Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Might the School Board Election Be About Charter Schools? (Published in the DCF)

It would be helpful if all the Board candidates would have something to say about some kind of limit on the number of charter schools. Would 50 be enough for Albuquerque? 100? 200? How about even a moratorium? Just how many schools are the citizens of the Duke City willing to build? Read the whole story on the Duke City Fix.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Monument Valley

Bob Martin sent me this beautiful shot of Monument Valley. If you haven't spent some time exploring the Four Corners area, you should do it this spring. There is nothing on earth like it. And like everything else in this wonderful part of the country, half of the story is in the sky.

The Sunday Poem: Andrea Hollander Budy...For Weeks After the Funeral

American Life in Poetry: Column 096

Grief can endure a long, long time. A deep loss is very reluctant to let us set it aside, to push it into a corner of memory. Here the Arkansas poet, Andrea Hollander Budy, gives us a look at one family's adjustment to a death.

For Weeks After the Funeral

The house felt like the opera,
the audience in their seats, hushed, ready,
but the cast not yet arrived.

And if I said anything
to try to appease the anxious air, my words
would hang alone like the single chandelier

waiting to dim the auditorium, but still
too huge, too prominent, too bright, its light
announcing only itself, bringing more

emptiness into the emptiness.

Copyright © 2006 by Andrea Hollander Budy. First published in "Five Points" and included in her book, "Woman in the Painting." Reprinted by permission of the author and Autumn House Press. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ken Saville and the Beautiful Lindsey Arndt

THE PIT--Right after halftime Ken came over to our seats at the top of the chairback section. "Grab your camera and follow me!" he yelled.

I followed him through the lingering crowds, past the Lobo store, past the food counters, and into an alcove near the women's restrooms. He ran up to a tall woman who was having a conversation with a young girl. Ken threw one arm around the woman's waist and looked back at me beaming.

Lindsey Arndt Day put her arm around Ken instantly. It took a second or two for my small digital camera to focus and flash, but I got the picture. Ken Saville and one of his beautiful heroes, Lindsey Arndt. Lindsey was a member of the 2001 Lady Lobos that reached the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Women's Championships.

After graduating from UNM, Lindsey did her student teaching at Navajo Elementary School in Albuquerque's south valley. Ken works there as a permanent substitute teacher. Lindsay's student teaching consisted of being a P.E. coach. The regular coach was out for most of the semester and it fell to The Artist Ken Saville to show Lindsey the ropes so to speak.

"I taught her everything she knows," says Ken. Lindsey Arndt got married, and is now coaching at Sandia Prep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ditch Digger

SOUTH BOSQUE BIKE TRAIL--There is an unbelievable amount of mud and dirt in the diversion channel. It is about 5 feet deep in places. This was cleaned out last spring, but the rainy summer and wet winter have left tons and tons of dirt in the bottom of the channel.

When they cleaned all this out last spring, they hauled it up to the corner of Rio Bravo and 2nd St. where it is currently stockpiled awaiting use as fill for some project. This winter it looks like a lot of the pile has ended up back down in the ditch...I can only assume they will get dump trucks down here to haul the dirt back up to Rio Bravo and 2nd.

It would make a nice poetic complete circle, but I don't really believe that is where the dirt came from...although I have no doubt that it is where it will end up. Instead I guess Albuquerque is losing ground ever so slowly to the ravages of the elements. It seems even here in the middle of the high desert we have to fight nature just to keep water from washing it all away.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Portrait of the Artist Going Door to Door (DCF)

NOB HILL--Sam Pillsbury and I set off to find Sam some wall space in that most ethereal of aesthetic meccas, Santa Fe. Read the whole story on the Duke City Fix.

Shoot Out at the Grocery Cart Corral

COAL & YALE SE--Bob Evans and I were coming back from our Monday bosque bike ride when we came upon police cars blocking Coal Ave. at Yale. This was part of the Jay Ulibarri stand-off. Ulibarri, firing a "hail of bullets" at a police car, escaped from the Smith's parking lot and ended up in an apartment building on Harvard where he kicked in the door and made a hostage of the man who was living there.

Thank God no one was killed. No one was even hurt. Officers tazed Ulibarri instead of shooting him. This is the sort of response that should be praised! Good work APD! We are all so glad you were able to handle this difficult situation without causing serious injury or death to anybody.

It would be great if more details of the arrest became available. I am sure many of us would love to hear how APD was able to bring this to a successful conclusion.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Spare Change?" Came the Voice Behind Us

"Spare change?" came the voice behind us.
"John! Haven't seen you in a long time!" John looked good: clean clothes, clean shaven. He was wearing gloves. I wondered if his hands were washed...something that is pretty rare in his life. Sometimes his hands are so black his palms look burnt.

There are countless stories about John, his life revealed in short tidbits picked up almost at random on Central Ave. He attended Pius X High School. His mother was apparently murdered in front of him during childhood. His life seems to be intertwined with street drugs, but I've never seen him drunk. He loves my girlfriend MaryAnn.

"I've been in jail," he said matter of factly. "I was in there for five weeks."
"What for?"
"They caught me sleeping on somebody's porch."
"Five weeks for sleeping on a porch?"
"I hate that place. It's so crowded. They let me out downtown. The jail is way out by Grants."

The author David Stuart told me he once took John and his buddy Morris out to eat in a restaurant. John was clean and sober at the time. "He was surprisingly articulate," said David.

"Well you sure look good," I told him. He always looked good after being in jail for a while.

"Got any change?"
"Not tonight."
"God bless you."
"You too, John. God bless you."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another Nob Hill Business Bites the Dust: Hey Jhonny Home

NOB HILL--Graze doesn't seem to be the only neighborhood business closing its doors in Nob Hill. Hey Jhonny Home has been running what seems to be a "going out of business" sale all week. I'll go down there and talk to them this week.

I can only guess they don't want to say "going out of business" because they intend to keep their original store on Central Ave. open.

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Bald Eagle Perched in a Cottonwood

NORTH BOSQUE BIKE TRAIL--Bob Evans and I saw this eagle just off the trail on a cold and cloudy morning.

The Sunday Poem: John Haines

American Life in Poetry: Column 095


Literature, and in this instance, poetry, holds a mirror to life; thus the great themes of life become the great themes of poems. Here the distinguished American poet, John Haines, addresses—and celebrates through the affirmation of poetry—our preoccupation with aging and mortality.

He has also written some meaty political poems. Following "Young Man" I have reprinted "Kent State, 1970" from the website archipelago. Don't miss it! --J_M

Young Man

I seemed always standing
before a door
to which I had no key,
although I knew it hid behind it
a gift for me.

Until one day I closed
my eyes a moment, stretched
then looked once more.
And not surprised, I did not mind it
when the hinges creaked
and, smiling, Death
held out his hands to me.

Reprinted from "ABZ: A Poetry Magazine," No. 1, 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2006, by John Haines, whose most recent book of poetry is "Of Your Passage, O Summer," Limberlost Press, 2004. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Premonitory, her outstretched arms
as she kneels in the spring sunlight,
the cry on her lips that will not
raise the boy lying dead before her.

How often has that image returned,
to fade and reappear, then fade again?
In Rwanda, in Grozny, Oklahoma . . .
Kabul, city of rubble and orphans.

And now the Capitol streets are closing,
an aroused militia at the gates –
the fences scaled by a stray gunman
for an enemy poised ever within.

We are asleep in the blurred ink
of our own newsprint, in the flicker
of our nightline images; in the fraying
voices of distracted candidates.

How long before that prone form rises,
to stand, confused and blinking
on the sunlit campus field; then fall
again in the blood we cannot see . . .

And that long-held cry of hers awakens,
to be heard at last over the stutter
of gunfire – in the grassy echo of a town,
a street, a house no longer there?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dealing With Being Lost...And Staying Alive (posted on the DCF)

NOB HILL--Now may not be the time you are thinking about going into the mountains...after all, it's 30 below zero in some parts of New Mexico at night. But yesterday's story about Carolyn Dorn makes me think about survival. She lived in the Gila Wilderness in the middle of winter for 5 weeks!

Getting lost in another matter. Today's post on the Duke City Fix tries to give some pointers for not getting lost in the first place. And then what to do if it does happen to you.

Even Daniel Boone wasn't sure of where he was all the time. So don't be too proud to read it.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: 1916 JN-3...A Life-Size Replica Hanging in Columbus, NM

COLUMBUS, NM--I would say that hardly anybody who is reading this has ever visited the new Pancho Villa State Park Museum. The displays are dominated by a life-size replica of a "Jenny" of the kind used in the punitive expedition that pursued Villa into Mexico. It was also used in WWI. If you have a chance visit the area and the Museum. Eat lunch at The Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico. There are several motels in nearby Deming. For the hardy, campsites are available right at the Pancho Villa State Park.

The Sunday Poem: Three Lines from an Elementary Student, Tatiana Ziglar

American Life in Poetry: Column 093


Newborns begin life as natural poets, loving the sound of their own gurgles and coos. And, with the encouragement of parents and teachers, children can continue to write and enjoy poetry into their high school years and beyond. A group of elementary students in Detroit, Michigan, wrote poetry on the subject of what seashells might say if they could speak to us. I was especially charmed by Tatiana Ziglar's short poem, which alludes to the way in which poets learn to be attentive to the world. The inhabitants of the Poetry Palace pay attention, and by that earn the stories they receive.

Common Janthina

My shell said she likes the king and queen
of the Poetry Palace because they listen to her.
She tells them all the secrets of the ocean.

Reprinted by permission from "Shimmering Stars," Vol. IV, Spring, 2006, published by the InsideOut Literary Arts Project. Copyright © 2006 by the InsideOut Literary Arts Project. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

An Archbishop, a Judge, & a Senator Walked into a Bar...

As if I wasn't enough of an idiot, I took on an Archbishop, a Chief Judge, and a popular Senator in this morning's post on the Duke City Fix. It's no joke, but I did make it all up.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Pelicans on the Salton Sea

Last week MaryAnn and I camped out by the Salton Sea in our quest for warmth. The afternoon temperature was in the mid-70's. The campground was nearly empty. Twilight settled on us slowly. And the pelicans, in a peaceful patrol of the shoreline, glided silently by.Click on picture to enlarge, then right-click, select "desktop background."

The Sunday Poem: Linda Parsons Marion...Home Fires

American Life in Poetry: Column 092

Home is where the heart. . . Well, surely we all know that old saying. But it's the particulars of a home that make it ours. Here the poet Linda Parsons Marion, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, celebrates familiarity, in its detail and its richness.

Home Fire

Whether on the boulevard or gravel backroad,
I do not easily raise my hand to those who toss
up theirs in anonymous hello, merely to say
"I'm passing this way." Once out of shyness, now
reluctance to tip my hand, I admire the shrubbery
instead. I've learned where the lines are drawn
and keep the privet well trimmed. I left one house
with toys on the floor for another with quiet rugs
and a bed where the moon comes in. I've thrown
myself at men in black turtlenecks only to find
that home is best after all. Home where I sit
in the glider, knowing it needs oil, like my own
rusty joints. Where I coax blackberry to dogwood
and winter to harvest, where my table is clothed
in light. Home where I walk out on the thin page
of night, without waving or giving myself away,
and return with my words burning like fire in the grate.

Reprinted from "Home Fires: Poems," Sow's Ear Press, 1997, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1997 by Linda Parsons. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.