Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Every living heart . . . all over this broad land, will yet swell . . . , when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
1. Bob Azzam - Rain Rain Go Away
2. Bora Rokovic - Soft Hands Had The Rain
3. Eddie Kendricks - Date With The Rain
4. Linda Perhacs - Chimacum Rain
5. Jaco Pastorius - Portrait of Tracy
6. The Meters - Stormy
7. Sade - By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)
8. Michael Franks - Rainy Night In Tokyo
9. Leonard Cohen - So Long, Marianne
10. Jorge Ben - Chove Chuva
11. The Third Wave - Stormy
12. Second Direction - Storm Flute
13. The Dramatics - In The Rain
14. Wes Montgomery - Here's That Rainy Day
15. Joni Mitchell - My Old Man
16. Mayer Hawthorne - I Wish It Would Rain
17. D'Angelo - Spanish Joint (Acoustic)
18. Joe Pass - The Gentle Rain
19. Luiz Bonfa - Rain
20. John Coltrane - After The Rain
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My lady can sleep
Upon a handkerchief
Or if it be Fall
Upon a fallen leaf.
I have seen the hunters
kneel before her hem
Even in her sleep
She turns away from them.
The only gift they offer
Is their abiding grief
I pull out my pockets
For a handkerchief or leaf.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
He said, "In the beginning men worshipped stones. Then fire. Today we find those practices funny. Wouldn't men tomorrow find the practices of today funny?"
--From V.S. Naipaul's Among The Believers
Monday, October 5, 2009
"And why does it make you sad to see how everything hangs by such thin and whimsical threads? Because you're a dreamer, an incredible dreamer, with a tiny spark hidden somewhere inside you which cannot die, which even you cannot kill or quench and which tortures you horribly because all the odds are against its continual burning. In the midst of the foulest decay and putrid savagery, this spark speaks to you of beauty, of human warmth and kindness, of goodness, of greatness, of heroism, of martyrdom, and it speaks to you of love."
- Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This sentence comes from the French history book I'm reading (France: A Modern History by Albert Guérard), concerning the period where Leon Blum was in his first stint as Prime Minister, and defeated (in 1937) by conservative thinking that saw things in terms of communism versus fascism, both on the rise in Europe at the time. The Conservatives unhesitatingly preferred fascism: "Rather Hitler than Blum!"
We see now what a grave mistake, and a grossly immoral stance that was.
Reminds me of what we're going through now, where people making over $250,000 don't want to agree to Obama's plan to give up more of their money to fund healthcare reform, even though these same Republicans claim to love their country above all else. I just thought that was interesting.
Monday, August 3, 2009
don't ask yourself this question too loud
(they'll say nothing. live for you, live for now)
so many people
are living and burning
but cannot breathe
and cannot livingly
burn like a candle
whose light is perfect
in the darkness of the night
music that hums in a low tone
rumbling - the sound of art and rain
the sound of silence
and love move
back and forth through a tunnel
where we lose control
and are sad
for the rain that made us fall.
there is trust
when your eyes are closed
like lips that kiss in mist
of sprinklers in the park
summer mornings where birds are
white with orange feet
have no illusions
assholes populate every part of this earth
on both sides of this screen
in your home and mine
but sometimes we are good
and graceful and we give
maybe we can remember that time
when it is gone.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This one's my favorite of the set, though there are many close contenders.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me -- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and un-
suspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods--
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house-- , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back
my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...
--Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Not a fan of the Hammett book or the Bogart/Huston movie (neither of which apparently has anything to do with this falcon), but I still was amused to learn this.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"Age is a high price to pay for maturity." - Tom Stoppard
You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to a hundred. - Woody Allen
Here's to maturity.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches. I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that's alive. My self does not differ substantially from yours in terms of its thought. Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain. The basis of the self is not thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings. While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self. In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of egocentrism." - Milan Kundera, Immortality (205)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
somnambulating waves caress the face of the moon
catastrophic appendages flounder in the distance
Tetris calculations obscure the vision of curators and ideologues
under the bridge, skirts and hairnets hide true natures to the detriment of the whole
closed doors that creak
open legs that don't think
an unearthed passion
producing varying effects
nipples that right off taxes
drunken candles and eaten airships
by the terror stricken vandals and their captors
and if then eyes could neither close nor cry
the end result would be pi times why and divided by the time you sang a Donny Hathaway song to a girl on a rainy summer night in Brooklyn
Friday, March 13, 2009
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road--
Only wakes upon the sea.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
"There is no surer method of evading the world than by following Art, and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by Art."
crazy art work on a door in Barri Gotic, Barcelona
Paul Gauguin's Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) at The Getty Center in Los Angeles
Gaudi's Park Guell in Barcelona
Marina Del Rey, California
View of San Francisco from Oakland, CA
Pinocchio and the Bug in Le Suquet, the old quarter of Cannes, France
Rogier van Otterloo draped in red on a bench. Haight, San Francisco
Monday, February 23, 2009
1. Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
2. Freddie McGregor - Apple Of My Eyes
3. Os Diagonais - Eliana
4. The Guinness Cassanovas - Ain't No Loving
5. Con Funk Shun - (Let Me Put) Love On Your Mind
6. Bobbi Humphrey - You Make Me Feel So Good
7. The Fuzz - I Love You For All Seasons
8. Bill Withers - Let Me Be The One You Need
9. Terry Callier - You And Me (Will Always Be In Love)
10. Conjunto Libre - Risque
11. Donny Hathaway - Misty
12. The Velvet Underground - I Found A Reason
13. The Beach Boys - Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
14. Joao Gilberto - 's Wonderful
15. Natalie Cole - La Costa
16. John Betsch Society - Song For An Untitled Lady
17. Tim Maia - Contacto com o Mundo Racional
18. Linda Perhacs - Dolphin
19. Love Unlimited Orchestra - Whisper Softly
Sunday, February 15, 2009
what tangents does your mind take?
are you more likely to think about sex or food at a random moment?
if you could have sex in huge pot of any food, what dish would you choose?
do you wear contacts?
were you a dorky child? were you popular? a cheerleader?
are you a fashionista, do you own 1000 pair of shoes?
did you get laid last night?
or are you a born again virgin?
how do you like to be touched?
bitten, smacked, licked, loved, massaged, cajoled, nibbled, crawled up slowly by the fingers like a spider
do you love the smell of lavender more than anything?
do you dream in chocolate?
do you tap your foot when you become impatient?
do you wonder how many times, like me, this ceiling fan above us revolves in a minute?
should we count? together?
or what if we sat opposite each other reading the same book, the same page, the same words at the same time, laughing at different intervals, turning our bodies, slinking or slouching in the chair like this to make the body comfortable, the mind flexible and free
would our enjoyment intensify, would we become preoccupied, would we fuse and meld together, the text building an ink-stained bridge between two unhappy quiet countries?
would we raise our eyes up from the text at the same time and meet eyes and maybe giggle like schoolchildren or return quickly and clumsily to the page in embarrassment or in the absence of a better idea, in order to escape Intimacy?
maybe our minds would dual, our swords would cross like words on a sunday paper or fingers in prayer or legs in meditation, our lips would meet like hands in applause or in a casual and meaningful embrace that people don't let go of so soon
our eyes would slide all around the dancefloor of each other like feet
it may be that what would make me cry would make you laugh and what would make you strong would make me weak and what would make you die would make me rise and wings would break and light would crack, sound would fold and sun go black
we'd both curse yoko ono and then go back to our separate ways
would i tell you your nose is too small and your hair is too yellow and there is too much gray in this place and that i don't appreciate the contrast it creates in the world (gray that is)?
would you agree, would you not care, would you stand to leave, would you shrink
do i ask too many questions?
people aren't prepared with answers most of the time
and they're afraid of what their spontaneous reactions might be
maybe too shallow and too imperceptive
maybe i don't wanna hear what's going on in you
i don't wanna know a damn thing about your pain or your darkness
maybe if the seal is broken and the gloves go off, and all the preapproved modes of behavior are done away with, things could get too ugly for me and i'd whimper like a dog being hit with a newspaper in the nose before i scamper home, having learned nothing and lost my fantasy for now after attempting to indulge it
did you run track, play volleyball, collect hello kitty memorabilia, watch baseball with your dad in the summer, play with polly pocket, join the chess club, learn card tricks, jump rope all recess long, paint with your fingers, wipe your nose with the back of your hand, smile more than you do now and without shame?
do your socks match your shoes and your pants and your panties do your pictureframes match your candlesticks and your coffeetable
how many times a week do you wish aloud things were less complicated?
i wish too, and i wish sensation were enough
i wish emptiness of the mind were a crime
and you were taxed if you had more money than books
penalized if you had more false self confidence than you groped for wisdom
more balls than common sense
more determination than talent
"He ended up recommending to all of them . . . that they forget everything he had taught them about the world and the human heart, that they shit on Horace, and that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Thursday, February 12, 2009
i feel no fear, nothing inside me will allow me to tremble
i approach the guillotine stoically with a clear mind
every moment i have ever experienced before this is rolled out flat like an eternal pancake immeasurable and indistinguishable
the naked invisible casing and skeleton of this time
soon this moment's carcass too will fuse itself to that wall and become empty and hollow
for now i forget every face that ever stared back at me
they are as familiar to me as so many cloud formations that have floated overhead unnoticed, unspecial.
anywhere in the world i have been, i've found myself dreaming, doubted myself, fell in love, felt hatred, been wet and cold, and swam through the warmest waters, waving out to sea, stretching for the horizon that implies the ends of the world.
i am here ten years ago, but i am not. there is a different smell in the air, a different shade of light cast down by the sun. there are different voices, whinnying in a different timbre. the atmosphere is different. everything is eternally optimistic, but damnable. Passing by the local church, awe still fills me. Something sacred lingers. I feel lucky to be alive, at least I think that. I don't think i ever felt that. I was too young, but I knew that moment was special somehow. I'd walk those streets and breathe deep that heavy warm wet misty air and see the entire world out before me, ready for me to shape it to my will. I was ready to grow and seize every opportunity which would befall me. In comparison to that, now I am broken, hardened, still a dreamer, but my time is less. My zeal and excitement are tempered. I am fat with living, and yet have not lived enough. Where will i find room for the rest?
In this alternate past, I am on a rooftop drinking a red wine, with a woman in my arms. We make love, she pleasures me on that roof as the sun sets and we look down on the city. I feel the perfection of this moment. I feel we two are really shaping this moment in life to our satisfaction, letting go of everything else. I feel champion of the world, for a second.Here too, so many years later the sky is different, the colors of life are different, the bulidings, the air and the body that breathes it in through its nostrils and mouth. this new old body carries the weight. It carries the dream of a younger me, idealistic and pure, walking through empty streets in a land far east of here, when time was never my enemy, but still somehow solitude some times was. Time maybe first showed itself to be my terrible adversary when i was forced to leave that place. I knew then that the two years I had spent there would never be again, that those moments were frozen for me and I must remember them, because that was a capsule of my youth, my inimitable experience, my triumphs and failures, back when they didn't cost or win me so much.
Now i suppose things taste sweeter. the moments are shaped more to my liking. I am the one making the choices. Making the mistakes too. I can blame others less and less the older I get. I still sit alone in the dark in the wee hours of the morning. No one knows me now. I wait for the sun to make me his companion. Let him warm this little room up. I do not dream of riding on a beam of light, but i have dreamt about how when you put your flat closed-fingered palm up in the air covering the sun, it turns red and even as tightly as you can shut it, hundreds of little particles can be seen slipping through, reflecting off the light, and I wonder how I have caught the sun, mostly. I used to dream that when I was a kid. I haven't done that in years. The sun isn't up yet, but I think I'll dream it now anyway. The sun feels different to me now than when I was that age, trying to catch and stop the sun with my hands. Trying to hold a delicate yet breadthless warmth flatly on my hand, holding it back like a tiny brick in an everlasting wall of heat, balancing it against all other forces.
I yawn more now. I'm tired more now. I sleep different. Maybe more plagues my mind and I can't just rest through these thoughts anymore. Maybe more things are in me waiting to get out and now they know time is the enemy we must defeat.
I marvel at how one can look at a photograph and be transported back into that moment. I can see myself with this blue and red striped long sleeve shirt, baritone horn in hand. My parents both at my side, as proud as they ever might have looked. I remember that day, waiting for the concert to start. We all stood in line, we were going to play in the high school auditorium (we were in 6th or 7th grade). The kid in front of me played tuba, this Canadian kid. I remember him dropping his mouthpiece. It was a crisis. We stood outside waiting our turn, in the heat, for what seemed like hours. I remember now sitting on the stage, with my mouth poised, my lungs steady, eyes first on the sheet music, then out at the crowd. The lights reflecting off all the shiny brass of our instruments. I remembered the little excitement dwelling within me on this little special night in my little life, that I lived for a while on this little island in Southeast Asia, what should've been a completely alien place, but in a matter of years had become a new sort of home. The people I knew and loved and saw day after day, the streets, and buildings, the faces, the smells, the trees, the air, the things I knew most now were here. So now it was home. My family, the friends and people and things I knew for my first 8 years were somewhere else. But they were not as immediate as all this. As the sticky Singaporean heat that made one's glasses fog up when you walked out of the comfort of an air conditioned building.
So we played that concert and it went along smoothly, without incident. I remember my parents and my little brother outside waiting for me, their faces full of smiles. It felt like a family moment, one I will never forget, the sort of feeling we'll now never repeat. It was a moment, I feel sappy and cheesy to say, I felt pride. I don't even play anymore, it wasn't my choice to play baritone horn, and I wasnt that keen on the music we played. Hell, I wasnt even that good of a player. But I do remember feeling pride then. Looking back, I suppose I was justified in doing so. For even now, its one of the few actual accomplishments I've had in this life. I would've thought that by 26, I would've done so much more for myself, my life would've been figured out to a much greater degree. I would've assumed an adult "normality" , as it were. This is nothing like the way I assumed adulthood would be. Nothing. I imagined I would never spend a sunny, warm weekend at home alone. I would've been in a room full of friends, drinking beers, watching football and cracking jokes. I would never be bored, or confused, or alone. None of that is real. Maybe in the 80s that's what a 26 year old me would've lived. But in 2009, the world has changed, and things have happened to change me from the sort of guy who would be hanging out at a friend's place on Sunday, drinking beer, having fun, watching football, taking up my place in the American pastime of a 20something. Maybe i never was that sort. Maybe i was always an oddball destined to strike out on a different sort of path, and leave that quaint and happy, familiar early adulthood behind. I don't go to work all day and then go to softball practice and have games on the weekdays. I dont go to bars and talk to girls and make lots of small talk and have lots of friends. I don't know someone in every neighborhood I drive through. Not like the adults I knew when I was growing up here. Maybe because I wasnt allowed to really fully grow up here. Maybe because my home is spread across the globe a bit, or doesn't exist.
I had a flashback to another time a few minutes ago, but that moment is passed. I don't know whether to talk more about that familial feeling, the loss of an adulthood I'll never know, or making one's home in a different place for a moment at a time. These are themes I'll pick up again. I'll delve deeper into the places I've known as home for a while at a time. I'll think more about people I knew and things I remember. Riding a bike down this street and seeing this happen. Walking alone somewhere and what I was contemplating then. And how I contemplate it now. The way the sun feels at any given time in my life. It's so hard to imagine that it's always been the same sun, or has it? The sun, in its seemingly ageless enormity, still has aged along with me. And at every moment when I closed everything in me except my acknowledgment of the sun, wherever I was, at whatever age, that sun was different. As different as I was at each stage. Slightly different. It certainly meant something slightly different, but it's almost always meant something magical. I always hold onto that feeling of the sun in those special moments that I know I want to remember. I look all around me and say to myself that I want to remember how the light shone down on this place in this way at this moment. I tell myself I have to remember it. It's precious. the sun's light is always precious. No matter where you are, how old you are. Being alive is special. That's something often hard to really grasp, hard to remember.
being alive is special even when it sucks
when you're sick tired lonely and cold. when you're broke down and out lost or grief stricken. sad, angry, filled with rage, regret, felt betrayed, abandoned, unloved. still we are lucky, maybe especially in those times, consumed by the most terrible, forlorn feelings. feeling alienation, negation, nausea. This is what it means to be alive, to be human, to struggle and feel. feel anything, be it pain and these less than desirable states of being. it's all miraculous.
at this moment i want knowledge more than anything. I want to understand a thing, any thing completely. To know its secrets and hidden truth.
there's a pallid yellow light creeping up out of the horizon beneath a wall of pale blue clouds that encompasses the rest of the sky. if i were a painter i would paint this.