An Agave, Ocotillos And A Poem

Agave in the West
Donald Davie

…I think of Agave,
Queen of the maenads…

Come buy our architect-designed home in Mano Prieto in Far West Texas, just about midway between Marfa and Fort Davis.

280 + days of deep blue skies and glorious sunshine. Enjoy the cultural activities of Marfa plus the majestic scenery of the Davis Mountains year round.

hiking CDRI
photo by John Mark Jennings ©

Call Pat at Marfa Realty to schedule an appointment at 432 729-3962.

Poetry at the Post: The Last Days of Summer and Peaches!

From Blossoms
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches

Riverbank of Peach Blossoms by Shitao, 1642–1707, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Riverbank of Peach Blossoms by Shitao, 1642–1707, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Li-Young Lee’s poem is a luscious poem. It moves from the “bite into/ the round jubilance of peach” to joy and death then circles back to the beginning, or the blossoms of the peach.  Check it out here. 

Caravaggio's Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1592
Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1592

Here’s another “peach” poem:

Peach Farm
I’m thinking it’s time to go back
to the peach farm or rather
the peach farm seems to be wanting me back

Claude Monet, A jar of peaches
Claude Monet, A jar of peaches

Actually, I could go on and on with “peach” poems and “peach” art. The peach seems to be inspirational. But, instead, I’ll end with this photo of a peach-bourbon (yep, some bourbon for a bit of a kick!) pie baked yesterday by Baker John at the Casa 300 Bakery & Literary Salon  in Mano Prieto, a few miles north of Marfa, TX.

photo courtesy of John M. Jennings
photo courtesy of John M. Jennings

Poetry at the Post: Get the Frack Out of Edinburg-Texas, that is!

The water understands
Civilization well;…
Oasis in Libya
Oasis in Libya

If you’ve been following the story of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in the Big Bend Area of Texas, you may be interested in this struggle as well: Get the Frack Out of Edinburg, in La Voz de Esperanza, July/August 2015. 

 Governor Abbott had this to say about fracking: Texas Governor Prohibits Cities And Towns From Banning Fracking 
A real environmentalist this guy!
And, here is the latest on the Trans-Pecos Pipeline by Rachel Monroe in Texas Monthly: A Pipeline in the Sand—A group of West Texans gird for battle against the oil and gas industry.

Poetry at the Post: Setting Goals for Running, or Memorizing Poems Part I

from the Last Canto of Paradiso
Read the translator’s notes
xxxiii, 46-48, 52-66

As I drew nearer to the end of all desire,
I brought my longing’s ardor to a final height,
Just as I ought. My vision, becoming pure,

Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Peter Lombard and Sigier of Brabant in the Sphere of the Sun (fresco by Philipp Veit), Canto 10.
Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Peter Lombard and Sigier of Brabant in the Sphere of the Sun (fresco by Philipp Veit), Canto 10.

Although I’m good at establishing deadlines and deliverables in my work, I tend to fall apart when it comes to personal goal setting. Perhaps, you are like this too.  So—instead of bemoaning my failure as a human being, I decided to be bold and dynamic. I find short-term goals are more doable than long so here are this month’s goals:

1. Work up to running (jogging?) the 3 mile loop in my hood. I’m a walker not a runner so vamos a ver on this one.
2. Memorize a stanza from Paradiso each morning–in English and Italian.  As Caroline Kennedy explains, “If we learn poems by heart, we will always have their wisdom to draw on, and we gain an understanding that no one can take away.”

I’ll be reading from the Paradiso each morning at 7 am at the Post before my walk/run. Come join me!

What are your goals this month? this summer?

May 25, 2014
May 25, 2014

Poetry at the Post: Mercury in Retrograde or Loss of Innocence #2—The Trans Pecos Pipeline

Updated June 11, 2015

Mercury in Retrograde

The day ended badly with a broken ankle,
a jinxed printer, and a dead car. The dry yellow grass
against the sunset saved me…

Gravity anomalies on Mercury—mass concentrations (red) suggest subsurface structure and evolution, photo courtesy of NASA
Gravity anomalies on Mercury—mass concentrations (red) suggest subsurface structure and evolution, photo courtesy of NASA

Here’s my latest roundup of the news on the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. This is not an exhaustive list—but a start.

I have found little from the Mexico side of the border and what I have is mainly a summary of what’s going on in Brewster/Presidio County. If you find other news reports—especially national or international, please feel free to add them to this list. (Updated, June 11, 2015)

Whitewashing the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, Alpine Avalanche

Cano Backtracks on “Done Deal” Comment, Pipeline Opposition Begins Fundraising, Marfa Public Radio

Proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline to Benefit Air Quality, KMIDTV


An unlikely alliance: Ranchers and green activists fight Texas pipeline, Al Jazeera America 

Texanos protestan contra gasoducto Waha-Presidio, Radiza Juarez 

Texanos inician campaña contra gasoducto por daño ambiental

The Pipeline That Texans Are Freaking Out Over (Nope, Not Keystone), Mother Jones 

Commissioners ask critical questions about pipeline, Big Bend Now

Presidio County Commissioners Receive Update on Trans-Pecos Pipeline

Border Pipelines Face Opposition On Both Sides Of Rio Grande, Fronteras

Marfa and West Texans Fight to Keep Out Pipelines, Glasstire

Pipeline protesters gather in Alpine, Alpine Avalanche

The Uphill Battle for Eminent Domain Opponents in Texas, Marfa Public Radio

TCEQ Shuts Down Pumpco Inc. Work Site for Trans-Pecos Pipeline in Alpine

TCEQ: Operations At Alpine Pipeline Site “Not Shutdown Nor Granted Approval’, Marfa ‘Public Radio

Board Member of Brewster County Groundwater District Arrested on Trespassing Charge, Marfa Public Radio

Work at Alpine Staging Ground for Trans-Pecos Pipeline Can Continue Amid TCEQ Investigation, Marfa Public Radio


Pipeline Shipments Could Head South On Old West Texas Railroad, Marfa Public Radio

Charges mount for Beard in pipe yard incident, Big Bend Now

Beard charged with assault, trespass, Alpine Avalanche 

CDRI photo by Alice-Catherine Jennings
photo by Alice-Catherine Jennings

Opponent of Trans-Pecos Pipeline to Mexico Vows to Fight, NGI’s Daily Price Index

Officials Seek Federal Regulation on the Entire Trans-Pecos Pipeline, KWES News 9 

Alpine Resolution Opposing The Trans-Pecos Pipeline Dies Before A Vote, Marfa Public Radio

Congressman sheds little light on pipeline, Big Bend Now

Showdown in Trans Pecos: Texas Ranchers Stand Up to Billionaires’ Export Pipeline, DESMOG

Presidio, mostly, embraces pipeline project, Big Bend Now

Pipeline firm denied water well permit, Big Bend Now

ALERT!: Nuclear waste facility proposed near Kent, Big Ben Now

Continue reading “Poetry at the Post: Mercury in Retrograde or Loss of Innocence #2—The Trans Pecos Pipeline”

Poetry at the Post: Ganesha Finds A Home in Marfa, TX

Ganesh by R. N. CURREY

Ganesha, Ganopathi, Gannanata
The Elephant Head, the Ivory Tusked, the Fat,
the Long-Nosed and the Rider on the Rat;

Ganesha at The Well in Marfa, TX
Ganesha at The Well in Marfa, TX

As the god of new beginnings, Ganesha is my favorite of the five Hindu deities.  From time to time, we all need to begin again or at least refresh our inner selves so when a call when out to bring back a Hindu god from India for The Well in Marfa, TX, I knew which one it would be.

I found this Ganehsa in Jaipur where he was lovingly packaged in bubble wrap for his long trip via Dubai toTexas. Gracias a Dios! Ganesha arrived safely and is now serenely installed in his new place of honor.

If you happen to be out in Marfa and are looking for some wisdom and inspiration, come to The Well. It’s a great space. Check it out.

Ganesha getting ready to throw his lotus. Basohli miniature, circa 1730. National Museum, New Delhi.
Ganesha getting ready to throw his lotus. Basohli miniature, circa 1730. National Museum, New Delhi.

How Ganesha got the head of an elephant is a mystery although the most familiar legend is the one where Shiva cuts off Ganesha’s head to gain access to Parvati.  Then, to soothe poor distraught Parvati, who had created Ganesha out of her own body, Shiva had to find a replacement head for Ganesha. Volia! An elephant. You can read more here. 

“Colchester town center”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

But who was R. N. Currey, our featured poet for today?  Born in South Africa, Currey was a schoolmaster at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, for 40 years, yet he was still regarded as more a South African poet than an English one.

Poetry at the Post: Void and Compensation by Michael Morse

Iris persica, a bulbous iris
Iris persica, a bulbous iris

I had the good fortune last night to be at the Marfa Book Co for a reading by poet Michael Morse, which was prescient as today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a “review poem.”

Instead, of writing a review of the reading (which was terrific) or Morse’s new book Void and Compensation (Don’t you just want to read the book for its title?), I decided to assemble a modified cento poem—a poem composed entirely of the words of other authors arranged in a new form or way.

For me, Morse’s lovingly haunting lines stand as their own review.

Void and Compensation* 
                         —After Michael Morse

So you are related to the iris, in and of its family.
April, the meadowlark back on his post, 
I led wayward bees to open windows.

We had put our hearts down on paper.
Since when did keeping things to ourselves
help us to better remember them? 

void and compensation

*All lines are from Void and Compensation by Michael Morse, Canarium Books, 2015.

Poetry at the Post: The Loss of Innocence or The Trans-Pecos Pipeline


There is nothing more innocent
than the still-unformed creature I find beneath soil,
neither of us knowing what it will become
in the abundance of the planet.

Sundown Over Blue Mountain  Photo courtesy  of John M. Jennings, 2015
Sundown Over Blue Mountain
Photo courtesy of John M. Jennings, 2015

It’s Day 18 of NAPOWRIMO and today’s challenge is to write a poem of warning. It could be about something fictional, mythical, historical or real.

I decided to go for the real as there is a real threat right now to the pristine lands of the Big Bend Area of Texas—a natural gas pipeline.

Confused by the who, what, where of it all, instead of writing a poem of warning, I’ve posted some informational links about the pipeline. This is not an exhaustive list—but a start.

San Antonio Express News: Pipeline Bound for Pristine Big Bend

San Antonio Express News: Big Bend ranchers, landowners will fight planned pipeline

Houston Chronicle:Pipeline plan raises hackles in land-loving Big Bend

Marfa Public Radio: Opposition to Trans Pecos Pipeline Gets Underway in the Big Bend

Fox Business: Big Bend ranchers, landowners will fight planned natural gas pipeline to Mexico

Big Bend Now: Opposition grows to the Trans Pecos Pipeline

Texas Standard: New Border Pipeline Creates an Array of Issues Natural Gas Pipelines Headed to West Texas

Alpine Avalanche: Residents pack pipeline meeting

Midland Reporter Telegram: Big Bend pipeline proposal has residents riled up

Hudspeth County Reporter:Survey Work Begins for New Natural Gas Pipeline Through Hudspeth County

And check out the Big Bend Conservation Alliance’s FB Page for updated info.

The flip side of the conservation argument is that the pipeline will bring jobs.

“In a fact sheet issued last week, Energy Transfer said the pipeline will provide millions of dollars of financial benefits to local communities in construction jobs, goods and services and taxes.”

I’m skeptical and believe that the damage to our natural lands will be irreversible and will outweigh the financial benefits to our communities. As a consequence, I’ve signed the petition to Reject the Waha-Presidio Texas to Ojinaga-El Encino Mexico Pipeline and I hope you will too. Deadline is May 5, 2015.

mp 6

Poetry at the Post: #twitterpoetryclub —A Peak at Chika Sagawa

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa,* as translated by Sawako Nakayasu

"" by Chika Sagawa
“” by Chika Sagawa

Today I was stumped so I did not write a poem for NAPOWRIMO—or 30 poems in 30 days. My work around was to participate instead in the Twitter Poetry Club.

“What’s that? Well, it’s a sort of loose project in which, on selected days, people take photos of poems (from books or printouts or what-have-you) and post them to twitter with the hashtag #twitterpoetryclub…if you search twitter for the #twitterpoetryclub tag, you’ll find oodles of new poems.

sagawa 2

While in Minneapolis last week for #AWP15, I stopped by Canarium Books’ booth and picked up a copy of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa. Chika Sagawa? Who was she? As I learned from the book’s introduction, Sagawa is considered to be Japan’s first female Modernist poet who tragically died in 1936 at the age of 24. As translator Sawako Nakayasu points out, she has been referred to as “everything from a ‘minor Modernist’ to ‘everybody’s favorite unknown poet.'” So, what would I think?

Back from the crush of AWP and settled in my studio outside Marfa, Texas, I have had some quiet time to read and reflect on Sagawa’s poetry. Its sparseness and space complements the full emptiness of this remote area of the country. A lovely and profound work by someone so young—an old soul, perhaps.

Canarium Books is offering The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa for only $8—now through April 16th. Get your copy today!

Poetry at the Post-Marfa: Coffee #2

[Over a cup of coffee]

Over a cup of coffee or sitting on a park bench or
walking the dog, he would recall…

Monday morning I invited a friend for coffee at “Coffee + Toast+ Magic.”
The coffee I wanted. The magic I needed.

Marfa, Texas is a place that exists on its own time.
Like the Marfa Lights, sometimes things are there and sometimes they are not.
There was a handwritten note posted to the C+T+M’s metal door.
Be back on September 25th.

We headed to my friend’s casita instead. In a some ways, that was better.

In someone’s home, you can move around.
Coffee in the living area then at a table.
You can linger and allow the conversation to meander
to Taos and to Denver and across to Budapest and Berlin.

how he had left long ago to try his luck in
Argentina or Australia.

You dawdle in the present,
imagine the future. You are not rushed.
The time over coffee becomes a journey…

although he had no sense of being on a journey,
such memories made him realize how far he had