Here are another six days’ worth . . .

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This is just a little ways up the Echo Canyon Summit Trail on Camelback Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona. I took this picture after working an 8-hour shift at the airport, getting on the  Sky Train, getting on the #44 Valley Metro bus, getting off on the stop before Macdonald, and walking amd walking–and reaching the trailhead, and Hiking.

I was hoping to see my friend Natalie Lobherr on the trail. She’d Facebooked that she would be there at 2:00 PM.

Unfortunately, I didn’t clock out till 2:30, despite asking for an early out; didn’t get rolling on the bus till 2:55; didn’t reach the trailhead till 3:25 or thereabouts. Natalie is capable of doing the hike in one hour. I feared I’d missed her.

Fortunately, after I pianissimoed up to marker 6 and my legs said “enough!” and I waited a while at the “rehydration” landing, here she came, clearly weary, but chugging away for all she was worth (priceless). She saw me and put her hands palm up sideways in that “what the hell and here I am” gesture. And I hugely grinned.

I love the word Hike because its first definition is, noun or verb, one of my favorite activities. I also love its other meanings, which unclude launching a football and adjusting a skirt upward.

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Today started well and then got better. Eight hours and thirty-one minutes of sleep. Spinach omelette and coffee. Cardboard serial-plane sculpture of a gorilla well started. Then the capstone: Phoenix Art Museum presented best-selling, Hugo-winning Kim Stanley Robinson, who spoke with eloquence and humor about climate change and comedy.

I had met Stan more than twenty years ago. His mother-in-law and copy editor, Dorothy “Dot” Morrison, was a friend and co-worker with my then wife, Joni. For about fifteen minutes I had the privilege of talking to Stan about his novelette, and Robert Heinlein and his Scribner’s editor Alice Dalgliesh, and hiking, and stuff I no longer remember. I asked Stan which sf authors he admired, and he mentioned Edgar Pangborn, whom I had never read.

In the years between then and now, I read Stan’s THE YEARS OF RICE AND SALT and 2312.  I didn’t get too much into his Mars trilogy, for which he is most famously known, intending to binge-read it the way I did LORD OF THE RINGS one Christmas break in the late 60s.

Stan is a fantastic storyteller and exceptionally intelligent and imaginative. And here he was in town again, about to sign my copy of NEW YORK 2140. He looked up at me and I said, “I was a friend of Dot Morrison. I’ve met you.” He offered his hand to shake and I shook it. Then I showed him the page I’d worked on before and during his talk. It is festooned with quotes from the talk. “Hey, look what you inspired. Double acrostic.”

He half grinned and said “Right on,” his self-confessed Old Hippie coming out.

I didn’t want to Bogart my time with him, so after confirming that Dot, whom I’d lost track of, had passed on, and Stan signing my book, and my telling him I admired his use of the between-lives Bardo in THE YEARS OF RICE AND SALT, I said thanks and goodbye. He said he’d be sure to tell his wife about me, friend of her mother.

Here are the words to the double acrostic:

Resisting the lure of exclaiming Hélas

Incepting a zep’lin as Candle or Bra

Conceiving a model who posed for Maillol

Existence ain’t in the Bardo with Bardot

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“I picked up my bag and went looking for a place to hide

When I saw Carmen and the Devil walking side by side.

I said, Hey, Carmen, come on, let’s go downtown.

She said, I got to go, but my friend can stick around.”

–Robbie Robertson, “The Weight”

As mentioned above, there was a man with a full gallon jug affixed to a chain walking the Phoenix streets earlier today. As he walked he lifted and lowered the jug.

When a glaze kiln is first cracked open there is sometimes a noise, a ting, like that made by a flicking fingernail on rose glass. It is caused by unequal shrinking of clay and glaze and the micro seismic shift thereunto appertaining.

As long as the Earth is in free fall around the Sun, its weight is exactly zero. Nor may you weigh tings.

“So on we go.

His welfare is my concern.

No burden is he

To bear–

We’ll get there.”

The Hollies and/or Neil Diamond, “He ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”

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Today Greater Phoenix became the Valley of the Partially Eclipsed Sun. I poked a pencil-hole in a sketchbook page and viewed the eclipse indirectly, sketching the nonshadowed part of the page. The time was 10:38 AM, which according to an online source was close to the ideal viewing time.

After calligraphing the double acrostic, which seems sexist but is double-straitjacketed by the acrostic format and my notion of Calypso-esque lyrics, I had the left third of the page to fill. It occurred to me that the Jackson Browne song “Linda Paloma” refers to the corona of the Sun, which is viewable at totality sometimes. This yielded the image-notion of a white dove against the disk of moonshadow.

Words to the acrostic:

Erin go braless all to C

Cali go kitnish at high tea

Lolly go pop! at sound of bell

Iris go eyeroll and send us to hell

Please pretty Ladies I love you–don’t stop

Send me to heaven and then call the cops

Ever so often effacement will go/Wit’ an eclipse and Calypso like so

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She says to pronounce her first name Jay. She tells me her life took a turn in New Mexico. She lays five bucks on a kid soliciting for his youth group, and he tells her a joke. She speaks of life casts she made at the former arts venue Paper Heart. Phrases like “trying to impress the Universe” and “never drive faster than your angels can fly” come easily to her. She went from taste-testing soup to test-driving cars. She is a broiler chef, a mother, a force of nature, an outlaw, and a hell of a woman.

Words to the double acrostic:

Jaunting through a lifelong Hajj

Juxtaposng wound and badge–U

Are the Broth–no soup du jour

And have the instinct to be sure