Grinding Stone

for Curtis Booth

Jupiter now is over

The garage’s peak beneath

The beech the neighbor

Has hired someone to cut down.

You disliked your neighbors. 

The garlic flowered. We cut 

The basil down and ground 

It wood down into marble 

With a heavy sound. Tim 

It was with his fisherman’s 

Forearms made the light work 

And you with your direction. 

Richard had died and Richie 

And the summer flowered 

With our celibacy and smoke. 

You have died my dear friend. 

Time turns backwards on those joys. 

For Curtis Booth, Bookmaker and Calligrapher

Night listening to Guo Chuwang

Moon Reflected on Er Quan” 

Emperor’s Gold too dark, cold

Sorry to have missed you

After crossing the snowy mountains 


to be from way out west

so I can say re Coalville

yeah that’s the next town up

towards Wyoming and mean it

and know it.

And though Peter Covino

has such nicely pressed shirts

and always a sharp haircut

last night we went up Millcreek

Canyon and broke sticks

with our hands and the help

of stream smooth granite boulders.

Pine smells good 

when it burns.

Light fell over

red aspen leaves 

and the dirt needed 

no addendum.

Ate in the dark with a folding knife

blackened chilies corn and steaks

tasting of fall and pine smoke and

happiness is happiness.

Curtis Booth, former book editor of Otis Nebula, died in August hiking in the mountains above Salt Lake City. Curtis edited Sundin Richards’ The Hurricane Lamp, Richard Cronshey’s The Snow and The Snow, and my book, Good Eurydice. He was a gentleman of many talents and interests. He designed and printed numerous books, pamphlets, and broadsides, both as whimsies and as scholarly works. In his younger days, he studied Numic languages at the University of Utah and at the University of California, San Diego, producing a Shoshone dictionary and, in collaboration with Maurice Zigmond and Pam Munro, Kawaiisu: A Grammar and Dictionary with Texts, published by University of California Press. Leaving field linguistics in the late 70s, Curtis worked for decades as a technical writer in prominent Utah tech and aerospace companies. In part through his participation in the University of Utah’s Book Arts Program, he developed an enduring interest in letterpress printing and calligraphy. The son of an English teacher, he held copy editors and proofreaders in high esteem. Curtis was a handsome, funny bon vivant who loved history, language, and art. His interests ranged from Ornette Coleman to the Langobards. Though he esteemed the avant-garde, he was in his basement rock a son of the Wasatch Mountains. After reading through the manuscript of Good Eurydice, he surprised me by saying that his favorite poem in the book was “Glad,” a humble poem that barely survived the winnowing. It is a poem about hiking in Millcreek Canyon in the late summer, which is what Curtis was doing when he died. “Glad” is reprinted here along with two poems I wrote for Curtis — a short Tang-style poem I had been meaning to send him all year and an elegy written shortly after learning of his passing. He will be missed.

photo: Alison Scarpulla

Andrew Haley’s poems and short stories have appeared in 15 Bytes, Window Cat, and other places. An essay of his was included in the critical anthology Till One Day the Sun Shall Shine More Brightly: The Poetry and Prose of Donald Revell (University of Michigan Press).