UP BEAR CREEK | Back Where I Started From
by Art Goodtimes
Apr 21, 2013 | 1854 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print

SAN FRANCISCO … Of course I left a bit of my heart in this cosmopolitan city by the dot-com bay. But after half a lifetime in Colorado, it’s a bittersweet homecoming. Most of my family has passed on. All my heirloom photos burned up when the Grace Estep Mansion burned in Placerville. Many of my friends from the Sixties and Seventies have moved on. Plus, San Francisco is a different town. Faster. Meaner. Homeless everywhere. People talking to themselves, their ear buds, their handhelds – instead of each other … Still, the landscape’s familiar enough, though with many new additions. The geography’s almost the same. The weather’s so familiar – sun in the Mission and fog in the Avenues … Visiting with my daughter and her partner has been delightful. I promised my youngest son that I’d not be rushing off to a laundry list of my events this trip. Instead, I’m letting him decide what we do and don’t do. And most of the don’ts involve seeing all my old buddies and familiars. It’s OK. It’s a special time, Mary just gone, and so I can live with focusing on him instead of myself … Went to see Jurassic Park in 3-D at an IMAX theater. Went shopping for new clothes in the downtown department stores. Walked all over the place … San Francisco is such a vibrant city. Always lots going on. Flowering trees on every sidewalk. Amazing murals in the alleys. And this trip the blessing of great weather … Still, I’m jonesing for my solitary spud patch at Cloud Acre and that special view of Lone Cone free of human sights and sounds.

 

SAUSALITO … Got to read at the start of our week in the Bay Area with some lovely poets at the Sunset Reading Series in this Marin County landmark, thanks to organizer Martin Hickel. It was held at Studio 333, a lovely art space … Nancy Cherry led off the evening. Her most recent publications include Calyx, Comstock Review, Cimmaron Review, Cream City Review, Danzc Best of the Web anthology and "Tornado" on Verse Daily (March 6, 2009). She lives in Fairfield and works in the Sports & Discipline office at Armijo High School … My buddy Kirk Lumpkin and I did an alternating set. Kirk’s a poet, performer, lyricist, environmentalist, and cultural worker. He is the author of two books of poetry, In Deep and Co-Hearing. He has released two poetry/music CDs, The Word-Music Continuum and Sound Poems. He has been featured on KPFA radio’s Cover to Cover – Open Book. He works a the Special Events & Promotions Coordinator of the Berkeley Ecology Center's Farmers' Markets. His work has been described as “solid real illumination” by Michael McClure, and “No matter what, he will make sure the sidewalks are shaking before you go home” on the website, Examiner.com … Blake More blurs boundaries between poetry, video, radio, performance, costume design, collage, teaching, painting, functional mixed media, art/life pieces and wildly painted poetry art cars. She hosts two radios shows, a web program called “Cartwheels on the Sky” and another, “Women’s Voices,” on KZYX&Z in Mendocino. Her first book Godmeat is a collection of poetry, prose, color artwork, and a DVD compilation of poem movies (available at godmeat.com). Her latest chapbook "Up In the Me World is available on her website -- snakelyone.com. She lives Point Arena, California … Sharon Fain, a retired San Francisco City College professor, who taught developmental psychology, was the final reader. She is the author of two chapbooks, Telling the Story Another Way (Puddinghouse Press) and Territories (Spire Press). She was awarded the 2009 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize, the 2010 Paumanok Prize, and several residencies. Her work has appeared in Nimrod, Poetry East, Literary Review, Arts & Letters, Southern Humanities Review and Best New Poets 2010

 

CATHOLICS … As a recovering Papist myself, I’ve been pretty hard on priests and the Pope and the worldwide pedophilia scandal. But someone sent me a bit of a corrective from a Jewish friend. Let me share it with you, because it puts the Holy See’s problems in somewhat of a better perspective … These are some excerpts from an email by Wally Saunders to our Seminary listserve run by Dr. Thomas Sheehan of Stanford … Do you know that the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92 percent … The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students … The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people in the United States today – not just Catholics. But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12 percent of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38 percent acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8 percent of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17 percent of laywomen have been sexually harassed … Meanwhile, 1.7 percent of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10 percent of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem only … A study of American priests showed that most are  happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving … The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted  wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church.

 

THE TALKING GOURD

 

Postcard Poem:

San Francisco

 

a cool ocean breeze

balloons the sunny curtains

at Iris and Bert’s

Mission District loft

with its 25-foot ceiling

eclectic urban artwork

& the homeopathic scent

of Blue Bottle lattes

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