Boulder is to the Rockies as San Francisco is to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a seam: two unlike things stitched together in visual poetry. Here it is rock and thin air instead of salt spray and sand. I am driving around several thousand (six?) feet above sea level, but so is everyone else. The whole thing makes me a little giddy. I’m supposed to be making book presentations, but then there is this rehearsal in a Boulder Garage on Winding Trail Drive for a spoken word piece with three fine musicians backing me up – Gayan on his trap set, Michael on guitar, and Rob on bass. I’ve got a mic and a music stand and I’m having flashbacks to rehearsing with the Fairfax Street Choir a few decades back. I belt out some lyrics: “Seems like Angel Gabriel he threw me a curve now I’m starting to swerve and I’m losing my nerve…” Oh yes! The next evening I am on the stage at Nissi’s a few miles out of town. Happy Birthday Gayan! My second piece is a playful tribute to my most excellent drum teacher: …Catch an African drum beat <> Teka-Dum repeat — topside <> Teka Teka hand heat — joyride <> Tone-slap’n heartbeats –riptide <> Ah-shay Zimbabwe — upside!
… a ride with the tide. But so was the reading at Janan’s Gallery at Cherry Creek, Denver on Valentine’s Day. What a beautiful art gallery she has created! Janan had not returned from India, so Donna made it beautiful and was welcoming. Love poems. Old friends and new.
Monday evening I drove to Poet Laureate Mary Crow’s house in Fort Collins. My gracious host took me to an early dinner then to Deborah’s hose where I presented on “…the women from Jewish and Christian roots in the household of Prophet Muhammad and his positive view: embracing one family: the People of the Book.”
Mostly I stayed at Janet’s cozy home in Longmont. She has been a leader in Shambhala Training and is a long-time friend. We seem to have intersecting circles of work and play. I appreciated deeply connecting with her friends and feeling the place where – like the Rockies and the plain –Sufi and the Buddhist edges meet and join, each lending new interest to the other.
The love-fest continued with a presentation of my book, “Untold,” at the Islamic Studies class at Naropa University in Boulder. This is a school I have admired for a long long time. Back when Trungpa Rinpoche founded it in the early seventies, and Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman began the poetics department in 1975, back then, I thought about attending Naropa. It seemed a long way from California and I had a young child to care for. Now, thirty some years later I sit in a Naropa classroom, reading my poems to students… discussing what may have happened in the 7th century. Ah! Wonderful.
Colorado, I’ll be back in the fall when Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad is released in bookstores.