Jimmy Malone

2017: The Gift of Clarity

2017: The Gift of Clarity Geoff O’Keeffe  I have begun to see year-end essays lamenting 2017 as our worst year ever, a “just add water” dystopian prequel, the heart-breaking denouement in the last episode of “America The Tragedy” on Netflix. I would like to offer an alternative view. Not to inspire hope, mind you. Hope […]

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Meditation On Not Being, At All

  Meditation On Not Being, At All -Geoff O’Keeffe I just received my card in the mail. It’s official. I am now old. Bona fide, as Ulysses Everett McGill would say. In another year, I will receive a second card further confirming the inevitable. I am at peace with this other than that, relative to […]

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How Do We Go Back?

How Do We Go Back? Geoff O’Keeffe Since the Greek philosophers and then, reiterated over the millennia since, the concept of “the common good” has been a prevailing notion in civilised societies. Despite variants and contradictions, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hume, Rousseau and Madison, among many others, all spoke or wrote of this concept as […]

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On Halloween, I came as an anachronism. I passed myself in the hallway and felt wistful, trying to remember. The leaves were red and they crunched under foot.

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Distress Signal

Open letter to the Democratic Party Attention: Tom Perez, Keith Ellison, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and other potential candidates in 2018 and 2020. From Geoff O’Keeffe, Citizen, Colorado Congressional 2nd District. 26 October, 2017 Tom Perez and Democratic Party leaders, In full disclosure, I have been registered […]

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In the Eye of the Beholder

I am reminded of that financial planning tv commercial with Dennis Hopper, admonishing boomers, “You gotta have a plan, man!” Indeed. Plans are a good idea. Just so I don’t hitch my emotional wagon to them. They are liable to change. Thursday morning I had ambitious plans, but they were not to be. On a […]

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(Ed: I entered the Boulder Weekly “101 Word Fiction” contest last year and earned an honorable mention. They’re doing it again and I just submitted this one.) Hitchhiker  –Geoff O’Keeffe  I almost missed him in that full-length camouflage coat, Vietnam era boonie, Ho Chi Minh beard and braided pigtails. He was nearly invisible against the […]

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A Really Big Lunch

Jim Harrison has been one of my lighthouses of artistic honesty for years. He exposes himself and those around him in bare naked prose and poetry. It’s a guilty pleasure to read someone else’s guilty pleasures. Jim’s primary stock in trade has been poems, short stories, novellas and novels, though, as a food writer he […]

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Opening Day

Opening Day, 2017

Opening Day, 2017 Geoff O’Keeffe Happy Opening Day! Ahh, baseball. Maddening to the uninitiated, like watching Bergman’s Seventh Seal. To the cognoscenti, a beautifully out-of-square cipher, as Carlin told us, with an arrhythmic cadence, arcane rules, ancient grudges and secret histories. I don’t care what a linebacker’s glove smells like, but a catcher’s mitt? Yes. […]

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Rogers Bird

Flipping The Bird: A Primer and a Prescription

Flipping The Bird: A Primer and a Prescription Geoff O’Keeffe  Ahh. The venerable bird, that ancient gesture of abandonment of civility and any pretension of effort to understand the other. “Fighting words”, as it were, in one finger. Let me preface these brief remarks by saying that by no means do I recommend any of […]

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Two very short stories…

Two very short stories…  I saw Buckminster Fuller speak in 1972 and was thoroughly impressed with his approach to design thinking. Here was a man who had designed, among many other things, the geodesic dome, telling us about the inspiration he got from working on submarines. To several thousand hippies, Bucky referencing war machines was […]

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Breakfast In 1959

Breakfast In 1959 Geoff O’Keeffe 7 April, 2014  I. It’s cold outside. It’s cold between Mom and Dad. It’s 1959 and everything in the world is black and white. The Lone Ranger show is on the radio on top of the old refrigerator. Jackson Pollack spattered linoleum sits beneath a Jackson Pollack spattered dinette. Mom […]

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January 20, 2017

                                    Enso thanks to Kazuaki Tanahashi   1.20.17                           Geoff Shōun O’Keeffe   May all be seen May all be heard May all be loved May […]

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Happy Birthday, Viejo

Happy Birthday, Viejo -Geoff O’Keeffe 01.02.17, 1000 h.  Born in the cold dark of winter hoping to die on a summer solstice one bright day.    Reading alone with coffee and a bagel young red-cheeked humans  with time on their hands unaware.    Baldwin said, “To act is to be committed to be committed is […]

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Baton Rouge

Image: Barbara Jackson (Editor’s note: My dear friend Barbara and I have known each other close to fifty years. We both come from that part of the Washington desert where nuclear waste lies in toxic holes in the ground, one of the nastiest places on earth. Barbara lost her mother in late 2016 and the […]

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Adventure Travel in a Far-Away and Exotic Land, Really

Image poached from Google, used without permission. Adventure Travel in a Far-Away and Exotic Land, Really -Geoff O’Keeffe  I dreamt of this trip for years, even decades. It had become my raison d-être. My office walls were covered with maps of Denver, Littleton, Aurora, Golden and the Tech Center. Bus schedules, museum brochures and photos […]

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Clues To The Election: An Amateur Analysis

Clues To The Election: An Amateur Analysis Geoff O’Keeffe November 24, 2016 I am no political scientist. Rather, I’m an amateur but passionate observer of our national political Thanksgiving Day family dinner food fights. Most everyone I know and read was surprised by the presidential election results two weeks ago, pundits, partisans and politicos alike. […]

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A Case of You

A Case of You –Geoff O’Keeffe “One of the greatest experiences I ever had was listening to a conversation with Joni Mitchell and Wayne Shorter. Just to hear them talking, my mouth was open. They understood each other perfectly, and they make these leaps and jumps because they don’t have to explain anything.” -Herbie Hancock. […]

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Remembering The Desert

Remembering the Desert Geoff O’Keeffe 14 April, 2003 / 9 September, 2016  I remember the smell of summer rain on sagebrush and sand, jackrabbits scurrying away as I hiked through the desert, my socks filled with sharp stickers designed over thousands of years to attach to passerby. I remember stagnant and funky backwaters of the […]

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Refuge Of The Roads

Refuge Of The Roads “In a highway service station Over the month of June Was a photograph of the earth Taken coming back from the moon And you couldn’t see a city On that marbled bowling ball Or a forest or a highway Or me here least of all You couldn’t see these cold water […]

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Tea Time

  The Boulder Weekly is having a “101 Word Fiction Contest”. I submitted the below story this morning. You know, of all genres of stories and films, I have to say that horror or supernatural or suspense are my least favorite. Sandy, on the other hand, loves those kinds of stories, and struggles with unresolved […]

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When Cultures Collide

When Cultures Collide We had a few errands to run in town, so this afternoon, after a good day of work, we headed down into Boulder from our humble aerie in the eastern foothills of the Rockies. It is unseasonably warm these days, for February, but I wore a light down jacket anyway, as it […]

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John Gregory Allen

  John Gregory Allen December 16, 1956-January 8, 2016 John Gregory Allen was born December 16, 1956, in Hardwick, Vermont, to James S. Allen, Jr. and Shirley (Gray) Allen. John was the middle child of five and the eldest boy. John grew up in an Air Force family, with his Dad being transferred from one […]

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For Johnny

  For Johnny Tonight, in this crowded cafe the windows weep from the dark cold outside. Our dinners half-eaten but the wine still flows. It’s just another day in my limited life. I am minus one of us tonight, one of our very best, one of my favorites. Brad reminds me of Robert Bly: “You […]

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We Breathe

We Breathe –Geoff O’Keeffe In these empty times between being together I hold my breath, waiting for you, sometimes for days, and everything in my world waits with me. The still air is hollow and sad. I wait until your dark eyes will once again softly hold mine, and I see you in front of […]

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North of the Caribbean

                                                                                   Image © 2015 David McCatty North of the Caribbean -Sandy and Geoff O’Keeffe  In […]

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Kaddish For The Honeybee

  After a long period of quiet and focus on other projects, O’Keeffe Woodworks is pleased to present a new poem, Kaddish For The Honey Bee, by long-time contributor and friend of the Woodworks, Barbara Jackson. Barbara is a Northwest native who resonates deeply within the land and water of that place, and who has […]

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Higg's Beach

Mile Marker Zero

Mile Marker Zero Geoff O’Keeffe New Year’s Eve, 2014 The Sixties finally and ingloriously came to its last rest today here in Key West, Florida, southernmost outpost of The Conch Republic. And, quite possibly, in a dozen other iconic locales featured so squarely in the bygone legends of inspiration, illumination, excess, piracy and idealism, such […]

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Talking About Dominion, Reluctantly

Talking About Dominion, Reluctantly On the public pages and in the private salons of our culture, we casually discuss celebrity infidelity, weight loss diets, corporate malfeasance and the treasonous acts and petty peccadillos of elected officials. We’ve no reluctance to ponder the doping habits of baseball heroes or debate the degradation of the environment and […]

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Dad and Kids 1986

Date Night

  Date Night Geoff O’Keeffe For the parents, with thanks to David S. We arranged a casual dinner out, on a Thursday night, a luxury reserved for empty nesters and the childless, or the impotent, at our friend James’ local bistro. When you say “bistro” it implies some level of “no sweat shirt” sophistication, or […]

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New Poems by Barbara Jackson

  My dear friend Barbara and I grew up in southeastern Washington State, in the golden years of American economic growth following the Second World War, when electric garage door openers and the convenience of TV dinners were all the rage. Major General Leslie Groves and his team calculated that the Oak Ridge site near […]

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From One To None

From One To None Geoff O’Keeffe For years, I have counted. I thrived because I pretended to believe the proper order of things was one, two, three, four, five. I succeeded because I feigned an affinity for fifteen, because it was more than ten. I earned praise because I could combine seven with twenty-two and […]

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Happy Hour

Happy Hour A Truncated Chronology -Geoff O’Keeffe To Nikki, for her courage. One day in late summer, 1968, Jim’s dad was no longer at home. And Jim understood this was to be permanent. Not that he had been there much in the prior fifteen years. Maybe he was there in the late fifties and early […]

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John & Geoff

Our Man-Child: A Love Letter

Dear readers, I puzzled over whether or not to publish this, but decided to go ahead. It’s very personal, but was originally a letter to twenty-six friends, most of whom are reading this now. A dear friend of ours woke up in an ambulance last weekend, and soon was informed he has a tumor in […]

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Off Our Rockers

Off Our Rockers -Geoff O’Keeffe In 1977, Paul Barrere penned “Old Folks Boogie” for his band, Little Feat, included in their classic Times Loves A Hero. Apart from the deeply funky and satisfying groove, the lyrics were clever and funny, and clearly about someone else other than me and my baby boom contemporaries: “Off our […]

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What I Learned In Jerusalem

My young friend, Nikki Hodgson, responded to my rambling piece about Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, non-violence and my aging musings over what is the compassionate response to a violent world with words of encouragement and a link to her piece below that ran on Matador Network: http://matadornetwork.com/change/what-i-learned-in-jerusalem/ She wrote what I wish I had. It is […]

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Time For New Ideas

Time For New Ideas Geoff O’Keeffe As a kid, I believed I was a pacifist. By sixteen, I had read widely and concluded I would allow my own death before responding violently to a threat. King and Gandhi and poor black women on the Edmund Pettis Bridge influenced my young mind. I got lucky in […]

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The Colorado Flood of 2013- The Heart of the Matter

  The Colorado Flood of 2013 The Heart of the Matter 24 September The Flood of 2013 has faded in the national news, slipped “below the fold”, or to Page Six, replaced by other real tragedies like Nairobi, or childish tantrums in Washington, or The Emmy’s. It takes a huge tragedy to pass the “ADD-gate” […]

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Wine Masters of Tianjin

  Wine Masters of Tianjin The guy is so earnest, so innocent, so charming. And really young. (Everyone in China is young.) Trying so hard. I ordered a mixed salad and steak sandwich, and a glass of Banfi, 2011 Cabernet-Sangiovese. Fifty-eight RMB. About nine-fifty, US. I figure I can eek three of these into my […]

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Mao Zedong and the Koch Brothers: Best Friends Forever- One hundred sixty years Chinese history, summarized

Mao Zedong and the Koch Brothers: Best Friends Forever One hundred sixty years Chinese history, summarized I am having my breakfast of pork baozi across the terminal from Burberry, Tumi, Gucci and Ferragamo, at Shanghai Hongqiao Feiji Chang. Like a small rodent, I nibble the pork from inside the bao, trying to avoid refined carbs. […]

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That Time of the Year

Late December, 2013 Boulder County, Colorado, USA Dear Friends, Despite what may follow here, I do sincerely wish you happiness, good health, and the kinds of fulfillment you desire, today, tomorrow, next month, and in the coming year. The nature or complexion of that fulfillment is not for me to decide or prescribe. One of […]

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Gary Sotetsu Sekerak January 13, 1946  –  October 30, 2013 Sotetsu, This hurts. I tried not to feel it for a week. Didn’t work. You could have told me that. And now here it is. And now here we are. I miss you. Love, -Shoun  

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Apple is not so genius after all

Please enjoy Guest Editor Barbara Jackson’s piece on Apple’s choice of logo for their undeniably excellent technical help desk they tagged as “Genius Bar”. Let it be said that if Microsoft tried this, the “bar” would close unexpectedly, reopen then close again while you wait, and gradually begin to overtake the Applebee’s, Victoria’s Secret and […]

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A Few Words In Defense of Anger

A Few Words In Defense of Anger -Geoff O’Keeffe As children we are taught to be nice. Not to be angry. “Use your inside voice, please!” What our parents and teachers and the police really meant to say was, “Do not express your anger in an unacceptable way.” “Why did you hit him?” “Because he […]

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Intellectual Atrophy

One of my favorite fictional characters is Will McAvoy, anchor on HBO’s brilliant Aaron Sorkin drama series, “The Newsroom”. Will is complex, honest and a traditional Republican. I like him. He answered a challenge from a colleague to his “red cred” with this response: “No, I call myself a Republican because I am one. I […]

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OXFAM’s Position on a “Punitive” Attack on Syria

Today, OXFAM mailed a plea to its members and supporters to contact our Congresspeople with a message opposing a military strike on Syria. Their message consisted mainly of a few questions they have been consistently asked, with answers. I found I was in complete agreement with their position, and I welcomed it as a bell […]

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King and Hoover: Idealism meets Fascism

Tuesday, the Washington Post published a Bloomberg piece on Martin Luther King and the FBI’s wiretapping, surveillance and paranoia around a man they dubbed “The Most Dangerous Negro”. Certainly, in those years, rampant racism was the norm, and the expression of it, even in the crudest terms, barely raised an eyebrow in “polite society”. But […]

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Race in America

Black and White: Fifty Years Later

In the fifty years since Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC, African Americans have made some great strides in education, political representation, and voter turnout. In other areas, it’s like nothing has changed. Sadly, I hear white people occasionally voicing frustration over continued discussions of discrimination, opportunity, or racism in America. […]

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How far We Have Not Come

I am troubled this week. Troubled about war and needless death. But troubled all the more by the “civilized” world’s lack of any new perspective on what to do when we have major conflicts. I see us acting out ancient and very fundamentalist reactions on a global scale, that still don’t work. Recently the notion […]

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More powerful than any president…

J Edgar Hoover was one of the most divisive and anti-American figures in our history. It would be difficult to find someone who did more to subvert the Constitution, break the law at the highest governmental levels, and strip citizens of their rights, than Hoover. Don’t take my word for it. Read his story. It […]

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What is lost (and gained) when the traveler settles down

  Friends, Please take note of my friend Nikki’s most recent post…this coming from a well-seasoned traveler, who has chosen safe harbor. For now, at least. Happily, that harbor is the same one I enjoy. I used to refer to Nikki as Michael’s daughter who happens to be a great writer. Now. I say Michael […]

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Can We Blame Them?

What motivates individuals and groups is much simpler than we often portray. Our choices and biases, goals and fears are often right at the surface of risk, reward and aversion. Sometimes, because of those motivations, we as individuals or groups have an additional motivation: to try to mask what really is driving us, while contriving […]

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Don’t these guys look like ridiculous toadies? Or characters from Spaceballs? Maybe the reason we ought to be afraid of them is their comfort wearing such preposterous chapeaux.

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Road Rides and Onion Rings

Road Rides and Onion Rings Oscar Blues’ New Chuburger -Geoff O’Keeffe I was doing great. Until the holidays. And the China trip. And the weddings. And the food and beverage demon infestation. I had dropped off nearly a quarter of my former self in nine months, was riding a hundred miles a week or more, […]

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Happy Birthday, Gary

  Riprap -Gary Snyder From Turtle Island, New Directions Press, 1974 Lay down these words Before your mind like rocks. placed solid, by hands In choice of place, set Before the body of the mind in space and time: Solidity of bark, leaf or wall riprap of things: Cobble of milky way, straying planets, These […]

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Nikki 3

Manifesto for warm-hearted bi-ped earth-walkers- Nikki Hodgson

Friends, Many of you know Michael Hodgson. Some know his daughter Nikki. Nikki has followed in the little guy’s footsteps, and made a real mark for herself as a writer. Her pieces from Palestine a few years ago were among the best writing from there I have seen: human-scaled and visceral, leaving the reader with […]

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Refugee Traveler

Refugee Traveler I travel a lot. Maybe a third of each year I spend in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Korea and around the US. I realized this morning I have a refugee’s relationship to travel, to my home and to the stuff I have collected that I carry around the world. I discovered […]

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Mesa Verde

Home from Mesa Verde

Home From Mesa Verde Luminous ideas of clouds, soft billowing pillows adrift, moist Pacific exhalations float across Colorado from west to east. Ancestral Puebloan songs fill the forest outside our house when we are still. Drum beats and voices harmonize with the distant song of the Burlington, Northern & Santa Fe two-thousand feet below. Smoke […]

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You Are My Tribe

You Are My Tribe I have worked in the outdoor industry for thirty-five years. “Outdoor industry” refers to those businesses and organizations that revolve around and support mountaineering, hiking, climbing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, trail running, whitewater paddling and related non-motorized, non-lethal wilderness pursuits. In all these years, we’ve never been able to describe what […]

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From Mountains to Deserts

From Mountains to Deserts For my Dad Edward Michael McDonnell 15 March 1924-28 June 2011 Late August A sad gentle breeze blows through the dying brown grasses of late August. Hundred year old Colorado coal mines lay buried underfoot, effort and pain sealed away forever in darkness. Grandpa’s miner’s house where Mom was born belongs […]

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Just A Short Drive From Here

Just A Short Drive From Here By now, after eleven years, my daily drive home should pass by in fifteen uneventful minutes, nearly without notice, with what was once a colorful and adventurous tour of the Front Range of the Rockies having turned grey through routine and repetition. By now I should be able to […]

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Dry For Edward Michael McDonnell At seven thousand feet life dries and cracks, like old lumber behind the shed, mountain grasses brown and flattened, tinder crisp, sand drifting in the wind, down our dirt road, like lines in Dad’s face at eighty-seven. Dry is how I like it. Just enough air and moisture for a […]

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