We all follow particular subject threads in our reading. I keep following the trail of New Mexican poetry. Monsieur Big Bang and I recently visited the a place south of Santa Fe called El Rancho de Las Golondrinas. This is a beautiful and quite expansive living history museum depicting the history of the Spanish Colonial immigrants who settled along the Rio Grande.
I check out every museum or college book store to see if I can find new local poets writing about "place." My project is twofold: learn something about how the neighborhood poets view particular places and support those bookstores who stock local poets.
This is how I found an amazing chapbook by Rafael Lobato, "Working in the Sun (Un Campesino en el Sol)" which was published in 2000 and translated by Deborah Melendy Norman. The 21-page chapbook contains only seven poems but I enjoyed all of them: poems about relatives, outdoor labors, the Rio Grande and New Mexico history, growing up in rural New Mexico, cultural changes and challenges, and strategies of flirtation (warnings of a misspent youth).
From "This Was My Life"
When you live, you lack everything.
When you die, you leave everything.
From "Welcome to the Ranch of the Swallows"
The Spaniard who slept here
Died very tired—I can feel it.
His feet struck so deep
In the sands of time
Not even the wind
Can erase his place in history.