Truth or Consequences

I’m in T or C, one of my favorite places, particularly in the winter. This piece below was written a few years ago, but feels like the present. After all, T or C doesn’t change that quickly.


Truth or Consequences Haibun

At the Pelican Spa Motel, a lime green wall, a purple curtain, a turquoise bench. A brick red roof. A turquoise sky. I describe the colors over and over in this notebook as if I were painting.
I’ve noticed that in the Chihuahuan desert Christmas trees always seem to be white or silver. Great clumps of cactus. In the cafe, strings of very beautiful neon colored lights: purple, deep blue, yellow, cherry candy red, kelly green.

this town
is all about color
(and loss)

Trailer parks, funky apartments, half deserted Main Street. An odd courtyard, maybe once a motel, doors guarded by jeweled Buddhas.
They’re building a spaceport here, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
When I peeked inside the windows off the courtyard I saw lavishly aportioned apartments in an Asian style–like something out of the Arabian Nights.
We soak in the deep baths. Nat sits in the sun and writes a haiku about how after twenty years I’m still a poet and she writes prose. She laughs out loud.

The OPEN sign
is all I want to see
on the cafe

at the Sunset Grill
with the old-timers

So many years–at least forty–writing in some notebook, drinking ordinary coffee, in some out of the way corner of the world.

I was young
once too
you know

I write, as if to remind myself. And settle in.

Road Trip to T or C

So many mysterious things about a highway–in Lemitar, New Mexico just north of Socorro there is a beat up old sign that just has a blue Star of David on it–and the word ISRAEL. But why?
Then the sign GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST. The last time my sister Rachel visited she mocked this–“Who wrote your state signs? Jean-Paul Sartre?” Rich wants to correct it to WINDS MAY BE GUSTY.
In T or C, dinner at BellaLuca which remains very nice. The view out the window towards sunset: a dove on a telephone pole, a tuxedo cat looks up, a pink facade with aqua trim next to an aqua house with apricot trim. A white cat with a black tail comes and nuzzles the tuxedo cat–they look like negatives of each other as do the houses. A few blocks away a tall neon star blinks from red to white to green. In the west a crescent moon and Venus. A child runs out and grabs the black cat with white paws and carries it into the aqua house with apricot trim.
Ice plants are blooming purple at the Fire Water Lodge and strings of blue and white fairy lights. Very hot water gushes from the faucet–really from the depths of the earth–and fills a tub big enough for two people and steams up the room.