My boss asks me to watch 16 hours of camera footage. Instead I watch dandelions lose their heads at the slightest breeze. Nearby weeds shed their mustard petals. The sky dares me to name its every shade of blue. Cotton, Chromium, Seafoam, Tremor. There are more important things to worry about today than work, like breathing the grass-cut air, catching the sun’s bright spears. The swollen clouds are an army of angel wings descending. I watch their feathers fall.
Eric Raanan Fischman is an MFA graduate of Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He has taught free writing workshops in Nederland, Boulder, and Longmont, Colorado, and has had work in Bombay Gin, Boulder Weekly, Suspect Press, and many more, as well as in local community fundraising anthologies from Punch Drunk Press and South Broadway Ghost Society. He also curates the Boulder/Denver metro area poetry calendar at boulderpoetryscene.com and is a regular contributor to the BPS blog. His first book, “Mordy Gets Enlightened,” was published through The Little Door in 2017.
This is a found poem from Grant, Mira. Symbiont. New York. Orbit, 2014. Print. Pages 444-472.
Jen MacBain-Stephens (she/her) went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she is landlocked. Her fifth, full length poetry collection, “Pool Parties” is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in 2023. She is also the author of fifteen chapbooks. Some of her work appears in The Pinch, Kestrel, Cleaver, Dream Pop, Slant, Yalobusha Review, and Grist. She is the director of the monthly reading series Today You are Perfect, sponsored by the non-profit Iowa City Poetry. Find her online at http://jennifermacbainstephens.com/.
As snow does to a fire gods who bit flowers of ink a nest of mad kisses down the long black river the milky way sky’s pale vertebrae archipelagos of stars
framed between small branches
blossoms of small arms , nails us naked to the color of pink hyacinth singing singing in deep red ripples your voice is a pale street lamp on calm black water
just (a word planted by the water
before I am a stone in a stone-swallowing river thrown
————————————————– your eyes
Donnie Hollingsworth has lived in many small Rocky Mountain towns and currently resides in Lamar, Colorado–where he teaches Art and English at the local community college–with his wife, cat, and dog. His art can be found here.
Only one cashier at the Giant Eagle today. I’m stuck in aisle 7 that begins with broth, stock, and soup and ends with canned vegetables.
I stare at a can of Jolly Green Giant green beans and wonder if, at 72, I’ll live long enough to get to the beef broth, much less to Amber, the patient and weary checkout lady.
Everyone fiddles with their phones. I pull mine out and say to the young couple behind me that I’m calling my attorney because I want to make out my will. They egg
me on with laughter. Let’s gather kindling, I say, make a fire, roast s’mores, sing Kumbaya. We’re bonding, I say, and they laugh some more— laugh at the old coot in aisle 7 near the veggies.
Earlier, at the deli, a sign reads, “Everyone’s having trouble getting workers. Be kind to the ones that showed up.” A man behind the counter says, “Can I help you?” “Is that a Boston accent
I hear?” I ask. “Actually,” he says, “I’m English. Been in Pittsburgh for forty years.” I learn that if you’re from England and live in Pittsburgh for forty years, you sound like you’re from Boston.
Later, in the grossly understaffed Post Office where Janelle, the sweetest and most patient person on the planet, is, as usual, the sole agent at the window, a man in line behind me asks where the Express
Mail envelops are. “Is that an Australian accent I hear?” I ask. “No,” he says, “I’m from Bermuda.” “We used to vacation there when our son was little,” I say. I tell him how Ari and I would go on
toad hunts at night, how the toads, of which there were hundreds, would exude an hallucinogenic spray when you picked them up. Once, when my wife asked Ari how the toad hunt went he said, “That un-
conscionable toad peed on my daddy,” which was pretty sophisticated for a five-year-old. In the morning we’d find hundreds of toads flattened by mopeds the locals drove. “There are hardly any toads left,”
the man from Bermuda says. “They’re going extinct along with bees, bats, and frogs.” We stand in silence for a few moments. Then he says, “We used to have a joke about the toads.” “Tell me,”
I say. “Why does a toad in Bermuda cross the road?” “Why?” I ask. “To find his flat mate,” he says. We laugh about that. Janelle laughs too.
Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His sixth full-length poetry collection is Pinnacles of Hope (Impspired Books, 2022). His poetry has been nominated three times for both the Best of Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Salamander Ink Magazine, and elsewhere.
after the blast
or the fireworks on tv
after the kiss or the wish
to sleep eventually
in the den
the morning will come
that huge bright burning giant
as you are suppose to
in its glory you too will rise
you may shake
then scratch your head
rub your eyes
what a place
we find ourselves on
this big blue and green
scream / a marble
what seems to be
in the blink of an eye
what are you to do
(this is a question asked
with infinite possibilities)
go then now
and do it
quick before the shadow
before the night or the day
for who knows
when you’ll go
best get a heads start
best get to it
best go dancing
put on your super suit
and make your fate
to mean something
where we lie
stand in line
go be gifted is the line
the rabbit races toward
if you can run alongside
then learn learn it all
open the book that stands
green upon prairie
nibble at it
share all you’ve read by others
that have lifted
the pen the key the grass
the heavy dirty learning
with a dim lamp in the dusk
yearning for life
go be a gift
go be a being that lifts
a family bearing gems
go be wild
and in dreams
dare often as atoms that smash
go rise above the noise
go rise lift yourself up
to give ear
to your voice
you put forth
you pull forward
the universe lifts
Ted Vaca, Denver poet father lover crime fighter / semi holy somewhat sweet can be bitter / published here and there / Founder of The Mercury Cafe poetry slam / Coach of the 2006 Championship Denver Slam Team / Member of 1995 Championship slam team from Asheville NC / Intergalactic Provocateur
Oh! How we languished! How we laid, and sat, and crouched In shady buildings As the sun burned above How we scrolled, eyes rolled Glazed How we tucked fingers into familiar patterns Familiar shapes greeted us How we giggled inanely at short silly videos How we condemned Strangers from afar How we fretted! How we exhausted ourselves Doing nothing And never slept.
O, How we languished! In the shade we laid And sat and crouched On porch steps and stoops As the sun burned Freckles into polaroids of summer memories How we rolled cigarettes And plucked strings Into familiar patterns How we condemned politicians from afar And fretted About garden pests and Polluted rivers. How we exhausted ourselves Doing nothing.
And O! How we languished! Grins splitting like ripe fruit as we Sat and crouched On leaf-littered ground and Moss-covered tree-limbs We laid in the shade of fruit-bearing trees As the sun simmered above How our eyes glazed in the dappled shade of the canopy How we tucked fingers into familiar fur Nibbled our neighbors lice Giggled inanely At our children’s antics How we napped! How we fought Strangers from afar and How we fretted When the storms And the big cats came How we exhausted ourselves Doing nothing And slept Like the dead.
Eli Whittington published a book entitled “Treat Me Like You Treat the Earth” in 2019 through Suspect Press. Eli is a queer, bi-polar Colorado-raised and Denver-abiding poet. They are a parent, a singer/songwriter, gardener, carpenter, tiler, biker, and hiker. Despite these character flaws, they do not enjoy IPAs. Their love of folk-punk remains unexplained, as they are not an addict, are well over 20, and have functioning eardrums.
I am pretending to be a god in the bathroom mirror. Dim blue Christmas lights blend with a single pale yellow bulb, the same dangling light from the stories. Atop my head is a puddle of green. I used to have better words. You’d give me your hearts and I’d say, fire lamb, my love. But that was before, and I’m not supposed to adore you.
I want dessert for dinner. I sit on my hands to keep my reach from your wrist. Watch out the corner of my eye as you slice into a filet whose center is bright and fiery as an ember, you can change your heart’s shape and I’m lost in daydreams of summers gathering seasoning, mint leaves with aphids, I had a thing for toffee, held my breath as we walked side-by-side through the radish patches.
In the dictionary of flowers, I doodle your initials. You haunt the way I hold my pen; you tell me to stop but I can’t help myself, I’m not as into the weather as I could be, would you save me, or should we toss liking into fire?
Moon tattoo on your thumb, the day in which I pay the price, how you care more for jaws and violet roses, you give up on my alphabet, there is apple blossom and ash, trumpet flower fit for a mouth, bells then shells, I’m doing that thing you hate where I offer catchfly snare as answer.
I could try a little more truth if you wanted me to. Corn straw cress, the crown imperial, and your father’s fir. Then it’s days, flowering reed, iris and sprig, the juniper in jars, Larkspur then lavender are you still going to love me when I’m moss?
Know your breathing. I’d sacrifice birds, too. It’s time to ask the father how to build the altar. Oranges, split lip from a fall off the pew, broke a cherub statue’s arm, I’m forgetting how to explain myself, just saying I have a crush because of robes and the bucket of ashes, do you think the priest knows our lungs do you think he sings when he drives the thin edge of dusk.
Sam Moe is the first-place winner of Invisible City’s Blurred Genres contest in 2022, and the 2021 recipient of an Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her first chapbook, “Heart Weeds,” is out from Alien Buddha Press and her second chapbook, “Grief Birds,” is forthcoming from Bullshit Lit in April 2023. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram as @SamAnneMoe.
Dear Ecopoets, Poets, Environmentalists, the Lovers of Nature and Potential Defenders of the Future Wolves in Colorado,
Many thanks for coming out tonight to learn more about the process of reintroducing the grey wolf into Colorado.
Your input can change the current plan to reintroduce wolves in our state.
Two events happened in 2020, the worst year in human history that gave me hope, caused me joy and provided inspiration and they both had to do with wolves.
In April 2020, Brice Maiurro and Shelsea Ochoa went to their front yard in Denver at 8PM and howled like wolves at the moon and their neighbors howled back.
Soon, all of Colorado joined in. For many more days than I can count, I went outside at 8 PM and howled joining my neighbors and I didn’t feel alone. I felt like I belonged to a community and that Coloradoans cared about each other. I was powerful and healing. Howling like wolves in Colorado charmed the rest of the world and made the news worldwide.
In November 2020, we passed Proposition 114 to reintroduce an endangered species, the grey wolf, back into the Colorado wild. This process has also been watched around the world.
I was hopeful because Coloradoan passed that could rewrite the narrative of wolves in the New West and leave behind the Old West wolf history of extermination, demonization and blood lust for trophy hunting of wolves.
In addition, the passing of Proposition 114 was wonderful environmental news. We were swarming the news about climate change, the Sixth Extinction, and in our state battling climate-change fueled wildfire after wildfire. It was a relief to me that my state was going to welcome an endangered species and be on the cutting edge of new ways to think about the wild.
First, the new law mentioned the words endangered species, which meant no one could kill wolves. Second, this foundational sentence was written in this law: “Grey Wolf” means nongame wildlife of the species Canis Lupus. The law clearly states that there will be no hunting of wolves, and no killing of wolves in our state as the law passed included the words endangered species and non-game species.
Both of these events inspired me to begin research and write my next book of poems, The Wolf Dossier. One main part of this book is reporting on the process and was filled with hope that wolves would find
Fast forward December 2023.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission ( CPW) released the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Draft Plan includes both delisting grey wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act and the killing of wolves. The CPW Draft Plan includes three methods to kill wolves in Colorado: recreational hunting, lethal control, and issuing permits for ranchers to kill conflict wolves.
How can recreational hunting be possible when the gray wolf is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act? There is a process the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can use to delist any animal from the Endangered Species Act. The process is called the 10j rule, which gives states the power to manage any endangered species including wolves as they see fit.
That is why there are hunting wolf hunting seasons in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Wisconsin. These states decided on hunting as a wolf management tool. This past year Idaho passed a law to kill 90% of their wolves. Montana passed a law to kill 85% of their wolves. In Wisconsin, one third of their wolf population was killed in only 2 days of their first 2 week hunting season and they had to shut down their wolf hunting season early.
How can this be the future of wolves in our state?
CPW began the process to delist grey wolves in August 2022.
Proposition 114 defines wolves as a non-game species, which makes the hunting of wolves illegal. the current draft of CPW draft plan encourages non-lethal methods to control wolves, but does not require non-lethal methods as a the first line of defense against conflict wolves.
Under the CPW draft plan, hunting wolves will be permitted after 150 wolves live in Colorado for two years, or if the population grows to 400 wolves., whichever comes first. The draft plan calls for the 50 wolves to be reintroduced into our state over the next 3 to 5 years.
CPW proposes that 150 wolves will constitute a sustainable Colorado wolf population. This number relies on an outdated environmental analysis from 1994. Current science reports Colorado’s sustainable wolf population should be 750 wolves.
Ranchers are concerned wolves will kill their livestock. According to USDA statistics, wolves kill 0.009 percent of the livestock in the United States annually. Coloradoans voted to compensate ranchers for all livestock losses due to wolves.
Outfitters and hunters are worried wolves will cause a serious decline of the elk population. An eleven-year study in Montana of the elk in counties with wolf populations commissioned by the governor of Montana found no decline in the elk population.
Proposition 114 requires the CPW to listen ideas proposed by voters at public meetings and make changes before the plan to reintroduce wolves to Colorado is finalized.
Please note the word Draft.
I talked with the director of the Colorado Wolf Project on Monday Feb.13th. Many wolf advocates have been making public comment and he says the CPW is listening.
Call to Action: Stop the Killing of Wolves in Colorado
MAKE A PUBLIC COMMENT Public Comment ends Feb. 22nd Colorado Parks and Wildlife is required to revise the Colorado wolf reintroduction plan based on public comment. From the Office of Governor: Colorado Governor Jared Polis calls on the CPW to solicit and incorporate feedback from the public for the wolf reintroduction plan
“Governor Polis supports CPW’s ongoing work to develop a quality plan, including its extensive efforts to solicit and incorporate feedback from the public prior to finalizing that plan as long as it’s consistent with the law. Whenever the voters or the legislature enact a law, the Governor takes very seriously his responsibility to successfully implement it.” —-Statement from the Office of Governor Jared Polis
On Feb. 22, attend the last CPW public meeting in Denver to show your support for wolves.
CPW Headquarters Hunter Education Building 6060 Broadway Denver, CO 8:30am – 3:00pm, (Subject to change)
Share this information with friends and family. Ask them to make public comment of the CPW website and to share what may happen to Colorado wolves with others.
The CPW Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan is Available Here
“Others countered the (CPW appointed) advisory group was stacked with pro-ranching and pro-hunting members. They say that resulted in a plan that is tilted more toward allowing the killing of wolves instead of allowing the predator to establish its numbers in the state.”
This organization has been working for years on behalf of the wolves. Their website is incredible with lots of information on wolves in the Rockies. They have been in the forefront on behalf of wolves in the Proposition 114 process. Check out their website.
Talking Points from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Darlene Kobobel, founder of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center and member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Stakeholders Advisory Group, has detailed information about the CPW Draft Plan to reintroduce wolves to Colorado and alternate ways to reintroduce wolves in a safe and environmentally sound way.
Talking Points for Public Comment and Letters from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Divide, Colorado
Dear Readers: It is the 11th hour for the draft plan that is now in the hands of the CPW commissioners. As some of you are aware, I was a member of the SAG (Stakeholders Advisory Group) and my job was to bring diverse viewpoints to the group. After a long 18 months of meetings, we finally finished on October 2022. Our group consisted of individuals ranging from ranchers, trappers, and hunters; which compiled as the majority and a few that were pro-wolf. The draft was constructed of phases in developing a plan for the gray wolf reintroduction. There were 3 phases that we could live with and a Phase #4 that we could not. We walked away satisfied that we came to no consensus on Phase #4. See link for the complete draft plan. Phase #4 is on page iii.. Unfortunately, It is interesting that somehow Phase #4 was put into this draft even after the SAG had recommended that it be tabled until a future time. Below and on the following page is the language of Phase #4.
WOLVES MAY BE RECLASSIFIED AS A GAME SPECIES Phase 4 (Game species status): “Phase 4” refers to when the wolf may potentially be classified as a game species in the future. Phase 4 is not required under CRS 33-2-105.8. There is no population objective for wolves in this Plan. Long-term wolf management may include reclassification as a big game or furbearer species. Regulated public harvest of wolves by hunting during designated seasons is one tool that may help CPW manage wolf numbers and social acceptance of wolves upon delisting and reclassification as a game species.
Proposition #114 C.R.S. 33-2-105.8 precludes wolves as a non-game species. Recreational killing of wolves must not be considered in any future management scenario. hopefully be to show support by attending the upcoming meetings that will be held this month and next. I do know that thousands of support letters have been sent to the commissioners, however that may not be enough. I attended and spoke at the first public meeting on the January 19th meeting in Colorado Springs at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. I closed the Center down that day to have my entire staff attend, speak and show support for our wolves. I will be closing the Center again for the final meeting in Denver on February 22nd, 2023 so we can make another stand for what we believe in and for fairness to be amended in this final plan. There are many things in this plan that are not wolf friendly if you glance though this draft, but our main concern is Phase #4. Most of this draft lays heavy on compensation for ranchers and lethal take of wolves with very little about conflict management and non-lethal tools. There are no incentives or any language stronger than it is “encouraged”. In addition to this is the small number of wolves that are projected to be reintroduced. We feel that there is not much consideration for things that could occur such as poaching, wolves getting hit by cars, hunting mortalities, mange and more. Lastly, Phases 1 and 2 have these limited protections. In Phases 1 and 2, a limited duration permit for lethal take may be issued to a livestock owner or agent of the livestock owner on private or public land. A permit is required under state law (CRS 33-2-106.4). Non-lethal conflict mitigation measures will be considered prior to issuance of any lethal take permit. In Phase 3, the same permitting requirements exist. Further coordination with Colorado Department of Agriculture will be required as well per Colo. Rev. Stat. § 35-40-101(4). I am reaching out because we worked so hard to have this historic event for the return of the Gray wolf to be upon Colorado’s landscape after over 80 years of being absent due to being exterminated and now we feel that we have to fight again just to keep them safe. I am asking for anyone who cares about wolves to help me help the wolves. Below is information where you can speak up for wolves. There are opportunities for people who live in Colorado and people who are out of state. For people who want to speak at the meetings and for people who can just show up and stand in solidarity. After February 22nd, we are done and it is out of our hands. The commissioners are the decision makers and the more people who can voice their thoughts in support, shows strength from the people. Just close your eyes and think of why you have a love in your heart for wolves. That is why you need to help protect them.
Darlene Kobobel Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS from Darlene Kobobel
Gray wolves can bring about immensely positive ecological, economic and social opportunities for Coloradans. But these positive effects only occur when wolf family groups are intact and not disrupted by trophy hunting or lethal management.
No trophy hunting and no trapping or snaring, ever. Proposition 114 (statue 33-2-105.8) directs that wolves remain classified as a non-game species in Colorado, meaning no recreational trophy hunting, trapping or snaring. Respect the vote of the people.
Wolves need a minimum population of 750 individuals distributed across at least 10 of 13 wolf pack recovery zones on Colorado’s West Slope. A self-sustaining wolf population requires a minimum of 750 wolves. CPW’s plan for wolves to lose protected status when there are only 150- 200 anywhere in Colorado is a plan for failure – these numbers rely on outdated environmental analysis from the Northern Rockies in 1994. Without protected status, wolves are more likely to be killed and their populations decline.
Coexistence strategies that prevent and reduce conflict between livestock and wolves should be required on public lands. Non-lethal livestock-wolf coexistence strategies are both more effective and ethical than lethal strategies.
Compensation for livestock loss should not incentivize killing wolves and implementation of non- lethal coexistence measures should be a prerequisite for compensation for livestock loss. But CPW’s plan does not include any requirement for livestock owners to implement coexistence measures to be eligible for compensation for lost animals.
Wolves should be safe on public lands and not subject to being killed. Public lands provide the last refuge for biodiversity – as biodiversity crashes across the world, those lands and species, especially keystone carnivores such as wolves which enhance biodiversity, must be protected.
A wolf-killing loophole needs to be closed. Currently CPW’s plan states that “Any employee or agent of CPW or USFWS or appropriate state or federal or tribal agency, who is designated in writing, when acting in the course of official duties may take a wolf from the wild if such actions [are]…to avoid conflict with human activities.” This language opens wolf killing to any reason and undermines any wolf protections.
With great effort, I crank open my leaden eyelids. I open my mouth at great expense to my jaw muscles. I yawn, threaten my upper arms with muscle tear as I suck in my ration of air. I lift myself, first, at the waist, then I swing my legs around, cranky and creaking, like a rusted weathervane. I haul myself up to the vertical state, as wobbly as some Olympic games wrestler going for the record. My knees tremble but they hold. Blood picks up speed. Oxygen fights it way to my brain. The hardest part of the day is over.
I watch their lives. I ask the dreamer to help. But it remains the wrong city. Pursued by cold border. In the day of Amara. In the night of Ayuda. The voice of the criminal. Heavy run of the escape. The next night a whistling weak and thin below the holes in the white shutter.
A kingdom fled the crown. To worship a deity in the drawer. And if I can look just like them I can walk into the solar shield. Where the image is an icon beholden to melancholic light rounding the commercial portal. To stand as I have always stood among the domestic windows admiring the quiet placement of shadow thrown memorabilia touching the handles of the cars.