Gayan and Liz Barnez at Nissi's

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.”

part of Mary Crow's poetry library...

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.

teaching at Naropa University!

Colorado, I’ll be back in the fall when Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad is released in bookstores.

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