When I first moved to Albuquerque, I lived in an old church that had been converted into 10 apartment units. I moved to town with $300 to my name on New Year’s Day… January 1, 2012. I found the place on Craigslist when I lived in L.A., because California was just too expensive… and I had to get away. Little did I know that the old church had quite the history. When I first arrived that snowy January morning, it was so early it was pitch dark outside. I arrived at the building with everything in the back of my ’92 Ford Ranger that I had paid $300 for when I moved from Texas to L.A. about 9 months prior. I quickly realized my room was smaller than I thought; it was about 100 square feet, in total. I also realized I had no mattress (yet) as the landlord hadn’t brought it to me yet, and would be bringing it later in the week as the city was in the middle of a crazy snowstorm. My room was about 40 degrees when I arrived, and I was so tired from the trip that I threw all of my belongings into my room, crawled under mounds of clothes and slept like a baby on top of 6 pillows I’d brought from the room I used to rent in an older woman’s home in Glendora.
The next day, I met my neighbors, who were mostly a haphazard bunch of drug addicts, students, alcoholics and people who lived on the fringe of society. One of those folks was Jared, who was all of 30-something but who had lived a hard life, for sure, who had the face of Brad Pitt, with the hair of Jesus and the attitude of a partier. Jared’s girlfriend was homeless and had a mental disorder and they had just spent awhile being homeless together, but mostly where they used to sleep was Roosevelt Park. Roosevelt Park is a 600,000 square foot park that sits just south of the ‘student ghetto’ off Coal and Spruce in Southeast Albuquerque. The park quickly became a place I often walked or biked to, just to get away from the ‘church’ and the student ghetto near UNM, to just be with nature within a small, desert town. I wrote this poem after Jared took me a couple of days later, after I’d settled in, but I wrote the poem a full two months later on a later visit. Jared told me the park was nice and all.. but once it got dark… well, you shouldn’t go after sundown was his advice to me. (And I quickly saw why.)
To bookend this story, looking back at my life now, my life did a complete 180 a mere few years later and now am in grad school with the best job ever, got my first brand new car back in 2014 and got my first home this past January. Anything truly IS possible! Enjoy!
“Roosevelt Park” is from “Gold Avenue,” which was a personal journal I wrote from Feb-Mar 2012.
It’s a big empty depression
Sitting right in the middle of the city
At first it doesn’t look
Like anything too special
In fact, It’s quite itty bitty
But you’ll change your mind once you see the burning
orange Albuquerque sun rising like a fiery beast
Upwardly exploding, slowly eroding
Rising like a wild phoenix
Darting up from the Watermelon in the east
Spotted dogs pissing
Wandering hobos here and there
some homeless guy named
Julio wants to get my number
Steal my car keys and cut my hair
Little children play with
Half-lit cheap firecrackers
And the beautiful Sandia mountains
Are hidden, just out of view
Behind the trees and mid morning slackers
But I’ll take this
Little slice o’ temporary paradise
If there’s nothing else
This will do just fine Depending on the
time of day, it can be quite nice.
Roosevelt Park, Roosevelt Park
Oh just you wait until it gets dark
at Roosevelt Park.
2.17.12 fri 356 pm bb.