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Thursday, January 31, 2013


Trying to get my calendric facts straight
Izapan stela from John Major Jenkins

TWEAKED … Mea culpa. Mea culpa … I’m so obsessed with calendars that I’ve leapt ahead of my research, scattergun as it’s been. Truth be told, the Izapan (Mayan) Long Count Calendar’s Great Cycle wasn’t 26,000 years … What researcher John MajorJenkins believes is that the Long Count calendar was invented in Izapa’s mix of Olmec/Mayan traditions and that, through astronomical observation of the shift in the sun’s equinox position in the stars as seen at the Izapa site, the shaman/astronomers there had hit upon the physical reality of the precession of the equinoxes, a 25,800 year cycle of changes in the night sky due to the rotational spin of the earth on its axis as it circles the Sun. Hipparchus is credited with “discovering” this “wobble” that creates a great cycle of shifting constellational alignments vis-à-vis our scan of the night sky. But Jenkins thinks it was “discovered” in Izapa hundreds of years before the Greeks caught on … So, for that reason, I’ve decided to base my new calendar on that precessional wobble, and honor the Izapans who found out about it, and the cultural phenomenon of the “Mayan Calendar’s” beginning of the 14th baktun (as the archaeologists have named it), with a nod to physical anthropology’s best guess of human arrival on the continent (somewhere between 13,000 and 25,000 years ago), and still provide a bridge to our own historic Gregorian calendar in use today around the world… I’m marrying the Christian end-numbers to a rounded-off precessional cycle of 26,000 years in crafting a new Goodtimes Calendar (GC) … Voila! Thus, my new year, 26013 (GC)

Art reading at Grand Junction's The Art Center

FIRST FRIDAYS … Camille Silverman of the Western Colorado Center for the Arts Art Center and Luis Lopez of Farolito Press held a special show, Make It New: Poets Take the House, last Friday up in the Western Slope’s queen city, and it was a whopper … Over a hundred people crowded into The Art Center’s exhibits of Christopher Z.Y. Shang’s paintings, images from Tibet, clay vessels and local artists to hear something different – four dazzling poets assembled by emcee Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer … 

Wendy Videlock and daughter Shawnee

Grand Junction local Frank Coons kicked off the evening with humor and panache. Denver’s LadySpeech took the house by storm with her evocative performance and won a standing ovation. Rising national poetry star Wendy Videlock and her daughter Shawnee, both of the Grand Valley, combined word, song and music for a masterful synthesis of sound and sense. And New Mexico poet Stewart Warren took the audience on extended flights of deep image and earth-based metaphor … An amazing evening. Easily one of the best readings I’ve ever attended on the Western Slope.

LadySpeech captivates a rapt audience
AIRPORT BLUES … It’s interesting to hear questions raised, at this late date, about the effectiveness of having a Telluride Airport siphoning air guarantee dollars away from cheap direct flights to the Montrose Airport. As a bioregionalist (member of Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft’s Planet Drum Society in San Francisco), it never made sense to me to build a tiny airport on a fragile high alpine mesa in order to bring tourists to Telluride, albeit we all came to recognize that it was great for convincing wealthy investors to speculate in the area’s real estate boom of the last three decades … But to move people, on the cheap, partnering with the Montrose Airport would have seemed to have made more sense, even thirty years ago … If we’re truly going to try to transition to a more stable and resilient summer/winter industrial tourism economy without an unsustainable real estate/construction boom component, then we’re going to really have to re-examine how we most effectively move people here in an era of rising energy and transportation costs.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer emceeing at The Art Center
POET LAUREATE … San Miguel is one of a handful of counties around the country who appoint poet laureates in their communities. It’s been a local tradition for the past eight years. Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer served two two-year terms, and Ellen Marie Metrick is finishing her first two-year term. It’s an honorary role, although promoting the literary arts “in this county and around the state” is the only real duty connected with the job – open-ended enough to allow anyone to do almost anything with the title … But I’m wondering if we shouldn’t open the appointment to any poet living in or owning land in San Miguel County. Perhaps we should ask for a request for proposal from county poets to see who might do what with the job?

Stewart Warren in GJ
COMET ISON … Drywall Paul suggests you all prepare for Comet Ison’s incoming. Might be spectacular show later this year. Keep watch on the sky.

POLITICAL CAFÉ? … While I was going door-to-door in Lawson Hill, one citizen harangued me for a bit over tea, and suggested that we have a monthly opportunity in Telluride to meet with me as a commissioner outside of regularly scheduled meetings. I thought it was a good idea. And I’d like to see if there’s interest in the community. Coming up to Telluride from Norwood is a bit of a task, but if people would seriously like a more informal opportunity to talk with me, I’m happy to do it … Call me at 327-4767 or email


Home’s Magneto

-for Sara

So anchored am I
to the star-nicked drywall
of Cloudacre’s ceiling sky

who could believe
your insistent truth
that Orion’s belt

was buckling up
over winter’s dark steamed
fumarole at Orvis

at what seemed a horizon
too far north of
Little Cone

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