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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 26apr25012



Getting a chance to play 
educator for a day



SWOS … I have a soft-spot in my resume for education. My original thought was that I would be a teacher. I rose through the pre-school ranks and became the director of the John Adams site in San Francisco’s exemplary Parent Education Pre-school Program back in the Seventies. I even attended U.C. Berkeley night school to get a lifetime California Teaching Credential (the last year that they gave those out) … But I moved to Colorado, and had to find other work, as all the local pre-school jobs were taken when I came to town. But I always harbored a desire to spend some time in a classroom with a group of kids – one of the most important jobs one can have in a community … Thanks to some friends in Cortez, I got invited to teach a class at the Southwest Open School several years ago. I was deeply impressed … These were the kids who’d had troubles in regular high school classes and had gotten the boot, or had dropped out and wanted to try again, or any number of special situations that an innovative charter school was willing to address … My contact was a teacher, Sam “I Am” Carter – a charismatic educator with an easy manner but tough love standards that he held his students to. I lectured on poetry the first time. Next year it was politics. Then, anarchy (a favorite concept) … Soon I’d become a regular visitor, and I met the equally charismatic Judy Hite, the director, and Jennifer Chappell, her assistant … A couple years back the students even requested that I give their senior commencement speech. I was deeply touched. I canceled a regional political meeting I’d been scheduled to attend in Montana. Speaking to the SWOS graduating class was too important to miss, in my book … This year they wanted me to be part of a Portfolio Review team that they solicited from community members – there were musicians, ranchers, educators and politicos (like myself). A group of us got to listen to a graduating senior give a verbal presentation of their written Portfolio – a kind of senior project outlining all they’d done that year. It was fascinating. One fellow had done a haiku in Russian (exactly 17 syllables, and he actually pronounced the Russian correctly). Another was a dazzling artist, and his tessellated sketch of an eye had me intrigued. Another did a very good research paper on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 … And when we all assembled in the common room of one of the trailers that make up the school buildings in this shoestring operation (they recently lost a bond issue in Montezuma County to expand the facility), it was a happy bedlam of cheers and noisemakers. Lots of Diné and Hispanics and Anglos all mixed up, celebrating together. The good feelings were addictive. I think I’m becoming a SWOSaholic.

Patty Limerick

CAW … Dr. Patricia Limerick heads up the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado in Boulder. We met years ago at the first Headwaters conference at Western State College in Gunnison (its name recently changed to Western State Colorado University), and we’ve remained friends ever since. Last year she invited me to come lecture one of her classes about my brand of Green politics out on the Western Slope. The class seemed to like it, and so Patty invited me back again this year … It’s a darn long drive to Boulder for an hour lecture, but having once entertained the idea of becoming a college professor, lecturing to a couple hundred students was a challenge and a treat … This time Patty made it easier by asking me questions the students had prepared and we had a lively session of back and forth on lots of sensitive issues from politics to poetry to mushroom festivals. In the end, I was humbled with a standing ovation, which was both unexpected and quite generous on the part of the students whom I’d harangued … Patty selected six of a list of students who’d signed up to have dinner with us and we all walked over to the Sink (a Boulder institution) for another lively hour of exchanged stories and repartee … I’m not sure I could handle grading student papers, sitting in on faculty committees, and all the hard work that goes into making academia a focused place for learning. But I sure loved the hit-and-run lecture option.

Iris on Boat Ride in Argentina


IRIS WILLOW … Number One daughter, who turns 29 this month, has just finished a six weeks respite in Buenos Aires, after travels around the southern continent, following six months in Santiago, Chile, where her partner Bert Fan has been working on a cyber-startup, Recollect. They’ll be moving back to San Francisco, after Iris spends her birthday with friends in Colombia … She had a number of things she said she’d miss about Argentina’s capital city, that I thought I might share … “The copious amount of tasty Argentine steak easily consumed on almost every block, muy rico (delicious) homemade raviolis and pastas around the corner, and authentic Italian gelato a mere three blocks from our apartment … Attempting to relearn to rollerblade in the beautiful French designed bosques de Palermo as expert Argentine bladers weave, twirl and jump around me … Sipping a cafe con leche at an outdoor cafe in Palermo watching Argentine fashionistas in leopard print leggings, neon yellow platform flip-flops and ballerina buns stroll past … Visiting unusual Argentine bars, like the "secret" bar, Frank's, which requires you to dial a password in a telephone booth before entering the swanky velvet and chandelier-clad bar, or the funky Acabar with an entire room dedicated to board games including a giant Jenga and a Spanish Sexionary … Visiting the San Telmo Sunday feria (fair) and perusing the antiques, independent jewelry and fashion designers and street performers … The amazing BAFICI international film festival which was perfectly timed during our stay and allowed us to see a range of international films including a fascinating documentary by Werner Herzog examining the death penalty in the States, Death Row; the silly new Whit Stillman flick, Damsels in Distress, and a surprisingly good The International Sign for Choking, which was filmed in Buenas Aires -- along with several films at BA's beautiful planetarium … Wandering along the beautiful tree-lined, cobblestoned streets with pretty colonial buildings and occasional burst of colorful street art.”

La Boca, Buenos Aires (Photo by Iris Willow)


THE TALKING GOURD

Меланхолия
Тупые, Мимолетное
неважно

Melancholia
Stupid, Fleeting
Of no consequence

-Michael Lyons
SWOS senior

Friday, April 20, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 19apr25012



What to do about energy 
& our carbon footprint?



URANIUM-235 … I got a very nice email from a friend who didn’t necessarily disagree with my assessment of the issues involved with nuclear power but wanted me to see the Bill Gates TED talk on our nuclear option, and youtubes of several other respectable thinkers who lean towards nuclear to solve the world’s growing demand for cheap energy in a carbon-constrained future … As a thinker myself, I think I understand the attraction of 20th Century magic – the ability to “harness” the mysterious atom, that is, make bombs & electricity. We have become the gods our ancestors dreamed of … But I also think Jerry Mander had it right with his books, In the Absence of theSacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (1991) and Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1977) – some technology is bad. We have to make responsible choices – choices for which we agree to be responsible … Two catastrophic black swan events in less than a generation? Waste toxicity that continues emitting on-site killing rays for hundreds of thousands of years? All so we can support a hundred greedy Wall Streets around the world? … Brand me a conservative on this one, but nuclear power’s far too liberal for my blood. Risking our children’s lives on a technology we’re trying to keep out of all but a few hands and which not even Lloyd’s of London would fully ensure? … I’m a Green. I say lets build a resilient energy future in America based on renewables, efficiencies and reductions of use. Let’s downsize our risk & usage, and supersize our security & interdependence.
Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam

BRIE … Funny, I had my first taste of soft-ripened cheese at a German delicatessen out on Church Street in the upper Mission, between Noe Valley and Glen Park. It was the Sixties, and I was in my early-20s. I’d never heard of Brie, but I fell head-over-tongue in love … My Nippon-Brit-Hispanic mom had told us stories of Limburger, and we’d tried it (we three boys called it “stinky cheese”), but we preferred the Liederkranz my Italian dad bought (he shopped and she cooked) – an edible gold tan crust around a semisoft, pale interior with a mildly pungent flavor and distinct aroma that could become unpleasantly ammonia-like with age. But spread on Larraburu Sourdough French Bread, nothing could quite compare. Still, the aroma was strong, and it kept many a friend away from our family treat, which was kind of cool ... Of course, as I started to make the Bay Area gallery and opening party circuit, I looked forward to brie, on crackers, or just neat … Like single-malts, double and triple-cream cheese came even later to my palate. But as a health nut (of sorts – one who always buys organic, when it’s available) the thought of bad fat haunted me. Even as I relished the buttery delights of many an exotic French and Italian double-cream … And then along came Cowgirl Creamery of Pt. Reyes Station with their organic, hand-crafted Mt. Tam triple-cream. Just found some in the Whole Foods (“Whole Paycheck”) store in Boulder this past weekend. On “sale” for $26.95 a pound, but as close to heaven as any food I’ve ingested.

 A TISKET A TASKET … It’s my first big show of baskets – the first time I’ve gotten to hang the ones I’ve hung on to. Truth is, I’ve given most away over the last 16 years of weaving during meetings, conferences, lectures, workshops and public events. But I’ve kept a bunch too. And I think I’m ready to sell some. It’s like my tapestry artist friend Pam Smith of Cortez says – I’d rather see the baskets out and about than moldering in some dark attic … The Norwood opening was Monday the 16th at the Livery. The show will hang there for several weeks. If you’d like to see it, let me know, and we’ll set up a time to visit the collection. 327-4767

DOVE CREEK PRESS … I first started reading the DoveCreek Press back in the Eighties, when I was editor of the Telluride Times. In those days, editors exchanged subscriptions with regional papers, and we all read each others’ work (a journalism tradition in Colorado from the earliest day). It gave one a great overview of the region. Of course, things were a lot slower then, and smaller. So it was easier to keep in regional touch … Doug and Linda Funk were editors of the Press, and they covered stories in Egnar – the community furthest from Telluride but still in San Miguel County. So it was doubly important to read their paper ... Plus, they always had a brief summary section of headline news in papers from Cortez to Monticello. Sometimes they tossed in bemused and mildly disparaging comments about Telluride -- a favorite pastime in the region. And amazingly, years later, they’re still doing journalism just like they’ve always done… I get pleasure in reading down home community journalism -- using a running commentary to cover county meetings or school board decisions (like the recent inexplicable firing of the school’s decades-long sports icon in what was to be his last year, Coach Ken Soper – and only two wins shy of a state high school coaching record) … I admit to having a bias for blow-by-blow coverage – an older form of news reporting. Rather than focusing on the spotty “big issue” stories that miss all the little stuff … Doug even writes a weekly column, talking about all the little pains and pleasures of rural life. Nothing flashy. Just real life stuff. Phunque’s Desk … The Silverton Standard may be winning all the prizes hereabouts, but I got a real sweet spot for the paper of record in San Miguel County’s far west end.

Ken Salazar hosting a delegation of Colorado county commissioners at his Interior office
KEN SALAZAR … The Interior Secretary (and one of my favorite politicos) is catching heat from Utah’s (Tea Party) Governor Gary Herbert who railed against Ken’s “nonsensical, bass-ackwards, peek-a-boo policy” in reversing the Bush Administration’s decision to fast-track shale and tar sands development and support a stampede to strip-mine two million acres of Western public lands. Herbert called the move “political posturing” and suggested the decision was made with “no science and no data”, conveniently ignoring the Government Accountability Office report that stated quite clearly that the science and the data didn’t support the Bush leasing plan … In an administration of Dem disappointments, Ken’s been an Interior Secretary willing to make some tough calls and come down on the side of the environment.

THE TALKING GOURD

Immorality

When you carry
all your own water
into a house

letting it run free
even to wash hands
seems almost a sin

Monday, April 16, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 13apr25012



A million dollar County surplus?

OR BUDGET WOES? … While a recent Daily Planet story may have given the impression San Miguel County is afloat in money, “San Miguel County Ends 2011 With $1 Million Over Projections,” it’s important to put that accurately reported fact into perspective … We are all in a major downturn, both the private and the public sectors. Have been since 2008. But because of the state-mandated way counties are required to assess and collect property tax (our main source of income in San Miguel County), the effect on county revenues has been delayed. Property taxes actually went up for many people after the 2008 recession. Without going into the details, it’s only now that the full effect of the downturn is starting to hit the county. And projections suggest we will be losing revenue (even as demand for services and the cost of providing them grows) for the next four or five years … So, the county has been tightening its belt, deferring raises, forgoing cost of living salary adjustments – that’s part of why we saw about $600,000 more in revenues and $400,000 less in expenditures than our budget estimates for 2011. That and a big help from the Feds, in the form of a Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) payment larger than we’d expected … And while a 192% increase in interest earnings for 2011 sounds impressive, that only amounted to $22,980 more than projected in actual dollars for county coffers. Plus, as the story noted, property taxes – our main source of income – was down even lower than projections (a worrisome indicator, since our finance staff likes to budget conservatively) … Both the Towns of Telluride and the Mountain Village had to lay off workers. Resort counties like La Plata and Summit have seen layoffs in the double digits. Happily, San Miguel County has been able to avoid laying anyone off, although we’ve let a number of positions go vacant after employees have retired … We’ve built up a year’s operating reserve that we’re going to be drawing on in 2012 and subsequent years to keep the county operating in a reduced but functional mode, while we all try to climb back out of the depression hole – thanks to the housing mortgage scandal and the cost of multiple foreign wars. So, while it might have sounded like the county was bucking the deficit tide most governments are experiencing, that’s not the case. It’s just that our county has prepared well for this rainy day, and the many rainy days to come … Let’s hope we can all go back to regular raises, hiring the five sheriff deputies and two county road workers we’re down, and the slow but sustained growth that is the mark of an economically healthy community.



SEAN MCNAMERA … I’ve long been a fan of “The View”. Like Peter Shelton, another of the region’s sterling columnists, Sean writes about his life here in the mountains or about his travels, and his stories are delightfully written, full of good sense and humor, and invariably captivating … A recent piece, “Hitchhike to glory,” reminded me of how I too, at 66, still hitchhike around the region -- when a car is being fixed, or at other odd times. I actually treasure those moments. Time to touch base with folks I wouldn’t meet otherwise. Stories I wouldn’t otherwise hear … When I was a young hippie, hitching was my main mode of transit. I was only marginally in the money economy. These days I’m part of the economic mainstream. But I still appreciate the generosity of drivers who share their big cars with a stranger (or a friend). And writers like McNamera who write about it so gracefully.

Co-chair Bill Bartlett and Telluride's John Wontrobski at the Green Party State Convention in Carbondale (photo by Goodtimes)
GREEN PARTY … Green Party delegates from eight chapters around Colorado assembled in Carbondale’s Third Street Center for the annual State Convention to cheer on Dr. Jill Stein and six state candidates, including a unanimous endorsement of my own candidacy for re-election. Two new chapters were accepted – one in the Pike’s Peak Region and another in Douglas County (there are currently 9 active chapters in the state currently, including the San Miguel Greens in this county and the Southwest Colorado Greens in Montezuma County … Other candidates affirmed at the convention include Steve Schecter for County Commissioner (Dist. 1) in Gunnison County, vying for Dem. Paula Swenson’s seat; Karyna Lemus running for El Paso County Commissioner (Dist. 2); Brad Harris for El Paso County Commissioner (Dist. 4); Victor Forsythe for Denver’s State House District 5; Misha Luzov for U.S. Congressional Seat in district 5, Susan Hall for U.S. Congressional Seat in District 2; and Gary Swing for U.S. Congressional District 1, held by Dem. Diana DeGette … Bill Bartlett of Greeley and I were re-elected state co-chairs for this election year, and Greens agreed to move from a listserve to a forum for Council deliberations and other business between state party meetings.


DR. JILL STEIN … Massachusetts physician turned Green politician is finally speaking truth to power in this country. You may not have heard her name, but you will recognize her New Deal platform ... Makes more plain sense, from what I’ve heard, than any Repub or Demdat … Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama -- the two-party see-saw makes the lifeboat bankers more secure, as it cuts loose the Titanic’s safety nets … Let’s do more than just hope for change. This time let’s put a woman in the White House who gets it and has a plan … According to Stein, the 1980s began 30 years of what she called "The Stolen Decades" in which the real wages and purchasing power of the average American worker began to flatline, and the wages of corporate CEOs shot up dramatically. "We need major policy changes to bring economic security to the working people of America," Stein asserted. "The fundamental flaws of an economic policy dictated by Wall Street are apparent, even if they have sometimes been masked by periods of apparent growth that were actually financed by unsustainable credit card and housing debt. Wealth that should be invested in our local economy to create jobs is being put in the hands of the super rich who build factories abroad instead. Families disintegrate while the income of the richest few surges upward. This is changing America in a way that we must not accept."

THE TALKING GOURD

Dear God,
I want
not to want.

How do I ask for that?

-Patrick Curry
Carbondale

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 6apr25012


Responding to Hellman and Nusser

[Ed. Note: In response to my UBC column in the Telluride Watch Mar. 15th -- "Taking a hard look at nuclear energy", both Jeremy Hellman of Ouray and Rachel Nusser of Naturita wrote rebuttals. This week's column is my response.]



NUCLEAR … Given Jeremy Hellman’s almost 40 years as a nuclear engineer and manager, it’s no wonder he takes issue with my critical view of an industry that has given us, not energy “too cheap to meter”, as promised, but disasters too catastrophic to measure. Of course, in his mind, Chernobyl isn’t “relevant”. But for those in Belarus who still are living with the many-thousand-year effects of that “black swan” event (or Fukushima) as well as those of us wondering where the atomic nightmare will strike again, the incredible cost of nuclear power gone awry (not once but multiple times) should give all citizens pause … Hellman dismisses the Price-Anderson Act as “hypothetical”, because taxpayers haven’t had to make good on its unlimited-pay-out insurance policy (thank the goddess). But without Price-Anderson, there would be no nuclear industry in this country. The atom’s dirty little secret is that nuclear power produces energy too expensive to insure. Forget that 60 years of technological advance has yet to solve its malingering waste problem. Ignore its reactors’ inherent vulnerability to terrorist attack … 

Radioactive Waste Buried At Idaho Labs (1969)

Decades after it began, the industry still hasn’t cleaned up its proliferation of past radioactive waste sites around the country, as the recent New York Times piece -- on the 683 abandoned mine sites on the Navajo reservation alone -- documented. “Two days of exposure at the Cameron site would expose a person to more external radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers safe for an entire year,” writes Leslie MacMillan. But as yet there are no warning signs or even fencing at the Cameron site – a situation duplicated all over the West and another hidden cost of an industry unwilling to face up to its dark underbelly. So far the Department of Energy has paid out $60 million on assessment and cleanup, but cleaning up all the sites would cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” according to Clancy Tenley, a senior Environmental Protection Agency official … Nor does Hellman mention the $1.5 billion taxpayers have paid out to 23,408 former uranium miners (or their families) who weren’t apprised of the dangers of mining uranium and perished prematurely to cancer and related illnesses. These are all costs that need to be calculated into any true cost accounting of the nuclear energy option … Hellman may say renewable energy is “wonderful to think about” but deeply flawed to meet the increasing demands of the modern world, but I believe it’s the only way into the future, if we expect our species to survive for seven more generations. Renewables, efficiency and reduction of use – those are the keys to a resilient future energy policy … 



And as for Rachel Nusser’s commentary, I realize Nucla and Naturita have bet all their chips on a new uranium mill. We know the hard times our West End neighbors have endured, as long as I’ve lived here, and we want to root for their economic success. But Nusser lost me in the second sentence when she wrote, “The energy consumed by man is created by non-renewable sources such as oil, gas, nuclear, and renewable resources [sic]” … Yes, it’s true “Up Bear Creek” is an opinion column, not an environmental impact statement, sagely weighing the pros and cons. Those have been done. I’ve read them. And what I present here is the conclusion I’ve come to, as a Green Party elected official, after 40 years of investigating this industry … And yes, it’s also true all energy production has impacts. The point is, when weighed apples to apples, the nuclear risk and its harm to the environment and to the human race – men and women -- is clearly the most dangerous and expensive of all energy alternatives.

Uche Ogbuji reading at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Fest

KAREN CHAMBERLAIN … Folks from all across the Western Slope flocked to Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Company last weekend, where Valerie Haugen and Lon Winston organized the second annual Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. Bards from all over the Western Slope dazzled audiences with riveting performances by Aaron Abeyta of the San Luis Valley and Bob King of Greeley’s Colorado Poets Center, Pike’s Peak Poet Laureate Jim Ciletti, Seth & Collette of Denver with their “Triangle Man”, the soft-spoken warrior Janice Gould, the well-played David Rothman, Grand Junction’s Wendy Videlock, Fruita’s Danny Rosen, the incomparable Jack Mueller of Log Hill Village, Uche Ogbuji, Kit Muldoon, Stewart Warren, Chris Ransick, David Mason, Carol Bell, Debbi Brody, Rachel Kellum, Julie Cummings, Eric Walter, Hildegard Guttendorfer, Western State’s WordHorde, Francie Jacober, Kit Hedman, Kim Nuzzo, John Macker, Celeste Labadie, Peter Anderson, L. Luis Lopez, Sandy Munro, the River City Nomads and more.



ADRIENNE RICH … Last week the nation lost one of its great poets. Rich’s Diving into the Wreck (1973) was one of the seminal poem sequences of modern America. As a young man, I was deeply moved by this book. In the section titled, “From the Prison House,” speaking of violence against women, Rich wrote, “underneath my lids another eye has opened” and this eye sees “the violence embedded in silence …”

THE TALKING GOURD

This eye
is not for weeping

Its vision
must be unblurred

though tears
are on my face

Its intent is clarity
It must forget nothing…


-Adrienne Rich
-from Diving into the Wreck

Friday, April 6, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 29mar25012



Learning to respect Indigenous wisdom


SCOTT ORTMAN … The Tewa-speaking pueblos near Santa Fe have always claimed ancestry from the ancient peoples the Apache called “Anasazi” – those ancient ones who vanished rather abruptly from Mesa Verde and Chaco around 800 years ago. It’s taken careful work by Dr. Scott Ortman to sort through the web of conflicting anthropological theories, disjunctive material artifacts and complex linguistic, cultural and genetic clues to find a scientific validation for what the indigenous Tewa people have been telling us all along about their ethnogenesis, i.e. where they came from … His Telluride Unearthed lecture at the Telluride Historical Museum last week laid out his case quite elegantly. And his prize-winning new book (derived from his Ph. D. thesis) assembles all the intricate details – Winds from the North: Tewa Origins and Historical Anthropology (Univ. of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 2012) … 


For years anthropologists were mystified because, although there was a sudden population increase in the Rio Grande region right around the time Mesa Verde was depopulated, none of the cultural artifacts from Mesa Verde culture (pottery styles, architectural styles, etc.) appeared in Rio Grande culture. Ortman painstakingly delves into the concepts of inheritance and ethnic groups, synthesizing methods and data from the four subgroups of anthropology – ethnography, linguistics, archaeology and physical anthropology. He untangles the presuppositions of previous scholars and brilliantly weaves a landmark story of migration and social transformation, and in the process rewrites our understanding of the history of this place … And in the end, it’s the mythic tales of the Tewa that prove the central clues to solving one of the long-standing mysteries of Southwestern studies … If you missed the lecture and have any interest in the culture that preceded us here in the Four Corners, get a copy of the book. It’s not cheap, nor light reading. But Ortman is one of those new breed of scientists who write clearly and convincingly, so that both lay readers and specialists can follow his crafted arguments and startling hypotheses. Winds from the North is sure to become a Southwestern classic.

DAVID GLYNN … Kudos to “Indian” for calling the bluff of Denver prosecutor Marley Bordovsky, who had to apologetically dismiss the case against him for his stepping in when police attacked an Occupy encampment in Denver recently. It’s just like the Ophir resident and long-time Tellurider to stand up for civil justice. We should be proud to have citizens like Glynn in our midst, unafraid to speak truth to power.

STEERS QUEERS … And Everything In Between … That was the name for the rollicking benefit for Tami Graham at the Mancos Opera House last weekend. And a grand old time it was. A regional music promoter and cultural powerhouse, Graham developed cancer last fall, and found – like so many condemned by politicians to inadequate insurance (or none at all) – that even though she’s recovered, her bill for treatment was far beyond her means to pay. So, given her large community of friends, people started donating things and a big party was held to raise funds to help offset the debt … I was honored to be asked to emcee. A silent auction with tables and tables of donated goods filled the edges of the worn but impressive old hall, and kickass music and rowdy folks of all shapes, sizes and orientations danced their hearts out to the music of AfroBeat Minons, Diabolical Sound Platoon, the Lindells, John Thomas and DJ Dr. Doom. Probably the high point of the night was the dazzling performance by the Salt Fire Circus and Bare Bones Burlesque – a risqué combo of juggling, dancing, gypsy fiddle, mime, costumery and seduction … Let me say, those Mancos folks really know how to party.


EUPHEMISM … The government is always good at substituting misleading phrases for words that have a harsh ring to them. So, when I was a Vista volunteer in the Sixties, if they kicked you out of the training program (as they did several kids), you were “deselected” … I always found that pretty disingenuous … Well, Colorado State Government has invented a great neologism to describe what happens when they give you a sum of state money for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and then decide to take it back mid-year. It’s called a “Negative Supplemental” … Yeah, right!

WEEKLY QUOTA … “The task of a novelist is to deepen mystery, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind.” –Flannery O’Connor



THE TALKING GOURD

Taking Leave

-for Charlie Richmond,
well-loved GMUG Forest Supervisor
bumped up to D.C.

Too soon
for the San Miguel
Canyon narrowleaf

to put on flesh
So we start with
the bare-bone grays

of the Gambel oak
& the sunbleached
Cottonwoods

Their antlers tinged
with a touch of auburn
Enjoying the willows

fiery riverbottom flush
before climbing Dallas Divide
to the evergreens


Spruce Piñon Ponderosa
Hard choices
even for transplants

taking leave of
the Uncompahgre’s
mountains & streams