Who am I? I don’t know who I am. I can tell you what I do and what I think about and what usually comes up each day.
When I was a young boy, my father was a doctor, and so I was a cocky know-it-all, who would visit the hospital with my father and speak to the patients, while he would check their incisions. Relatives said that I had the vocabulary of a doctor. I was the happiest kid, but he died when I was ten.
Because my mother didn’t get along with my father’s relatives generally, she elected to move us to Honolulu, where my uncle was teaching at the University. We lived in hotels, see Paul Theroux’s book Hotel Honolulu if you want to know that that was like. (See: https://savioni.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/you-lose-track-of-the-thing-you-are-beholding-a-review-of-hotel-honolulu-by-mario-savioni/)
Anyway, growing up there was difficult because they don’t like white people generally, which is a byproduct of the plantations, where people from other countries were brought in to work the fields and the white upper classes purposely separated the ethnicities so that they would fight among themselves, or so it has been said. Eventually, the ethnicities infiltrated government and the white is now on the outside, at least in public schools, which is where I went.
I know a bit about what it is like to be black in America as a result of that experience. Being hated for what you cannot control, your skin color, for example, is a fairly insidious thing. How it played itself out was on the playground. We would play bean him and run, which was basically to throw the ball at someone and if you hit them, they would be it. Except that they would all throw the ball, a small, hard rubber ball, at me and they did so with vehement hatred. Then when they saw that I was walking Kathy Sadanaga home from school for lunch with Lani Miki, a Samoan guy, later I was told was in jail for murder, pulled me aside outside of the classroom and said: “If I ever see you with Kathy again, I am going to kill you.” I was shocked to say the least and I never saw Kathy again that last school year of elementary school in the sixth grade. I have no idea what she thought. I saw her later in life but I wasn’t able to talk to her. She had married a fellow 6th grade classmate, who was a very good person.
Later, the guy who orchestrated my beaning, Chris, would get together with Toru on the Middle School playground after hearing that I had a crush on Karen and they punched me a few times and then threatened that I should stay away from her. This was some years after Toru, when I first arrived in Hawaii and I were attending Jefferson Elementary in the fifth grade, took me outside of class and punched me because when we were dancing in the May Day Parade I mentioned to him that I liked a Filipino girl. Of course in these instances, they were’t dating these girls, it was just that they didn’t want me, a white person, dating them or so I thought. The injustice made me cry. I never fought back. But, much later, when I was working at the Prosecutor’s Office, I saw Toru, who hadn’t grown and he stood next to me in the elevator and I looked down on him and I said hello, but I was getting very mad because he basically destroyed my relational life, and as soon as the elevator opened, he ran out and away. I didn’t chase him because I knew if I assaulted him I could go to jail and it made no sense. He got the message.
So, over the course of my experience in Honolulu, I mostly surfed and went to school, eventually working in restaurants and attending the University, where I obtained a degree in Speech, then went back and took photo courses and having a one-man show that my professor, later dean of the art department, said was a Master’s Equivalent. At the same time, I was writing for the school newspaper, mostly feature articles, where I seemed to have found my voice. It took that long for me to figure out how to write and by that time, I was done with school. Those days were some of the happiest in my life. I loved photography and I loved writing. I was also the College Art, Inc. Student Coordinator, which brought together all of the colleges and universities of Hawaii and put together a juried art exhibit that housed the choices from among 605 pieces.
I can remember as the announcer for the evening that I waited until the last second and people were telling me that I had to make the announcements. My mother said that there was tension in the air. It reminded me of the confidence I had as a child, when I did one-man skits before audiences, once I placed 2nd in the state of California USA CAL Expo Clown Contest.
I never felt like I belonged in Hawaii. I felt like I should leave because it wasn’t my place. I was an intruder, but when I had a going away party, the room was full of well-wishers and I felt loved for the first time and I told them, “Why didn’t you tell me you loved me? I might have stayed.” It was sad because people in Hawaii are not expressive of their feelings, until I guess you are leaving them permanently. Aside from the specific instances of dislike based on my skin color, which actually happened to be darker than most, since I surfed and have an olive tone, there was a general camaraderie, which is based on economic class. Most of Hawaii’s people are thrifty and middle class. Most are all associated with the travel industry and so wages aren’t that good. A lot of people have to live in multiple family units and budget their money.
Before I left Hawaii and went back to the University for a second time, I met my ex-wife. I went to a party put on by my Spanish teacher, who said she was trying to introduce me to another girl, but when I saw my ex-wife, a Nicaraguan Chinese cutie, I said to myself that I had to marry her. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and she was flamboyant with colors for a Chinese girl, who are typically conservative in their dress. She was getting her Master’s in Spanish Literature and Economics. I still smile. There was no way that I wan’t going to marry her.
After the divorce five years later, I went back to school and took the photo classes and so on. When I finished, I moved to Berkeley, where I ended up having to go back into the hotel business because my dream job in the arts was not practical. It was 1993 and the economy was bad. Galleries were closing, besides I had no idea what the business of art was like. I studied artistic photography, not the business of photography.
I learned how to design websites and created art. I wrote. I eventually got a paralegal certificate and immediately went back to reading novels and then philosophy books. I keep threatening to take the LSAT and the GRE and go to law school and/or get a Master’s in English Lit. I love American Literature.
But, this is one of the most important things about who I am. I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. All I know is that I like to get up and write. I don’t take photographs anymore. I don’t paint anymore either. If I could, I would simply analyze literature and other peoples’ writing as well as write each day what was on my mind.
I care about the underdog and I have been fighting for workers for at least ten years. My mother is dying.
I typically sit in cafes and read before work. But, I am liking it better to simply sit at home and write at home.
I have written a number of books, mostly prose-poetry and so far one photography table-top book.
Here are some links:
- September 2009 to Present
Table Top Photo Book – Urban Reflections is the culmination of a project that spans the course of 14-plus years. Mario Savioni walked the streets of San Francisco, New York, Rome, and Paris. With exception to two images, all are “found.” In some cases the images were shot with a 24 mm lens that he bought at Longs Drugs in Honolulu for $35 on a Canon AE-1 35 mm film camera. Generally, the images were…more
- April 2011 to Present
Prose-Poetry Collection, which is about unrequited love.
A Man Looking At Women
- April 2011 to Present
This prose poetry book tries to accurately portray what men see when they look at women and what they want from women. Savioni believes that men are attracted to women because of what they look like, how they smell, how they speak, what they say and even what they do not say. The prose poetry is infatuation at its root with an intention to attract. Everything a man is is to attract a mate, but it…more
- February 2011 to Present
This book began as a response, or at least the notice of a response to other works, where a piece in Poetry Magazine described a literary genre, where writers created works of art based on other works of art, like movies, books, paintings, poetry, etc. This genre, according to the author, was known as After. Many items refer to the political landscape after 9/11 and so on. I think often, as…more
- May 2013 to Present
Blue Emptiness is a fresh and vulnerable observation of the human condition dealing with loneliness as a philosophical, psychological, and poetic account of the present. It reminds one of music and evokes feelings.
Blue Emptiness is intended for readers who enjoy poetry and short, succinct works, like Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Blue Emptiness is Influenced by poets and novelists like John Asbery, Joan Didion, T. S. Eliot, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Louis Zukofsky and philosophers like Roland Barthes, Noam Chomsky, Heidegger, Karl Marx, Jean Paul Sartre, and Slavoj Zizek to name a few.
It is a love story sung by the disenfranchised.
Here are some of the things I have done and still do: Paralegal, Graphic Design, Photography, Book Production, Editing, Illustration, Painting, Poetry, Musical Writing and Production, Art and Literary Reviewer and Analyst.
I was a graphic designer for the San Francisco Opera.
Dog Bite Statute Memorandum
- May 2009 to May 2009
Ralph and Harvey Woodley: Cause of action against Arthur Androcles for Violation of Illinois “Dog Bite Statute”; Zoo Keeper’s (Arthur Androcles) defense against suspected liability in damages for owning a dog that without provocation attacked and injured Ralph Woodley’s son (Harvey), who was peaceably conducting himself, and where he was lawfully supposed to be.
- July 2009 to July 2009
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER SHORTENING TIME FOR HEARING ON THE MOTION FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTION
MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE – Memorandum, Briefs, and Comparative Cases
- May 2009 to May 2009
At issue is whether 62 mature marijuana plants at Oakland, CA residence can be construed as justified for a person, who was arrested and charged with violations of Cal. H.& S. Code Sections 11358 and 11359 and who was in possession of a valid medical marijuana card and claims the plants were to be used for Jane’s health problems.
Really would be nice (and useful) for you to build this page. It’s the one most commonly consulted.
You silly goose. I really loved the latest piece by you, but there was so much to say that I was overwhelmed. It was really beautiful and you have this versatility of styles. I will look at my about page.
*Smile* The Savioni….overwhelmed, eh? I spent about eight hours planning and writing (after shooing my guys off to the beach) including what must’ve been more than 30 revisions (typical), not including the prelude of thinking. I poured my heart into it. In truth, I found that when I clicked publish, it almost felt epic — to me. For myself. Thanks for the rewarding feedback.
I like the silly goose: we’ve been flattering enough. I look fwd to learning more aBouT MS. Feels like he knows me better than I do him. Sending a comment from my board…
That’s so crazy about the eight hours spent or the 30 revisions. I like that it felt epic. I did a quick about me, and no I don’t know you but I have some genuine attraction to your writing. It reminds me of the book Sin and Syntax (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YigACe9jHJQ).
The Great American Email, eh? LOL. Honored. I’ll see if the library has it. You caught me at just the right time, as I just finished two books and was about to go hunt for the next.
I put up the like for the thoughtful presentation but hOw does one LIKE this autobio? Leaves me sad. About your parents, esp. As you’d know, Koreans were part of the plantation work force in HI. Your story there reminds me of Obama’s. Dya read his autobio? I’ve visited Berkeley. My friend did her PhD in anthro there. It’s a shame I haven’t picked up Sin and Syntax yet. Will try to take a look. Thanks.
You like the bio for the reason you liked it. I am a bit sad and that’s good that it comes through. I know about the Korean workers. I have many Korean friends. I do marvel at the machismo of the men. Obama and I are about the same age. I bet I came across him. My friend Barry was going to school at Punahou then. You will love Sin and Syntax. It is like you, or at least your posts about grammar.
Other things to marvel at about Koreans is their work ethic (although I hear HI is a world of its own…people become VERY LAID BACK, relative to the rest of the world…once they get there). Yes, exceptions exist everywhere. Anyway, the ethic of the women in particular. This was one of my Mother’s Day posts:
A reader of mine who’s come around and raised the standard for himself got the Sin and S yesterday, recommendation I forwarded. He’s quite happy with it. Thanks.
People aren’t laid back in Hawaii. Most have to work a number of jobs.
I am glad your reader got Sin and Syntax. I cannot recommend it more, but even better is Philosophical Grammar by Ludwig Wittgenstein. This book represents for me how one, anyone, can approach a book or something written. It alludes to a focus of implication. What do words mean, alone and in conjunction? One reviewer of the book on Amazon.com said it pretty well with: “Once feature of this book that is always fascinating is that one can take any paragraph in it and generate a plethora of ideas and commentary, that might even fill volumes.” (See: http://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-Grammar-Ludwig-Wittgenstein/dp/0520245024) That’s what I do when I read a book/text. I note my thoughts and the words that come to me. This alludes to what I wanted to say about accuracy in the other post leading to something or other. I’ll have to check and respond to this statement later.
“one can take any paragraph in it and generate a plethora of ideas and commentary, that might even fill volumes.”
Yes, right away I saw you in it.
I am glad you saw it (“a plethora of ideas and commentary”), but then I expected you would.
I am very impressed by your accomplishments. I will look for your books. ~ Dennis
Thank you Dennis. I am quite impressed by your on-going accomplishments as well. I learn things from you.
This is a marvellous about. Very interesting.
What you say “being hated for something beyond your control is insidious” – so well said, so true. Insidious is a great word for it. That thing about threatening to KILL you for walking Kathy home/seeing her again is just so wrong. Such hatred, unfounded hatred.
You seem to have grown strong from it all. You’ve done extraordinarily well.
Yes, WFFME, my walking Kathy home is something I’ll never forget because I probably would have married her. She was a wonderful person. I got along with her perfectly even at 11 years old. Thank you for saying that I’ve done well. Sadly, I am pretty much without people to hang out with. I am almost always alone when I am not working or I am with my mother because I feel obligated to care for her as she nears the end of her life and I love my sister too, who pretty much went through the same things when she was growing up as a white girl in Honolulu. She did say however that she didn’t have a very hard time when she was in school, but she is always extremely social, almost to the point that I feel she is trying to keep herself in the mix so as not to have to face herself alone. I think she is sadder than I am, except that my sadness is tied to not having found a career and succeeding in a way the women I have loved would have wanted me. My sister’s sadness is something more hopeless and incurable. She doesn’t feel lovable, whereas, I can pour myself into my art and create something that others can appreciate, thus what I really am, the objects of my imagination are examples of myself expressed. I don’t think she has this. I can tell her how deeply beautiful she is, but her break-ups keep telling her that she isn’t good enough for those she loves and this is tied to her body, how she looks, and she can’t control that. She doesn’t have the self-expressive media that I do.
Anyway, thank you for talking about your impressions. I am glad that you think I am doing well. This last phase of my life, if I can secure my financial future, I feel I can gain a sense of confidence that not having security causes me to feel. I’ve done the best I can do. I don’t know what else there is.
Thanks for the follow on my blog. I hope you find some posts of interest. Good luck on your own writings. M
Thank you Marie. Good luck to you. M
Thank you kindly for joining us at wePoets, it’s much appreciated. We’d be happy to showcase your work should you want to share. 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by at my blog and for the follow. May the good Lord richly bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you Sir. May the Lord richly bless you as well. Although, I am sure he already has and will continue to do so, as he has cared for me.
Thanks for showing interest in what I put out too. I sincerely hope you continue to find my works entertaining & pleasurable. Be safe.
Hey Mario! Thanks for the follow on my blog. It’s flattering to know that a person with a blog as great as yours finds mine interesting 🙂
When I saw your blog I thought the same thing.
Mario, Thank you so much for following BigBodyBeautiful. I like your blog very much. You, my friend, have the heart and bearing of a poet and because I am also a poet, you resonate with me greatly. Thank you for putting your necessary light into the world, brother. Big, warm hugs to you, BigLizzy
Thank you so much BL. I appreciate the acknowledgment. We have a job to do.
Mario, thank you for visiting my blog. Forgive my lack of housekeeping. I am more interested in enjoying life than about whether or not there is perfection present.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your, About, page. You have a wide variety of interests that intrigue and engage your readers.
Please pick up your camera again and spoil your viewers.
Again, thank you for peeking about my blog. One never knows what one might find, including myself, but the joy is in the journey, and not in the destination.
You are welcome. Housekeeping? Boy, give me a clue! I just bought The life-changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo Yes, I want to enjoy life too. Thank you for reading my about page. I am glad people are intrigued and engaged in reading it. I don’t get that feeling. I’ve been remiss. I haven’t been putting things up since I have decided to go the traditional route for publications. I keep things off line. I am going to see how that works. First piece sent to New Yorker. They have until May 5 to say yes. I don’t think they will, and then I will go down the list from best to worst.
Flattered you think I am a good photog. I haven’t made any money that way, so I focused on writing, where I haven’t made any money either, but at least there’s no overhead or relational complications. I can do my writing on my own. – Mario
We are a group of English learners taught by Marta Pombo.
We meet every Wednesday to practice and improve our level of English talking about your poems and discussing their meaning.
We have already read six poems from your 5 books:
– Fall leaves
– The hidden pleasure of waiting
– The weeping meadow
– The butterfly metaphor (lines extracted from an inserted poem of the book Blue Emptiness)
– The sea is watching
– Behind the sun
We like these poems because they make our imagination fly. It is a good way to learn and practice English.
We have enjoyed these six poems because they have opened our minds.
We appreciate your critique of capitalism and of your compromise with the world problems. We agree with you about the trouble this system generates in our present societies.
We want ask you some questions:
When will you write another book with more poems?
Are all the poems based on your personal life?
Thank you for your time.
I am flattered Ms. Morgades. It is amazing how much Ms. Pombo can tolerate. I am always writing. I haven’t looked at my accumulated work to see if it makes enough for a book. I have been concentrating on a new job and remodeling my place, plus Ms. Pombo got me off track on the subject of Feminism about which I will never succeed as a man. The number of books I find that I have to read continues. There’s the Feminist Mystique and Second Sex that lie in wait. I have already read and noted about seven.
The poems are based on real life as well as on what the muse whispers. Since my heart attack too, I sleep and sleep and sleep. Current projects include getting my books to The London and New York Review of Books, as well as SFMOMA for a proposal of art, music, and words. I have been enthralled by video presentations at SFMOMA that seem to embody that experience. I hope to convince them that I can make people feel as well. Believe it or not, Ms. Pombo and you are opening up my work to the world. It is a great honor to hear that you are looking at my work. I love the idea that something I have written makes your “imaginations fly.”
Thank you again. – Mario
Thanks Mario, we will continue reading your poems and short stories and working with them.
We are also very flattered with your answer. We have already bought some of your books by internet.
Thank you so very much. I reread Ms. Pombo’s paper about the works and was again delighted. Thank you so very much.
During the last class we were watching you on a youtube video reciting your poem Pine and Blue inspired by:Neruda. We felt your pasion and we liked it very much.
We think that this beautiful poem could be adapted to a theater play You could adapt it. Have you thought about this?
I am flattered. There is a piece called “Bunny Suit” in the book uncertainty that came to me after a movie based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald NPR production that had a southern American drawl narrator that I employed when reading it before an audience. It seemed to go over well. I felt I captured the audience. These poems have voices or personalities since they come to me via muses or that still, small voice.
Actually, I have wanted a few actors to read Blue Emptiness. Or I had two friends help me read a book in the cooridor at Powell Street Station in San Francisco.
I have a background in Readers Theatre, a degree in Speech. I deeply desire writing something like Joan Didion’s After Henry or Play It As It Lays. I saw a performance of her Slouching Towards Bethelehem. I watch movies and plays and have always wanted to do one that captures the catharsis of good poetry. But, of course, poems are not necessarily songs nor stories for cinema. The images or feelings they produce do not necessarily translate. Right now I am remodeling my house, which is curbing that kind of creativity, but eventually I will have culled my belongings and set up a place, where I can relax and write or make art. I think I have much more to do and say. I have been reading Sartre’s No Exit.
Hello again, Mario. We have been reading more poems of yours. We would like to ask you a few questions if you do not mind: Is the poem The Weeping Meadow based on this film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nACodSaJR-E
Thank you very much for your kindness and for your exhaustive response to our questions. We will continue following your works and blog.
Thank you. I am flattered.
Thank you Mario for your work that you send us with your words… We’re enchanted with the poems and have some new questions for you:
1.- what kind of experience did you have to decide to write poems?
2.- Which are your favourite places where you find your inspiration?
3.- At what time do you prefer to write? in the morning, afternoon, at midnight? why?
4.- what is your point of view about literature nowadays sharing with the new technologies?
Thank you Jose.
1. I write when the words come to me. Usually, an attraction conjures them. The hope of a lover, the reality that a lover does not care. When I have strong feelings, love or hate.
2. Moods usually get me or places I yearn for, cafes, or Europe, places I have seen in movies, read about in books.
3. I prefer to write when I am off work and in a cafe, when I have time to write. I stay up late usually. I used to wake and write my thoughts, but I have gotten lazy. I also tire of unrequited love. What a hopeless theme! It bears a change in who I wish to bed, but in not chasing dreams, the reality of love is like the everyday. I like to feel my emotions strongly, which of course contradicts that I am an introvert.
4. I have argued that like photography, digital means, or different tools, do not detract per se. In photography, you point and shoot. In literature, you capture words. When computers came along, I foresaw a means to a communicative end. They made typing easier. I always made mistakes with a typewriter and it almost made me quit. Using a computer is also a distraction to the stream of consciousness. I recommend using a pen and paper for the initial notes, to then write it out as best you can, and then use the computer to type it all and to insert, adjust, correct, to send it along for review, whatever you want. For me, a muse speaks and my hand and pen are more complementary and quiet in taking it down. I feel the next invention will be that actual taking down of thoughts, called musing. I feel things like Facebook are a bad place to put your work. One must publish traditionally. I have that regret. Always maintain control/ownership unless you are publishing traditionally.
Thank you very much, Mario, for your extensive and honest answers. We are very grateful and happy to connect with you. By the way we are 11 people in this group learning English with Marta and reading and commenting your lit work.
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You have a very interesting life.
You would think so. But, like Proust, more often than not the drapes are closed and I am trying to sleep.
You really are a beautiful soul🦋You touch my heart and soul deeply with this post.
Thank you for sharing🦋