HELP NEEDED … Anyone with a home to share with an out-of-town mycophile (shroom-lover) mushfest staff member in exchange for tickets, or offering a ride into T-ride Aug. 25/26 (or out Aug. 29/30), get a hold of me at Mushroom Central (until Aug. 25th – 970.327.4767
POSTCARD FROM CROW … We met 44 years ago – a lanky fun-loving farm kid from rural Minnesota and yours truly in my pre-hippie failed priest & short hair adolescence. Whooped it up together in training at a lakeside resort deep in the Ironton Range of Northern Wisconsin as Volunteers In Service To America – doing what Kennedy had exhorted us to, doing something for our country. We got paid beans, and had to figure it all out on our own – often getting thrown into the backwash of rural America straight from the economic engines of our cities. Vista, they called it back then. The domestic Peace Corps … In Wisconsin, Loren Francis Anthony Bellrichard and I dreamed of buying an island we saw advertised for sale in a nearby lake (beaucoup cheap back then) and then living our image of the American Dream – like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn … Sent to neighboring Eastern Montana reservations for our year of service, we hooked up mid-term for an epic cross-country Neil Cassady jaunt replete with lawlessness, romance and amazing grace …He took on the name “Crow.” I changed mine from Failed Priest to Goodtimes. He came to live with me (in San Francisco and Norwood – where one shed is still named the “Crow’s Nest”). A couple times I visited him and his dear mom Ethel (who turned 97 earlier this summer!) out in Austin, Minnesota – once catching Crow in his run for county commissioner consisting mainly of pitching a tipi and scattered photographs in the center of the Austin County Fair … We’ve had many adventures over the years, our lives weaving in and out of this four decades of sometimes intelligent design. I send packets. He sends postcards … His latest read, “These days I’m just tickled to be living in the country-side, very near (1/3 of a mile) where I grew up on a family dairy farm.” That’s a lost kind of laughter, the joy of living in one place for a long long time. Bless Crow for reminding us that place matters. All places.
POETS OF THE AMERICAN WEST … Lowell Jaeger of Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana, has assembled a collection of poet practitioners in some eleven western states. It’s a strong selection, though by no means comprehensive. As old Walt knew, this land is too big an embrace for one bound book, even if it weighs in at over 500 pages … Lots of big names, and many familiar ones to me. Most will be new to readers for whom poetry is a backwater art … I was pleased my “Skinning the Elk” poem made Lowell’s cut – a story from my first real job in Telluride, working for George Greenbank as a laborer on a construction job … I hope to introduce some poet voices from the book’s eleven states to Up Bear Creek readers over the next year or so.
THE TALKING GOURD
On the porch the big dog thumps
when the moon slides up
phantom twin cedars.
A line from my notebook, twenty-five years old,
floats off parched summer trails—
“rises a lady with a candle in her hand.”
Memory rushes from the litter
with just one pup bloody and squirming
in her cupped gloved hands.
I saw the birth of fog
out beyond the argument of garbage
A wave along the tops of poplar,
cottonwood went silver
as the moon breathed the shape of a lake,
tears in its sheer fabric
in slightest evening breezes.
Past midnight, the fog
draped over a willow
smeared the bedroom window,
hung from bird pecked barn rafters,
and veiled all but the eyes of
She shall not be gazed upon
by all men. She is the bride
of one master,
not one of us.
A voice, keening
“oo-la-loo” through the fog.
Mt. Vernon, WA