Planes, Wings, Deserts, Mountains, and Poetry, 11/03/13

Puma, Russ, Jane at LGA

Puma, Russ, Jane at LGA

So here we are LaGuardia Airport, Russ Green, Jane Ormerod, and myself, three poets who are awfully pleased with ourselves for arriving early, boarding passes in hand, breezing through inspections with plenty of time for coffee and conversation. I haven’t done a great weather tour for a while and it is always fun, full or poetry, music, and laughs. 

We sit in the lounge at Gate C14, feet up, watching the news and talking of scenes in Savannah and Austin, Texas-two steps, Russ’ wardrobe – he has carefully packed shorts and flip-flops for our trip to what he thinks is hot and arid New Mexico desert, when in fact there could very well be snow in the mountains of Santa Fe. I find this particularly hilarious since I wear boot and black jeans all year long.

Suddenly, we notice that it is very quiet at Gate C14; in fact, we are practically the only ones there. Perhaps, suggests Jane, they have changed the gate? I’ll go find out, I say leisurely, what time is it? And no sooner have I said this than we realize it is 10:15, our flight is at 10:29, the Gate was changed to C7, and we are in flight, racing through the airport, all feelings of competence gone. We reach the proper Gate, which is locked, but miraculously we are admitted and the attendants assure us that all is well as we knock our way down the narrow aisle, searching for vacant overhead compartments. Some of our fellow travelers gaze at us smugly, others with contempt – or, even worse, pity.

The flight is uneventful, except for a long, rocky landing, which seems to take hours. We have a two hour layover in Houston to get over it, and obsessively check and double check the Gate. Safely aboard the plane, another passenger, who was also on our previous flight, shows us photos that he took of the airplane wing during the most turbulent period – apparently a chunk of it had fallen off. He inquired about it when he deplaned, and was told Oh, not to worry, that always happens.

We touch down more smoothly in Albuquerque, miraculously claim our luggage, and board a shuttle van for the one hour journey to Santa Fe. I’m really excited to be here. I’ve passed through New Mexico on many cross country trips and remember my first visit -  I was so astounded by the space and the sky that I refused to inside, slept under the stars or in the back of the car, sticking my head out the window to make sure it didn’t all disappear. Staring at the sky.

The move through the sunset and the driver mentions that at this time, the next day, it will be dark. Our reading is on the first November Sunday, Daylight Savings Time – and I recall that the last time I was in New Mexico was March, 2008 – Daylight Savings Time on the Spring Back end, and feeling just as confused about changing clocks and time zones as I am now. I dig  out a poem I wrote that day, entitled Time:

         daylight savings  central  mountain  pacific

         all in two days    I don’t know what time it is

         but I know it’s the same moon, smiling in New Mexico

         floating through Arizona, lingering over streets

        that shine at midnight

       in New York City, there’s a window, 13 floors up

      a girl sits and stares across the East River,

      at the same glittering moon

I am remain amazed that we are all under the same sky and continue to write about the moon, stars, oceans, deserts. On that same 2008 subsequent trip, I drove through the southwest before going up and down the California coast, sometimes in a closed vehicle other times on the back of a Harley. Another poem I wrote is called Desert Dream, with the opening lines:

       I never thought I’d fall in love with the desert

      Ocotillo shrubs, Saguero blossoms, Palo Verde trees..

Back in New York City, I read it at a Brooklyn venue, and our dear, departed, Brant Lyon approached me afterwards and very gently corrected my pronunciation – I’d slaughtered those poor shrubs and blossoms. I’m still missing Brant, who indirectly made this trip possible for me and seems to be travelling by our sides, and I’m still thinking of Lou Reed, hearing the sound and words of Perfect Day on the plane, in the room,  carried over from 10/27, a NYC Sunday Morning when all you heard was Lou. But in its own way, every day is a Perfect Day, and Brant, between you and I….only two more things would make it more perfect – you being here with us, and…..well, you know the other one. xoxo

Puma Perl


Puma Perl reads withChristian Georgescu, Russ Green, Wayne Lee, Jane Ormerod, and Tina Yang

Teatro Paraguas 3205 Calle Marie Santa Fe,NM 87507

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