Ofelia Zepeda’s Ocean Power and the Apocalyptic American Summer of 2020

Black and white photograph of Sonoran desert

Anybody who reads the Tohono O’odham poet Ofelia Zepeda’s collection of poems, Ocean Power: Stories from the Desert, might reasonably assume she is being ironic with the title. What power, after all, can an ocean have over a people who live in the Arizona desert, “That land where the ocean has not touched for thousands …

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A Poem and a Problem

Arizona is fourth in the nation in prison population, only beaten by Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. 2010 research found 1 in 13 Arizonans have a current or prior felony conviction, limiting their ability to find jobs, support family, and become productive, tax-paying citizens. Spending for the Department of Corrections, which oversees the state’s prison system, …

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Borderlands (a poem)

Carlos Fuentes said there is not           a border with Mexico but only a scar, a suppurating scar.           Perhaps he did not wish to remind us that more blood           is flowing, soaking into sand or staining the rocks. From the air           the Border Patrol spots the bodies— unwelcome migrants invading           the land that was once theirs. …

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Crumpling the Newspaper (a poem)

Photograph of two toy figures standing among some crumpled up newspapers...

Jean Dubuffet picked up a newspaper, crumpled it and added some glue to turn that pulp into little men and women, “a glorification of newspaper paper.”  That’s the deal—you just have to squeeze the news out.  I too could be an artist if I could get it all out this morning— perfect little men and …

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Perfectly Wise People (a poem)

Perfectly Wise People by David Ray Now and then you meet these wise people who, when asked what they do, say “Nothing – nothing at all!”            “But surely you do something?”            “No, nothing – nothing at all.”            Oh, wise people who cannot even tell us how to do nothing, for that would be something, really …

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