Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Santa Fe Community College Student Writing Awards 2015

My poem "Listening to Patti Smith" won runner-up for poetry this year and one of my other poems won an honorable mention.  Poetry readings and award ceremony at Collected Works Bookstore on April 30th 2015 at 6pm.  http://www.collectedworksbookstore.com/

Listening to Patti Smith


is like dreaming life, through her eyes.   


Open-hearted, you take her hand               

trusting her, your wild mother,                                                 

she promises to wake you up when she’s all                                                           

done.  She’ll tell you fairytales, 


whisper them gently in your ear:

Her lyrics a sacred savory wafer that falls from  

the tip of her tongue.  She

like you, loves the boys


guitars and sonic noise, like you she wears

comfy old man jacket and boyfriend’s tie

a holy mess, her holiness—

could you ever be as holy as her?


Her hot breath blows like an angry storm

through your stereos loud speakers,

her words a wind that slaps you across the face

leaving throbbing welts of wisdom.


You feel guilty for such a pleasure

like a sinner,

she yells,

“G - L- O - R- I- A, Gloria!”


You’re not disappointed when

the dream is over, but finally wide awake when

you grab for a microphone, of your own.

words by Lorraine E. Leslie ©



Monday, February 9, 2015

Poetry Posts at Santa Fe Community College-Spring 2015

Myself and a bunch of other poets have our poems inside poetry posts located around the
Santa Fe Community College.  If you are at the campus or plan
on visiting it sometime soon, check them out.  It's like a treasure hunt for poetry and
a great activity to do when the weather is nice, like it has been recently.
Pick up a coffee and take a walk around the campus outside in nature
and be inspired by poetry!
See the other poetry posts at Miriam Sagan's blog:
"Rage/Anger" by Lorraine E. Leslie
I am nature and you can’t control me
my breathe, a vaporous gas
With this release, I have set myself free.
Pressure builds up inside, volcanically
ash spews, from my fiery crevasse
I am nature and you can’t control me.
My hair, golden and flowing around me
it runs, like molten lava down my ass
With this release, I have set myself free.
My hot blood oozes out into the sea
sizzling, it turns into solid mass
I am nature and you can’t control me.
Fissures erupt from my core, viscerally
my cone shatters like an inverted wineglass
With this release, I have set myself free.
Like the goddesses Pele and Kali*
I will destroy all who trespass
I am nature and you can’t control me
with this release, I have set myself free!
*Pele is the goddess of volcanoes. 
*Kali is the Hindu goddess of change and destruction

 Lorraine E. Leslie
© 2014


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Moneyless Yard Sale

An Experiment in Gift Economy and Reciprocity

By Lorraine Leslie  

September 6, 2014

Who doesn’t love getting free stuff?  Everybody loves getting free stuff.  I love getting free stuff, but what I love better is giving free stuff away to people.  I have been organizing tag sales, yard sales and setting up tables at flea markets ever since I was a teenager.  I love interacting with the public this way.  It’s a fun and satisfying human interaction that you can’t duplicate in a store or online.  There is a special connection you have with people. 

In recent years when I have yard sales, I always put out several boxes of things that I give away for free as gifts.  They are usually items that are little worn, well used or kind of funky or out of date, but are still useful.  I don’t want to throw them away or donate them and I feel weird putting a price on them, so I gift them to people instead.  The free items are always a big hit.  These are my gifts to total strangers and people honestly seem to appreciate them.  People open up to you when you give them something for free.  They feel a sense of gratitude.

And also at the end of every yard, garage or tag sale I have, what hasn’t sold by the end, I will offer it to people for free.  The surprise on their faces when you gift it to them is priceless.  The joy for me is in the giving.  It is payment enough.  Money is a form of currency or energy.  When you give stuff away for free a different kind of energy is exchanged, it’s an opening of oneself.  People open up to you with a smile, they tell you stories and maybe even share a laugh with you.  I feel this amazing energy pass between me and the person I am gifting to.  It’s lovely.  When I give freely the universe responds in kind.  People then want to give back in any small way they can.

Years ago before money, people bartered services in exchange for the products and services of others.  Now almost everything we need to survive in our society is exchanged with a currency we call money.  Basically money is worthless paper that we put a value on because we are told that it is worth something by the people that print it and control the world that we live in.  We work hours every day to acquire this paper so we can buy food to eat, clothes to wear and to pay our monthly rent or mortgage so we don’t have to sleep out on the streets. 

When we take money out of the equation we liberate ourselves and something really special happens when you gift or barter an item.  Now normally, when I have free items to give away at my sales, I give them away freely and I ask for nothing in exchange.  I am usually rewarded with a “thank you” and a smile and a feeling that the person walking away with the freely given item is genuinely grateful to be receiving it.  That gives me great joy and pleasure, but today it was different.

Today I participated in a “moneyless yard sale” put on by Jerry Wellman of Axle Contemporary Gallery at the CCA on Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe, NM.  I set up a table, a blanket and had several boxes placed on the ground with items, not for sale, but to be offered as “free” or moneyless.  The idea of the yard sale was that no money could be exchanged.  So when no money can be exchanged for the items for sale, how are people to “pay” for them?  What can a person do to acquire these things?

A person has to get creative. They have to work out a form of exchange or trade that both parties can agree upon.  Not many people today have a special skill, service or product that they can exchange.  I was willing to except anything anyone offered in the way of exchange.  I turned no one down or refused any offers as long as there was an exchange of energy between me and the other person.  I remained open to anything and I received in abundance.  I felt my heart open to the people who approached the “free” items I had for trade. 

The handmade signs taped to my table said “Free” and indicated that no money was to be accepted.  It was by trade or exchange only.  Like I said before, the key to my successful and lucrative day was to remain open to all offers and to not have any attachment to the items offered or to place any monetary value on them.  In my mind, everything on that table was a gift to whoever chose to walk up to my table and wanted something.  It was like Christmas in September and I was Ms. Santa Claus.

Here are the trades that I took in exchange for my items:

I received quite a few hugs which were nice.  One of the first people I traded with, a lively woman danced a shuffle ball change for me.  Another lady sang with her dog.  Many people sang me songs.  One guy even serenaded me with the Elvis Presley song “Love Me Tender.” I was given a small piece of homemade art.  Another person traded a sun wind chime that they had recently acquired from a trade with another person. 

I received many handshakes.  One man danced to the Tom Jones’s song, “It’s Not Unusual.” I was gifted a wink and a smile by one happy women.  I received many smiles, mostly from young children.  A sweet lady who lost her mother several years ago and carries a prayer with her to remember her mother by, read me that beautiful prayer and gave me a hug, we then cried.  I exchanged a lot of high five’s and fist bumps with people; these were mostly from teenage boys.  One gal whistled “I’ll Fly Away,” and then came back later to play a folk song on her mandolin for me.  

I accepted a beautiful “patty pan squash” for trade from a couple who grew it in their garden; it was wrapped lovingly in a wax paper bag.  I received scented bath salts, a pair of dangling earrings and a huge coffee mug that fits comfortably in my hand for trade.  One lady I traded with gave me a small sealed mystery gift envelope filled with a piece from a crystal chandelier and handmade love inspired stickers.  I was told many jokes. An older lady recited me several clever fortune cookie fortunes.  I was invited to an art show by a gal who I took some maps from me and was inspired to make art from the maps.  I was told a few funny stories.

A man made me a peace crane for trade, he told me he always carries origami paper with him everywhere he goes.  One gal hooped with her brightly colored rainbow hula hoop for me, she was quite entertaining.  I received a 2 minute Spanish lesson from a guy from Peru and was given a handmade poetry chapbook by a woman dressed from head to toe in purple.  The paper she used to create her chapbook was purple as well.  I also gave away many items for free, especially to children and just because I wanted to.

The energy I received from people was priceless.  Everyone walked away from my table happily satisfied with their trades and exchanges.   I too felt so richly rewarded.  When you give freely, you receive in abundance.  I felt joyful and my soul felt well fed.  My heart was wide open.  Every time I give freely I feel this way.  Exchange using money as currency is never as sweet or satisfying.   The gentleman at the table next to me was so excited and inspired by my energy that he gave me a gift of this groovy meditation seat.  I asked him what he would like in return.  He said nothing.  I felt I had to reciprocate in some way so I randomly played him a tune on the jaw harp I keep in my knapsack.  I have had it since I was a kid and have become quite accomplished on the thing.  He laughed and took a photo of me playing it.  He also got a real kick out of the crazy painted and patched jeans I was wearing and asked if he could take a photo of them as well.

While walking to the car on my way home I found a dollar bill on the ground.  It had fallen in front of me as if from the sky.  I asked the person who dropped it if he wanted it back.  He said, “No, it’s a gift.”  It was one of the 1500 dollar bills Axle Contemporary was freely giving away around town as part of their Dollar Distribution experiment in gift economics.

More information below from Axle Contemporary:

Dollar Distribution

Dollar Distribution is a financial intervention by Matthew Chase-Daniel.  Crowd sourced fundraising has yielded 1,500 individual dollar bills which will be left on the streets of Santa Fe from August 20 – September 15.  The bills will be distributed at random throughout the city, one at a time left on street corners and sidewalks, on floors of local businesses, in shirt pockets at clothing stores, in front yards and countless locations. 

Photos of bills in the in locations can be seen on the Twitter feed:  https://twitter.com/DOLLARxDOLLAR  
and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/axlecontemporary
and their website:  http://axleart.com/index/Home.html

Some photos from the "Moneyless Yard Sale"

The stuff I was trading/bartering.  No money was exchanged.
My List of Trades
This gal played a song on her mandolin for me in exchange for
items I was trading.  She played for the woman next to me first, and after
that it was my turn to be serenaded with song.
Axle Contemporary's gallery van.  It was around here that I found on the ground,
one of the free dollar bills that was part of their month
long dollar distribution.
Below is a link to Daniel Suelo's blog.  He is a dude that I have been following for a few years who has lived without using money since 2001.  He's amazing and a real inspiration.  If Daniel found a dollar bill on the ground he would probably give it away, he is that hardcore about not using money.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Desert Haiku"

I will be showing again in July at the
3x3 show at the Artist's Path Gallery
     Bantam, CT

by Lorraine E. Leslie 2014 ©


Friday, March 21, 2014

Fray Project-Guerilla Poetry for the Planet

 FRAY-Santa Fe, New Mexico

FRAY, a community dialogue and guerrilla poetry installation,  uses the metaphor of “fray” to evoke the strain we feel as individuals and communities living deeply within an economic system that is fraught with painful realities and contradictions that we must internalize in order to survive.

On Sunday March 16, 2014,  9 women artists and writers came together at the
Leonora Curtain Wetlands in La Cienega, NM for a workshop.

Inspired by the beauty of the place we were to create poems
that we would copy onto small fragments of parchment paper
(meant to evoke fragility and impermanence).

On April 15th or before we are to distribute our poems in
public places around Santa Fe.  Send them out into the world.
These are little guerilla love offerings.

The poems would be photographed where they were placed (on car
windows, shop windows, public parks, taped to park benches, etc.)

There will be a reading of poems at Op-Cit Books, April 15th 5:30-6:30 pm

For more information about the Fray project go to:  http://fraypoetry.wordpress.com/

Thank you to Kirsten Mundt and Stella Reed

Working on pieces of artwork to add poems to.
My Poems
 Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014
 We moved in circles
The cold wind filling our lungs
I took in your breath.
Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014
You could never imagine...
the death of old worlds
bring about new stars... 
the world is collapsing
from its ashes
a new one will emerge...
Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014
parched earth under her feet
wearing a coat of SHADOWS
she is so thirsty
Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014
your soul flew to the world that is invisible
leaving your wings behind 
Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014
live simply...
let your soul be as free
as feathers
in the wind

Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014

place your hand on this print.
i was here too
if only for a short while
i do not know you
and i might not ever get to know you
my friend
 i love you

Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014

look through the burnt hole
set a fire to your mind
what do you see there?
Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014

We are too busy
staring into digital screens
instead of looking into
each others

Lorraine E. Leslie © 2014

The wetlands we visited showed no signs of water,
except for the gourds that I picked up.
Round yellow spheres,
like the bright winter sun that hung above the horizon.

 Tiny fragile microcosms filled with stringy fibers and seeds,
floating on the dry grass.

 The sides of the gourds that kissed the ground,
were damp, soft and yielding
when I gently pressed their shells.

 You told me stories about grey manatees,
and I dreamed of water
in that place of barren beauty.

 Empty, dry, desiccated, and brittle,
where everything crunched as we walked.

I could hear myself think,
I was outside of the fray.


Monday, February 17, 2014

1 Billion Rising

On Valentine's Day millions of women, men and children all over the world,
danced, bringing awareness to stop the violence against woman. 
February 14th is now officially known as V-Day.
I participated in the dance and march last year in Santa Fe,
New Mexico at the Roundhouse.  I didn't go this year, but I
finally got around to taking pictures of one of the cartoons I painted
documenting the event.
It was a great day, filled with positive energy, excitement and love!
Video from the Santa Fe, New Mexico
1 Billion Rising 2014:
Axel Contemporary VAGINA van

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Art As Social Justice

Over the last few years I have been creating artwork
with a social message.  This is a jacket that I painted and decorated which
addresses the subject of poverty and wealth inequality in the USA.

"End Poverty NOW!" hand painted jacket
by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013

Graph on front of the jacket shows the Actual Distribution of Wealth in the USA

"End Poverty NOW!" hand painted jacket (back)
by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013

We Don't Need Coins. We Need Change
(Attached nickels, dimes and pennies to jacket)

"So what is the solution to the poverty of so many American working people?
Ten years ago the standard liberal wish list - a higher minimum wage,
universal healthcare, affordable housing, good schools, reliable public
transportation and all the other things we, unique among many
developing nations, have neglected to do.  Maybe, as so many
Americans seem to believe today, we can't afford the kinds of public programs
that would genuinely alleviate poverty - though I would argue otherwise.
But at least we should decide, as a bare minimum principle, to stop
kicking them when they're down."

-Barbara Ehrenreich 2011

"End Poverty NOW!" hand painted jacket (detail)
by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013

Wealth Inequality in America
Lorraine E. Leslie showing jacket @
Angel Wynn Studio Santa Fe, NM
(photo taken by Daria)

Monday, January 6, 2014


"The Heart of the Bodhisattva" by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013

This painting as well as my "Soul Carrier," painting were chosen
 to be published in the
2014 Santa Fe Literary Review.
My paintings are on pages 57 and 91.
Click link below to read the PDF version:


"The Warm Hearted Bodhisattva" by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013
"Bodhisattva" by Lorraine E. Leslie 2013
This tiny painting showed in the 3 x 3 show at the
Artists Path Gallery in Bantam, CT this past
summer and it sold! Hopefully it found a good home.
Little card I made for a friend
Been painting and drawing these wise and peaceful fellows since
last summer.  I really like them a lot.  I make them because they want
to come into the world right now.  I make them because maybe
one day I too will become a Bodhisattva.
I do practice little acts of kindness and compassion when I can, but I
still have a lot of practice to do before I
become a Bodhisattva.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"People Have the Power"

"We don't need an atomic bomb
because we already have one;
it's called the Venezuelan people."
-Hugo Chavez

Sunday, August 19, 2012


"GOD" by Lorraine E. Leslie

"The true, authentic god resides
in your heart and mind."
-Father Alberto Luna

Friday, August 17, 2012


"Torch" by Lorraine E. Leslie

"I offer my body as a torch to dissipate
the darkness..."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We'Moon 2013 is out!

"Eve of Destruction"
Pages from the new We'Moon 2013!

My work is located in the calendar at the beginning
of the year, in the month of January
and at the end of the year, October 31st,

You can order this calendar at: http://www.wemoon.ws/


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Painting selected

My painting, "Winter Solstice," was chosen to
be published in Suzanne Mathis McQueen's new book,
"Four Seasons in Four Weeks."

The book is now out and available at Suzanne's website!

Suzanne will be reading and talking about her book, "4 Seasons in 4 Weeks"
at The Ark bookstore in Santa Fe, NM.
February 25th at 4:30 pm.    http://arkbooks.com/


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


"Mother of all Bombs" by Lorraine E. Leslie

This is another painting inspired by a dream I had one night. Or maybe it was more
of a nightmare? I saw a madonna, holding a "little boy" with a mushroom cloud for
a head. Women have the power to give birth to little boys who will either grow up to build atomic bombs that destroy or they will grow up to hold all life sacred.
 "Little Boy," I later found out after researching, was the name of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during WW2.
The bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki was
called "Fat Man."

This painting will be shown at El Museo Cultural
555 Camina de la Familia, Santa Fe, NM
Opening reception 5pm-7pm
Visit NukeFreeNow.org for more information: