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.

Unrequited Love


When my love feels you,

It bashfully recedes

Into the awareness of


It stomps around alone

In a closed-curtain room.

The air is hot

The certainty of failure

Is everywhere

Like an unmade bed

And a room strewn

With clothes

None of which are yours.

The room doesn’t smell of you.

It is cluttered with false hope:

Empty open water bottles,

Portfolios, papers, books,

A tissue box on a wooden floor.

How to find your soulmate.

Finding your Soulmate image copy copy

An idea came to me after that the best way to meet someone is to do so either while doing what you love or describing that and watching for a response.

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a cafe and you’ve managed to get directly in front of someone you want to meet and you don’t know what to say. I would simply talk about something that was important to me and see if they could relate or knew about what I was talking and were excited about it too.

So, a long time ago, nearly 1986, I watched an episode of Miami Vice, a cop show and in the show there was a poet, who was fleeing his country and seeking asylum in the United States and he wheeled himself on stage, where a lot of people were in the audience and he read a poem that was simple, but it really touched me. I love how the Latin American writers talk about war and injustice because corruption is rampant and they don’t seem to enjoy the same freedoms that we do. They are always the victims of dictatorships.

Anyway, when he began reading, I was immediately drawn:

In the place where I came from the jungles were a jade wall
And the plains rolled like the sea
The mountains carried the wind on their shoulders…”

The poem goes on and the images are so graphic that I could see and feel them. The words were so simple, but they immediately brought me into myself and I could feel the injustice.

The poem goes on to say that what those in charge did not create they could still kill. They rolled out their armor and it rained. The horses sank in the mud and could not possess what they did not create. And so the poem was a metaphor for the spirit of the people, which no army could truly kill, because so long as the people lived, even in the hearts and minds of the dictators, human beings possess this spirit of truth and justice and that spirit mocks those who would be so presumptuous to think that they could kill even themselves, because they knew in their hearts of this truth and this justice. Say, for example, you kill me, the memory of this decision remains inside of you. The truth keeps coming back and it haunts the untrue. Reality for those who have lied to themselves is an uncomfortable place filled with the potholes of nervous ticks and bumps against it. And what is the worst for people who deny reality is that they are eventually taken out in a way that is horrific.

So, as I am reading this to the woman in front of me and she is thinking, being inside of herself, she becomes excited and wants to hear more.

“Well,” I say, “it was a show with two police officers, who fight crime in Miami and during that time a type of law called RICO – The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.” What the word “rico” means in Spanish is rich, an interesting and likely manufactured coincidence. The law made the police rich because they could confiscate the property of those who were found guilty and that property, fancy cars, money, houses, etc. were used by the police to appear like they were successful criminals to then arrest other criminals.

The effect was that these particular officers end up driving fancy cars and living in expensive houses, dressed well, and so the show was rather flamboyant and elitist.

In the one segment, Season 2, Episode 20, called both “Free Verse” and “Zero Solution,” there was this visiting professor (poet) from a South American country with a corrupt government and where all the people suffered and he was doing a poetry reading in an auditorium at a school.

It is 2016, 30 years later, and I have since written poems like his. I have been permanently influenced by art and literature. I was wondering if I could read you a poem like his and if you can tell me if you might be similarly influenced, affected to the deepest parts of your soul when I read it?

What does she say?

If she had said, “No,” I would have stopped and gone back to reading my magazine and waited for those within ear shot, perhaps a beautiful woman was there, who I also wanted to meet. Perhaps, I was simply talking to someone who was next to the woman I had wanted to meet to see if she listened silently or who left the room because she was bored. And maybe all this was lost because I was thinking there was some correlation of my need for beauty and that external beauty meant internal beauty and that what I was a really after? Just a one-night stand?

She said yes. The room became silent within ear shot. I read the poem and I watched my audience out of the corner of my eye. Some were uncomfortable, like I was bothering them, and some were listening intently. As soon as I stopped, I waited. It was silent. And then she started talking to me. She was enthused. We talked on and on and that was the beginning of our friendship and love for the beauty in the world and that we were capable of creating.

When You Break Up

when you break up graphic to use


“I forgot our anniversary,” the man said to his visibly angered wife, “because I am a busy man” and he left the dinner table at the restaurant and walked off. They had been bickering and he simply got up to leave and said goodbye after paying the check and dropping his napkin. She was on the phone for a while to someone else. She eventually left. The whole room could tell they were fighting.

Just yesterday, he wrote back to a woman who he had quickly made love. First date, she said to him: “Do you want to make love now or later?”

He said to her wanting to be perceived as a gentleman: “Next time,” and they waited a few days.

The point he was making is that by the third date, which was two nights at her house, her being exhausted from travel, the day before she went to see her step-sister, whom she seldom saw and her father, who was in recovery from cancer, she had an emotional breakdown in a Left Bank restaurant. Tears came down her face. She had driven to Santa Cruz to Marin and back to Menlo Park. She was hungry. She had just massaged an old man, who fell asleep in her arms, but who mostly just wanted to sing.

Her meltdown, the irrational behavior that came before it, and his inability to relate since he had not gone through those feelings with her, left him empty. He was unfeeling and at a point he told her about another occurrence that he simply could not relate to of his friend’s mother’s death because he had lost his father when he was ten.

“Good for the bastard,” he said, “maybe it would treat him to be less of a bully.”

But, of course, that was the worst thing he could have said. He even asked and got to see her mother.

In the meantime, and almost the point of this, he thought, was that she sang and played the guitar for him and used his poems/words from his books to write songs, leading him to draft a collaborative contract if she wanted to do an album.

That is the point, he said. Even though she told him he was amazing, she probably couldn’t trust him, nor did she feel like it was worth it. All she wanted was to keep her distance. He demonstrated a lack of empathy. The point, he thought was how and why you don’t sleep with the people you work with because things get complicated. A line crossed and everything seemed to say “No. I would rather not.” Things come out of nowhere and all you want to do is stay away.

That’s what happens when you break up. You say to yourself, “It is just not worth it.”

Cup Holders


So, I was at my mother’s skilled nursing facility and I wondered why they would put these cup holders in the grass. I guess you could lie down and enjoy a drink without it spilling, except that it seems like the close-cropped grass wouldn’t cause a spill anyway and that it was after all astroturf and it was outside. I did also think rather insensitively that some of the patients might only be able to lie down and there conveniently was a cup holder. They were far enough apart so that you wouldn’t have people lying on top of each other. My, how thoughtful these places are.

Brawn vs. Finesse, My Opinion of Basketball

I don’t want to appear as having sour grapes, but there is a disappointment I feel in the loss by the Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. To me it feels like basketball is a sport, where the biggest man or a man of sufficient weight and girth can push his way up to the hoop and force the ball in. The other team members have a fairly unlikely chance of dissuading him because it would be that one of them would touch LeBron James’ hand or arm, etc., and foul him. The chances are very good, that he couldn’t be stopped. On the other hand, a man, who can shoot many three-point shots from a distance is less likely to succeed against the certainty of a such a rush into and shooting in close range.

I was watching Draymond Green’s many successful shots from the three-point zones, but I knew that it was just a matter of time before he missed. It was different than the certainty of James’ method. And even with both scenarios, I saw the game as either brawn, pardon the pun, or currying favor (with the gods, i.e. depending on them), where, for example, Curry was visibly influenced by what he perceived as affronts to his character or responses to his just not making shots that were statistically less likely to be successful. I knew instinctively that brawn always wins over finesse.

Anyway, knowing that it took one one of these stratagems, and certainly not to lessen the contributions of all the other players and the free-throws and the like, but I am just not into it anymore. I see basketball for what it is: Two groups of men running back and forth on a wooden floor and either pressing their bodies into the other players or pulling away for a brief moment to get off a shot.

Doorbells on the lawn.

Missing in light
Refractions of you
Adding in subtraction
Loss and envy
Evergreen complacency and
Doorbells on the lawn.

A guitar strums
A key is unlocked and
Two voices blow in the breeze.

Inspired by: