Latin Quarter – Paris 1995

Latin Quarter - Paris 1995

When I was in Paris in 1995, I walked around the city. I shot each day for a week. I came upon this window and inside the store were these elements: Mirror, antique statue, bedpost, etc. and behind me was a building and a bike on the street. It spoke of the medium given my being upside down in the mirror. The black and white spoke of timelessness. The age and articulation of Europe as the origins of my soul, that I could apprehend catharsis itself in an image meant that I could stop. I have never shot a better image than this. It represents me, my eye, and aesthetic capacity. I hope to continue this journey when I eventually get to London, another city with windows in an urban environment.


Finnegans Wake

It’s like the ticking of a Grandfather clock, these words that make sounds but have no meaning otherwise, except to establish the meter and rhyme of thought: Tick tock…Tick tock… They breathe with glimmers of cognition. All the while the book in your hands is like a vulva and your eyes keep peeling across the lines and you touch it and hold it with endearment and curiosity; for this is the meaning of life, beheld in partial mystery and ever-certain ignorance as the light falls and you can’t recall the liver in your pants nor the ejaculate of solemnity’s voice, now forgotten amid idleness.


And then somewhere in the 300s, the voice starts coming through — you picture an Irish Denisov, as you’ve formed some genetic understanding for the sentence structure. You appreciate still the meter and how the words begin to flow as rose petals are soft, like War and Peace. By page 477, you’ve come to realize, with McHugh’s annotations, that so much has gone by and you don’t have the meaning of it. It was hard reading both, as if the one weren’t enough, so you fixate on the daydreams that come as transitions between textual understanding. You solve your problems and weep at the memory of Ena, who thought she was pregnant. She saw Ghost with you — the middleman — sitting in your car in front of Columbia Inn nearly wanting her and she nearly leaning over wanting to be held. You remained cold but ever so longing. Somehow the moment passed and her boyfriend came back from New York in a couple of days. You knew it would have been wrong. Luckily, one of those moments did pass and you kept your problems to yourself. It turned out she wasn’t pregnant anyway and she knew it was wrong, in such a state of an emotional dilemma. It was better you than someone else. Maybe someone will do that for you.


By page 541, you’ve come to realize the Denisov image evaporates and there is a husky Irish man in a pub rattling off phrases as they sound and might be spelled in the English language. It’s like listening to someone for a long time and you understand as they articulate what before was foreign.

A Dream

I really love this painting.
There is a man/woman in a trench coat,
Wearing a watch, with his/her hand in his/her pocket behind the door.

She could be a call girl with her pimp in the background,
Or just a beautifully wrought woman contemplating her power or burdens,
Someone separated, perhaps, from her effect on the world co-mingled
With the fact of just being.

This image speaks to me of what a woman must do in a world of men,
Selling her wares, submitting herself to the desire to be lithe and luxuriously at peace.

What is she thinking?

My mother was once this beautiful,
She always seemed to be oblivious.
She thought not of men, but of designs
On paper, oil paint, and how the world worked,
Wanting to change, in her later years, junk
Into things of beauty.

She would contemplate,
Smoke her cigarettes and look out from her balcony
Out and at the hillside, which grew from under her
And then up almost to a point
You could not see the sky unless you bent down
When you were sitting.

She said she was raped by an uncle.
Was forced to live with foster parents
Because in the 30’s with her father dead
When she was two and with two brothers,
Her mother could not afford to take care of her.

When her mother died, my mother said that
She was hours away and her mother died alone.
She never wanted that to happen to her,
So she kept us close.

When she got her first commercial art job,
She walked in with a bandbox look.
They hired her out of all the prospects.
Just out of art school at CAL,
She presented a few pieces.

Then one of her bosses raped her.
My aunt said that she took off a couple of times
And my father, a doctor, had to take care of us.

All, I am sure she did was go to a place where she could think.
How do I know this?
I am like her.

We dream a lot.
We have our drinks, but non-alcoholic,
We don’t like to dull the powers of our minds.

I too have stared into the distance
Traveled through memories
And met loved ones.
Mainly, lovers and their sleek lines,
How they made me feel and
When we will meet again
Is all I think,
In the meantime,
I make beautiful things
Like peacock feathers
To entrance them.

OPINION: The Case of the Speluncean Explorers


Read: before addressing the following, which is an answer to the question the case raises.



“Before the dice were cast, however, Whetmore declared that he withdrew from the arrangement, as he had decided on reflection to wait…”


The issue as I view the facts relates to whether a man may wage his life in contract?

Thus, my opinion is that a man may not wager his life, nor should a society support the bartering of one’s life to save another. This is a decision remaining with the person and flexible with his whims.

Pro 1. As this case relates to assisted suicide, one of the arguments against it is that a person can no longer make a contribution to society.

Con 1. Similarly, the contribution to society would be that he allowed others to live in place of his life.

Pro 2. The individuals should have waited until one of the men died naturally before eating him.

Con 2. Similarly, had they waited, they might have all died, or at least the chance was great that more than one person would have died had they waited out the natural course of one.

Pro 3. Regardless of the arguments related to “Law of Nature” or jurisdiction as relates to time and place, men are inherently the same and enjoy the capacities of pain and joy. Therefore, sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying, whether to save others or not instill a seriousness. That seriousness would explain a general refrain from making another keep their side of a bargain.

Con 3. Similarly, the “seriousness” itself would weigh so heavily under the circumstances of a unified approach to death that those sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying itself, would avail the obligation of the losing party to uphold their bargain simply because the need to live would overpower the desire to take that person’s place if they changed their mind.

Lightness of Being

I want to thank the person responsible for the new washers.
It is not like the old ones were broken
Because I bet they were loaded with a favor to one side
And the redistribution as you know
In rugby is that once the man with the ball
Is captured, a heap is formed.

But, I don’t know,
I have never really had a relationship
With the washers.
I did, however, put the coins in first
And then let the water fill,
Followed with detergent,
Let it churn a bit before
I put the clothes.

My aunt taught me
“To dilute the detergent.”

Now, you start with the detergent,
Then the clothes,
Then the quarters,
Kind of like getting your money’s worth
At the beginning.

I like how it is a bowl
And the holes don’t start until a quarter
Up the inside so it seems like
The water fills and the clothes are
Kept in a container so that
They both soak and get churned.
It is a rich process.

In the beginning
There is silence, then
The lockdown.

I like all the colored buttons and lights.
I like the white porcelain.
It all seems so robotic
And I have grown to like that.

That and dishes,
They are like the last things
We have to do
Before everything becomes

I am not even worried about the rain
Or viruses, or wars
Because we live in a laundry room,
Where we have a sofa,
A bookshelf, and a
Garden outside.

Maybe we should install a shower
And a kitchen.

Like I said, however,
Once we figure out how to do the laundry
Without actually having to do it,
Which is actually like doing the dishes
In a dishwasher,
What’s left? – Mario Savioni


The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness


Inspired by the haiku by  in Poésie, (See:

Is it righteousness or regret that we contemplate? Is there a bucket list or a mere acceptance that the quality of life is so diminished over time that we understand the demise of our physicality? I watch my mother capitulate to the last waves that wash over her breaking body, how we can predict the steps to her final resting place, someone who was once our equal and before that the first beauty to have shown her face, and by whom I measure all lovers.

Tonight, I held the head of a woman with my mother’s skull and I massaged her. I breathed her “essential oils” through her thinning hair and followed the lines of her delicate hands as I traveled them. She leaned against me and I felt my own heart and we looked at pictures of my mother when she was 18.

Sadly, I doubt this woman loves me, and so it is. Death is an acceptance of the truth; and like the arms flailing in the sand, it is a kind of suffocation that we felt when we were born: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono.

And so perhaps you are correct: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Reclusivity of Silence


The reclusivity of silence alone in a room;
The woman on a white pedestal is naked and posing.
I don’t remember what I said to her,
But she is in agreement
That her body and affect are
The stuff of artistry.

A picture of a naked woman,
Not that we are there yet,
But this must be the arrangement,
Sets adrift so many passions.
Mystery is the biggest one,
Where I am lost in the design itself,
My attraction,
My mind-numbing infatuation with this character study.
Just as Picasso said:
He was only and always painting himself.
I am taking a picture of everything I’ve ever wanted
While actually wanting to know if the passion is shared
And what it might mean.
I sense she is only contemplating her appointment,
How the stool might not be that comfortable,
if the image would wind up on the Internet,
And some guy like me would find it.
She’s thinking about lunch,
Her studies,
Her boyfriend,
The cause of art,
The purpose of her life.
I don’t think that women ever
Think of themselves as objects of beauty,
As the purpose for living that men attribute to them.
But, they clearly stand for something,
Since I have no other thoughts.

The Elevator

With the shifting of the building

Given various weather scenarios,

I noticed this evening how the

Elevator button glowed red.


I waited then pressed the button.


It was warm, like the hood of the car of a cheating husband.


I pressed it again, but waited no longer

Looking over the railing for insensitive



There were none.


I listened and waited.

Finally, I pushed the elevator door,

Which moved inward and the

Elevator descended.


It rested on the ground floor,

Where it must have been called

By a person, who got bored or frustrated?


I pressed the button again and the

Elevator rose to the top floor.

I got in and made sure the

Door was shut.

I noticed the gap was snug,

And then it descended.

The Bell Tower

bell tower underpainting









I happened on a room or a suite at the top of a building with little areas dotting the luxurious but otherwise spare penthouse apartment.

In the room, various individuals were standing and talking to each other. When I passed one, a man. He stood above what appeared to be his belongings and his name was Tom. He was taller, a bit red-faced, pudgy. He wore a plaid, long-sleeved Pendelton. He was balding but I could tell his hair was brown. He looked over at me as I was coming toward the group, but he continued his conversation: “As an entire country, we are being brain-washed, within the confines of a mass media, we’ve been told what to believe, how to look at the world. Although our eyes, ears, and mouths are the same, we still think a certain way that is controlled. My belief in God was laid across my brain as an early teething blanket destined to calm my fears, which were great, where I knew I needed my mother and father.”

There were beds, actually, mattresses on the floor, say a lamb’s skin throw rug here and a little lamp on the floor over there. You had to be careful when stepping through the obstacle course of these belongings. It was like a dorm room for adults. It turned out that the people were living there. Total strangers had come together with barely any belongings, and they would have parties and they would invite other strangers and I noticed a packet of candy with my name on it and a list of email addresses of people I knew. It was like someone had gone on my computer and printed them out. They were apparently being passed around as if I were the host of the party, but I didn’t know any of these people.

Tom continued speaking: “My mother asks in her late age, why she’s still in the hospital and I tell her, it is because of her Alzheimer’s and that is because she never used the mathematical side of her brain. And now, she’s further indoctrinated by the television, which provides her with a conservative view of everything, or frankly it doesn’t matter because so long as it sells fear, the television stations are fine because then the products will be sold as the answer to their loss of safety and control, but then we are never really in control…”

Someone I know from the past, Mark, says: “All of them were part-time workers, working at various companies, but were connected by the idea of harvested e-mail addresses. They would have dinner and even sex together, in this seeming business financial district frat house of temporarily-employed people. I looked out the windows, which were apparently one-way mirrors and saw a man, who seemed to be running from something. He had the demeanor of a purse-snatcher and I watched what seemed to be a chase being carried out on the roof as I looked over the room.

Tom is still talking: “We wake up in the morning and run to work and the guinea pig wheel houses us rather nicely and we see very little of the outside world, and while it isn’t quite like us; it is still being led by the same strictures.” Some in his group look at him and nod their heads while also watching the man on the roof being apprehended by men with suits and those Secret Service-like earplugs. They stop him easily. It is just one guy actually, a normal-seeming guy, who grabs his arm and suspends him in pain.

Mark tells me there are lots of these types of living arrangements, where people work for a temp company and move from temp job to temp job and they house these stables of business types, who are just normal people with no extended families. They have no contacts other than these temporary “friends.” They have no health care, no accumulated wealth, nothing, just what’s around their feet. They live day-to-day and they never know what their next job will be until they get a slip of paper the night before indicating where they’ll be heading in the morning.

“Capitalism is the Elephant in the room,” Tom continues, “and the psychopathic conquerors are unavoidable in their destructive tendencies.” 

You had to wonder by Tom’s conversation why he was so antagonistic toward the set-up. It seemed comfortable. A couple of nights ago I was watching the love of my life climb under a freeway over pass and into the arms of a large muscle-bound man who gave me dirty looks as he moved her into the darkness, where he had a dirty mattress and garbage strew about. It was clear she and I were over. I’d lost the 5-plex in Berkeley, which after the earthquake was tagged for demolition. I still had $699,000 due on the mortgage. I’d lost my job. I was grateful to have found these people.

The set-up reminded me of an idea Slavoj Zizek put forth, where he said that Jewish people were the only group that maintained their heritage and practices to the letter, while others seemed to have disbanded and a result of this were these ‘individuals,’ who had no common characteristics except this worker pool atmosphere. It reminded me of the Chinese dorm rooms at the companies that made Apple products, who lived in bunk rooms, but didn’t know each other and yet they worked long hours, and slept inches from each other. They were fed in cafeteria-like environments and dressed alike.

I could hear Tom in the background: “In fact, that’s what we can continue to look forward to, the eyes and glare of the psychopath taking out his rage that his father was never there to help his mother care for them and now the self-destruction is certain, if you breed destruction yourself, destruction as a nation, as a world…” I stopped listening to Tom for a second.

I felt a tinge of sadness. I used to believe that we needed to get together and help each other but I never imagined that his would be done akin to slavery, where the worker paid his wages for a space on the floor and he or she was trapped but certainly equal on this level to all the other people. But you could tell, someone owned the suite and someone was organizing us, or at least garnering the benefit of our desperation and loneliness.

“This is the end we should expect,” Tom was somehow making sense. He kept going. “If it is every man-for-himself, then the families have no chance. If it is that the strange shall survive and the weak perish, then that’s all that’s left.”

The crows outside reminded me of the precarious state we were in, where the whole country seemed to be looking over a cliff. Organization as we know it will be fundamentally broken. Kaypacha, an Internet-based astrologer, said in 2013, “Why doesn’t everyone just go bankrupt?” Apparently they had. What’s left when you still have to eat and sleep? I remembered the idea that our savings is our freedom, which is what Bejan would say when I was waiting tables before the 4-plex and the earthquake.

Tom said, “I don’t see a happy ending, where in the back of all the action is the inevitable personality of our nation, of people in general, a kind of Lord-of-the-Flies system of doing things.

“Just look at ourselves, what makes up our day? What are we constantly thinking? It is intimacy and the desire to be close to someone to share our fears, and to the efforts we must instill, just to deceive ourselves into making it? We are exhausted, focused, with blinders on, but there’s no other way but controlled acquisition and mergers with the intent of a deluded status of self-sufficiency and general independence? Are our hearts no longer the organ making the world sunny, or is it for men only the desire to penetrate and for women to receive and then manipulate by guilt the sacrifice of another person for their self-preservation? And yet love makes us give everything, we think, for a greater good, but that good is only slavery? After all, we’ve been trained so well that if we don’t do what they say, we are terrorists and they’ll lock us?” Tom questioned.

“We are reacting to the inevitable pressures that are upon us as ‘desiring machines’ in the middle of a life cycle. Let us now go into the other room and make babies, and let the next generation do what we did, as a second of pleasure.

“Even the criminal knows this pattern, and I believe they call this life.” Tom concluded.

Heaven is now.


God is an invention
That we project on the world
Out of fear of the unknown.
What happens to us is a
By-product of our ambitions
And the ambitions of others,
Who are working within
A system of past experience
And present desire.
While we get better at playing the
Game, we also get older.
Eventually, our bodies
Fall apart and our brains fail.
At the point of death,
We loose consciousness
And there is nothing more.

Common Voices



If you don’t love you will cease to be remembered.
In the orange glow of morning
No words will be spoken.
Against the back walls of yellow
You will watch the sun rise.
Reality is a sore spot for lovers.
It is the place, where all decisions are made.


I am rolling in the ocean, a small suit in the sea. Bubbly white waters cover me. The sun is ninety degrees. I hear whispers. I see shadows. Don’t revive me. I am still. Listening here, I hear the ocean’s voices, deep and still. There is a language we can tell. Every creature speaks to us. We are snake charmers, we are conductors. Every animal has its voice. They stand before us. They ask for music; they ask for love.


A single instrument well played speaks of the capacity of woman to go straight to the heart. The heart doesn’t need peripheral instruments. It hears a perfect set of notes and doodles on them, floats in the space of self-reflection. Self-reflection, of course, is contingent upon the melody that is most like the beat of this particular heart. I close my eyes and can hear a spiritual friend. We are lovers, intimate, and that is why, I think, there are stalkers. Such people run to stars thinking they have something in common. And what they do not, or may not know is that all of us have the capacity to listen to the muse, who gives us our instrumentation or voices and it is he/she, who works from inside.


This common weed, the intricate interweaving of the unraveled self, the brown moss of cumulus clouds, and Herringbone predicaments confide with light and leaves. Wishes fill this afternoon that innocence could barely feel, stared at and disappointed display of the temporary advertisement. I break sticks at my feet and point my eyes if only for the sake of truth, I have no right, no wherefore. It is not fair of me to be here and not someone she could love. Separated in time by the economics of beauty. The calculated use of some gift not all women have, a selfish instrument of God. She raises her hands because she has been asked to and because of the expectation, “I am on sale here, a common weed in the brain of lovers or not. There is no discrimination. I am almost always perceived in the same way, by men and women of all ages. I represent the very center of the earth and all the world revolves around me. I am healthy only in the sense that this is my time. Do I choose knowledge? Do I choose to wield this power? All I see is how it makes others feel. I am not this body. I am only thoughts, like anyone, with the desire to create, where my purpose is told to me with a whisper. And that whisper comes from a source that has no other ambition than to tell me the stories I tell you.”


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