Guest artist: E.A. “Tony” Mares

Otowi Bridge

You see the swift current here
and know there is white water
all the way down to Cochiti dam
twenty four miles away.

You’ve crossed the Rio Grande
at the Otowi Bridge.
Look to your right and you’ll see
Edith Warner sitting there.
Tilano, as always, is at her side.

Edith is all smiles and good cheer,
tea and cakes for visitors.
Tilano is reserved, gentle,
a San Ildefonso elder.

What must he think when the man
in the porkpie hat, a pipe
eternally in his thin lips,
comes down from Los Alamos
with Niels Bohr to visit with Edith?
Oppie, they call him, and Niels,
two philosopher scientists
who reflect on the jitterbug
of fast particles
in the quantum world.

You wonder if Tilano sees
inside these scientists’ brains
a dark metal, compressed
to desperation, about to burst
into unforgiving mushrooms
of light?

You’ll never know.
In the morning glory sky
the sun hovers in deep blue
above this gap where the river
falls away to the south.

Tony Mares is an Albuquerque poet whose work has appeared in local, national and international venues. His most recent books include a translation of poems by Ángel González, Casi Toda La Música y otros poemas//Almost All the Music and other poems (Wings Press, 2007) and Astonishing Light: Conversations I Never Had with Patrociño Barela (University of New Mexico Press, 2010).

On Friday, April 1, at 7:00 pm, Mares will read from and discuss Río del Corazón (Voices from the American Land, 2011), his new chapbook of poems addressing the physical and cultural landscape of the Rio Grande Corridor. The event is part of Río del Corazón: A Festival Celebrating the Rio Grande at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For festival information click here.

Poem © E.A. “Tony” Mares; for reprint permission contact tmares@swcp.com. Otowi Bridge photo © Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association; used for informational purposes from the Children of the Manhattan Project website. For a brief history of Edith Warner, Pueblo elder Tilano and Manhattan Project scientists Robert Oppenheimer and Niels Bohrs, click here.

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One Response to Guest artist: E.A. “Tony” Mares

  1. A worthy contemplation, that poem.

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