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17 April 2012

NM Poetry: Ungelbah Daniel-Davila


We here at Things in Light love poetry. And New Mexico's literary landscape is steeped in the stuff. In celebration of National Poetry Month, TiL will present poetry by members of the exciting and diverse contemporary New Mexico poetry community. The sixth TiL NM Poetry entry provides a three-poem introduction to the work of poet, pin-up model, and photographer Ungelbah Daniel-Davila. She's also a journalist, filmmaker, and the publisher of New Mexico's only free, web-based rockabilly publication, La Loca Magazine.

The Valley

I walk down Coal to 13th,
from the store
where groceries are painted on the wall,
labeled in black –
leche, cigarrillos, jabόn, carne,
toilet paper, coconut hand soap,
a notebook and Saint Lazarus candle in my bag –
recipes for the poor.
Sun on my hair,
in my tattoo,
burning the colors of the barrio –
the woman who sits under a red umbrella
on purple wisteria rooftop,
the neighbor’s blue hydrangeas
lined up against the wall in black pots,
the low cars,
gold, teal, primer gray,
barking South Valley dogs,
and men gathered around an ice cream cart,
bullshitting in Spanish,
turtle doves that croon
mid-day la llarona songs,
guitar music in houses dark from rain clouds,
sticky from afternoon bodies,
my lover’s skin
salty from working hard today,
his sweat burning sweet booze,
gleaning a breeze off the river,
drinkin’ lonely.
I thumb a necklace of keys to get inside his door.

The Boys of Burque

Cockgrease, Layrite, Morgans and Sweet Georgia Brown
boys, in broken down Fords,
in drive-through lines, and dirt lots
genuflecting beneath winged Cadillacs and Biscaynes,
nuclear green, Communist red, rattle-can black, back down,
top up, East past Rio Grande,
past motel row, past neon, past go,
toward broken bottled burro alleyways,
toward ephemeral dawns crashing through windshields
drunk on whiskey, Pabst, tequila sunrises,
singing Hank, singing Cline, singing
that blackbird lullaby, that love me tender
moment of a setting moon.


I taste your name, sliding along my tongue
and teeth like an unfurling copperhead
at sunset a rig drills beyond your rosy neon lights,
panhandle black against an orange Texas sky, setting
and rising a slow, oily waltz.
Your men drift in off the field, Odessa,
their blue norther bodies
humming honkey tonk hymns, nails
workingman dark in the dashboard glow of an FM station.
Suck the smoke from their mouths, Odessa,
and blow it hard and slow so it rises
far above the barroom haze, settling in a halo
around a sticky jukebox, playing
three generations of Hank against a dirty wall
where I first felt you arch your aching back against me,
your whiskey breath sweet as rotten fruit.

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila is a poet, writer, journalist, filmmaker, photographer, pinup model and queen of all trades. She has been published in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Native People Magazine, and others. She holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and her first chapbook, "Effigies II," will be released this year from Salt Publishing, UK. She is the publisher of New Mexico's only free, online rockabilly publication, LaLocaMagazine.com, and the owner of La Loca Linda Pinup-ology. She lives in Albuquerque with her kitten, Lady Marmalade, schnoodle, Oscar the Bandit, and fishie, Ralph the Rocket.

Unknown / a fifth-wave feminist from the fourth estate | a burqueña | a ladyboss | a writer + editor

I am a fifth-wave feminist and a reluctant member⸺hey, Groucho knew whereof he quipped⸺of both the fourth estate and the gig economy. I am an Albuquerque-based freelance writer, editor and social media marketing and branding+PR consultant. I remain an observant ’90s riot grrrl and a devout practitioner of halfhearted yoga posturing and zen and the art of the sentence diagram.


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