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Sunday Brunch

Poetic Micro Essays

Look for a new post of Sunday Brunch every month on the first Sunday. This column features Tripod Poems, poetic micro essays inspired by three randomly chosen words. These words become the title of the piece, are contained within the piece and are developed into observations on life in the Southwest and beyond.

Petroglyph, photo taken at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, New Mexico. Photo credit, Eve West Bessier

Paste – Entrance – Atmosphere

The motto for New Mexico,
Land of Enchantment,

is a moniker that praises the state’s
expansive, mesa-strewn views
that entrance the mind with beauty
and expand the soul’s capacity
for greater understanding.

Such outrageous spaciousness
creates an atmosphere
of audacious possibility.

It can also gravely intimidate,
act as reminder of nature’s ability
to quickly overwhelm any
individual or collective intention.

The tension between
the concrete and the divine
is palpable here, a feeling
that we might be able
to cut and paste ourselves
into this outsized landscape,
but we must work diligently
to belong here, to deserve
querencia, an innate relationship
with land and place.

New Mexico is not gentle.
However charming she may seem
in our romantic dreams,
she is a land of harsh extremes

To thrive here, even to survive here,
requires a willingness to strip away
all conventional expectations
of comfort and security.

Here, the high-altitude sun sears.
The winter cold freeze-dries.
Relentless mountain lightning
sets massive forests afire.

Late summer monsoon rain
creates violent flash floods
in the dry lowlands, while
for the rest of the year,
water is a scarcity,
well-guarded in acequias,
or only present in the long
memories of dried arroyos.

Golden eagles soar overhead,
while ravens caw and cut corners
under white wisps of striated cloud.

Coyotes howl at pink-hued moons.
Rattlesnakes coil beneath
jagged outcroppings.

Ancient petroglyphs
are carved on the dark
surface of volcanic rocks.

Pueblo dancers in buffalo
headdresses step gently
to the thunderous drumming
of their sacred ceremonies.

And the sky, the sky, the sky!

Unending, azure, majestic,
with low-riding storm clouds
close enough to almost touch.

Then comes the spring wind.

The wind, the wind, the wind!

It invades every nook and cranny,
coats absolutely everything
with the fine, white dust
of the high desert’s
Pleistocene skin.

Photo: Petroglyph at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, New Mexico. Photo credit, Eve West Bessier

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

Eve West Bessier

Eve is a poet laureate emerita of Silver City and Grant County, New Mexico; and of Davis and Yolo County, California. She served on the steering committee for the Southwest Word Fiesta, and has been a festival presenter. Eve is a retired social scientist, educator, and voice coach. She is a published author, jazz vocalist, photographer and nature enthusiast currently living in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Enriching Life Through Learning in Community

We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.