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The Art Job

August 11, 2016

I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance.” ~ Sojourner Truth


That which is invisible
Because of its nature
As unreflective of light
And unresponsive to pressure
Like scores, and programs and instructions for instance
Like the Fifth Symphony, or the Dharma,
or any story before it’s told
or gods of all sorts;
All of those things or non-things
All of those potentials
Undetectable and immeasurable
Without form or substance
Vastly outnumber what appears to be.

The artist’s job,
He said with arrogance
Is to make a representation,
Speaking in metaphors,
Of what is invisible.
Not to make shit up.

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My photos are on Flickr

It Doesn’t Mean Anything

August 2, 2016


It is often said that a good photograph tells a story.

Maybe so, but a great photograph doesn’t.

It is a single sound, a word, if you must think of it that way.

A message without meaning.

Speechless and silent, it stays put

As the light hit the sensor.

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My photos are on Flickr

Or, Where the photon hits the sensor, that’s where the trouble began…

July 31, 2016

img791In the 21st century
Any monkey can make art.
I’m trying to make a decent photograph.

Leica didn’t acknowledge the existence of electricity until 1985. Images are made with photons, not electrons.

In the future, after the age of electricity, we will do all our work with light, and everything will be as it appears.

We shall be as gods.

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My photos are on Flickr

The Momentum of History

May 30, 2016


Mass in motion,
Matter through space

It is non-fiction
With weight and inertia.

A boulder rolling
Downhill in time
Flattens out patterns of data
Like craters on the moon.

In ink of crushed bones and feathers
Innumerable body parts
Rusted machines and blown out buildings
What we call a story
Is pressed onto pages
As images.
The fiction we conjure
From marks left by rocks in time
This is what we tell to our children.

History has momentum
Because it is made
Of matter in motion.

And it doesn’t matter, really
What the TV says.


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My photos are on Flickr

Been There, Done That, Will Do It Again.

April 29, 2016


Last night we were sitting under a canopy
At a large banquet table
A gathering
Attended by servants
Who brought fine wines and waters
And plate after plate of exquisite food.
Delicate beef, fish and octopus.

As in Da Vinci’s Last Supper
The master sat in the center
And we craned our necks
To catch some tidbit from his lips
That would open our minds
So we could be like him.
Generous and kind,
Magnanimous and wise.

Suddenly the centuries condensed
And the time space collapsed.
I remembered the event in every past epoch.
In this same place, at this same table,
Under this same tent.
The same discussion of the esoteric way.
“Four hundred years ago” I said, “Shakespeare died.”
“We’ve done this many times.”

There was the funeral scene in Satyricon
When they eat the dead poet.
The body of Christ, The body of Christ.
“I feel guilty when I eat octopus” said the poet next to me.
“The question is, ‘how guilty?'” I said.
“Not guilty enough” came the obvious answer
As the knife cut through the tentacle.

“Better a moment of nausea
For a lifetime of wealth.” Fellini said.

We’ve done this many times.
We’ll do it again.

* image of Lazaro Godoy

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My photos are on Flickr

Your art makes my skin crawl.

April 13, 2016

“It is obscene to write poetry
After the holocaust.”



To live in the shadow of genocide
And scribble then, with some slight-of-hand,
Something or other entertaining;
It is a pornography of privilege.

The privilege of those who,
Having survived so far with their bones intact,
Somehow feel that their skin will not melt.


It is obscene, this high art
In this ecocide.
To live in a refuge of concrete and tar
With art as decor,
With music as spectacle
With poetry as lifestyle.

The only thing that is important is your sacrifice.


Florida Bay is silent as a graveyard.
The Indian River Lagoon
Is a lagoon of corpses.
The skin of dead fish
Bulldozed into dumpsters like My Lai
Is not much different than yours.

“A butterfly sucking
On the carcass of a dead bird.

In the center of a flower
Under a deep blue sky
It’s a mistake to think you’re special.”


The only thing that works is your sacrifice.


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My photos are on Flickr

Almost everything is invisible

February 8, 2016

A photograph does not tell a story
At its best
If it’s any good
It’s a single line
One visible verse
The simpler the better
That makes you alert
To all the other
Invisible verses
In an epic poem
All around you.

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My photos are on Flickr

Doomed and Immortal

December 28, 2015


The leaf falls down
And the tree grows another.
The tree falls down
And the forest grows another.
A man falls down
And is buried by his brother.
Life goes on
In the child of his lover.
When the sun goes down
We see stars without number.

We are doomed
And we are immortal.

“Life moves from the formed to the forming.” ~ Nishida Kitaro

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My photos are on Flickr


Then The Walls Fall Down.

August 10, 2015

img050No, sorry.
There is no reformation
This time.
Not for this thing.

Hoping that it won’t
Come down to killing people
As revolutions must.
It won’t.

No leaders, no ideas
No propaganda, no ammunition
No means
Means no

There will only be a sound.
Inaudible mostly.
A vibration
Vaguely felt at first.
Then the walls fall down.

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My photos are on Flickr

These flowers

June 15, 2015


When you don’t fly, 

But travel on the ground

Everything stays connected.

The cemetary, the forest, the rocky shore

The long ride home through old cities

Of rusting industry.

All connected.

 Why did I spend fourty dollars

For a basket of cut flowers

To decorate her grave

When the the bluebird

And the bobolink 

Do it for free?

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