Painting © 2016 by Silja Erg
Find a delightful mix of essays, short stories, and poems in the summer 2018 edition of the Silver City Quarterly Review, including one of my poems.
My little corner of southwest New Mexico, site of copper mining for centuries and gateway to the Gila National Forest and Continental Divide trail, is home to a lot of talented writers. We have a thriving artist community too. Imagine discovering a little version of Santa Fe before the crowds did. If you’re ever in our vicinity, spend a few days.
Thanks to Chris Lemme for all the time and care he puts into the review. And for finding such a wonderful illustration for my poem. (Painting © 2016 by Silja Erg)
After the wind-whipped drizzle
I live in dry mountians, on the edge of the Gila National Forest, and always said I wouldn’t complain about rain. But this is ridiculous. Accompanied by strong winds, a cloud dropped its virga to the ground and welded dust against all my windows. Our dust sticks to glass like nothing I’ve ever seen. It will take a lot of work to clean those windows. I’ve never found anything that works very well – and, yes, I’ve tried newspaper, squeegies, vinegar, and a slue of commercial products. New Mexico dust is serious dust.
Photo may be fuzzy, but exciting too.
My house cat streaked up on the deck one morning, so I grabbed my camera and stepped out to see what upset her.
A bobcat glared at me from the driveway. By the time I raised the camera, it had walked into the grass. Bobcats prefer rabbits as prey – just the size of a kitty-cat. And they hunt at dawn and dusk, so low light accounts for the poor picture. But what a treat for me – especially since my house cat survived. This is only the second bobcat I’ve seen in the wild.
That’s me with a tuff rock formation
I’ve been camping at Bandelier National Monument and the nearby Jemez Mountains. Fall is here in the mountains – one morning it was almost down to freezing when I crawled out of the tent.
Ancestral Pueblo People built villages into the bizarre “Swiss-cheese” cliffs of volcanic tuff (a soft stone formed by huge accumulations of ash) and on the valley floor below.
The ruins predate the Spanish conquest of northern Mexico (what is now the US southwest), but archaeologists have found evidence of ancient humans in the area dating from shortly after the last ice age. I guess the area’s been drying out ever since. Bandelier pueblo peoples didn’t “disappear,” as you may have read. They moved – probably drought had a lot to do with that – and evolved into modern pueblos.
There are other sites in the Jemez dating from the Spanish occupation – a mixture of fascinating Spanish history and sad conquest of the indigenous people. A kiva (ceremonial structure) has been reconstructed at the misnamed Coronado Historic Site. Early 20th century archaeologists found wonderful paintings on the walls, which were removed for study and preservation. A local pueblo artist has reproduced the paintings, but since they represent ceremonial figures, no photography is allowed. You’ll have to travel to New Mexico to see them.
To celebrate the first anniversary of my science fiction ebook, Glitch, I’ve re-issued the book with a new cover. Available from Amazon for Kindle for 99¢; or download a FREE copy from Smashwords in any of the major electronic formats and at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Flipkart, Inktera, and Versent.
At Spaceport America in the desert southwest, Rob Shay is a mission controller for Xplore, the world’s premiere space exploration company. During routine calibrations on a client’s spacecraft, Rob and his mission crew make an incredible discovery: a glitch in space that opens an impossible path to a star and its planets.
Serendipity led to the discovery and serendipity may prevent its exploration. All Rob wants is to be part of exploring the Helios system, but problems keep getting in his way. The Board of Directors believes Rob found a glitch in the instruments rather than a glitch in space. The control crew must convince them the glitch is real. Only then will international spacecraft explore the Helios system.
Original retro-style cover
Support and opposition come from unexpected sources. Although the Helios mission is sustained by many subscribers to the universities’ missions, not everyone in the world wants to see humanity travel beyond Earth. Space exploration is a private industry, but governments try to claim control. Xplore is in the business of exploration and business concerns come first. Rob struggles in a world he can’t control, trying to stay with his mission while bigger problems rock the nation. At least Rob finds some sympathy from his once-girlfriend who runs a telescope-for-hire business in Australia.
Rob lives in near-future Spaceport America, a real place just beginning operations in New Mexico. With its distinctive, geeky futurism, Glitch presents a world where you might one day live.
Read an excerpt now: Continue reading
‘April showers bring May flowers,’
A British rhyme to cheer wet hours.
But in New Mexico’s southwest
We recite this poem in jest.
Through winter’s cold a little snow
Hardly seems the greatest foe.
March cajoles some early green
For hopeful deer now winter-lean.
But April shrivels in the wind,
Our hardest time begins in spring.
There’s still the heat of May to stand
And brutal June will parch the land
Before monsoon rains revive
The sturdy creatures that survive.
April here is no reprieve,
And gray oaks will drop their leaves,
Not for winter on my hill
But for spring and for April.
by Kate Rauner
A gray Oak in my yard – the oak vary a great deal from tree to tree, dropping their leaves and setting buds to different extents in the spring. I suppose that provides a lot for nature to select from.
It starts as moonscape, black and white
Underneath the starlit night,
Shading minor craters here,
Impacts from every footfall clear.
The eastern sky begins to glow,
Far mountains turn to pink and gold,
Then in a dozen breaths it’s gone,
And brilliant day replaces dawn.
The distance peaks are gray and dry,
A piercing blue now fills the sky,
The dunes so white it hurts to see,
Gypsum waves spread westerly.
Now everything is white and blue
Except the darkling beetle who,
Still black on white, defiant stands
A tiny rover on the sand.
By Kate Rauner
Darkling Beetle struggling on a dune slope
Inspired by my recent trip to White Sands National Monument outside Alamogordo, New Mexico. The gate is closed from 8 pm to 8 am, so the only way to see the sunrise from the dunes is to camp overnight in one of only ten primitive, hike-in sites. A wonderful adventure. Dogs are allowed 🙂 Happy 100th anniversary National Parks.
All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.