Friday, April 9, 2010



waiting for a white truck
at United States Post Office
Magdelena, N.M. 87825
no one told me half the
people in New Mexico
drove white pick-ups!
Bruce Holsapple says “I figured”
spying me standing outside
writing in my pocket notebook
and then I still almost followed
the wrong white truck—only
paused cause I saw a passenger
Bruce stops at every turn onto a
different road—“Did you notice how
the last road followed along in the arroyo?”
ravens roost in the cliff
below his house—drink from
the small pond he fills—
at his doorstep

poem by Alan Casline

ravens roost cliff

Alan Casline: I have the whole world against me. I can’t even get the ink out of the pen. There is something not allowing me to write.

Bruce Holsapple: Pencil—go to pencil.

A.C.: I know. I know. I don’t have one with me. I like pencil. I went to look at the pictographs (I call them) near Albuquerque.

figure of man
next to spiraling form
next to scar in rock
where petroglyphs
were broken away
were cut/ sharp tool
on canyon ridge
sun glare precedes
1st ray over the rim

different power
airplane rumble
dig for a quiet energy

B.H.: So what do you think of New Mexico so far?

A.C.: I like it, I like it.

B.H.: Yeah…real different than New England or New York.

A.C.: Yeah, well—what watershed, rivers, creeks, I consider myself to be a Normanskill poet—I live in that watershed, which is an approach—I have three little poems called the three pillars of local poetry—one of them is called THE WELL. It just talks about the town may change but the well doesn’t change—that not just the well but those people you find using the well—that’s where you find wisdom.

B.H.: That’s in FROM BUFFALO OUT isn’t it?

A.C.: No, no—there’s another piece in there, which is my piece on local poetry. Says “dig out the spring”—literally dig out the spring. Which is true, I have dug out more than one spring. But—as far as the Southwest goes…what I’ve found out since I got here - wow – it is even more true here – the well is the town!

B.H.: Everything revolves around the water.

A.C.: All these settlements…

B.H.: Yeah – you can’t do anything without water for sure. We are up above the Rio Grande—this water here if it flows anywhere it flows down into the Rio Salada. The Rio Grande is a central rift and the mountains are lifting up on either side – we are up above here so the water is kind of flowing down, wherever it is flowing down – it loops around down here.

A.C.: The Rio Salada, that’s a tributary of the Rio Grande?

B.H.: Well—tributary is kind of a funny word. It flows sometimes and other times it doesn’t flow. We came up the road from Magdalena and then took dirt roads for the last eighteen miles. The house is close to where Abbe Spring is and this is called Abbe Spring Canyon. Where the water flows is basically into the Rio Salada which goes down into the Rio Grande eventually and you crossed over that when you drove south—a big wide swath of sand, that’s the Rio Salada. It flows two or three times a year tops. It is still watershed. It is flowing under the surface all the time. That is where, it was on the Rio Salada, when the Navajo were trying to escape persecution, settled a camp over here and just stayed put and out of everyone’s way until they were rediscovered in almost 1900 - No one knew there were a band of Navajo here. They were staying where the spring is.

A.C.: When you send me a picture of where your house is I thought—Oh you live in the brush land, now I get out to New Mexico and I find you live in a forest – comparatively. There is a lot of cellulose, a lot of woody fiber out there.

B.H.: Ha, ha! The elevation allows—they call them cedar out here. They are actually juniper trees and Pinyons. Some are old, really old.



Out walking the dirt road
past my place (for exercise)
& as the road climbs
the pinion & juniper
give way to scrub oak
ponderosa pine

good for the lungs—humph!
(all the dust that drivers
swooshing by, put up)

spot a half-familiar plant
grassy tuft of thick blades
amid native grass & goldenrod
I know you, I said
kneeling, then peered down
over my shoulder
back to where I first learned
this weed, “goat’s beard”
saw through myself
to that desperate time

the distance
took my breath


Mysterious older man
named Charley, can’t hear well
thin body, white beard
slightly stooped
bicycles to town & back—
keeping active
I’d guess

walking the mountains
with his dog
I’d seen their tracks
& it takes them half the time, an hour
to reach the top of North Baldy

but the inspiration is what I want to know
for he’s climbed the peaks hereabout
many times

huh, he says, looking in my eyes

it’s a personal question

fear would be one response
the lack of integrity

fun would be another

huh, he says, looking in my eyes


I climbed Ladrones on Thanksgiving
where thieves once hid sheep
stolen from pueblos to the east
3 hours up, no path,
ate a precarious tuna sandwich on a protruding rock lip
wide eyed, huge reddish plains
east & north, & the other ranges,
Magdalenas or Gallinas

felt changed, saw differently—
to the degree I had climbed,
overcome myself
—thought so, at least

& working back down thru
a stony crowded canyon
pushed thru brush & cactus
hopping rocks, sliding on my backside,
wore holes thru my pants, both back pockets—
I discover this at home—lost my wallet,
credit cards, licenses

Going back up that canyon the next day
2/3s to the top, where it narrowed,
such a tangle of scrub oak, apache plume,
cholla, up, around, thru,
massive rocks, drop offs,
I’m down on all fours
cactus thorns, arms streaked with scars
close to stopping, stopped at
a small cliff I’d slid over,
flopped down from,
my fat black wallet
plunked into the sand