Last winter, after moping to everyone I knew that I hadn’t written anything all year worth typing up, I found a small notebook under a stack of old bills and flipped through the pages. It held the almost illegible scrawl of a poem I had written last year in April in a Tumblewords Project workshop led by Richie David Marrufo, the poet, musician, and professor who is an integral player in the spoken word, music, and literary performance culture of these borderlands. Richie’s workshop title captures the individual threads that come together to create the skein of his interests: Bebop Impressionism: Breathing Between the Lines.
I took this from the event description Tumblewords Project posted for the April 2019 workshop:
“…Marrufo is a native El Pasoan and teaches English at El Paso Community College. He is the current Project Director of The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series…, and a writer for the film/production studio Power at the Pass. Richie has traveled and competed in the Southwest United States as a member of El Paso’s most recent slam poetry team and has conducted various writing workshops within the city to people of all ages. He is a huge advocate for the voice of the community and the support of local artistic endeavors…, [f]rom playing music on street corners and mountaintops to speaking in front of classrooms….”
Marrufo’s workshops, like the performance events he makes happen, create a safe space for the fun of writing and reading poetry. Here is a poem I wrote in that workshop he led last year, with thanks to Richie and the publisher of VEXT Magazine, Lori Gómez, for the creation of another publication credit. Maybe you’ll hear it at the August 29th Twenty-fifth anniversary reading for the Tumblewords Project. Y’all come.
“Crystal spheres blown through emptiness” by Donna Snyder
this heliocentric system of planets and debris
twin continents joined at the hip as in a forever marriage
strange bird calls echo
every empty street filled with feral dogs
crazed ghosts search for those long gone
syncopated memories of beauty marks gone bad
a dusty bed screams from the shadows
a little bit of music threatens to be heard
but it all devolves to heartbeat
the beat of the street gone missing
no way to keep track of time but to look past
that shrinking star reminds us dark is coming
nothing left but the sound of crystal spheres
blown through emptiness
Reblogged this on poetry from the frontera and commented:
A little article by me about Richie David Marrufo and twenty-five years of Tumblewords Project
I enjoyed reading your article and getting to know some of the people of the lit scene in El Paso. Isn’t found poetry sometimes the most exciting? When’s the twenty-five year?
Thank you, Michael, for reading and commenting. Finding forgotten poems is a good treat and publication of them a delight. Tumblewords Project celebrates the entire month of August, along with celebrating Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca’s birthday every year. This will be the first year since his death, and I’m pleased that his widow, Dr. Gilda Baza Ortego, will be with us on Agusta 22. The evening of August 29 we’ll present a zoom reading.
So good to hear from you.
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