Alberto Ríos All work ©2006 by Alberto Ríos
In no particular order, here is a sampling of the 600 water words, phrases, and images comprising the Words Over Water project surrounding Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona. These are loosely based on the greguería form, and are best read with a little time in between each one.
Nobody owns water--drink some and try to keep it.
To visit the river quickly, cut an onion.
If you dig a hole in the water, you will be famous.
In the desert, water was the animal hunters tracked first.
Water is gravity's dog, following it everywhere.
Water is how we are all related.
Near water the world has a hundred seasons.
If you get wet, in an hour you will not be--where is your proof then?
In the desert, water is the only thing that doesn't taste like chicken.
Rain falls down wet and gets up green.
Raindrops on the hard dirt make the ghosts rise.
Water rules kings.
All this water--it is not enough.
Water is the blood of the land.
Agua es la sangre de la tierra.
Water is the desert's medicine.
We have rain but it's a dry rain.
Some people think that fishes are delicious, but what about the fishes wishes?
In the desert, dousers find water with willow branches and because they have to.
The water under this bridge once was the sweat of its builders.
Water takes over the moment it enters a room.
Salt in the mouth--the mouth tasting it invents water.
Stars reflected on the lake, night's confetti.
The water of the river, it's in our tongues, so that when we speak there's a little of the river in our words.
Water is our common language.
Water is the conversation of civilizations.
Water is the solid ground of dream.
A lake is a hoof-print of the mighty water-horse.
A lake is a river that has retired.
Because water reflects, it holds everything.
In the desert, water is a magnet to the lips.
In those days water like this was a dream.
In water, the stars and the beasts see themselves.
Lake water for a moment makes seafarers of us all.
Stars in the sky, sparks in the water.
Nana's hair was long like the river--like the river, she flows through me.
Please don't eat the water.
Running water never looks back and never stops running.
Squint hard enough and you will see the eighth ocean.
This world was invented by water.
Water hums its song into stone.
Water is the salve of the ravages.
Rain falling asks the water of the lake to get up and dance.
Water runs and runs--it must be in very good shape.
Water will leave the moment you open the door.
Water will talk but you must listen with your mouth.
What you see when you look in the water: It's not a reflection of yourself--it's an extension.
If you need to hide, pick up the edge of the lake and slide under it.
Wind tells water to dream of other places. Some water listens, and goes.
You can taste this river on your skin, smell it in the air, see its color inside the clouds that make it.