RUMORS … rhymes with tumors, and they’ve always given me the willies, in print (and now digital eprint in any of a hundred fonts), given a journalist’s job as investigator and objective reporter. But humans love to gossip like monkeys like to groom. Plus, editors give you a tad more latitude on the op-ed pages … Which is to say, a little birdie whispered in my ear that the Fed has been recruiting black-op analysts among (unemployed) archies and anthros (OK, archaeologists and anthropologists) here in the Southwest … Answer a generic ad, and you get invited to an interview. Actually, three. Pass them all and they promise you a job with great pay after an all-expenses training (camp) where you learn that the job (if you want it) will be to accompany an armed squad into enemy territory, enter villages and quickly assess friend from foe, even to the point of “you pick & they shoot” … Or so the rumor went … There was a time I’d have said our side didn’t do that of thing, but now keeping Gitmo open, throwing whistleblowers into solitary, using mercenaries as well as the military to prosecute foreign wars, I’m not so sure this rumor’s untrustworthy.
END OF AN ERA?… Or was it just an error, hiring Everett Morrow as Telluride’s lone ranger marshal just as the Sixties were ending? Just as the Volkswagen hippies, ex-Nam misfits & trust-fund ne’er-do-wells came straggling into town looking for a white snow hideaway. A vegan commune. The Rainbow Gathering … Everett swaggered. Wore six-shooters. Dangled cigarettes at his lip. He shot dogs & rousted newcomers just for the redneck fun of it. But he made a mistake in breaking up a private Jewish service with guns drawn, as if busting moonshine, and got hisself promptly fired by the newly elected town council skiers’ slate that yanked the maverick reins of governance out of the mining hands of the past … But that era of new (old) Telluride’s fading fast. Just as Everett – his badge long gone -- laid down his spurs, and passed away in his sleep two weekends ago, leaving behind ten grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and a first Garfield County canine partner for the police dogs he trained … Welder. Auctioneer. Veteran of the Korean War. He did his duty. Married his hometown sweetheart. Was tough as nails. Hardscrabble like the land … Sparks flew when his small-town Old West met the long-haired New West on Colorado Avenue back in the ‘70s. And maybe that’s how he’ll always be remembered. The legendary bad guy cop doing the car-stop Southern hospitality riff on good guy naifs dreaming Hollywood in the San Juans … May he rest in peace.
THE TALKING GOURD
Lady in Red
I am cleaning out my closet.
You can imagine the mess.
A lot of black dresses.
You'd think I am, like Masha
in Chekhov's The Seagull,
"in mourning for my life."
I'm throwing everything out
(well actually I'm giving it all to charity).
From this day forward, I will only
wear red, from here on out.
I've saved what I have,
three red dresses,
and a couple of jackets.
One is more raspberry than red,
but oh what a color.
I have saved it
from the great purging.
I want to walked naked down the street,
But they put you in the loony bin for that.
Instead, I will wear my three red dresses,
in no particular order,
and never all at once, naked
underneath, and recite my poetry anyway.