GARY MOORE … Folks at the County are grieving the loss of this long-time Road & Bridge employee. A good man, good worker, respected by family and friends – one who enjoyed the outdoors and whose house also looks south to Lone Cone … We sometimes forget to thank folks like Gary – our snowplow drivers, deputies, firefighters and emergency first responders – those who work all hours to keep our roads open and our homes safe. So, let me say it – gratitude to Gary and all our region’s unsung heroes and heroines.
POET LAUREATE … A bit of a scramble in the state lit scene as poets jockeyed to be nominated for the next state laureate. The deadline was this past Monday. More of a self-nomination request for proposal, the way it played out on the website for Colorado Humanities, which is handling the process for Gov. Hickenlooper. You didn’t need anyone else to get in the queue … I have to say I hate that. Maybe I’ve been working for the people too long, but I love needing a second to entertain an action. If you’re going to have nominations, let the nominators sing a candidate’s praises. Don’t make poets try to out-market each other. How unseemly ... Anyway I nominated Aaron Abeyta – my choice for a Poet Laureate for several years now ... As it turned out, both Rosemerry and I had also been nominated (by anonymous others). So we applied jointly and offered to be co-laureates – a kind of poetry partnership concept that’s probably far too feminist for the mainstream … Not long after, my good friend and slam poetry ace Kenny Arkind of Denver, whose work I absolutely love, called me. He was looking, last minute for letters of nomination/recommendation – having found out from personally talking to the Humanities staff that each proposal could have up to three nomination/recommendation letters, information not provided on the website … I would have been glad to write one for Kenny, who is among the best performance poets of the slam genre that I’ve ever seen, if I hadn’t already done so for Aaron … And to be fair, unseemly as it may be, a self-vetting of candidates for taxpayer money, including resume, etc., is not unreasonable. Public funding of the arts comes with the downside of accountable bureaucratic procedures, alas … So, on one hand, it’s great to have the Governor honor one of our state literary colleagues, many of whom deserve recognition and a wider audience. For the past two years, the state’s poetry community has been delighted with our current laureate David Mason of Colorado Springs, who has visited and read in more than 60 of Colorado’s 64 counties … But on the other hand, the whole Brit thing of worshipping at the feet of the Romans and their laurel crowns, reserved only for those “winners” at the “top”, seems exactly the kind of 1% thinking we ought to be moving beyond – by occupying society and working individually and collaboratively for the good of everyone … For me, rather than awarding once-a-year laurels to one person, I think how much better it is to pass a gourd around a circle, at least once a month, and listen deeply to friends and strangers speak, or sing, or perform. It’s the practice of poetry, shared, that really honors the literary world.
THIS NIGHT … Still … This night is still … Seamless lung bellows. Air drawn in and out. Nothing retained or restrained … Molecules slowed to a hum and vibration – insane rotations and zany trajectories hushed. Energy sipped lazily – thick, sweet port wine … By tranquil darkness he shuffles languidly in muffled felt plaid mules … Dark robe hems wistfully sweep across Earth’s high cheekbones. Reminiscent of gentle fingertips across vulnerable skin … The horizon continues to rotate. It covers more and more of the Sun … Shadows are born. Shadows age. But they do not die in the diminished light … The moon perches on Martian mesas. Eludes capture by camera lens … A displaced sand dollar? She retains all her marine magic … Frozen snow crust shimmers. Billions of minute minnow scales lit silver by serene sunlight reflected … Sage, rabbit brush and tumbleweed transform desert flora – now placid harborage -- for mystic winged creatures equipped with glittering fairy dust pouches …The rose petal face of Venus, unblemished, shines arias of admiration and creation from Southwestern skies … Jackrabbits bound forcefully from shadow to shadow. Fearful for their lives … Even in this tranquil black. Even on this night. - Zoey Benally (Crownpoint)
TEA LEAVES … Oh Goddess, I love Michelle Curry Wright ‘s columns. Whatever the topic, you can expect an insightful journey through sculpture gardens of deep thought seductively draped in the most elegant of threads. She’s a local literary treasure.
FRUITA READING … Big poetry reading in Fruita at the Cavalcade, 201 E. Aspen St., according to poetry organizer and Mark Fischer Prize Winner Kyle Harvey, this Friday night, Feb. 7th at 7 p.m. Featured will be Salida poets – Peter Anderson, Craig Nielson, Lynda La Rocca, Laurie Jmes and Barbara Ford. Also featured will be Jack Mueller of Ridgway, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville, Wendy Videlock of Grand Junction, Danny Rosen of Fruita and yours truly of Norwood … For more info, contact Kyle at 435-724-7387
THE TALKING GOURD
Most a Populist
I’ve always been one
who recognizes power
lies with the people
Not just with some
to represent them