Notes on Beginning
an Urban Farm in the
Santa Cruz River Valley


September 5, 2015

A Garden Grows in El BarrioIssue 14: September/October 2015Last Bite

Editor’s Note: This poem’s format has been altered to fit online formatting restrictions. For an accurate representation, view the PDF.

acacia tooth, legume bark, shovel metal, pick strike, first coffee, sun beam, sun burn, calendula, earthwork, consensus, worktrade, placekeeping, pura lechuga, wheelbarrow balance, equinoctial, jamaica ice, aguantar vara, solar cook, creosote breath, nectar, 100° doldrum, blood quantum, crestate of family tree, gristle sizzle, cloudwater, stamen, greywater rebate, oasis progress

Before pickswing,
even before lines
scratched on compacted
sun-bleached surface,
there’s the stories to consider first:

how water walks down
subtle slope, how many summers
the trees have shaded, who
has been here before
and what stories
they have left in the soil.

First the listening, holding dust
in my fist, trying to remember
the sensation of cool on the skin,
dirt under the fingernails, waiting
on the heat to break, the sun to sink,
waiting for the shadow of thunder, for the rain,
always the rain.

Oh urban human, mi chamaquito,
child prodigy of animal kingdom,
enlightened and troubled, vain and fervent for
the caliche bar, the metal strike, the sweat-mud,
desire to mark the earth with my likeness
impatient for fruit and labor,
eager to begin work-listen.

Logan Phillips is a writer, performer, educator, and DJ based in Tucson. His debut book of poems Sonoran Strange (West End Press, 2015) is available at Follow along as he builds an urban farm in downtown Tucson, in his A Garden Grows in El Barrio blog series:

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