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V.25 No.33 | 08/18/2016
Rio Grande
/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Creative Non-Fiction

About Water

Here are some stories about water.

I am fascinated by its absence; here in the high desert the dry earth is something I have both feared and revered. A dweller of mesas and arroyos, water remains elusive to me; it is a half-remembered dream.

My family moved to Albuquerque when I was twelve. Before that, we lived on the edge of the Navajo Nation. There was an arid beauty there, expansive and windblown. I remember being driven to small fishing lakes in Navajoland and not being able to believe that so much water could gather in one place.

Sometimes I would wander around the mesas and arroyos, almost drifting across them like a bird, finding waterholes and scratching up clay from the surrounding soil.

We went to Gallup often, shopped at place called Trademart and ate at various restaurants with names like "The Ranch Kitchen" or "Mucho Burger." On the weekends, the old man would drive us to Albuquerque, to visit friends and relatives.

Driving around the state with my father - who was oddly enough, a sailor - at the helm of a car he called a boat, my brother and I would hang our heads out the windows and scream in defiance of the water towers we passed.

They were monumental and mysterious and contained a force mostly unknown to us: the gathering together of powers we had only seen during the rare days of late summer thunderstorms, that we had only waded through, shin deep, in murky rivulets and ponds.

Here was that force, personified and unified, in mighty metal towers. The travels we took with the dude seemed to begin and end with those risen behemoths.

The towers loomed on this horizon and that. I suppose we imagined them to be a type of metallic creature, robots which might careen out of control at any time, drowning us with both malevolent size and watery contents.

The old man would glance in the rear view mirror and laugh and cuss when he saw one approaching; my mother would turn up the radio and prepare for the worst.

I grew older and stopped screaming. But water remained an elusory aspect of my world. By the time we finally moved to Burque, I remember standing at the edge of the Rio Grande, staring.

When I asked my father about this utterly strange phenomenon, a river that flowed, he said the world was a watery place, that my confusion was contrary to the way of nature. Water was a precious substance that made a difficult and dangerous magic, he warned.

And so, he also taught us to swim, mostly at pools around town. There was one at the Albuquerque Country Club. There was another at the Mountainside YMCA. Our favorite became a pool called the A-Pool. It was a public pool located near Pennsylvania and Menaul. It was shaped like a gigantic letter A.

To further pique our interest in the water, he would also make us watch the Val De La O show.

The Val De La O was a local teevee show that was broadcast live on Saturday mornings, from the KOB studios, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Besides providing entertaining Nuevo Mexicano music for my then young and beautiful parents to dance to, De La O featured a variety of fascinating celebrities as guests. One of his frequent visitors was Johnny Weissmuller.

Weissmuller was an Olympic swimmer who had risen to fame portraying Tarzan in the movies. By the time of my childhood, he had retired from his fictional vine-swinging, vicious lion and Nazi-fighting duties and often visited Albuquerque.

My father hoped that Tarzan's recollections of his watery exploits would encourage us to become safe and strong swimmers, despite the lack of water all around us.

He was mostly right.

Years later, long after De La O and his hilarious sidekick Mario Leyva (he was sort of like the Duke City version of Cantinflas, sabes?) had taken their leave of the studios on Coal Avenue, I nearly drowned in the Gila River.

My brother and I were camping with some other undergrads and decided to hike along the east fork of the river. The twin warned me that the spring rains spelled treachery, but I ignored his admonitions. I decided to cross the swollen river.

In transit, I slipped on a rock, fell and was pushed under the torrent. The current was swift. I could not lift myself against it, and became submerged in it. It was surprisingly quiet down there. I began to see pictures of my life being paraded around the backs of my eyelids.

When I had just about given up, I saw an image of a water tower rising above a dusty road. On that road, a super stock Pontiac roared along with kids screaming in the back seat and Jefferson Airplane blasting out of the open windows.

And like that tower, which held water, I decided to rise. Like that car which sought out water, I moved, somehow resurgent, somehow robotic. Lifting my head up out of the Gila River, I took a deep breath and did as I had been trained to do.

My brother was standing on the bank of the river, screaming.

This is what he shouted as I climbed up on a rock, loud enough to be heard over the din of the water, which was roaring like a beast: "Who in the hell do you think you are, Tarzan?"

That night, back in the student ghetto, I dreamt of clay, of arroyos and dust.

V.24 No.44 | 10/29/2015

News City: Raids in Oldtown

According to a press release from the US Department of Justice the raids in Old Town yesterday and today have come to an end. Three New Mexicans were arrested for the alleged crime of violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prevents any person from falsely advertising non-Native made jewelry as Native made. The owners of Gallery 8 and Galleria Azul had allegedly been passing off jewelry made in the Philippines as Indian made. Thirteen warrants were released for various cities in New Mexico and California. Many New Mexico cities were searched, including Santa Fe, Zuni, and Gallup. While two of the perpetrators were found in Albuquerque the other was apprehended in California.

V.23 No.45 |

news

The Daily Word in bin Laden's shooter, Detroit's bankruptcy and brains

The Daily Word

A judge has delayed the sentencing for friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber, due to a question still pending before the US Supreme Court over what is considered “tangible” evidence.

Due to recent marijuana legalization victories in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC, pot proponents are looking toward California to make it legal for recreational use.

After the name of Osama bin Laden's shooter was revealed, other members of SEAL Team Six are speaking out in disagreement over who actually fired the fatal shot.

A judge is expected to rule today on a restructuring plan that could get Detroit out of bankruptcy.

New Zealand has withdrawn its charge against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd for allegedly trying to “procure a murder.”

A priest in Gallup, N.M., up and left the church, leaving parishioners wondering why he left and if he took any of the church's money with him.

Dr. Kent Kiehl of the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque says that the brains of child killers are “strikingly different” from those of other children.

The city council voted 8-0 last night to approve the Department of Justice's agreement, which gives APD four years to make necessary reforms aimed at their use of excessive force and how they deal with mentally ill people.

Elaine, a 38-year-old chimpanzee, gave birth to twins at the BioPark Zoo this past week!

This little guy was really upset that he couldn't vote.

V.23 No.32 | 8/7/2014

Reel World

Boy talk

Boyhood’s slow journey to ABQ, Summerfest’s princely connection, family fun at SBCC and the Native Film Series 2014.
V.23 No.2 |

news

The Daily Word in Chris Christie's apology, West Virginia's water and dead chickens

The Daily Word

People weigh in on Gov. Chris Christie's apology concerning his team's “callous” and “stupid” behavior.

HBO's "Girls" gets renewed for a fourth season. Has the third even premiered yet?

After a chemical spill contaminated the water supply, nearly 200,000 people in West Virginia were left without H2O.

A major drop in added jobs for December flusters economists.

Someone's been leaving dead chickens at a North Valley cemetery.

It seems that panhandling has become a profession for a couple (and their kids) in Modesto, Calif.

Some students in Gallup found a way to cheat the system.

A woman surrendered her dog (that tested positive for cocaine and marijuana), but now she wants her canine friend back.

Coors Banquet beer puts out an 18-wheeler engulfed in flames.

V.22 No.47 |

news

The Daily Word in Gallup exposure deaths, Rick Springfield buttocks-assault and a foam-party death arrest

Ski Santa Fe opens on Thanksgiving Day

The Daily Word

Ski Santa Fe will open on Thanksgiving!

It's not really winter in New Mexico until some people freeze to death in Gallup.

The Whittington brothers have been presented with a plethora of search warrants, including one executed by the DEA at their car dealership in Albuquerque.

Some folks really don't want the Albuquerque parole offices to move downtown.

State Police made an arrest in connection with the "teen foam-party death."

There is now a ginormous Rough Trade record store in Brooklyn.

Mistrial declared in case involving alleged injury sustained from assault by Rick Springfield's ass.

There is a Velvet Underground song you probably have not heard!

Mushrooms make breezes.

Keep off the grass man.

Time to check in with awesome stupid chatroulette.

The Buddha may be older than we thought.

The site of the real Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Is Charles Manson getting married to a freaky-deaky 25 year old Susan Atkins look-alike!?

Bro, we did too leave a damn tip.

A can of Soylent Green was auctioned for 2000 bucks.

V.21 No.46 | 11/15/2012

[click to enlarge]
Autumn Chacon

Music

Flyer on the Wall: Gallup / Burque gallop

This week’s Flyer on the Wall depicts the cultural electricity that community-powered radio can generate. It also announces a benefit show-slash-birthday party for Gallup’s KNIZ 90.1 FM. Small Engine is also belatedly celebrating its two-year anniversary at the gig. Check out music from high desert surf band Phantom Lake and Houck, Ariz. rockabilly act ShitOuttaLuck below. Small Engine Gallery • KNIZ 90.1 FM benefit • The Blue Byrds • Phantom Lake • ShitOuttaLuck • Sat Nov 17 • 9 pm • $5 • ALL-AGES! • smallenginegallery.com


[click to enlarge]
Autumn Chacon

Flyer on the Wall

Gallup / Burque Gallop

This week’s Flyer on the Wall allegorizes the power of community-powered radio and announces a joint birthday party for KNIZ 90.1 FM and Small Engine Gallery.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.21 No.44 |

news

The Daily Word in early voting, found kitty, The Lone Ranger

The Daily Word

Nearly half of eligible voters in Bernalillo County have already filled out ballots. Yay for crazy-easy early voting!

Ever heard of the Redskins rule? Apparently it means Romney is going to win.

Cat lost in family move from Oregon to Louisiana was found in Gallup.

NY-NJ area bracing for more bad weather.

John Cusack to produce and star in Rush Limbaugh film.

10-year-old Mescalero boy cast as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.

No more living in the woods in New Mexico.

IMDB's top 250 movies in 2.5 minutes (some language NSFW).

Creepy, manly, real-life Goldilocks.

Lobos fall hard to UNLV Rebels.

The perfect time for suffrage postcards.

Why it's important to resist celebrating Christmas too early in the year.

Another fake-o Bigfoot sighting.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are having a wee one.

V.21 No.32 |

news

The Daily Word in new Flickr bug, meat fights, recycling compactor survival skills

The Daily Word

I think they should make a movie about this new insect species discovered via Flickr.

WTF NASA?

The 1904 Olympic marathon was super, super weird.

Man sues secutiry company after he was accused of tagging and then pepper-sprayed in Santa Fe.

How to dump alcohol in mass quantities.

At least 250 dead after Iran is hit with two earthquakes.

Bomb threat causes evacuations at an oil refinery near Gallup.

This super drunk guy survived being crushed in a recycling truck compactor twice.

Two female co-workers at a meat processing plant got into a giant fight. Their weapons of choice? Dried meat of course.

These zombie Disney princesses are, in my opinion, a little over-the-top.

I too thought the Olympic closing ceremony was a bit weird.

Today's Events

9th Annual Albuquerque Hopfest at Isleta Resort & Casino

Unlimited craft beer sampling from 60 breweries, ciders and spirits. General admission includes souvenir glass, music by 7 local bands, vendors, games and one entry in the grand prize drawing. $15 with Alibi Bucks.

SuperGiant • Russian Girlfriends • rock, punk • Lilah Rose • pop, electronic • Rueben Krussick at Low Spirits

Freak Asylum at Sidewinders

More Recommended Events ››
 

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