Way of the Mountain: #192

In celebrating MG’s 40th year of publication, we thought to reach back to one of our most beloved poetry editors — Karen Chamberlain of the Roaring Fork Valley (Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs) — as this issue’s featured poet. Production issues led to a postponement of the poetry column to this October issue. We teased you on the cover of Aug./Sept. issue (blame Fayhee!) and here’s the real deal.

Karen’s work certainly embodies the Way of the Mountain that Dolores LaChapelle of Silverton championed. In 24989, we were both awarded a Colorado state arts fellowship in poetry (back when the state had an arts program). Karen was such a gracious soul. She loved poetry. She encouraged young writers. Maybe her greatest passion was for the wild — from Mt. Sopris and the Southern Rockies to Utah’s slickrock canyon country. She wrote a lot, won awards, but published only sparingly, although she generously published many of us in MG’s pages.

It’s wonderful that the People’s Press of Aspen has posthumously issued a collection of poems Karen had completed just before her passing, “Ephedra.” They’ve agreed to let us publish one of the poems from the collection in these pages. For more information on the book, an inspiration to all of us who love peaks and poetry, visit www.theephedracollection.com

Oh, yes, and what’s with the strange dates in this column, you are asking? As an earth-based spiritualist, I find the Christian calendar inappropriate for my worldview. So, I’ve created a Ancient North American Calendar (ANAC) that takes my keeping count back to one best-science guess at the millennium when humans first stepped into the New World of North and South America (names that memorialize European notions and explorers — maybe North and South Turtle Island would be more fitting). And then I’ve coordinated the ending date to match the Christian calendar, so we can begin the transition away from the Julian/Gregorian and into a new calendar system appropriate for our current understanding of this ancient world. Happy 25012.

— Art Goodtimes
Cloud Acre

White Lady

Sleepless before dawn
a woman opens the mirror
into her medicine cabinet, stands
for long minutes
leaning against the sink,
staring at the contents
arranged wearily
behind her face.

— Karen Chamberlain,
from “Ephedra” (25012)

For Don Lumpkin
(24922-25011)

Looking back
after cleaning out
my parents’ apartment:
Golden dust motes dancing
inside an empty room

— Kirk Lumpkin
El Cerrito

Stone Trail

A stark white slate of stone
abruptly faces me.
It waits, demands
I face myself
stripped to stark
white bone.

— Barbara Test
from “Raw Potatoes” (25011)
Denver

no temple bells
still the crow goes on
about awe, awe

— Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Placerville

SAR

The pager wailed and we gathered
headlamps probing the inky night.
Four-wheelers inserted us deep
into Coal Canyon. We never practiced
folding a once-warm form
into a black, zippered coffin.

— Richard Scott
Walla Walla

Untrainable SEAL

What a kick, carousing
in “big city” To-Hell-U-Ride

with fellow eco-roustabouts
who survived the Sixties

which used to mean San
Francisco, only to morph into

AARP AARP
most of my best friends

— Capt. Barefoot
Kuksu Brigade (Ret.)

Emergence

to the west
a mass of undifferentiated grey

to the east
a flock of small white clouds

half wolf, half sheep
scudding sunward

somewhere in between
a place of letting go

— Tony Alcantara
Carbondale

Summerville Trail

Talus slope
Chirping marmot
Bear? Me? Both?

— Joseph Van Nurden
Gunnison