Greetings, One & All~

As we approach the autumnal equinox and observe a moment of balance in the cosmos, I am reminded of the Hopi expression koyaanisqatsi, which means life out of balance, and which fairly describes our present condition. In the spirit of finding ways to move forward mindfully and creatively, your September A 440 Newsletter offers an assortment of artful expressions that I hope will contribute to the re-balancing our world in some small way. Be well, be of good cheer and be in touch: we need each other now more than ever!

Breathe Easy

Yes, there ARE ways to present live performances responsibly, safely and comfortably, and still have tons of fun! The proof is in these newly-released video clips from my June 2020 tour in Colorado with Sherry Finzer, playing music from our duo album The Space Between Breaths. These are the songs Penumbra (our satellite radio hit single), Cliff Dwellers and Child’s Play, performed from a second-story balcony overlooking Boedecker Lake at Mariana Cove in Loveland CO, with the audience socially distanced in lawn chairs and on blankets on the grass below, and on boats docked on the shore of the lake.

The audience arriving by land and by water, as viewed from behind the stage

River People

We are all river people: rivers are the bloodstream of our planet and water is life; so it concerns all of us whenever rivers are threatened anywhere in the world, perhaps most of all in arid climates like Baja Arizona, where the San Pedro River is the last free-flowing riparian ecosystem in the region.

I was invited to speak and perform at a demonstration against the construction of the border wall across the San Pedro River on August 14th, organized by Kate Scott of the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center: I was humbled and honored to read my poem Quitobaquito and play my Sonoran Desert clay udu, among many presentations by other artists, activists, public officials, candidates for elected office and concerned citizens.

A recent monsoon flood had–quite predictably–wiped out most of the construction that had already been done up to that point; but as you can see, they are wasting no time in getting right back at it. So, far from being done, our work has just begun.

Enchanted Arrow

I’m excited and delighted that Medicine Arrow will fly again with a live performance at Enchantment Resort in Sedona AZ on Thursday September 10th, after having our bows unstrung for far too long. We plan to be in the recording studio in September as well, so keep your eye on the A 440 bull’s eye for further musical medicine from your Rx Archers.

Medicine Arrow: Roman Orona, Will Clipman & Aaron White

Art Matters

Your September A 440 Tucson Spotlight shines on this new mural at Mercado San Agustin Annex in the heart of The Old Pueblo, illustrating once again that art is a positive and lasting response to anguish. American Dream: At the Altar of the Ancestors is the latest public art project by muralist, installation artist, painter, fabric artist, singer/songwriter, guitarist, actor, storyteller and atavistic activist To-Ree-Nee Wolf, whose work has intersected many times with mine over more than three decades, most recently in the folk-funk ensemble Temenos Quartet and our new duo Will & The Wolf. To-Ree-Nee’s one-woman show An Evening With the Wolf will be staged at Tucson’s iconic Invisible Theatre on Tuesday-Wednesday September 15-16, with limited socially-distanced seating.

photo courtesy Thomas Veneklausen, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine

Explicitly Ethereal

Author and personal transformation consultant Diane Wing has posted a lovely five-star Amazon review of Wildly Ethereal, the new cello-and-percussion duo album by Michael G. Ronstadt & Will Clipman, and I invite everyone (explicitly those who received limited edition physical CDs as part of their Kickstarter support and have the full package to comment on) to chime in with your impressions.

Don’t be put off by the comically inappropriate [Explicit] designation Amazon has attached to our music: either the confusion arises from other Amazon products that share our title, or (to the delight of this wordsmith) Amazon literally means explicit in the first, second and third dictionary definitions of the word: fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity, leaving no question as to meaning or intent; fully developed or formulated; unambiguous in expression; all of which DO accurately describe the music!

Taking Wing

And speaking of my colleague Diane Wing, she has recently rebuilt the web page for her radio show, including a wonderful interview she did with yours truly a while back on the timeless subject of The Inner Mythic Persona, which can be enjoyed at:

Mask Art

I receive precisely zero dinero for this, I just think it’s too cool an idea not to share: visionary artist Virginia Maria Romero, with whom I collaborate on multi-media performance installations, has rendered images from her mythopoetic paintings as masks. Aside from their artistic originality, Virginia’s hand-crafted masks are the lightest, most comfortable, most durable and most breathable in my collection.

Photos of the Month

Sunrise is a perfect time to be out on the land during summer in the northern Sonoran Desert, as this cool moment of flight framed here at Rancho Improvisoso by nature photographer Shery Christopher beautifully illustrates.

Soaring Saguaro Sunrise, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Broad daylight has its delights as well: Harry, the male Cooper’s hawk in our resident family of three, cuts a dashing profile in the late afternoon light on the standing water bowl outside our kitchen window at Rancho Improvisoso, enjoying a cool drink before flying off for his evening activities.

Smoke from the wildfires in California gave our sunsets here in Tucson an eerily Martian hue. This one burst forth from the western horizon through the space between mountains and clouds to spectacular effect. Beauty from ashes, with prayers for rain out west.

Fire in the Sky, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

And there’s a lot happening after dark, too! This big beautiful Sonoran Desert toad has been frequenting one of our ground-level water bowls in the aloe patch under our desert willow, and was patient enough to pose for a princely nocturnal portrait.

Waiting for a Kiss, courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Poem of the Month


You reach for the cutting board to slice

a cucumber for this evening’s meal

and witness our resident bobcat

pounce on one of your young rabbits

and carry it off to feed her hungry kittens,

and this intimate moment of wild violence

breaks the dam behind which months

of anger and frustration and sadness

have been building: your wracking sobs

and cleansing tears release, and all

I can do is kneel before you silently,

try to contain your anguish within my arms

as riverbanks strain to contain a flood.

Do all the honeybees I’ve rescued

from the pool with the split end

of a curved carrizo pole cancel

at least some of the packrats I’ve trapped

in the water heater shed, the greenhouse,

the engine compartments and the grill?

Do the collared lizards we feed each day

divide evenly into the mealworms

we feed them, or is there always

an irreducible remainder: one

of those numbers like pi that keeps on

staggering unresolved into infinity?

Hawk downing dove does not weigh less

on the scales of alpha and omega: death

is the flip side of life, all of one coinage,

which doesn’t mean we should cheapen

either with oblivious dismissals, but rather

honor one and cherish the other all the more.

And what about the x factor you plus

predator streaking across driveway snatching

prey contentedly munching carrot slice:

does that form an equilateral triangulation?

Will the equation ever zero out,

the geometry of shock and loss ever balance?

Of course not croaks a raven

perched on the cellphone tower

at the corner of two dead-end roads

who burnt itself black

flying too close to a third-rate star

in a minor galaxy

and who knows a thing or two

about the mathematics of life and death.

Of course these tangential vectors

will never predictably reveal all the points of contact

they’ve amassed en route to this particular nexus

on the curve; to say otherwise is to fantasize

that what is here to stay can simply be wished away.

© Will Clipman 2020

~May your autumn begin in beauty and balance~

Stay awake. Stay aware. Stay alive.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator