UP BEAR CREEK
If You Can Still Dance With It
by Art Goodtimes
Jun 14, 2012 | 1576 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BELLY BOYS … Come hear Michael Adams (aka Stone Belly) perform his poems -- with yours truly (aka Holy Belly) – at a non-sanctioned Fire Gigglers/TalkingGourds/LoneConePress/NorwoodWritersGuild special event Thursday (tonight), June 14, at 7 p.m. at Two Candles Café & Bar in Norwood. Bring your own poems & we’ll share after … Author of Steel Valley (Lummox Press, 2010 – a powerful mixed prose/poetry account of growing up in Pittsburgh), son of Lew Welch and a favored bard of Dolores LaChapelle, Mike was diagnosed with incurable cancer a year ago next month. He’s just come out with a new book, If You Can Still Dance With It (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012) with poem conversation/translation/interpenetrations of Han Shan, Taoist alter-ego Stone Belly poems, and his latest coming to terms with “The World As It Is” and “After the Ashes.” In his introduction to the book, Adams suggests that he’s trying to “examine what it is like to be confronted with a life-threatening disease without prematurely seeking answers, solutions or solace.” The poem Send Some Angels is exactly that mix of industrial fumes & staring-monsters-in-the-face lyricism you find in Steel Valley. Plaintalk about “having set yourself on fire / so many times for a woman or a cause” and how “there’s no romance in it.” Hard male truth, and how hope lies with the poem’s final image – “mountains in the sun.” … Mike’s final meditation in realizing how precious each moment of life is and as regards his most recent death sentence, The Ones Who Get the World Ready celebrates those common folk who make the world “solid and familiar” … Mike is a poet of the solid and the familiar. It’s like talking with an old friend. A true bard of place, as well as a devotee of the senses. A Whitman who gives oracular visions of the land we inhabit, and a Han Shan/Stone Belly extracting essences out of life’s brilliant phenomena … Come join us in Norwood Thursday night.

NIZALOWSKI TRIO … Well, at least a duo, as John and Isadora Nizalowski play voice & violin at Caole Lawry’s Planet Earth & the 4 Directions Gallery in Grand Junction (524 Colo. Ave.) on Saturday, June 16, 7 p.m. at the Planet Earth & Four Directions Gallery on 524 Colorado Ave. in Grand Junction. I get to tag along as ‘Dora’s “godfather” – one of those duties every good Italian boy takes seriously … This event is free and open to all. Call Caole for more info: 970-256-9630.

DROUGHT … Fire bans and water call-ups. Western folks have been talking about over-stocked forests, and urban folks have been talking about climate changes, and it all seems to be coming together – unlike our political parties – in a frightening fire season. Forget about monsoon ‘shroom showers (did I say that?) and let’s just hope for a gullywasher or two this summer.

FIRE … Talking about possible worst case scenarios should this monsoon season bring dry lightning, as predicted, government officials realized that everyone needs to be personally prepared for sudden evacuation, should that become necessary in the case of an out-of-control fire this summer. Our local Intergovernmental meet up at the Mountain Village last week was sobering. Even the possibility that the governor may ban fireworks on the 4th of July was discussed, as happened in the bad drought year of 2002 … We would all do well to be prepared this year. Burning Man may be coming to a backyard near you.

CLOUD ACRE SPUDS … Finished up my spud patch this spring. Took me a month to prep the ground and plant some 50+ varieties of potato (59 varieties, by my count, and some 208 mounds). Part of what makes the process time-consuming is keeping accurate records of what was planted where – alternating colors so it’s less likely to mistake varieties in the fall harvest. I plant 3-4 seed potatoes for each variety, and usually keep 4 tubers of each kind for my own seed plantings. I store some for my own food, and the rest is what I sell or trade. Some varieties have been cloned and adapted for the past 15 years at my place (with an aberrant year growing in California, while I was taking hospice care of my dad) … This year I had seed potatoes available at the Norwood Home & Garden Show and Norwood’s first Farmer’s Market. Next year I hope to have full line of unusual varieties to offer folks in the region.



WEEKLY QUOTA …
"Poetry is when you can't afford the "v" in poverty." - Doug Haning, Portland Jazz Musician



THE TALKING GOURD

Stone Belly’s Poetics

Stone Belly is not gentle

with his poems, does a jig

on the lines to see if they got rhythm,

boogies with the beat, twirls them around

to find there they bend

and break.

After all that, if you can still dance with it,

you know a poem is good. 

-Michael Adams Lafayette
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