mind. The one I remember most often, though, is this one:

birds on a phone line
some this way
some that way

It’s never been accepted for publication, and it may be that no one likes it but me — in fact, it may not even be a “good” haiku by certain standards; I don’t know — but if I had to pick one haiku to represent me, it might just be that one because it’s the one I that’s never far from my heart. ;- )

Editor’s note: I love Bill’s “iconic” haiku. It works for me on at least two levels. First, it’s visual charming, a realistic but pleasing moment of something ordinary rendered like a tiny sketch. Secondly, it has a deeper resonance about the changeability and fluidity of both life and perception. That “phone” line gains in meaning as it is potentially about a conversation. But the haiku is all light touch–as a haiku should be.

Disability Walkabout by Miriam Sagan

I was at the Climate Strike rally, minding my own business. Sitting on a wall, propped by my cane, several feet from anyone else. A more elderly lady than I appeared, and a middle aged man, in his haste to get her a folding chair, hit my leg with said chair. Mumbled “sorry” and dashed away. I wasn’t hurt, but I was a bit freaked out. After all, that leg is the reason I’m avoiding the crush of a crowd. I can’t afford a lot more hits to it.
Recently, I’ve been in a dark mood on this subject. People seem to be more aggressive towards me when I’m on the cane. A friend said she didn’t think that was true, that people were just trying to be helpful. Another friend—also on a cane—said yes, sometimes it makes people hostile.
Or perhaps it just makes me visible in a way I don’t appreciate—like being pregnant. Thirty years ago—when I was—strangers would pat my stomach and comment. I don’t like being touched unexpectedly by people I don’t know, but I attempted to be pleasant.
Less so now. There was the airplane steward who tried to take my cane and put it in the bin when I was folding it up to fit in my pack. Somehow this put me negatively on his radar. Then my husband was rubbing my bad arm and neck.
“Keep this rated G,” the steward said.
We stared at him, taken aback.
“OK,” my husband said.
But the guy continued with more of this, aimed at me, “Keep it rated G.,” over and over.
“Sir,” I said.”I’m in pain. This helps. If it is inappropriate, just say so and I’ll stop.”
“I’m joking,” he said. That last refuge of a conversation that isn’t going well. “HE got my joke. Why not you?”
Because I’m a woman? On a cane? “I’m not in a joking mood,” I said.
Maybe that’s all it is. I’m not in the mood to be hit by a chair, give up my cane, be commented on. I’m just not in the fucking mood.

Two of My Favorite Millennial Thinkers Respond To A Question About Belief

What beliefs did you have about yourself that have now changed?

Tasia Karoutsos: That I’m bad at math, can’t understand complex science, and that I should pursue creative writing. Turns out I prefer analytic thinking. Wish I’d figured that out before I started my career!

Tasia Karoutsos: I also used to think all of my body hair was thick, dark, and hideous, so I would shave the “normal” bits, as well as my arms, tummy, and toes. Adult me has gained back a lot of time by letting go of that insecurity

Isabel Winson-Sagan: I believed there was some sort of ultimate reality or truth that I could get to if I worked on it. It took me a long time to understand that human consciousness is much more about holding multiple, often conflicting, truths simultaneously. And that this has nothing to do with “reality” (what a problematic concept!). Also that I would be an English teacher when I grew up as a fall back because I had no real passion for anything! Sorry mom

New Mexico is hoping to make college tuition free for all state residents

New Mexico is hoping to make college tuition free for all state residents looking to attend its public institutions in the first plan of its kind in the U.S., the governor announced Wednesday.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the program would apply to all 29 of the state’s two- and four-year public colleges and universities and all New Mexico families, regardless of their income, for the fall 2020 semester.
“This program is an absolute game-changer for New Mexico,” Grisham said in a statement. “Higher education in this state, a victim of the recession, has been starved in recent years.”
When I read this news, I started crying. In twenty-five years at Community College I had hundreds of conversations with students in my office—panic stricken, teary, in debt, dropping out, and yes-—homeless and living in cars with their children. Of course staying in college all came down to money. This initiative won’t solve every social ill—and it still has to pass into law. But it is the best news I’ve heard in a very long time. Thank you Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and all who created this vision.