First Report of First Trip to Bali


I have been back from Bali for over a month and am still sorting photos and impressions.


It is a place of lush growth and smooth beaches and lots of people.  There are many impressions for which I have no photos.  One is the traffic.  Streets always crowded, more motor bikes than cars, but not a lot of horns. Drivers take turns at intersections.  People are generally considerate.  (This trait makes them good at hospitality, and tourism seems to be the main industry.)

One common activity for both locals and tourists is visiting temples at sunset.  We went to Tanah Lot, which stands on a promontory a short distance from the shore.


We were fortunate to arrive there at low tide.  Beyond this entrance one walks down over water-worn rocks to see the temple rising above.  (Temples, being active worship sites, are not open to foreigners.)


Afterward, we tourists go back and up the hill to buy drinks and watch the tide come in and the sun go down.

tl-tideThere were few tourists and a long row of shops with tables and chairs offering a good view.


This describes one late afternoon in a seven day visit.  A very short time, and there was much we did not see, but watch for more installments of what we did see.  As I said, I am still sorting my impressions.

Poems on Line


I have three poems in a brand new online journal, the Ibis Head Review


The three poems, “Burned” “Pulled” and “Congruent” are poems I want to include in a book manuscript which includes some very personal poems about my childhood, education and parenting.  (These three fit that later section.)

“Pulled” for example begins,

Tulips are intractable, the wedding florist
says, “They bend as they please,
don’t use them.”

The poem describes the years of a couple largely, not entirely, like my own marriage, and ends:

Fingerprints washed from door sills,
the wall reattached to the flooring, she
discovers they bend toward each other.

I have a second reason for liking this publication.  The masthead for Ibis Head Review uses the Egyptian hieroglyph of an ibis (not, fortunately, just his head).  I have a fondness for all things pertaining to ancient Egypt.

Have a look.



Green in the Desert


The monsoon rains have brought green to my back yard.


Of course, with rains come roof problems.  We hope those are over for now.


These are different greens from the shades we find in the northeast, but it is unquestionably green.

Shades of Green


Pictures from a walk through Scott’s Landing Preserve.


Ferns are lush.  Some of the trees mark an old road from the landing.

P1000819Thank goodness volunteers from the Island Heritage Trust maintain the trails.  They would soon be lost in the dense growth that now covers an old homestead.


A closeup of one of a small stand of iris almost crowded out by the brambles.  It was a splendid day for a short hike.

Recommendation: Damnificados

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Damnificados is a novel published this year by JJ Amaworo Wilson.

I would never have read this book if I hadn’t met the author, a well-traveled and gentle person who now is part of the writing world of southern New Mexico.  I don’t find time to read a lot of novels, and when I come across terms like magical realism I wonder what that means.

If that’s what this book is, I’m a fan. The writing is rich, the story is lively, the characters are fascinating, the action ranges from mundane to mythic.  Though based on an actual event in Venezuela, the story soon expands the location into a city that is nowhere and everywhere – the names of the slums around the city come from many different languages, as do the names of the people.

“Damnificados” are people of the slums.  It’s an ugly world; I don’t think I’d like to see a movie of this story – too much trash – but the characters are people worth knowing, and so are the animals, who take several interesting roles in the action.  But the main character is the high abandoned tower in which a whole community is created by the desperate people who move in.  And the ground on which it is built.

The book is a delightful carnival ride of the imagination.  I’ll be looking for more by this author.

Sin Fronteras Journal Issue #20

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SF 20 cover0001 The twentieth issue of Sin Fronteras Journal has arrived from the printer.  This is my fifth year as one of the editors.  I’m pleased to have helped the Journal move into the digital age with a website, http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com, and this year, for the first time, email submissions.

The work of 43 contributors from the U.S. and abroad is featured in this issue of the Journal.  Many different kinds of borders and border crossings are represented, as well as a variety of New Mexico and southwest contexts.  And some other pieces that are just good poems.

The submission period for Issue #21 begins now. Please check the submissions page on the journal website for updated guidelines.  This editor would like to see more submissions including Spanish – either as poem with translation or the languages mingled in one piece.  We get very few of these each year and would like more to choose from.

Still Spring

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I spent the equinox thinking about clocks.  One week after we went to daylight saving time here in New Mexico, we went to Tucson for the weekend, where they don’t do daylight saving time; wisely, since they are at the western edge of the time zone.  It was nice to have light when we woke up in the morning.  Coming back and getting up on Monday was like starting the shift all over again.  Meanwhile, some volunteer plants have shown up in my yard.


This autumn sage chose a sheltered place.  Whether it can root deep enough to survive remains to be seen.  Its parent plant, on the other side of the wall, is doing well.

The volunteer autumn sage gets shade from the neighbor’s tree as well as from the wall and it may get some water from the neighbors watering their tree.  The tree is putting out many new cones, which will eventually drop in our yard.


This past week, the iris bloomed.


The iris plants are a symbol of irony for me.  They came with the house, but they’re certainly not native.   All the native plants I’ve acquired since are younger than they are.  They were down to a few straggly leaves when we moved in.  I haven’t grown iris before, but I’ve been learning, and they are now abundant, though the blooms are sporadic. This year they’ve provided wonderful Easter color.

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