Everything I’m thinking goes here
What I can’t figure out goes there
Just gotta turn my brain
down below blare
So I pull up a pen
And draw a chair
© 9/14 Liana
After three months or three years
or thirty-three years we will see our bearings
and find ourselves three inches of rock away
from what was or three feet or three lifetimes
of our belongings scattered along the way
and the only thing held onto
is unbearable so around we go
again with a ring or an urn
certainly go back find where we left
all we knew retrace the past where it lies
like the outline of crime on our mind
and we will do the time
until the dross burns off the path turns gold
at the core where new is made of old
the fire burning but the ashes cold
© Liana 9/14
The native woman, a Shah-mah’ tsah’nih—the grandmother, who made some of these blankets walked away from the market more tired than dirt. A hot wind blew across the gravel parking lot to the mesa and the mountains beyond, her gray hair reaching wildly after it.
She was bent sideways but shuffled forward. She looked off-kilter by design . . . like a samara . . . a thing not designed to have an upright position. I sensed sixty years of klagetoh bearing down on her left shoulder, and six thousand more years of it in her DNA.
How many women ago did our ancestral mothers sit together in an ice cave or a tent made of animal hides . . . Mary, Maria, Mariposa, Miriam, Margit, Марыя, Мэри, 메리, মেরি . . . a quill needle and red thread resting between thumb and fore-fingerprint of the same sedulous language?
September 2014 © Liana, excerpted from Shall We Break (Fry) Bread Together on Our Knees
She wasn’t fully there . . . not that he noticed. What he saw was more than enough. The memetics of the Moon moved across the darkening sky to the trembling poplars to the grapes sugaring on the vine to a single point of light that was the Moon’s reflection in her eye. She was watching.
She thought: I do believe I’ve seen this before. It was in the multiple choice section of life’s exam. The questions were the same–but she was different. She was trying not to think of shapeshifters. For godsake, just be here. She was wondering how she got here . . . my head is my only house unless it rains. She felt the grapes moving the furniture around in her head. She panicked a little–tried to contain herself . . . felt for her heart–still there . . . never left its chamber.
Not that’d I could forget even for a moment, but this is Nuevo Mexico–the land of enchantment. Here the light is different. Brown is coral with copper and slate with pearl in bronze with smokey specs of silvery cerulean. My college friend Dan once said no one knows what is really happening inside brown until he’s gone to the desert.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. New Mexico also blends blue and green in a thousand ways . . . even the swimming pool water is turquoise. It’s like the lens I’m seeing everything through has also altered the function of color . . . color is not just what it looks like but what it feels like here.
Yesterday, my friend gifted me with a 90-min massage with a shamanic man I’ll call Merlin. It hurt so bad I cried . . . I mean he wasn’t going to stop pressing his point until I cried, and once I started, I couldn’t stop even when I tried. It wasn’t even about physical pain any more. He put his hand over my eyes and I saw those bright lights that happen in false darkness. Then Merlin traced my tears with his fingers across my forehead and up into my hair. Next, he cupped his palm over my eyes and said see the vision now. That’s when his hand became a night sky . . . a coyote started howling out of my own voice. I was both in that room and somewhere out in the desert under a dark cloth of stars and I wasn’t me.
This is, after all, the land of enchantment . . . it’s not like they try to keep that a secret in New Mexico. Says so right on the license plates.