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The Enchantment

December 27, 2017



Music is invisible, and so we say that it is something spiritual, something vital that moves without being seen, that acts without being understood. Its immortality is that of the gods, always alive, always in motion, always elusive, always beyond restraint.

It is the opposite with photography. Because a photograph is visible, imprisoned in a frame, we falsely say it is a memory. We absurdly say we have captured a moment. A captured moment is a dead moment. A photograph has the immortality of a mummy, unmoving and fixed. Fragile, like an insect pinned to an index card, scientific and very much dead. A terracotta soldier.

It is in this motionless, eternal death-mask that we find their sleeping beauty, their enchantment.

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

It all adds up to something we think we’ve seen before.

December 25, 2017

Every bit of matter, every bit, remembers.

Every bit of matter in the material universe acts as a recording medium.
The mass of a particle in motion makes a dent on the surface of its neighbor.
Like the craters of the moon, a record of impact.
So it is with a photograph.
The photons strike the sensor
A change is made on a surface
And we recognize the pattern.
It all adds up to something
We think we’ve seen before.
But we’re wrong.

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

One Photon Deep

December 16, 2017


If a photon had depth,
we could say say that just below the surface,
one photon deep,
traced by the layout of the irregular frame,
just below the surface of grass and trees
benches and monoliths of words,
just in back of the alcoholic eyes,
there is a vast emptiness
on which Kerouac Park rests.

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi


October 5, 2017


Dancing is what happens
When the wind blows as music.

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

America Believes It Is White

March 31, 2017

Because America still thinks it’s White.

Because it thinks it’s the West of the West.

Because it forgot the Arab saved the Greek.

Because it forgot the Moors brought the science.

Because it forgot so much English is Sanskrit.

Because it forgot all the White-on-White wars.

Because the Statue of Liberty

Was recast as White.

Because Langston Hughes

Was never, too, America.

Because it believes that White is a thing.

Because it believes that that thing is It.

Because it believes that that It is Itself.


Because America still thinks it’s White

That’s why we need all these guns.

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

Rabbits to Wolves

February 4, 2017

The best that can be hoped for at this point is a little blood to put above the door of your shelter in superstitious hope that the gods of America will leave you alone.

In times past champions would rise up from among you; King, X, Ali and Simone for example, to show you your errors. Enough of you listened then so that wisdom and benevolence were just sufficient defense against the ancient native-soil gods of vengeance. Today, you have no champions, no wisdom, no charity that does not bring you rewards, and, no defense.

There are a few among you who will die well. The rest will be as rabbits to wolves.

The Soul and the Story

January 29, 2017

“When a soul wants to have an experience, she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.” ~ Meister Eckhart

Anything said about this just dulls the luster.

But, when the self-conscious spirit wants to experience, to interact with the other that is not herself, she must make a frame to enclose a space, defining an inside, setting herself in the scene. It is only by creating a story that a soul may experience another. It is why our lives are made of fantasy.

Who do you want around you in the bardo when the frame dissolves, angels or demons?

Not A Mirror, Not A Black Mirror.

January 18, 2017

The subject/object kerfuffle in European philosophy has kept a very great number of confusing expositors in business for a long time. Whether Hegel or Kant or Freud or Heidegger or Foucault, in the end you get the unmistakeable sense that a mind is a terrible thing to make up.

And so here we are.

After many years making audio recordings of musicians great and not so much, I came to know what kind of recording I like – the well made live performance. But it was not until practicing photography in a non-journalistic way that I realized why. It has to do with the subject/object, mind/matter division that has plagued Whitey since Sophocles. 

When you take a photo, the mind meets the matter – the subject meets the object – at the location of the camera, and the camera makes an image. That image is not a memory, not a slice of time, not a record of the event (!) and certainly not a story. It is a photograph. 

If you want to make something else out of it, that’s your problem.

the scores of ishmael wadada leo smith, ten freedom summers, and the specter of race

December 12, 2016

I need add nothing here.

The Hum Blog


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You’re An Idiot

November 1, 2016

l1000595 I have devised a mental exercise for myself in which I look at a photograph and try to see it without allowing my mind to identify any objects in the photo. Just lines and shapes and tones, but not faces or cars or whatever is recognizable. To see without recognition. While not very easy, it’s possible to an extent.

But I realized it is seemingly impossible (without powerful drugs) to do with sound and speech. Once a sound is heard, if it’s recognizable, it’s almost impossible to hear without recognition. Speech is the same way; if it’s in your language, you can’t hear it without meaning. If bottled as music or poetry there is some hope, as the thinking mind can be overcome by the unnatural or the absurd. But otherwise, you’re trapped.

Ah, mind of distinction, you’re a useful idiot!

This is why art must be of no use.

(assembly by Dina Knapp, photo by the author.)

My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

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