The Rogue Voice


January 01, 2008



I toss yesterday’s tortillas
to pack dogs at my door—
-with bared fangs and smoldering
matted scruff-fur hackles,
they grunt-scarf then slouch away.
Snouts in weeds for more chance scraps,
in mournful whines and whimpers, heel-nipping,
with floppy, sagging, lopsided shuffle,
they cross fields towards the Oñate Feedmill,
where they gnaw hooves and snarl
over gutted intestines
at the back door of the slaughter house.
At night they sleep in the Rio Grande bosque,
and walking there myself at night,
in the moonlight,
I've seen their eyes glint in the brush,
bloody obsidian knife blades
dripping with the day’s blood.

—Jimmy Santiago Baca


I saw my father in a dream
I tried to tell him how I close my eyes to see
while wading in the surf

“You open your eyes and learn to read” he said
I turned away as he lectured me

When I was a boy we had reading practice
so I would do well in school
and become a doctor too
I remember once in his oak paneled study
he wore a starched white shirt and tie
and slapped me on the head
“Read the damn book” he said

I started to cry
Tears distorted letters on the page
I stumbled over the words

“Do you want to grow up to be a ditch digger
and work with a shovel all your life” he growled
“Why do I have a kid like you”

To get even with him, I scrambled letters through my tears
‘doctor’ became ‘dotcor,’ ‘bubble’ became ‘babble’
a lexicon of bongo words like a seawall against the surf

I’m older now
I’ve learned to scribble out my feelings
in a journal book. It’s
a slight turning without the tears, a smile
a changing slant of light
Letters don’t jump around so much
Words have mostly stopped shaking

Now I wonder what it was like
for my father to have a boy who couldn’t read well
would never be a doctor and wouldn’t even try

—Ivan BrownOtter

Lost Man

discontent and a long thin wire
still intent
building silently
hollow arms, hollow legs, hollow soul
containers for disruption

all the while the pain it closes in
on the curb, he stands
arm swinging
as cars drive by
time empowers
a corrosion
befallen to him

and all the while the pain it closes in

voices talk so loudly
so quietly
not at all
with a long thin wire
and a soft, soft ache

—Andrea Peck

She said

I wouldn’t mind a Vicodin
followed by a glass of gin

The urge is nowhere
nearly as urgent
imperative or
mindless as it seems

I’d lie to see his dying grin
followed by a glass of gin

—Todd Young


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