by Rick Moya

(November 1998)





      Albuquerque, how you have fallen!

      The Sandias weep over your ashes.

2              Barren is the valley where you once lay;

Even the homes in the Heights are no more.

3           Cursed are the Aggies, come from Las Cruces,

Cursed are those who despise you.

4           Destruction is all they crave, not creation;

They come not for themselves but out of spite.

5           Every home, every office, every bar, every drive-up liquor window,

All are reduced to ashes at the hands of the Aggies.


6           From the south, almost south of the border, the crimson herd came,

Wielding primitive weapons and farm implements.

7           Great in number were the Aggies, and greater in strength;

Even your gun-toting motorists were overmatched.

8           How they laughed as one by one your citizens fell,

Victim to a knock on the head from a shovel.

9           In synchronicity, they fell on the heart of the city,

“The City Within a City,” as Gordon so named it;

10          Joyously, almost, they attacked with backhoes and bulldozers,

And within minutes had broken your heart into millions of pieces.


11          Killing without conscience, the Aggies moved outward,

Attacking Nob Hill, Civic Plaza, the student ghetto;

12          Lifeless bad drivers plowed into each other,

And then the Aggies viciously murdered them.

13          Mayor Baca tried to prepare a defensive,

But was cut down too quickly with one swipe from a hoe.

14          None from downtown survived the relentless attack,

And none in the heights were prepared to retaliate.

15          Over houses, stalled cars, roadblocks the Aggies flew,

Screaming in anticipation of even further destruction.


16          Powerless to react, the upper class looked down fearfully,

Trembling uncontrollably as thoughts of death washed over them.

17          Quickly the crimson dust cloud advanced up the valley,

Overpowering and undercutting everything in its path.

18          Running away was the only option, and run the people did,

Piling into Mercedes and Beamers and Range Rovers;

19          Seldom taking any of their worldly possessions along,

Even leaving their prized high-speed computers and big-screen Tvs.

20          They fled as the Aggies reached the very foot of the Sandias,

They left you just as you were completely ravaged.


21          Until now, looking down from Bernalillo or Edgewood,

None knew what they had, none knew until it was destroyed.

22          Valley formerly full of light and life, now you are black;

A charred ruin of your former apathetic self.

23          While the Aggies return to Las Cruces with tales of conquest,

Your upper class citizens lay weeping in small towns.

24          Xenophobia has been created among your children, crying in the rural towns,

But soon, you will be created anew, and created better than before.

25          Yes, the day will come when you will rise from your ashes,

Although Phoenix is roughly three hundred miles to the west.

26          Zion has fallen once more, but in New Mexico;

May you retaliate as Zion did, Albuquerque.



    All your streets are empty,

    Torn to shreds by the ravaging beasts

(Unless torn by your highway department);

Water spewing from broken pipes

As blood might spew from a broken heart.


2           Before any of your citizens could breathe,

Before a single Lobo could move a muscle,

Before a bad driver could destroy a light post,

The crimson marauders from the south were upon you,

Wreaking havoc from foothills to valley.


3           Civic Plaza is now a pile of rubble;

The Pit nothing more than a hole in the ground;

The First Security Bank building but a pillar of fire.

Aggies brought this devastation to your heart,

Less out of need than of spite and malice.


4           Death comes too quickly for some,

And not quickly enough for others,

Who would rather be dead than submit to an Aggie.

Others still lie weeping in solitude,

Hiding in one of your rural neighbors.


5           Enemies of Albuquerque have prevailed;

They have torn you down to the ground,

And then set fire to the remains.

They have laughed into the roaring flames,

And then extinguished them with their excrement.


6           Few and far between are your surviving children;

They have run southward to Belen;

Or northward to Placitas;

Or eastward to Moriarty;

Or westward to the barren lava floodplains.


7           Ghastly becomes the only descriptor of Albuquerque;

You are too blackened to be pristine,

Too flattened to be majestic.

Of all the monumental towers you once boasted,

Only the Sandia Mountains remain.


8           Happy your days once were,

Happy as children played in your parks,

Happy as teenagers picketed the malls.

But now all is but sad,

Like those teenagers when no changes to the rules were made.


9           In droves the Aggies attacked your heart,

The university at the center of your body,

The essence of your very being.

These Las Cruces attackers were out for blood,

A rare football win was merely a taste.


10          Justifiably, they began in the center,

In the innermost chamber of your heart,

Inside the Center of the Universe.

They carefully destroyed this concrete monument,

A monument to wasteful spending on "art."


11          Kicking outward from this innermost chamber,

The Aggies tore through the tissue of your heart,

Flattening Ortega Hall, Mitchell Hall, Zimmerman Library,

Humanities, Woodward, Carlisle Gym, Clark Hall;

Even draining all the water from the duck pond in University Park.


12          Leveling everything that stood in their path –

The Student Union Building, Dane Smith Hall,

The Fine Arts Center with its many theaters,

Education, Student Services, Fraternity Row –

The Aggies bared their teeth and took no prisoners.


13          Many thousands lay bleeding in the wake of the carnage,

Most dead, some dying slowly and painfully,

Others simply confused and bewildered.

Las Cruces was such a weak town, they thought,

Explaining the many desertions of her to you.


14          Nobody thought Las Cruces would take it personally.

Nobody saw this all-out siege coming,

This dire need of the Aggies to destroy you.

But as the attack struck you unawares,

It was all the easier for her to overtake you.


15          Only the Aggies were not stopping with the university,

They were not content to just maul your heart to shreds,

They could not stop at simply killing you.

No, they were fraught with hatred for all your citizens,

And set out therefore to ravage your entire body.


16          Parts of southeast Albuquerque were left untouched;

Many of your besiegers traveled through it

And thought they had already destroyed it.

But the rest of the city was doomed to fall,

Fall forever into the bowels of darkest hell.


17          Quickly the Aggies demolished downtown,

Hacking at the bases of your largest, finest hotels

Until they fell into Civic Plaza like gargantuan redwoods.

They ripped the government buildings apart from the top down,

Sacrificing Mayor Baca atop the rubble.


18          Residents of University Heights were next to go,

Though most of them never knew they were going;

In sleeping through classes, they slept through their deaths.

They broke and burned your student ghetto,

The final result looking much the same.


19          So it transpired with all of your subdivisions;

Those who saw the potential devastation coming

And were smart enough to run did so,

And those who were your true apathetic children

Let the crimson wash over them like another high dropout rate statistic.


20          Towers of flame now dominate your land;

A city whose biggest problem was once urban sprawl

Is now a twenty-mile diameter circle of ash.

No more do drunken drivers traverse your highways;

Their high blood-alcohol contents made them easy kindling.


21          Under the ashes, Albuquerque, lies your essence,

A soul filled with apathy and ignorance,

Only concerned with its own existence or lack thereof.

But under that thick layer lies a memory of your past,

Of a city that cared and worked together.


22          Very soon, your children will forget you,

Dullened by the thick layer of uncaring,

Made selfish by your own excessive self-interest.

They will work on ranches in Moriarty or Los Lunas,

And the Aggies will smile and praise their own work.


23          With enough time, though, and enough erosion,

You will have reached the essence of your former self,

Of the tightly knit Albuquerque that nobody could help but love.

You will attract caring, loving rebuilders

And even possibly return to your former glory.


24          Xerxes could not have created this much carnage

Had he been the king of Babylonia

During the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

But a despot can only destroy the buildings of a city,

He can never destroy the true soul of one.


25          You can arise, Albuquerque.

You can push forth from the dust

And reassert yourself as a medium-sized city.

But it will take time;

Perhaps hundreds of years will pass before you return.


26          Zero interest or even faint desire exists

To return you quickly to what you just were,

To rebuild a city full of apathy and selfishness.

But with enough time, enough hearts, and the right tools,

Perhaps you can become again what you once were.