Slipping into the mystery
JIM BOYD … Guess I’m still reeling from his quick leaving. Heard around Christmas there might be some issues. Wasn’t prepared last week to hear of his hospitalization. Then hospice. And within a couple days, he was gone … Both his wife Ellen and daughter Mari are strong women, but our hearts go out to them. It’s wrenching when such a loss comes so suddenly … I had a hand in bringing Jim and Elle together, back when Jim was a fresh-faced Natural Resource Conservation Service agent for the USDA, batching it in Norwood. And Elle was a river rat poet friend done rafting the Animas in La Plata County and scouting for a new home … And we’ve had our share of holiday dinners, djembe drumming lessons, ice-fishing at Miramonte, helping load 25-lb. native seed bags onto a Olathe spray plane to drop over the Burn Canyon Burn post-fire. On the County Open Space Commission Jim was a voice of moderation and reason, an ally in looking at how NRCS programs might dovetail with a County Regenerative Ag project … He turned a bare sloping lot west of Norwood into handsome rural grounds – a pond, firepit, garden, yard, workshop, sheds and a snug south-facing shelterhome of compact design with lots of light. Built most of it himself … When Mary passed, he bought a pine seedling to plant behind her yurt. Helped us dig a hole and shoe it in. That memorial pine is chest high today … As I wrote in a poem, “A comrade in arms, legs & getting things done.” May we remember his positive, creative, generous spirit.
SISTER LOVE … “They made ninja Christmas cookies this year, because my nephew likes ninjas. When I said that sounds kind of violent and I’d prefer the typical gingerbread people (typical for the Kopestonsky sisters, i.e. elaborately decorated as a Russian folk dancer with fancy trim on her shirt, a hula dancer with a flowered bikini, lei, grass skirt, +headdress, and an avant-garde Santa with purple hair and a green suit), they assured me these ninjas are socially conscious – they’re fighting prejudice, trampling the patriarchy, smashing misogyny. Or helping Santa … Only my sister could make me feel joyously fond of ninja cookies! They even made a deep-sea scuba diving ninja … Now the fighting ninjas and gingerbread dancers are co-existing peacefully in my stomach – ninjas learning to dance while gingerbread dancers learn to fight against injustice, all gradually being incorporated into my cells as I find my own balance between fighting against my resistance and dancing with life as is.” – Kyra Kopestonsky
WEEKLY QUOTA … Citing an earlier piece in Scientific American, a reader’s letter suggests the story “exposes a paradox that experimenters must ignore if they wish to preserve the illusion of behaving ethically when studying infant monkeys. Researchers perform tests on primate infants to understand the behavior of humans raised under stressful conditions. For the results to have any value, they must therefore recognize that human and monkey brains and personalities share similar developmental pathways. But if monkeys are similar enough to be useful experimental models, how can these trials be anything other than cruel and unethical?” –Bill Tarver, Wokingham, England (SA, October, 2015)
ODD BODKINS … No cartoon strip tantalized the minds of Sixties’ hippies as well as Dan O’Neill’s brilliant hallucinatory four-part panels that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, back in the day (before the Hearst thugs bought out the paper). Then he unwisely roasted Disney characters with a violent comic book spoof and faced the full force of corporate fury. He’s been in hiding up in Nevada City (CA) ever since … The only paper he publishes in now, and that very sporadically, is Downieville’s Mountain Messenger. My poet buddy Doc Dachtler sends me copies. If you can find him (his books are out of print) and get access to his cartoons, you risk becoming an O’Neill groupie. Not recommended for the straight of heart.
TALKING GOURDS … Whiz bang! It was a jolly good show of alternating energies at Arroyo’s last Tuesday as our generous local gem of a celeb Jewel performed her relevatory poetry in a quiet, lyrical voice, while showstopper Judyth Hill raised the roofbeams with a dazzling, ecstatic, wild woman performance. Some 60-70 folks crowded into Arroyo’s. Mayor Murphy gave welcome … And the Gourd circle after heard many amazing pieces, including a haunting Vietnam-era song sung a capella by a graying veteran and Elissa Dickson’s hot jive slam rap that won the largest applause of the night … February’s First Tuesday will feature Jared Smith, a master poet whose work appeared in the same Bay Area journals my poems did, and that award-winning independent journalist and Mark Fischer finalist Samantha Tisdel Wright of Ouray. Don’t miss.
THE TALKING GOURD
still puffed up & dancing
after ten thousand years