My Confession, poetry by Tim Keller, New Mexico

Chamisa Press, 2007, 76 pages, Softcover.
$15 includes shipping.




My Confession

This slim book of poetry is steeped in the rural life of New Mexico. With lines like "The wind is boss around here..." and "The moon, full of itself/plays with being yellow/as if it were a color wheel..." people living away from town will know instantly the images the author chooses.

Many of the poems are wistful reflections on past loves, past objects and things just gone.

Having worked as a ranch laborer, retail clerk, delivery driver and cook, Keller now teaches school in Raton. Once he took time off to tour nationally as a singer/songwriter. Indeed, much of his poetry has a cadence that helps underline his feelings and thoughts.

Throughout "My Confession" are insights such as "The words you keep to yourself/are the ones that could free us..." and Keller's thoughts make us look a little closer at ourselves.

--Cindy Bellinger, Enchantment Magazine

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Below are a few of Tim's favorites from
My Confession

Once White

but once the snow came
everything else was
swept aside. There

would be days of
wood-fired respite,
the blank white slate.

Long sleep in temporary
death, the hiding away
inside the storm,

nothing to be done.
By the time they
re-opened the roads,

the earth had
rotated on its axis
and they never did

find me —
here, where everything
was once white.




Blizzard in Des Moines, New Mexico, December 2007

All poems are by Tim Keller, ©2007 Chamisa Press
Photographs by Tim Keller, ©2009




My Confession, poems by Tim Keller, New Mexico


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Since the Last

Think of snow as forgiveness,
blanketing us yet again
in original white, wiping
clean a corner of world.

What have we done, all
these lengthening blue days
since the last absolution?
Blue ruin, clean slate:

everything is new and
nothing changes. Yes,
to improved destruction;
drive to church Sunday.

I wake to white blizzard
at first sign of dawn:
if there is change,
it is here, in me.

Just outside,
the storm
is scouring
the streets.


Tom gave me this telescope: distance
is time: reaching the end of
this sentence,

the universe has just grown
100 trillion cubic light-years.
This is a strain

like an over-challenging dose
of college LSD: freaking godzillions
of miles from here.

A dove coos from the wood, bringing
me back: the rustling branch,
the steam in breath,

the infinite space between
dusk and dawn. A lone coyote
yips, far, far away.



 Sierra Grande dawn from Capulin Volcano, photo by Tim Keller 









black dog border collie on plains


Dangling by a thread
in a roomful of
strangers, invisibility
cloak uncomfortable
around shoulders
and arms, moving
in falsely decisive
steps toward the
next empty space.

Outside ill-shapen
circles of shoulders,
shreds of banter,
banter, banter, spill
into each other like
a low drum rolling
irregularly in some
faraway jungle; I
am in Africa.

There might have
been classes in
this. A clinking
of glasses. Step in,
a circle opens, the
banter parts, a
small opening of
silence and I am
swallowed whole,

a member of a
group, good people
of passing assemblage
versed in the art
of banter. Light
spills just outside
the nearest window:
a black dog, eyeing
us, walks away.


The Night Air Carries Its Weight

If it would sit still for a scale
this night air would weigh heavy,
thick and dense as it is
as though the sunlight
dries and thins it but
at dusk it recollects
gathering together
in darkness.

The air is heavier at night,
stout and low and able
to carry sounds from
far away. This is
why the coyotes
so love to howl
in the night:
they love to
hear the
in their


Capulin Volcano moonrise, "Rhapsody in Blue" photograph by Tim Keller


headlights on centerline, "Eastern Star" photo by Tim Keller

Bar Ditch

It becomes a habit,
home away from,
smoke and liquor,
familiar faces
that don’t
really care
what an
you are

so nights
your car is
the rural
while the
pool game
and volume
heat up,

and I think,
so you won’t
have to,
of the snap
curve there
by the dump
which you
know so well
you won’t even
see it coming.


He goes with the herd
following the narrow
path they’ve always
trod from watering
hole to watering hole

shielding himself
with thick hide
and dense horn
where brains
might have been

but that would
have been the
other path and
he long ago
missed that turn.

 Tim Keller, New Mexico writer at work
harp strings, abstract photograph by Tim Keller, "Planxty"

For my mother.

Because the present
is always receding,
your mind withdraws
like someone lost
in a hopeless game
of chess.

The flowers, there,
pretty, yes, I know
that song, of course
I do, I was a girl
then — I’m going to
lunch soon.

You know these
faces, these hearts
gathered around
you, and they
know you — who
are they again?

Living in two times:
the long vivid distant
past, and the present
that is always slipping
away, today just
out of grasp.

You blink and it’s
gone, but near,
and you’re
to catch

This Place You Feel Today

For my daughter, Darcy.

Let’s call this zero, this place you feel today.

Somewhere there’s a young tree growing,
with ice on its limbs this morning, sure,
but about to have another growth spurt.

I don’t know where this tree is but
you’re going to live there someday
and it will be there for you, and tall.

You will sit under this tree so often
that you will feel it your friend and
count it one of many miracles.

From the peace of that place,
where you are whole, you will look back
and be glad of the distances

between you and that place
we’ll call zero.


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