Tuesday, June 30, 2009


in many cityscapes, there's the sense of the tourist swept away by the apparent magic of being somewhere other than their point of origin. consequently, it's all surface since physical space usually won't allow penetration by the len's eye. since the tourist is usually rushed for time the ghosts of a city or a place can simply refuse to reveal themselves, content w/knowing time is on their side. what i like about this guy's work is it's patience, especially in the st petersburg pictures. if you doubt he's tracking down the ghosts that make a specific site feel as worn & comfortable as old tennis shoes or as uncanny as a waking dream, he can be more explicit:

of course, ghosts are simply time's traces in the field of human existence. if time is what god invented to keep everything from happening at once, then the ghosts that inhabit time keep us from getting too distracted from its passing. the ghosts alert us to the physical passing of time & are, in turn, alerted by our struggles to make sense of them & their place, which then becomes a shared space.

"that forever the geography

which leans in

on me I compell

backwards I compell Gloucester

to yield, to



is this"

charles olson

no more okey doke


this makes a 60 vote majority in the senate for the dems. this will bust the filibusters & the various other political chicanery the republicans have been using
these last few months. the success or failure of obama's agenda now rests on the shoulders of this democrat majority & obama's ability to make the hard stuff sound as necessary as it is. keep your fingers crossed. democrats are like alcoholics: they'll blow it every time they catch a break.


FROM CAFE ROUGE BUTCHERS: bone-in pork rib roast, onglet, & quail


PLATE COMPOSITION: foreground, grilled heirloom tomatoes w/fresh oregano & sea salt; center, grilled little gems w/grilled red onions, grilled fresh pocini mushrooms breakfast radishes & strega nona dressing; left top, grilled shrimp w/cayenne; right top, garlic rubbed grilled bread w/extra virgin olive oil.

PLATE O' GRILLED MEATS: grilled shrimp & squid, grilled lambchops, grilled flap meat & grilled flatiron steak & grilled tomato, red onion & fresh porcini mushroom.

DESSERT: frog hollow apricots w/point reyes blue cheese & gran reserva sweet pedro ximenez vinegar.

sorry, i'm a sucker for these kinds of things. the human race can disappear into the ether as far as i'm concerned. i just want the animals to survive, especially red pandas.


of course, everything i wrote before was from a male's point of view, both experientially & theoretically. i think my grade school was filled w/the old school lesbians who were referred to delicately in the community as "spinsters." i don't think the bar in the san carlos hotel was for them(it was a famously early "gay" bar for men in p'cola). it's not like i didn't have contact w/women who, at least, dabbled in same-sex sex play.

i remember the old national lampoon joke about there being nothing more joyless than lesbianism in the 50s, 60s, & early 70s, which explained why the political
lesbian community was so joyless in the 80s. you just never saw them partying. at least the men had the thrill of being arrested(of course, this was written by hetero comedy writers who had no clue that a lesbian had, in fact, been the initial provocateur in the stonewall riot).

in p'cola, my first mff 3some(w/holly & a friend of hers)ended disastrously. after several hours of manual, oral, & mechanical(vibrators)play w/the two ladies & countless orgasms for them, the passion of the moment came to a screeching halt when it came time for the ladies to reciprocate. holly tearfully balked at having to share me(or at least my cock)w/her friend. she hadn't had any problem w/sharing my tongue or fingers or attention to their needs. i ended up on the couch w/a painful erection. they went happily(at least in terms of sexual satisfaction)to sleep. months later, holly's friend & i consummated a more successful mff 3some w/s. there was a slight hesitation on the ladies part of taking the big leap & doing the oral sex thing but they got over it pretty fast. all of these women are or have been married & have children. it was just a curious phase, i think, spurred on by my encouragement.

at new college, it just happened w/o anyone's encouragement. like i wrote about earlier, it was 3 to 1 women to men at new college. for the most part, this was all bi-sexual behavior. lots of mff 3somes, rarely did two women connect & couple up. in fact, the one "out" lesbian was, despite her attractiveness, pretty much shunned by the other women because of her pugnacious attitude. when the story got around that she'd actually never had ANY sex, she became a kind of joke.

back in p'cola during the outrigger years, there was rampant bi-sexuality among most of the women. my post-new college new college gf, carrie, was open to anything in a way that i'd never experienced. i'd get the nerve up to mention some sex act that i was interested in pursuing & she'd not only enthusiastically embrace it but begin adding things into the mix. i was deeply impressed. there was beth & her friend kristin & j & e & terra & dona. mainly, again, this was experimentation under the eagerly watchful eyes of men. there was so much of this back then that it lost a lot of its frisson for me. i remember terra talking about her & a gf & her saying something like, "i know this kind of thing turns you on" & when she reached to find out, she was surprised that i wasn't. dona would entertain cara for hours behind closed doors & i simply cooked them dinner or went out for coffee.

none of this has given me the tiniest bit of insight into the lesbian community or lesbian sexuality. i understand that much of the behavior described above ISN'T lesbian(though some of it was). still, i have a better sense of inuit natives than lesbians & i've lived w/& worked w/& known hundreds of lesbians over the years. it's one thing to acknowledge the idea of "the other" & work on the ethics of that recognition. it's quite another thing to recognize a huge blind spot after the recognition. in other words, after acknowledging the other, some kind of knowledge should coming flooding in: the sense of difference & sameness, an awareness of sensibility, etc. talk about feeling pretty damned dense.

i've always felt that there was a significant difference in the sexual economy of lesbian libido as opposed to gay or straight male sexuality. i think it's bound up w/the institutionalized repression of ALL women &, particularly, their sexuality. don't want no maenads here, no siree. this would account for a lot of the anger since they're hit w/a double whammy: "shaped" into the patriarchal idea of "woman" & then blocked from any access to specifically feminine sexuality. it's a crippling & insidious example of bateson's double bind but on a larger societal level. the problems the gay rights movement has had to address are making sense of how social institutions can so dramatically impact the specific psychology of an so many diverse(gender, race, class) individuals & clarifying that convoluted process &, more importantly, articulating sensible solutions.

things have changed somewhat. i think there's more joy involved in the lesbian community(i'm talking lacanian jouissance here & all you have to do is see the dykes on bikes in the sf gay pride parade to know what i mean), though there's still the institutional insistence on co-opting every second of its expression(vide pics). to work outside the patriarchy is to work w/o a net which is no small feat & dangerous too. since stonewall, that's where gays have been operating, especially lesbians. when equal rights have been at least put on the books (remember jim crow & know that laws can easily be undermined) my wish is that a jolt of jouissance will course through the social structures & some walls will come tumbling down. stonewall seems almost like ancient history(1969)but america is still just leaving there...for the afterparty, i hope, w/the gay boys & lesbians.

pushing too hard

in the hysterical, obsessive compulsive reporting on michael jackson's death last week & over the weekend, it certainly felt like the earth had stopped turning & that nothing of any higher consequence could occur while the news folks ruminated over every conceivable detail. major news stories were simply buried beneath the weight of all the "mourning." that a few deaths of lesser consequence were missed is no big surprise, i guess, but that doesn't make it any less a shame.

tim krekel & sky saxon, both songwriters, died last week. krekel was jimmy buffet's lead guitar player way back when & an impressive songwriter in his own right. his voice works up in the nasally higher range that buffet's does & i can't help but wonder that if fate had worked its magic differently, krekel might have had all those parrot-head fans & not buffet. several others had decent hits w/krekel's songs.

sky saxon was the driving force behind "the seeds." i remember this song from the radio & papa don but then it showed back up, years later, on the first volume of rhino record's "nuggets" series. amazingly, they were still recording & still sounding very much of the 60s.


"The exile of a poet, is today a simple function of a relatively recent discovery; that whoever wields power is also able to control language, and not only with the prohibition of censorship, but also by changing the meaning of words."
- Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Lecture, 8 December 1980

"What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.

That I wanted good poetry without knowing it,
That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,
In this and only this I find salvation."

auden said that "poetry changes nothing" & that's true for the most part though i've always felt compelled to add williams' "but men die every day for lack of what is found there." milosz saw first hand the horrors of world war two & spent his life witnessing to them. in the west, poets are marginalized & whatever truths they speak are spoken only to a few. in other countries, where control over everything is exercised by the government w/crushing finality, poets are threats & treated as such by the powers that be. tortured or ignored, the songs remain the same in the hopes of being heard.
driven from his homeland & exiled, milosz ended up at ucal/berkeley. initially, untranslated & unread in the west, he persevered & slowly forced his way to the attention of the intelligentsia. he was awarded the nobel prize in 1980 for literature. he died in 2004.

Monday, June 29, 2009

PAUL KLEE d. JUNE 29th 1940

paul klee was one of the first painters i liked back in mr. manning's art class at workman jr high school. i suppose it was the colors & maybe the primitivism, which at the time felt more child-like than primitive. you certainly don't have to look far to see where his influence spread. the words on his tombstone read: "I cannot be grasped in the here and now, For my dwelling place is much among the dead, As the yet unborn, Slightly closer to the heart of creation than usual, But still not close enough." the nazis didn't like him & the swiss refused him citizenship(until after his death)even though he was born there. he didn't enjoy the same popularity as picasso or kandinsky. he was influenced by tibetan buddhist art(specifically, mandalas). as an adolescent, i just saw the colors.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


"Paralyzed by hatred and a piss ugly soul
if he murdered his father, he thought he'd become whole
While listening at night to an old radio
where they danced to the rock minuet

In the gay bars in the back of the bar
he consummated hatred on a cold sawdust floor
While the jukebox played backbeats, he sniffed coke off a jar
while they danced to a rock minuet

School was a waste, he was meant for the street
but school was the only way, the army could be beat
The two whores sucked his nipples 'til he came on their feet
as they danced to the rock minuet

He dreamt that his father was sunk to his knees
his leather belt tied so tight that it was hard to breathe
And the studs from his jacket were as cold as a breeze
as he danced to a rock minuet

He pictured the bedroom where he heard the first cry
his mother on all fours, ah, with his father behind
And her yell hurt so much, he had wished he'd gone blind
and rocked to a rock minuet

In the back of the warehouse were a couple of guys
they had tied someone up and sewn up their eyes
And he got so excited he came on his thighs
when they danced to the rock minuet

On Avenue B, someone cruised him one night
he took him in an alley and then pulled a knife
And thought of his father, as he cut his windpipe
and finally danced to the rock minuet

In the curse of the alley, the thrill of the street
on the bitter cold docks where the outlaws all meet
In euphoria drug in euphoria heat
you could dance to the rock minuet

In the thrill of the needle and anonymous sex
you could dance to the rock minuet

So when you dance hard, slow dancing
when you dance hard, slow dancing
When you dance hard, slow dancing
when you dance to the rock minuet"
lou reed

i've always loved tom of finland. for some reason, i preferred his idealized sexuality to playboy's. i remember my college room mate, frank, talking about looking at some construction workers & how hot they looked in their toolbelts. this was a first for me, this idea of sexualizing something so mundane. part of it involves taking some specific aspect of gender & exaggerating it into a more generalized form of desire(fantasy). for me it had always worked in reverse: taking a general aspect of gender & minimalizing it into a specific form of demand. i began to suspect gay desire worked on another plane from heterosexual desire. "Whereas the Real concerns need and the Imaginary concerns demand, the symbolic is all about desire, according to Lacan." so perhaps heterosexuality is an immature sexuality, an inchoate sexuality, a sexuality based on the dyadic circumstance of self & mirror image & the resulting drama that plays out of that construction.

i remember frank talking about gay clubs in nyc where you walked into darkened smoky rooms & all that you could make out were figures(no faces)standing naked & erect waiting for relief & others bent down, on their knees, offering that relief as the cigarette smoke & darkness enrobed them.

i remember dropping frank off in key west at an incredible "gay spa," a huge walled complex that covered an entire block of old town. there was a restaurant & several bars & several pools & lots of saunas & jacuzzis & plenty of well appointed rooms & within 30 minutes frank was already getting laid. it was clothing optional. i was amazed that the place cost way less than where di & i were staying & i was outraged that there wasn't a place like that for heteros. "sweetie," frank said, "my place wouldn't have any customers if it was for straights."

i remember discovering alvin baltrop's photography & seeing the world that samuel delaney had described in his memoirs. the docks & the idea of cruising. years before in aa, i'd met a defrocked priest who kept getting arrested at all the "known" gay cruising areas in p'cola, the chimney out on scenic highway & the quietwater bathrooms. "warren," i asked him in exasperation after another arrest, "why would you go there, the cops know that's where men go for pickups?" "why wouldn't i?," he smilingly replied.

i remember discovering that the men's restroom on the second floor of the graduate library at uva was infamous as a public sex area. i'd been working there for six months in periodicals & my desk was located so that i could see all entrances & exits to the bathroom. once i was told about what was going on there, a whole pattern of behavior coalesced out of seemingly random comings & goings. i understood what those holes were that were cut into the partitions between stalls. using the restroom became an exercise in translating secret veiled communications(flushed toilets, foot tapping, eye contact). codes & patterns & gestures were the name of the game.i was surprised by who established themselves as regular vistors.

i remember finding the clubs out here like eros & power exchange in the city & steam works in berkeley. these were men only clubs & they'd been constructed in such a way as to mimic "historic" places or circumstances from the past. there were darkened areas w/glory holes, steam rooms & saunas, group rooms & pools. each area a carefully reconstructed idealization of former wilder glories. as delany suggested, these spaces still worked off "libidinal saturation," the kinesthetic AND visible overdetermination of sexuality that includes everyone in whatever role they wish to assume.

i remember going to the edgewater inn in oakland when it was a "swinger's motel" for heteros. cara & i went several times to barry & shell's in oakland & the power exchange in the city on "couples night". i've found even better places for a more open expression for heterosexuality but nothing has achieved "libidinal saturation." for the most part, swingers clubs & private hotel sex parties still operate on the old fundamental sexual heirarchy of masculine sexuality. the men dominate(& are "taken care of" by the women)& the women submit(& may or may not be taken care of by the men...usually, the women take care of the women for the men's viewing pleasure). mainly, what doesn't work in heterosexuality still doesn't work when you open it up to include multiple partners & combinations. this is NOT to say that there isn't sexual satisfaction in these scenes. i'm saying that satisfaction is achieved on a limited scale &, consequently, isn't free flowing. there's no saturation, just blockage or exhaustion.

i still like tom of finland. i detect "libidinal saturation" in his hyperbole: when he dances hard, he's slow dancing. in the sexual economy we're born into & of, exchange within the symbolic produces a free flowing stream of open communication. the history of stonewall moves along this stream. it's one of the last streams to be incorporated into the larger flow of american history but, it seems to me, it's happening. i suspect when it happens some of the less mainstream behaviors will be winnowed out. i think tom of finland is here to stay.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.
- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie, 1960

a philosopher of science, whose methodology greatly influenced foucault & derrida. concepts like "epistemological breaks" & "epistemological obstacles" developed an idea of science opposed to comte's positivism & ideas of continuity. bachelard pointed to ideas of rupture & subsumption in the history of science & felt that that was where the action was. his prose always reminds me of roland barthes.

Friday, June 26, 2009


LARB GAI: chicken w/lime, chili, & fresh herbs

a real & pure product of america

i really have little to say about jackson's death. he hasn't done anything interesting since his biggest selling(tho not best)album, thriller, 25 years ago. the last fifteen years have been filled w/true weirdness & scandal. i think the music stopped when quincy jones jumped ship.

i do know that the soundtrack for much of the great sex i had w/marie was either marvin gaye or off the wall(his best) by michael. i know that i was at marie's the night of the motown anniversary show when marvin gaye did a solo at the piano & we were thrilled to our core & then the jackson's came out & did "heartbreak hotel"(their last great song together)& after the family left the stage, michael introduced the world to "billie jean" & the moonwalk. to say we were slackjawed in disbelief & wonder that night is slightly understating what, i think, most people who saw the same thing felt.

i don't think anyone who's paid any attention the last 15 years has thought to themselves, "wow, i wish i were michael." there may have been a time when someone did but trying to imagine being in his head the last 15 years is a sad & awful exercise. the good dr williams wrote michael's prognosis years before he was born: "the pure products of america/go crazy."

michael, where ever you are, peace be with you.

i accept the new found man

no one seems to have copied julian schnabel's remarkable recitation of reed's "rock minuet" but this was the other highlight from a pretty great show. at one point, they talk about leonard cohen & reed says cohen told him that "i'll be your mirror" was the song that made him want to be a songwriter. reed says a couple of days later when he told eric anderson the story, anderson told him that cohen said the same thing to him about "thirsty boots." "well," says costello, "that's leonard, always the charmer."

reed's magic and loss was a stunning album to me. coming out of the most dreadful time during the aids epidemic in new york, it was a sober examination of death & loss & maybe redemption or at least some kind of compensation. i'm in complete agreement w/mr. schnabel that there hasn't been anything like it before or since. the ugly fact of real death just isn't something anyone wants to rock & roll about. that reed made it out alive & somewhat whole is something to celebrate. a lot of folks didn't get out of there alive.

"i want all of it, not just some of it, all of it."

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society."
Michel Foucault

i think it's quite impossible to overstate how important foucault was to academic thinking in the late 70s. along w/barthes, he commanded everyone's attention. doug bergren brilliantly systematized the archeology of knowledge into a rigorous system of aesthetics for the infamous "aesthetics & the arts" class at new college. i remember being astonished by the brilliance of disipline & punish in fay hansen's freud seminar. every page held a new revelation.

unfortunately, his career took a hit from his death by aids. i remember being flabbergasted by richard rorty suggesting this proved he was w/o ethics. this was so outrageous that i don't think i really rose to the occasion in his defense. the work is there & i think it will endure(unlike, say, sartre's non-fictional work). it certainly gave birth to the new historicism, which has morphed into something else but is still enjoying some academic status in whatever its newest nomenclature happens to be. i suppose i'll also mention the breakthroughs his approach & methods gave to feminism, gay studies, third world studies, & globalization studies.

foucault wasn't concerned w/his place in the history of ideas. he wanted his books "to be a kind of tool-box which others can rummage through to find a tool which they can use however they wish in their own area... I don't write for an audience, I write for users, not readers." despite being shunned(homophobia) & not credited(academic asshole-ishness), he's been put to good use & that's what he wanted.


someone remarked that architecture is "the art of dealing with heaviness" but in gaudi's case, i think, it's more about making space visible is a specific way. as alchemists in the middle ages sought to "redeem matter" by turning nothing into something, gaudi's space works to reveal the dynamics of natural complexity. beyond the catholicism that drove his re-invention of the gothic(all that reaching to heaven), gaudi's structures point not only towards heaven but to earth too. he seems to be saying the human creature can invent & inhabit BOTH worlds.

the great japanese filmmaker hiroshi teshigahara returned to film making to document his fascination w/gaudi's convoluted creations. he died after being run over by a streetcar. unrecognized, he was sent to the hospital for indigents. he lived on there for three days before passing on.




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TERRY RILEY b. JUNE 24th 1935

many of the alledged cognoscenti who pretend to like modern classical music point to their collections of steve reich &, more often, philip glass works to prove their up to the minute connoisseurship. they wouldn't know terry riley if he walked up & bit them on their asses. get your music into a popular film or two & you're the talk of the town; be present at the creation &, well, that's another story altogether. of course, mentioning riley means mentioning lemonte young along w/harry partch, pauline oliveros, morton subotnick. they all had as much or more to do w/the creation of minimalism as reich & glass & none more than riley & young.

riley's big breakthrough piece, in c, was first performed in 1964.
"Its form was an innovation: the piece consists of 53 separate modules of roughly one measure apiece, each containing a different musical pattern but each, as the title implies, in C. One performer beats a steady pulse of Cs on the piano to keep tempo. The others, in any number and on any instrument, perform these musical modules following a few loose guidelines, with the different musical modules interlocking in various ways as time goes on. The Keyboard Studies are similarly structured – a single-performer version of the same concept."
this music also has connections to eastern music & religious traditions.

what's amazing about this piece is how contemporaneous it still is, the innovation is built INTO the piece, to be explored by whoever engages it. riley is still alive & performing & writing. there aren't a whole lot of these living treasures left. find & enjoy his music while you can.

"In C really was these formations of patterns that were kind of flying together. That's how it came to me. It was like this kind of cosmic vision of patterns that were gradually transforming and changing. And I think the principal contribution to minimalism was this concept, it wasn't just one pattern, it was this idea that patterns could be staggered and their composite forms became another kind of music." terry riley


nowhere near a great writer himself, you'll find no story greater than bierce's "an occurance at owl creek bridge". at his best, he was a witty misanthrope, seeing & saying clearly what others wouldn't. at his worst, he was a bitter man, unable to understand why he wasn't being listened to. he had the good grace to simply disappear, literally, off the face of the earth, a true gentleman to the end. where ever you are, peace be w/you.

an entry from his the devil's dictionary:
"Eat, v.i.: To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition. 'I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner,' said Brillat-Savarin, beginning an anecdote. 'What!' interrupted Rochebriant; "eating dinner in a drawing-room?' 'I must beg you to observe, monsieur,' explained the great gastronome, 'that I did not say I was eating my dinner, but enjoying it. I had dined an hour before.'"

The Statesmen

by Ambrose Bierce

How blest the land that counts among
Her sons so many good and wise,
To execute great feats of tongue
When troubles rise.

Behold them mounting every stump,
By speech our liberty to guard.
Observe their courage—see them jump,
And come down hard!

"Walk up, walk up!" each cries aloud,
"And learn from me what you must do
To turn aside the thunder cloud,
The earthquake too.

"Beware the wiles of yonder quack
Who stuffs the ears of all that pass.
I—I alone can show that black
Is white as grass."

They shout through all the day and break
The silence of the night as well.
They'd make—I wish they'd go and make—
Of Heaven a Hell.


hickory grilled chicken(leg & thigh)w/tostones(fried plantains)& mojo sauce, cayenne grilled zucchini, & roasted red/yellow peppers w/capers.

plate composition: grilled chicken meat on baby romaine w/strega nona dressing(top).
cayenne grilled zucchini(center). tostones w/mojo sauce(left)& peppers w/capers(right).

the experience of what is left

"I'm fascinated with the quality of light and the spatial immensity the ocean possesses. I have an enormous reverence for feeling so small in the presence of something so vast, where perspective, scale, time and distance momentarily become intangible. My photographs contemplate that condition, and through their reductive nature, suggest a formalized landscape we rarely see. The glory lies not in the act of this removal or reduction, but in the experience of what is left - sublime experience located in ordinary space: a slowly moving sky, the sun moving across a boulders surface or sea foam swirling around a pylon."

this guy's work is phenomenal in that it really seems to connect with & evoke freud's nirvana principal(different from thanatos & eros). freud didn't really follow up on his assertion of the individual's impulse to reduce all tensions &, actually, finally did fold it into thanatos(the death instinct). the idea of nirvana has always been misunderstood in the west, esp by the germans, & was never meant to signify non-existence. it is simply achieving a mental state that is desire-free. the Buddha taught:" ... if you perceive things truly, you will become free from attachment, separated from them, you will indeed be liberated. I have well crossed the watery waste of existence. I abide in bliss, having transcended suffering, therefore I am devoid of unending desire, I have eliminated attachment and gained Liberation [moksha]. There is no old age, sickness or death for me, my life is forever without end. I proceed burning bright like a flame. You must not think that I shall cease to exist. Consider the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] to be like [Mount] Sumeru: though I shall pass into Nirvana here [i.e. physically die], that supreme bliss is my true nature [dharmata]." (Tibetan version, translated by Stephen Hodge, quoted in Buddha-Self, by Dr. Tony Page, Nirvana Publications, London, 2003, p. 27).

burdeny's shots seem to visually give us a another version of the Buddha's mahaparinirvana sutra. the tensions within each picture seem arrested, relaxed, or dispelled. i'm allowed to take away from the experience only what i'm left with: a capacious solitude w/o my intrusive presence.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

entropic melodies

"The word "entropy" refers to the state of natural decay displayed by the three dilapidated buildings that are the subject of this tonal poem. The images were all captured during two recent rapid "bursts" of picture taking over the span of about two hours each on two separate occasions. The "mystery" refers to how I was inexplicably "driven" (unconsciously, as though possessed by an inner mission) to find "old/abandoned" buildings. I drove 50 and 75 miles, respectively, in search of these buildings; and I did not consciously find them. It was only after my conscious mind decided to turn back home at the next exit (coincidentally, both times this happened at the exit toward "Warrenton" (Northern VA); on Route 66 the first time and along Interstate 95, the second), that I (or rather my inner "eye") caught sight of the buildings, certain elements of which are shown below. The deeper mystery is how, despite their profound state of ruin, they are all somehow palpably, and powerfully, alive! The typically clean, chiseled forms and lines of "new" modern buildings are, by comparison, sterile and devoid of the life that permeates, and radiates from, these older living structures."

it's probably not a good idea to let artists spend too much time reading science. otherwise, you get statements like the one above. for the most part, artists are the last folks who need to be talking about what they're doing. most of the time, they don't know themselves.

this guy's series of decayed buildings appealed to me. i remember walking around in the ruins of the tiki motel as it was being razed. i did the same when the capri motel came down too. what i found interesting was gauging the degree in decay of my memories juxtaposed to the ruins of site specific memory origins. there's that scene in a nick ray film w/robert mitchum, the lusty men, where mitchum returns to his family farm, now in ruins. he slides up under the porch & finds the key to the front door just where he'd left it years ago. that scene, & the whole film, is a deeply melancholic meditation on home & loss & retrieval. these buildings resemble that scene(also shot in b/w).

this whole series strikes me as melancholic as opposed to mournful. freud drew the distinction but it revolves mainly around issues that have either been repressed or sublimated. sublimation is a good thing; repression, not so much. there's a strong scent of thanatos(the death instinct)in these pictures. what i see here is uncontained loss & the pull of decay. the professional framing doesn't relieve the impulse towards decay. the black & white either/or presents us w/no resolution.

standing in the ruins of the tiki motel, i felt the tide of time pulling everything i'd experienced there out to sea. looking at these pictures, i'm not sure i feel the inexorable action of time. i don't think i feel anything but what i see is decay & ruin w/o its humanity & that's really where all that counts.

gee's bend ageless modern art

i seem to remember holly doing an independent study project on this kind of thing when she was at st. andrews college in laurinburg north carolina. this site is devoted to various aspects of the art making. beyond anthropological considerations & the painstaking craftsmanship, these are beautiful & carefully composed colors. i see malevich & mondrian &, unsurprisingly, african art here.

oddly enough, gee's bend alabama is also known as boykin alabama. boykin was bobo's middle name that i tried to keep from everyone(i have really no idea why)& that was ultimately found out by mike through his nefarious connections at the escambia health dept. gee's bend, aka boykin, is an african-american community in mid-lower southern alabama. gee, i wonder if i sensed there might be some tar in the woodpile? god knows, the jones family had it's little secrets.


"I learned how faces fall,

How terror darts from under eyelids,

How suffering traces lines

Of stiff cuneiform on cheeks,

How locks of ashen-blonde or black

Turn silver suddenly,

Smiles fade on submissive lips

And fear trembles in a dry laugh.

And I pray not for myself alone,

But for all those who stood there with me

In cruel cold, and in July’s heat,

At that blind, red wall."

the suffering of russian artists under stalin is something that really hasn't been fully exposed. if they were allowed to live, most couldn't be published. most died or had loved ones that died. i remember david schatz, a russian professor at new college who taught seminars in gogol & modern russian literary theory, said the poets ended up coding their poems(like the gay decadent poets of the fin de siecle)so that they could still criticize stalin w/o anyone one but the ones in the know realizing it.

akhmatova outlived stalin & saw her poems read & praised worldwide. that didn't happen very often.

"i may not have a lot to give but what i've got i'll give to you"

i have to say i've got mixed feelings about this whole deal. i KNOW if it were me or a loved one, i'd be doing whatever i can to get things fixed. however, i would be a self deceiving asswipe if i didn't think long & hard about the questions raised in this article. the rich in this country get a pretty good deal & the american cult of personality opens lots of doors too. i could give a fart for the apple shareholders or the apple worshippers. this is about a whole lot more that dollars & cents or girlish infatuations. i wish the guy well. i wish the 16,000 people ahead of him on the list well too. if money can't buy you happiness or love, it sure seems to work in the organ business.

Monday, June 22, 2009


hickory grilled leg of lamb & slaw w/tequila cilantro dressing, avocado, roasted poblano & red & yellow peppers w/toasted pepitas(pumpkin seeds).

hickory grilled onglet(hanger steak)sandwich w/slaw & bbq sauce.


this is for ann-marie. she probably didn't know her object of desire was born today. he's 73yo today & he's been on the other side of both his careers(music & film)for years now. i can't say he ever did anything for me as a film star(maybe in the infamous bomb, heaven's gate)but kris has written a pocketful of great songs, some actually redefining WHAT a songwriter could write about. his last album, this old road, wasn't too bad either.

just so we don't lose sight of the fact that he's been up & down in his career:

probably a lowpoint of two careers, kris & sam(ali macgraw never really was riding too high).