Kamara Thomas Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant Application:

 

WORK SAMPLES:

"Tularosa" LISTEN and LYRICS    

 

WORK SAMPLE 1: "Tularosa I" by Kamara Thomas,      written 2010-13, DAC Emerging Artist Grant Application 2015

WORK SAMPLE 2: "Nine Day Novena" by Kamara Thomas, written 2005-07, DAC Emerging Artist Grant Application 2015

WORK SAMPLE 3: "Oh Gallows !" by Kamara Thomas, written 2010-13, DAC Emerging Artist Grant Application 2015

TULAROSA I

On the banks of a leper white desert
The cattlemen claimed Tularosa
The farmer then fought with the herder
In the distance I stood with my father

He said, "Son I must bid you go hither,
For we've betrayed by our brothers
They have placed us between Tularosa
And a band of the dreaded Comanches"

"No father, I will not be parted
Like you I would walk as a warrior
I will take up the bow and the arrow
Side by side we will fight the Comanches"

"Son you must lay down your weapons
And walk down this pass with heart open
For there in the town Tularosa
We are known as the wicked Apaches

When you come to the gates of Tularosa
You must pray to the sky, desert, eagle
Then look into each eye with your kindness
And walk straight to eyes that reflect you

I will stay and watch on from this distance
Til I see you have reached Tularosa
Then I'll turn my face to the Comanches
And I know they will not show me mercy"

So I walked down the hill and a farewell
Saved my tears til I faced Tularosa
And I held my head high like my father
A hard wind dried my face at the outskirts

As I walk down the road to Tularosa
The eagle I felt on my shoulder
I offered my prayer to the desert
As I stared through the fog of their hatred

There they stood in the sunset's warm halo
A woman holding hands with her daughter
And they called me from something inside them
So I answered and walked to their side

I made my home there with this family
And I worked with glad heart to repay them
For to walk alone never would they let me
To the angry crowds never betrayed me

And I came to be ready for marriage
With joy took the hand of their daughter
And we made our home there in Tularosa
And the sky blessed our house and our children

But I knew all but one had forgotten
The first day that I walked in Tularosa
For whenever the times that he passed me
He would still call out "wicked Apache!"

The day I was killed in the desert
I was gathering the fruit of the yucca
As they faced me they saw a man smiling
Left my body in white sands of gypsum

As my breath floated over the canyons
And o'er the mountains of Sierra Blanca
I remembered the pink desert flower
I remembered the cheeks of my sweetheart

I have seen a man shed blood for water
Offer gold to the sky for the rain
My people too prayed for three rivers
To visit our desert again

To my people they call the Apache
The desert is old holy dust
To the cattleman, Mexican, Yankee
The desert will do what it must

To my son I will not leave a rifle
Nor my daughter the dry Tularosa
To my killers I leave only wisdom
To the desert my blood and my bones

My blood and my bones
To the desert my blood and my bones

 

NINE DAY NOVENA
(A Mourners' Waltz)

I sit and watch by this windowsill
It's curtains my wedding trousseau
For the open wagon with my child and husband
Now left many days ago
While the whole town whispered, friends warned of danger
From rustlers, rogues and enemies all
And the hired helpers of my husband's rival"
The injurious Albert B. Fall

Senora go easy, we'll offer novena
To sweet Mother Mary implore
For the ones for whom you languish, their safe and right passage
Their safe right return to your door

Nine day novena, Nine day novena,
Nine day novena might bring the baby back

I rise and I walk through these candlelit halls
Escaping the plague of my dreams
Both my sleeping and my waking full of silence and shadows
Shapes of demons and devils it seems
Oh the pale phantom visage of my dear and sweet daddy
Walks far lonesome hills when I sleep
And the ghost of my brother, lil' favorite companion
Awakes me to hear my own weeping

Nine day novena, Nine day novena,
Nine day novena might bring the baby back

The night of the ninth day, it's moon dark and silver
I fear fate now is taking its turn
Neither the mother nor the daughter, no Icannot console
And for my own peace forever will I yearn

My mindsight can see them, three ill-willed Tejanos
Spill the blood of the ones I adore
Dear brother forgive me, I asked father to take you
Thus forsaken I forsake the Lord

I you saint Jude, patron saint of lost causes
Do they wait at the gates to the stars
This vessel once heavy laden, now empty, broken and hollow
Hopes they watch over us from afar

Nine day novena, Nine day novena,
Nine day novena won't bring the baby back

 

OH GALLOWS !

Oh gallows, oh gallows
My Lord knows what you do
Your carrion crows so tender, so tender

My darling son I wonder
How did you end this way
What fault of me, thy mother, thy mother
Did not my teachings teach you
To walk straight in your way
My words of faith not reach you, not reach you

Oh gallows, oh gallows
My Lord knows what you do
Your carrion crows so tender, so tender

What did possess you brother
We'd made our fair escape
To render your confession, confession
This wicked town doth judge us
Unworthy to forgive
Would rather see us hungry and beggars

Oh gallows, oh gallows
My Lord knows what you do
Your carrion crows so tender, so tender

All eyes fall on you father
Oh carrier of disdain
Your shame our only fetter, our fetter
For though we walk with honor
You taint our family name
And cause us now to wander, to wander

Oh gallows, oh gallows
My Lord knows what you do
Your carrion crows so tender, so tender



 

 

 

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Map of Tularosa Region  

Map of Tularosa Region

 

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