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A Well-Traveled Coyote

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John F. Kennedy
        New York City
            I saw him across the lobby
                 flight 161
                     St. Louis
                         Albuquerque.
Coyote looked in control
        cool
             fitting right into the city
                 smiling when a pretty woman passed him
                     figuring out his flight
                          making calculations from behind
                              the New York Times.
Slick
         right down to his Tony Lamas
             Coyote
                 I’d recognize him anywhere
                     Copenhagen
                          New York
                              Gallup.
People say
you can dress ’em up
        but once a coyote
             always a coyote.


Nora Naranjo-Morse, “A Well-Traveled Coyote” from Mud Woman. Copyright © 1992 by Nora Naranjo-Morse. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Mud Woman (University of Arizona Press, 1992)
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A Well-Traveled Coyote

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  • A member of the Tewa tribe from Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, Nora Naranjo-Morse earned a BA from the College of Santa Fe. She is the daughter of the potter Rose Naranjo and grew up surrounded by women relatives and siblings, all of whom worked with clay. Her own sculptures and films are in collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Heard Museum, the Albuquerque Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Naranjo-Morse is the author of the poetry collection Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay (1992), which combines poems with photographs of her clay figures.
     
    Naranjo-Morse’s figures represent a nontraditional aesthetic and range from the humorous and human character Pearlene to large abstract installations. In her preface to Mud Woman, Naranjo-Morse discusses the relationship of the poems to the artwork: “Three-dimensional clay Pearlenes were often inspired by poems written months or even years before. In return,...

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