Writing Through Hard Times

The Hard Times Writing Workshop is a collaboration between Denver Public Library and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The workshop is open to all members of the public—especially those experiencing homelessness. Each month, the Denver VOICE will publish a selection of the voices of Hard Times.

Hard Times meets every Tuesday afternoon from 3:00-5:00 in the book club room of DPL’s Central branch. To check out more writing by Hard Times participants, go to writedenver.org.

Joseph Mott-Smith

My Wish for Colorado

I came to Denver in 1978 to go to college at the University of Denver. I flunked out in 1982 and moved back to Hawaii, where I was raised. For the next 14 years I went on welfare, then Social Security, then started to work again when I moved to Kailua-Koma on the Big Island in 1990.

From 1990 through 1996 I worked and took courses at the University of Hawaii to make up for the lack of courses at the University of Denver. Finally, in 1996, I wrote to DU with a proposal: to transfer the credits I earned at the University of Hawaii and to finish the two required courses I still had left at DU.

DU said, “Okay,” so I took the two required courses and graduated in the spring of 1996. This is why I came back to Denver, Colorado, and I have lived here ever since.

My wish for Denver is for the city to become the crossroad between L.A. and NYC—and to become the equal of those cities, too, to become a mecca for the meeting of minds. To excel not only in sports but also in the arts and humanities. I want Denver to become a city where people will be judged by the content of their character, a place where disabilities and different lifestyles and weaknesses and the sum of a person’s life are all embraced rather than despised, shunned, or ridiculed.

I want Denver—and all of Colorado—to be a mecca for mercy, where people can say, “I am gay, I am an alcoholic, I have a mental illness, I am disabled,” without the fear of being belittled or judged. Where everyone is accepted and encouraged to flourish, grow, and thrive.

My wish is for Colorado to be the good soil for all the natives and the transplants to grow in honesty, integrity, spirituality, and character. Where the whole of a person can become mature and complete. ■

Fran Ford

What’s in God’s Backpack?

A galaxy or ten,

cautiously stacked,

cushioned among

wads of nebulae?

A refreshing bottle

of proto-life

for the occasional

rest stop of an eon or so?

Gas giants strung in cherry bomb clusters,

packed at very careful distances

from proximity orbits

of flaming stars?

Asteroids scattered like colossal crumbs

along the bottom, the deepest seams,

when planets inadvertently drop down

among some larger, heavier dark matter?

Or sticky streaks on inner pouches

where meteors skid crazily over the one-dimensional sharp

edges of cosmic strings?

Are we in there too? ■