Fragile Volcanoes

When my first-born child was six years old, I found myself standing in front of her first-grade class, trying to teach poetry. My wife had volunteered me at Back to School Night.  (Don’t ever miss Back to School Night.) I mean, have you faced a room full of first graders? They fidget.  They squirm.  They’re […]

Milosz & The Metropolitan

Riding a leisurely train down along the Hudson from Poughkeepsie to New York, I ate an avocado sandwich, read Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and then, with a map my friends in Poughkeepsie had lent me, plotted a sight-filled route from Grand Central Station to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The river disappeared behind dark buildings, the train passed through a series of short tunnels, I studied the map.  I didn’t want trouble out on those mean city streets so I set tough rules for myself:  Don’t stop.  Don’t gawk at the tops of buildings.  Don’t look confused.

The Wild West Of My Dreams

El Paso, Texas is a brown town, the brown of mountains, the brown of desert, the brown of skin and earth and muddy river.  When I arrived in El Paso as a five-year-old in the summer of 1959, I wanted to see that river, the famous Rio Grande.  I’d seen it in movies, glorious cowboy movies with majestic vistas and mighty, rushing rivers, silver water sparkling in the sun.  I wanted to see the river and the mountains and the horses and the cowboys.  I wanted to see the Wild West of my dreams.