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Tag Archives: Colorado Springs

I wrote this piece last summer, when the Waldo Canyon Fire was finally contained and life in this part of Colorado was finally returning to normal. Here’s “Rain.”


Rain is here again.
Clouds roll down the
Mountains that once
Belched smoke into
The sky.
Rain now.
Elemental. Raw.
Cold beauty pouring

Have you ever been a tourist in your own town? It’s amazing what a slight shift in perception can do for you. For example, I’ve been living in Colorado Springs for the last six years. In that time, I’ve done almost none of the cool stuff that visitors do. Why? Because it’s been just me.

In the last two weeks, however, I’ve been changing that. When my sister was in town, I finally took the opportunity to visit Garden of the Gods. Ever been there? I lived down the street from there for four years and never went. Four years. There’s no price for admission, and it’s open almost all day every day. Over Labor Day, my parents were in town, and we drove up Pikes Peak. I’m a Colorado native, and I didn’t go up my first 14er (mountain with a summit altitude of over 14,000 feet) until a few days ago. I feel a little ridiculous, but simultaneously accomplished. There’s nothing to give you perspective like the view from 14,110 feet. Anyway, dizzying vistas aside, it’s quite inspiring to have made the ascent. Luckily, I have just the outlet for this. Time to write.

We all appreciate everyone coming together to help the evacuees from the Waldo Canyon Fire here in Colorado Springs. What’s really needed right now is more help for the remaining recovery. What can you do to help, you ask? Donate to the American Red Cross. Thank you.

My city is burning. I cannot sleep.

This is the sentiment shared by many of my fellow Colorado Springs residents. I’ll be completely honest, dear readers. I’m scared. I’ve looked disasters square in the face in the past. I used to stand at the front door of my parents house as tornadoes came dangerously close to the little town where I grew up. That never seemed to be as much of a threat as the Waldo Canyon Fire has become. 

Today at work, my coworkers and I gazed out at the mountains west of the city as the flames crested the ridge and came into view. This photo from the Colorado Springs Gazette shows an example of what we’re dealing with. 

Ash is falling. There’s an eerie orange glow on the west side of town, and it’s not a sunset. It’s 2 AM, but we have no reported injuries or fatalities as of this writing. Let’s hope that luck holds. Property can be replaced, folks, but everyone out there fighting this fire has friends and family. This is impacting all of us. If you can, see what you can do to help. Volunteer, donate, anything. Please.

 As April is National Poetry Month, I present to you an older piece, one that I did two years ago in a class on Poetry and Social Justice. I’ve mentioned it once or twice before. This poem, “Dog,” was published in Active For Justice back in 2010, and I’ve linked to it previously, but now I’ll present the poem in its unedited entirety. Enjoy.


My face is new to you today, but you say hello to me

Anyway. I’m tired as hell, feeling sick, and my feet are

Already sore. It’s not a big deal, though, not in comparison.

Anyway, we’re not even halfway through this walk.

I’m young. I can handle it.

You smiled honestly as we walked up to you, as if

You knew what we were going to say and what we

Were going to offer you. Yes, you say, it’s a byooo-

Tee-full day outside today, but it’s going to get chilly

Tonight, when the sun sets.

I don’t know what your real name is. Out here you’re

A nickname. It’s protection. No one can hurt you if

They don’t know who you are. That’s the idea, at

Any rate. But no one can help you if they don’t know

That you’re here.

It’s a little after noon. I shouldn’t be so tired, and it

Really shouldn’t be an issue, not when I’m seeing

How you and your friends live. Not when I’m seeing

How badly you might need medicine, or propane to keep

Warm, or even just a damn toothbrush.

You don’t say “fucking” in front of us. You try to maintain

Some sort of air of being a gentleman in front of the lady in

Our group. She’s touched by this, and the fact that you call
Her byooo-tee-full, Despite that you’re wearing an inside-out

Hoodie and a bandana, and rarely put down your beer.

You know why you’re here today. You know that you’ve made

Some mistakes. Trusted people you shouldn’t have. Not trusted

The ones who would’ve helped you. Doesn’t matter now. You’re

Here, among friends, fellows, living together in a canvas city

Beside the creek.

You’re glad to see us walking the trail today. My tiredness and

Physical weakness is forgotten as you shake my hand and I feel

Your strength. Strength that you long to put to use for the benefit

Of a society that has shunned you because you don’t conform to

Its standards.

I wish that I could stay to chat with you longer, but we’ve still got

A lot of trail to cover. You’ve got places to be too, now that your

Natty Light and your hand-rolled smokes are done with. Lunch time’s
Over. It’s time for you to grab your bike and move on for a few hours,

But you’ve inspired me more than you’ll ever know.

I hope I see you again, under better circumstances.

                                    -Philip Krogmeier

                                January, 2010