Swan song

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LAST COLUMN FOR A WHILE … It came on rather suddenly, as these things do, but my otolaryngologist (now there’s a mouthful) has confirmed I have a case of throat cancer and will need to begin treatment soon. So, I’m clearing the deck. All my jobs and projects have to be put on hold while I focus on my healing … It’s bittersweet to stop writing for the Four Corners Free Press. Gail Binkly is an amazing editor – fiercely committed, smart and collaborative. I have loved working with her for the last dozen years. The Free Press really speaks to the Montezuma Valley community and those of us who live adjacent, as I do, in San Miguel County. While we are widely diverse in our views and beliefs, we all share a love of this special place and the people who make it thrive. The Free Press lets us hear from all sides. That to me is America at its best. A free press, a free people … They say that my type of cancer responds well – in the range of 90 percent – to chemo and radiation. So that’s likely the path I’m bound for. I’m a huge believer in alternative medical strategies, but I’m also convinced – like Dr. Andrew Weil, who is a personal friend – that integrative medicine is the wisest course. So I’m putting my trust in the wise professionals at the Uncompahgre Medical Center, Montrose Memorial and St. Mary’s. I think we on the Western Slope are lucky to have such fine people and institutions working for us … As a poet, I’ve long espoused the mantra “Adventure not predicament.” For me, this cancer is a call to put all my energy into better understanding myself, and into healing myself – not just from illness, but from the terminal busyness of modern life. Cancer forces me to rest. To stop doing everything I’ve been doing. To take care of myself. And to let my family, friends and community do what they can to help. And so, while not really welcome news, there is a blessing hidden in this adversity … So long for a while. I hope to be back in the Free Press pages, if this adventure leads me back to health.

Art Goodtimes is a renowned poet, author, and former county commissioner in San Miguel County, Colo.


THE TALKING GOURD

The Smedley D. Butler Brigade

John Bolton
Mitt Romney

McRedeye has to say
that it’s unexpected truth-tellers
of a completely different
stripe

that make my day

Like Smedley Darlington Butler
in FDR’s day

America’s not perfect
by a long white shot
but it has its heroes

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From Art Goodtimes.