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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.

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Courtship

I guess as a writer, who typically or should stay at home to write and read without distraction, but does so to be among the living, I love this place, where they also have salads. They may have a branch in WC, where I have heard music and poetry read.

 

What if you were sitting there and I thought you interesting? You seem substantial and intelligent. How else would I ever get to know you? How would we ever actually meet? Don’t we need such a neutral zone for our first date? Anyway, I am intrigued by this. I would love to see where you have your coffee and what kind you like.

 

As my title says, I am a cafe writer. In responding to me, are you giving me a chance to redeem myself?

 

I do see the word “sarcasm” in your repertoire. I always wonder about this in psychological terms. Inherently, it means to insult. All the pretty girls in grade school, who were dating other boys used it. It stems from intelligence and confidence. They were always that. My father died when I was 10, I guess I was sarcastic before that. So, when a woman is sarcastic with me, it triggers a kind of sadness, in memory of a free and easy time. I got everything I wanted. My father was a successful urologist, my mother a commercial artist and fashion model.

 

She “smoked regularly,” which seems not to have ever bothered her. She remains in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.

 

I would love to know your artistic side, the painting perhaps?

 

I have never read The Greenage Summer, the title seems intriguing. When was the green age?

 

I either read and watched The Scarlet Letter or just watched it. Wasn’t it with a brunette actress as the woman who wanted to cheat with him. I can’t remember her name, but the storyline seems to follow less hopefully The Notebook, which of course is not truly hopeful either. The heart follows no rules but does feel them.

 

Twin Peaks and all Lynch’s movies are especially important to me as an artist. He makes me think about the importance of culture and the complexity of life.

 

I would like to listen to Sublime with you.

 

Beef jerky and cheese? That sounds like a logistical nightmare.

 

I am currently reading William Gass’ book On Being Blue in reference to your favorite color. I bought it because I opened it and the first words I read were: “What a page before was a woman is suddenly a breast, and then a nipple, then a little ring of risen flesh, a pacifier, water bottle, rubber cushion. Without plan or purpose we slide from substance to sensation, fact to feeling, all out becomes in, and we hear only exclamations of suspicious satisfaction: the ums, the ohs, the aha,” p. 17. He is talking about how talking about sex has to be about something else, because to speak of it exactly is to diminish what is arousing. Then he cites Henry Miller, who writes in such a way as to talk about something else entirely and yet it is really all about sex and how we feel and think, I guess because given our puritanical upbringing, that’s the only way we can enjoy it. It reminds me of another book by Wilhelm Stekel, where he talks about fetishism: At war with inner reality, p. 21.

 

The citation appealed to me because I am currently working on a piece about how women are responding to men.

 

I have no sense of humor. I am a Man Without Qualities, which by the way is another great book by Robert Musil.

 

Anyway, I go on. How was your cup of coffee?

 

Burning the American Flag

Burning the American Flag, A Letter to Senator Feinstein

 

[I am submitting this piece in honor of Colin Rand Kaepernick because in his eyes, he feels an injustice has been committed against his people. Until those people feel apart of this great country, he has a right to protest. In kind, attacks of his not standing for the National Anthem deal in the realm of free speech assurances. In not standing for the flag is akin to being able to burn the American flag. Both acts are ultimate manifestations of the right to free speech and protest. A way to measure the morality of a position is how it infringes upon the rights and freedoms of another person. If someone takes offense in Kaepernick’s not standing for the American flag, and then demands that he do so, speaks of the need to control. It is egotistical in nature and beneath the intentions and spirit of our forefathers.]

Dear Senator Feinstein,

 

I noted your chief co-sponsorship of the constitutional amendment that would have given Congress the power to ban desecration of the U.S. flag and have so composed the following.

 

This whole issue has to be resolved and put to bed given the fallacy it embodies.

 

Your argument that as a young girl the picture of the Marines raising a flag on Iwo Jima gave you a ‘bolt of electricity’ and made you see the flag as “More than a symbol,” should not now preclude you from being able to tell the difference between seeing the flag as “More than a symbol” and so legislating that as the lawful interpretation.

 

A symbol is “An arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance,” (See: wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) which assumes, in your case, that the conventional significance is limited to your experience of the flag.

 

You cannot possibly legislate a particular interpretation, especially since the sign is an ‘arbitrary’ one.

 

Moreover, the flag is an inanimate object, which if your legislation had so enacted, would have been protected over the constitutional rights of an individual to elect to burn the flag as say for reasons that he/she wished to engage in the freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and/or to petition the government for a redress of grievances, if any of these be the cases.

 

People should always be more important than things: Flying a Flag over another Person’s Rights.

 

The very act of burning a flag is American.

 

It used to be the case that we could laugh at ourselves because we had the self-confidence that our flag would still be there.

 

The flag is nothing but a symbol. It stands for liberty and justice for all, even those who would burn the flag to prove this point. To weigh the punishment of a flag burner against the flag burner him/herself is to miss the point of freedom.The American flag must stand for eloquence of the idea that we have a right to act in a manner that supports our views, to protest, unless we are hurtful to another, but the pain someone may or may not feel to the viewing of an enflamed yard of fabric raked from cotton, the result of dried and stretched chemicals, and/or dyed (changed from its original form), forgets that I care more for the American or No American who burns our flag and his ideas for doing so than the flag itself.

 

The flag is nothing but a symbol that changes with the Americans who represent it. It can never replace the acts that gave it meaning, nor can it stand or have been memorialized unless those acts occurred. No one by burning the flag can erase this meaning, but a person who arrests or incarcerates another for burning the flag incinerates freedom.

 

Is there a psychological law at work in the mind of the person who wishes to stop flag desecration? Is it a person who would hope they could wield power over another, implying that they do not have power over themselves? Is it to blame when sympathies are not shared? Isn’t the person blamed more important than the condemnation?

 

I love my country and support the people in it; but I will not support the rights of an inanimate object over life itself. In fact, I do not fly the flag because I believe it is presumptuous. That which makes my country great are ideals that tolerate differences of opinion, embrace all peoples, but it is not so proud as to fool itself into thinking that it can stand on its laurels. The flag is a representation only of success or glory, this country shall be perpetuated in righteousness, not the laggard of blame. Our country’s greatness stands on the words of our forefathers and by the actions of good men who have followed them in protecting those ideals, not as symbols, but as actions against real threats. – Mario Savioni, Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:42:21 AM.

First Experience with Shapr

My first meet from Shapr, a Networking app, Aaron Charles-Rhymes (a multidisciplinary designer/developer specializing in Graphic, Production, UI/UX, Visual Design, and Web Development, innovative creator that works hard to find design solutions in brand identity, print, packaging, and marketing) who said that he saw problems with user interfaces that he could repair visually and via code correction. I told him that this was marketable and that he should begin by surveying company sites, analyzing them, suggest edits, and see if he catches a job offer as a result. Is there anyone here, who might suggest a contact for him?

He suggested that I initiate a freelance effort that might turn into a full-time position or band together with friends and do a startup, if I like risk (which I do not, having worked at the same place for 24 years, although as a shop steward for most of that time, implying imminent danger) with the help of angel investors, but wait until things are working out, then cross-over. He recommended watching a video called “Welcome to Silicon Valley” by Ympact that inspires him.

First Love Poem

sophia sips coffee poem image copy

Sophia sips coffee

In Oakland irreverently.

She pushes paper while listening.

Knitting a hammock to lay in,

There’s dog-walking and

Yoga, cooking, and Coptic book binding

As explained in The Private Library.

She’s closed the chapter on the end of the world.

Says its her word against time.

She bakes her way into silver linings

Via two-steps.

She hears the Withering Spoon.

Reality is fictionalized through

Witchery and Wild Love.

Sources her ethics

Through Americans, pillows, and breakfast.

Her mouth is an art object.

Hiking with puppies

And binging on Netflix.

I am curious

Wanting to share, and

Grow together like hair.

I ride my bike to get Euphoria.

Could this be you?

I like ice cream, but my body

Abhors it.

I have photography at the Oakland Museum,

But it is locked away.

I would love to make more

With you and I don’t mind dirt.

I love hiking and conversations,

But not steep overlooks.

The Truth

 

You either recognize the truth or you deny it. The truth is always there. It always seems to implicate a decision, where making it for truth seems to go against our better judgement because we can’t seem to see the way out. It always goes against what seems to be for the better, at least on the surface. Going with truth seems to imply some faithful leap. But, often we go to the very edge and are forced to jump. There is no way to avoid the truth. It is old and willing to wait. It is your only relationship with time. It is eternal. What you are afraid of is just to push you into what you know you must do. To be good is what your spirit desires. The whisper is constant. We make beautiful things with ourselves. We have beautiful insides. We love and we care. We have this empathy for others. We are often overwhelmed with what is asked of us. But, that is all that life is, this constancy of giving and believing. The head fights the heart, everything we do sometimes is against logic. But the heart is courageous. It isn’t cold. It isn’t unkind. What is good in us lives. What is bad in us dies.

Trump and Republicans

Reporter Julia Edwards Ainsley said President Donald Trump expects to sign an executive order that includes temporary ban on most refugees and suspension of visas for Syrian and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.

Stephen Legomsky, who was chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said “Legal arguments could claim the executive orders discriminate against a particular religion, which would be unconstitutional.”

“Another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified,” according to the Reuter’s piece posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017.  (See: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-exclusive-idUSKBN1582XQ)

2. Yasmeen Serhan said that President Trump signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, projects aimed at constructing pipelines from Canada tar sands to Texas and oil fields in North Dakota to southern Illinois that were once blocked by the Obama administration. (See: http://www.theatlantic.com/liveblogs/2017/01/news-today/514214/14138/?utm_source=atlfb)

3. Matthew Daly, Associated Press, December 16, 2016 said “Congressional Republicans quietly closed a year-long investigation into Flint, Michigan’s [drinking water with lead,] faulting both state officials and…Environmental Protection Agency, [where] contamination affected nearly 100,000 residents. “

Sanders had already called on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, to step down.” (This line taken from: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/18/politics/flint-water-democratic-debate-clinton-sanders-snyder/index.html, whereas Daly’s article is found at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/house-gop-quietly-closes-flint-mich-water-investigation/#.WId_LRprdsw.twitter))

4. Michael Biesecker and John Flesher, AP, Jan 24, ’17, said Trump administration instituted media blackout at Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding new contracts or grants. (See: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-issues-epa-media-blackout-suspends-agencys-grants/)

All That Jazz

tribu-cafe-oakland-ca-window-shot

TRIBU CAFE

In tin and metal planters an assortment of fern and other green plants move erratically in the wind. The metal gate signifies a demarcation perhaps on sunnier days when one could imagine tables and chairs with white tablecloths aflutter in late spring and October. 

The structure that houses the cafe (Tribu) is modern with its thick cement walls and square pillars. The melody of bass and piano lightly fills my heart with a mellow magic of love. Two people (bassist and pianist) not even looking at each other meld spiritually. 

It makes me think of my life and where I can go next. It colors the bland LOW COST APPLIANCES – SALES – SERVICE sign across the street. 

Izumi stands at a distance listening and then comes over: “Writing a book?” she says.

“No, this experience,” I say. 

When you listen to music, words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and stories get shortened. Every human being takes on a glow. The women become more beautiful and the men become friends.

I can’t help but notice a woman who looks like Kristen Stewart, her thin and supple presence. Her controlling activities, her man sitting around the corner out-of-sight.

I’m going through a period of my life where I recognize that who I am attracted to is no longer attracted to me and vice-versa. I sense also that the next phase of my life will be about substance and conversation and less about sex. I will be learning about women. 

Nao looks up in the air as she plays the piano. The bassist Mark Williams plays beautifully. What does that mean, I imagine? It is as a little voice whispering eloquent phrases like T.S. Eliot‘s poetical works, pulsations of the heart. “While he took from them their ability to infuse poetry with high intellectualism while maintaining a sensuousness of language.”

“Rainy Day jazz lunch,” Izumi says.

Across the street at the light a young man kisses his girl. She seems delighted. He looks down at his cell phone and she carries a pizza box. Her delight fades to purposefulness. His, however, is like that of a happy journalist, who upon hearing about juicy news shares it with the world. She must have seen or felt me. It is all seriousness after that. I’m like an assessing presence, a killjoy, a troll.

Meanwhile, Izumi sings: “Our love is here to stay?”

isumi-at-tribu-singing-jan-2017

(Izumi Hayakawa,  Nao Suzuki and Mark Williams at TRIBU CAFE.)

“What are you thinking? What are you going through?” She continues. Cars pass. People have destinations, responsibilities, places where they want to be. We are so consumed by the president-elect that we don’t see ourselves against the backdrop. How fragmented is our purpose? Our roles? How do we fit? The melody softens our self-criticism and loves us as we are. 

Izumi sings. Nao will eventually go back to Japan. I am alone on the side of the room with sunshine, but where everyone has left. The other side is enshadowed, but every seat is taken. Izumi is courteous and looks over at me singing to the room as a whole: “My heart serenading you… My prelude to a kiss.”

Caitlin Moran in How to be a Woman says that with puberty, her sexual interests arose. Chemical and physical property at work make this music internal-reaching. 

A dog jumps into a car with a mere suggestion of its female owner, a man at the wheel. She gets in, very little conversation, and they drive away. 

Often this is the essence of life. Familiarity and past experience. The rain has stopped. 

Another couple, he on the phone in purple running shoes, and she adjusts her shoe and looks back. 

This other woman, the one who looks like Kristen Stewart, also looks like Lauren Bacall. I’ve become suspicious to her. 

I think the instrumental leaves an open space for my voice to fit but then Izumi’s singing also conjures the desire to sing along.

I can give you anything but love.”

Lauren Bacall and her man are outside laughing. I feel like the laughter is meant for me, but I am sure I am oblivious to them.

Such as I do not have, relationships are built on time spent, maneuverings among and between personalities. I close my eyes expecting to see someone I know. Turning away to see if they’ll sit next to me. But, I am delusional, such as I do not know myself in relation to the long line of suitors, other than me. We men pay no attention to other men, who are busy with the women we have crushes on.

Rain enshadows the mountains in the background. The girl with her dog passes. 

A woman with her boyfriend, late to the event, sits at my table, and sings to her boyfriend: “Why Not Take All of Me?” Her voice is nice. I am tempted to ask Izumi to have the band back her, but they played the last song. I say this because in the back of my mind is this poem Emily Rosen wrote that basically explains the unification of women and men’s desire which is to be acknowledged for the greatness and talent they feel they have. At the moment, the couple sitting next to me have reduced to conversation. The food arrives. They eat and she coughs toward me. She takes a sip, and then begins singing even louder: “Why not take all of me?” She reaches toward me and takes the salt shaker with a vengeance. She wants to be recognized, to be allowed to be a part of the focus of the room, which is now the bassist and the friends of Izumi (all women) in various states of departure. 

This late arrival keeps singing while the Raiders game is on. There’s a quiet to the room so she can be heard. Her wanting to be part of the melody of life, to be found in our individuality, to have something to give, and to be of value, becomes apparent to me. 

The couple talk about having freely given time without compensation. Someone got the man’s music lessons for free. So much of the soul is given away for free. I have argued for an economy based on what purposes men and women have, but I guess we would all just sit around humming to each other, and live in places like the Ghost Ship drinking coffee.