Archive for 2007

Busboys & Poets

17 Dec


Living Proof


Sure. We'll swing by. I will also run the idea by Peter. But speaking of energy. I run hot and cold. At 315 pounds, 52 years, and less time in a day than I've got ruthless desire to not only create art but to actually sell it, I am always driven to keep my nose in the paint box, honing skills, building inventory, sweating doubts, forging the vision, while foregoing the frenzied social calendar that many of my more outgoing and accomplished friends keep.

One can never measure the wealth of potential a regular group of talented and focussed artists can inspire, so I will give your planned group a fair shot. I certainly approve, and even insist upon the interdisciplinary approach you've posited, so as I shout out in the agony of the age, I also acknowledge it's high time we blaze some trails, and make them remember who were are and why we came...

Actually, I met Michael Auger briefly this past Friday night via the ArtDC gathering at Dr. Dremos in Arlington. So I look forward to our next rendezvous...

Arainia's song will be placed into a forty-hour no repeat mix. But sure, I'll give you a heads up. To paraphrase Goethe on his deathbed: More ears, more ears...

Thanks for the afternoon ears. Yeah, Wickedbounce by Arainia. Listened to it. Downloaded it. Excellent call. Expect it will slip right into the mix within a few days. And it was truly a pleasure meeting and chatting with you yesterday, Tim.

Blister the paint...


Thanks so much Gabriel. Lyana (Arainia) is ecstatic! Let us know when you get it up and we will send out a notice and get all of our peeps on your sta-shun Yo!! (biiiiig list!)

BY the WAY! Stevens said he can't make dinner Thursday, but I think we should all still meet. There's just too much cool energy to let go of. And I have a couple of people I want to invite to meet you. Michael Auger, Arainia, Corrie Allen et. al.

so...I posted a Post and you can see the other invitees there. Can you, or would you like to invite anyone from your Studio? I'm thinking Peter perhaps? or anyone else? AND...I think these meetings should be regular, monthly whatever.


"Forward the Four Modernizations! Utilize Art!"

Six years later...


Not Yet Titled

The above two rather mundane texts are trapped in a coagulating context. First, this is one of only a handful of notes I swapped with Tim Kenney until years later. Tim, whom fellow painter Marina Reiter had brought with her to the 52 O Street Studios holiday party nearly two weeks prior. This Thursday night outing at 14th & V Street's Busboy & Poet's would be my introduction to the now famous DC eatery and Leftist bookstore. Odd thing though, just a few weeks before this, I had driven Sue by the place, pointing it out to her, saying we needed to check it out someday soon. Established in 2005 by artist and entrepreneur Andy Shallal, BB&P had been a bustling hotspot for hip young urbanites since day one, and I had read of it often, but had never struck a pose long enough to seek it out.

This night would also lead to an invitation to Tim and Arainia's home for their own New Year's Eve party the next week, a spectacle of interesting people packed into their gorgeous place in southern Maryland just off Pike 355. We left rather early that night, as my physical condition was being aggravated by tight quarters, my sobriety, and too much warmth. Tim and Arainia spent most of the night hunkered down in their sunken living room Mac studio console working on their current music project. Sue and I split duties holding court on the threats of Islam gone wild—in the kitchen—and painting and writing with a newly minted friend Joellen Secondo sitting on the stairwell leading up the the bedrooms I presumed. Since I was wearing blue coveralls and a red beard, when a strange bookish-looking woman approached to ask if I were saluting Julian Schnabel when she learned my response to what I do was paint, I was hooked.

"Actually no," said I, "but thanks for the observation. Don't care much for his broken plate work, but love his movie Basquiat. This is my standard issue garb." Of course, I had to explain later as we prepared to leave on how my recent allergies to cotton were eating me alive, but at least I had enough pockets.

Marina wasn't there that night, but one of her paintings was hanging along the wall framing the staircase. Figures, I thought. Girls make pretty art. Girls sell pretty art. Pretty girls sell lots of pretty art. Then there's Matt Sesow. But I digress. Marina makes fascinating metaphorical blobs. Sells well. It's all swell.

Turns out this was the first of four consecutive visits to Busboys & Poets that I came down with that same sinus cold by the end of that night or at latest, the next morning. Sensitivity's a racket, I finally realize.
Thursday night at Busboys was a generous night. I stopped by as I drove my route home from O Street. Peter Harper couldn't make it. Propped on the stool to my immediate right was an exotic witchy woman, whose name escapes me, and I do mean witch, not the other word. Turns out she was Portuguese. Dark, smokey, slender, attractive, buxom, leggy with muscular calves, hovering around fifty I'd guess, addicted to her own airs, but not in a glibe that suggested he was comfortable with her own comportment. Cultural differences and all that mess. After some less than charming exchanges with her, she diverted her attentions to her right. In mysterious ways, she spoke, so mysterious that I have no way of recalling or reproducing her serpentine phrases here. Recall is a but fuzzy, but it seemed she was stationed somewhere in the art world that had nothing to do with painting, so our options were limited. She was quite tight with herself, a demeanor does nothing to soften the glare of my nostrils. She could have been named Esmirelda, or Carlotta. It didn't really matter. We had both moved on. A beer later, she picked herself off the stool and moved around to the end of the table where Stevens stood, beer in hand, proceeding to soak up the rest of the evening with him. He lived to tell about it, thinking she was charming but a waste of time. I agreed. She was looking for a leg up on the competition, and could quickly size up her prey. And Stevens being a painter of national merit himself, had no time for people who could not benefit his own career, and some fifty year old Portuguese woman wishing herself a career heist was baiting the wrong place at the wrong time. Stevens has a surprise visitor. He had been invited but had pleaded work, so I was glad to see him get out for the night. He loves to talk about the painting and art game with true or near peers. Didn't happy that night. The next day he told me, despite his better instincts he was still glad he got out.

I left after a couple of hours but I'd stayed long enough to catch the usual sinus cold I catch when I find myself confined in a crowded place, getting too hot, sweating in my clothes, and feeling all too useless and all. Turns out this was the first of four consecutive visits to Busboys & Poets that I came down with that same sinus cold by the end of that night or at latest, the next morning. Sensitivity's a racket, I finally realize.

Michael Auger is another, a younger artist, primarily working in a gimmick or cartoonist style. Don't quite remember how he is implicated in this story. But I think it was he who issued me the invitation to come down to Busboys & Poets that night. Also met artists Henrik Sundqvist and the delicious Corrie Allen; shook the hand and took the card of the tall but boyishly handsome John Hanshaw, who had just recently been installed as Director of the Washington Film Institute. Needless to say, the Washington art scene was a small but growing community back in 2007. But I was never to meet this group again in the same context as I began to shrink back from the pressures and finances of rolling in it while thinking I was going somewhere other than the poorhouse.

I only a couple of months ago learned that Tim and I share a neurological disorder that is crippling and causing all sort of other handicaps for us. We vow to shove on...

Potential Show At Aroma

07 Dec


Burdens Of Glory


The following note was zipped off to somebody, now I'm thinking Marina Reiter since everyone else I can think it applicable is listed within. The show I hoped to get didn't come through until the following September. I enjoyed the show, had a great crowd of friends at the meet and greet, but sold nothing.

Yes, I mean no. It's not a confirmed done deal, but as we were all standing at the CP Metro, Dana said it was as good as a done deal. She said this with confidence. Late, it was after one when we left. In bed by two. I was up at five. Awoke from bizarre nightmare, couldn't get back to sleep.

I too, am energized, given the fact that I am dragging butt. My head feels like it NEEDS to explode for clarity and relief, et cetera. No energy to suffer Georgetown tonight, sorry. Inertia will keep me in studio working, but it's pretty nasty out there. Was sleeting about mid-day. Bought some varnish today, some paint, and a few more canvases.

Hope to hear from Sesow soon. If not, I'll be seeing Dana probably Wednesday to pick up paintings. I can't believe I bought that second one. One for Sue. One for me. Poor for the holidays. Scratch our tentative holiday getaway to Massachusetts.

Oh well, Dana deserves.


Grabbing Another Fistful Of Fire Ants

27 Oct


O Street Studio


Martine—we had a vicious good time at your dinner party Saturday night. I was a dundering idiot with only a handful of one line zingers to my credit. 

Particularly liked the one about zeros not being worth as much as they used to be worth, and...yeah if we were all the same, we'd ALL be fighting for the right to be ourselves. End laugh track.

My own conflicted nature always rears its ugly head in these freewheelin' social situations where I set out to accomplish one thing and something else entirely unfolds. It’s quite difficult for me outside my own home sanctuary to remain laid back for any amount of tidy time. Like too much of a good thing I tend to find a way to be uncomfortable. Or impatient. For example. Due to the undetermined focus of our "professional" relationship, and some relentless competition with your love life, I found myself drawn into some frantic mode of “auditioning” for some "ephemeral" part in who knows what by the time the night kicked into overdrive. It felt silly and abrasive at the time, but I just carved out more of it as the night wore on.

Losing what little traction I wandered in with, I simply could not escape this compulsion to reveal more of the toothier "edges" of my "unbridled" personality, fast and without genteel context. Now, I don't feel special in terms of “genius” or “depravity”, but I do feel like I have operated under some rather interesting biographical circumstances which account for those nuances which of course can be both charming or boorish, depending on the color of the paint on the walls, and which for some stupid reason I think you should know about me as a quiver in your arsenal of representation, should this posture hold up under the weights and measurements I am piling high, like so many Philip Guston boots. The backstory hook, of course, is where the Francis Bacon's red meat hangs.

Standing out from the crowd requires a fetishistic story. At 52, I question if I can still depend on this "uncollected" story in any sort of effectual way, or whether time has truly passed me by. You hit it on the nose. I guess I AM a “somebody done me wrong” song, not by choice, damn it, because I seriously loathe whiners but I recognize that I am easily identifiable by these petulant thrusts of desperation. But who hasn't been done wrong on some scale? This scathing need to scratch and claw the invisible walls of my own bustling spirit just to remain “authentic” instead of consistently losing ground to somebody else more delicious and deserving than I am has conditioned me to calm these disruptive urges by imposing a state of constant work from which to redeem myself from these demons of fluster and failure, past, present and future. Translation: relaxation not related to work is the tool of my enemy.

Always competitive with no one in particular, but always self-manipulated by a reactionary need to fit into the social boat without making oafish waves, nevertheless I almost always find myself the contrarian, and with drink comes sinus roars and tinitus crickets leaving me near deaf except when I capture every syllable known to man and angel in a whiff, and the tendency to mumble or slur the beginning and ends of my words, except when I am in high boisterous elocution (the preacher’s spirit), another artifact of thick-tongued nasal and sinus infraction. You must notice how painful it is for me to relax. I am not cool, never have been. Even in my most self-assured times, I am a withering dandelion in a constant state of internal strife. Neurotic to the core, headstrong as a drove of blue oxen. A terrible combo.

Just for kicks, let’s try this Ray Davies lyric on for size:

          You've been sleeping in a field but you look real rested  You set out to outrage but you can't get arrested  You say your image is new, but it looks well tested  You're lost without a crowd yet you go your own way  You say your summer has gone  Now the Winter is crawlin' in  They say that even in your day  Somehow you never could quite fit in  Though it's cold outside  I know the Summer's gonna come again  Because you know what they say  Every dog has his day  You're a misfit, afraid of yourself, so you run away and hide  You've been a misfit all your life  Why don't you join the crowd  And come inside  You wander round this town like you've lost your way  You had your chance in your day  Yet you threw it all away  But you know what they say  Every dog has his day  Look at all the losers and the mad eyed gazers  Look at all the looneys and the sad eyed failures  They're giving up living 'cos they just don't care  So take a good look around  The misfits are everywhere  La la la la la la  You're a misfit  Afraid of yourself so you run away and hide  You've been a misfit all your life  But why don't you join the crowd and come inside  You wander round this town  Like you've lost your way  You had your chance in your day  Yet you threw it all away  Now you're lost in the crowd  Yet, still go your own way  This is your chance, this is your time  So don't throw it away  You can have your day  Yes it's true what they say  Every dog has his day

So Martine, dear and delicate friend, what am I grabbing for with this dweebish confessional? Well I suppose, Dylan's piece—IS YOUR LOVE IN VAIN—the song we played at our wedding, summed it up rather well, but despite those whizzing late hour best intentions we four stomped all over the final track because yes, the tenor of the night had certainly shifted, so the song fell sonorously flat on ears and fears alike...

          Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill? Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt? I've been burned before and I know the score So you won't hear me complain. Will I be able to count on you Or is your love in vain? Are you so fast that you cannot see that I must have solitude? When I am in the darkness, why do you intrude? Do you know my world, do you know my kind Or must I explain? Will you let me be myself Or is your love in vain? Well I've been to the mountain and I've been in the wind, I've been in and out of happiness. I have dined with kings, I've been offered wings And I've never been too impressed.

The last verse doesn’t really apply but here it is anyhow:

          All right, I'll take a chance, I will fall in love with you If I'm a fool you can have the night, you can have the morning too. Can you cook and sew, make flowers grow, Do you understand my pain? Are you willing to risk it all Or is your love in vain?

Yep, Zundmanus, it’s like this. I’ve been reaching for the stick of fire my entire life. And rising up with a fistful of fire ants instead. Sure, we can be friends. I’d hate to lose you to the exquisitely balanced noise in my head.

But in a specific sense, I’m just not sure you are up to the task of managing my so-called career. I’m an awkward intelligence. You’re the pride of the party in the next room, a political maven who chases the next march, the next hero, the next will of the people. That’s your whipping post., your crucible, your bounce and your beat. I’m a two-fisted thumbwrestler dodging the heat. Or a horse thief.

Is this a bitchy kiss-off letter? ABSOLUTELY NOT! 

No f*cking waaaaay. I’m just schlepping around on the hoof of a writerly obsession after a strong and intoxicating prowl. 

          "Two by two he sent them out One to euphoria, one to disease For the earth gives no pardon To a nation on its knees..."

There’s no shame in sorting out conflicting interests, curtain calls, and the sticker shock of bold reality as it tightens its noose around the neck of our greatest laid plans. It’s the jailer called the nick of time we must impress. There’s you. There’s me. There’s a rope and a tree. So let’s be honest. My own need for a strong support pivot trumps my need for gesticular friendship, not because I have a surplus of friends, but because I rarely have any, and I am far too weary of being a voyeur to all manner of things in other people’s lives to mistake the differences at this late hour of my seating.

But plainly, I must build a platform from which to explode past all this garbage of soul. My own platform. Even if to encourage my own hanging. Not one among many. But many within one. The absence of this platform is a crippling horror to me, so I need to regain my focus again. With adaptive joy and rippling elation, I can probably do without that coveted niche in the social sphere, if that is the answer to my riddle, but ONLY if I cogently embrace an affirmative exile to the rigors of mundane studio life, completely and without regret, in an unaccommodating, isolationist exile concerned chiefly with the redeeming and compass solitude of work, turning my back to the cheers and jeers of an imaginary public. Yawns for the big whoop...

In any given scenario I’m that determined. I’m that jealous. I’m that vain. But I’m just as easily none of those things. All vigorous storms of personality are complex forces whipping around inside the skull of the dull facade. Grand schemes are fabulous rudders but are as toxic as jet fuel if left ungirded. If I am to perish in a frothing, tortured capitulation to society, I’d prefer to do so in the “act of working” rather than trapped in an inscrutably scruffy “act of socializing”, or as Neil Young might say, “It’s better to burn out than it is to rust.”. 

I blow. It’s what I do. Sometimes it’s a trumpet, To my sweetie, often a soft kiss. Sometimes I blow nothing but chunks. 

Splatz against your radar? I hope so. 

Are we tried and true friends, or partners on the plunge? Are we tied to rote rituals or do we demand a stake in the results? Is there anybody out there who can cut to the quick and tell me who I am, and not who they want me to be? Apparently, I’m just not ready for the ploughing. I need better, more intense or relevant work. I'm not interested in stringers. I want the big show. I'm not some dark soldier lying in wait to ambush the bride, but I am never far from frayed nerves and the panic of having failed the potential I was once certain was mine to exploit as warranted by my birth. Yes, MY BIRTH. And subsequent run of those lands of my forefathers, masquerading as a fool on an errand to explain time, and time alone. (Now that's a super-sized dollop of artistic arrogance if you're looking for one.) 

I need a reality check. With lots of zeros.

Good luck with the interview, Martine. Didn’t see Zool, sadly. He didn’t call. I figured he’d changed his mind, having read a few more lines from the Cull, and I waited too late to call him. We’re deadbeats at a political rally anyhow...

As always, 


Framing The Question Of What Makes A True American

20 Oct

"Antelopers" by Gabriel Thy

"Antelopers" by Gabriel Thy


Date: October 20, 2007 11:58 AM
Yolo Mojo—

Well, I bounced on over to read this entry when you first posted it, and found the issue of quality interest to me, and wanted to comment, but immediately realized that the question in whole was of such profound curiosity to me, I would not be satisfied with a quick comment lauding you for your inspired entry, so I put aside my impulse to write anything at all at the moment. But by popular demand, her I am. Do you mind if I kiss the ground first. Just kidding. It's not the ground that makes one a True American. It's much more forgiving than the blood-soaked soil. I need to explain.

So, thanks for dragging me back to the drawing board...

Given that it appears when facing an intellectual firing squad meant to rid us of our peculiar defect, we humans cannot resist the challenge of resistance, and given that we nearly always scuffle for an outlet to exhaust our failures and a platform to promote our successes while relying on the amazing flexibility of our own internal logic, after rejecting that of others—presumably, a dominant American trait—I will proceed.

The question here before us is indeed one of those representational quagmires of which I shall try to emerge without scattering too much debris, but a certain amount is unavoidable. Such is the general weakness of language when attempting to framing a fluid proposition. For by asking what is a True American, we must infer that there is such an entity as a False American. To respond to the original tautology is of course an exercise in existential manipulation, manipulation of a language, at best, fraught with lurking dangers, real or imagined, and at worst, simply fraudulent, contingent upon as many details as we wish to reflect or as few as we think satisfies our obligations as self-amusing pontificators.

But let’s not stagger.

I suggest we return to the original DNA of Americanism, and that is the documentation of those founding fathers, who in rebellion against the king of its former lands in Great Britain, forsook much and labored plenty in codifying for their own and subsequent generations of a people that became known as Americans.
It seems to me that the original question as posited in the title of your blog was barely considered in the text, Mojo. After arguing for the rule of generalizations (i.e. accepted traits when grouped together), which I eagerly accept as a valid proposition, you never moved past them, in terms of concretely describing, a True American.

Your depiction of the “true” American is defined by grabbing examples of supposed “uniqueness” or perhaps “the exempliary” in the American experience, but you never actually got around to clarifying or redeeming these specific attributes, as indicative of the “true” American. Cultural activities and other surface traits while perhaps informative on the superficial level hardly expose the essence of a true national character.

Two points you made I wish to highlight. Without dipping into that linguistic bag of tricks woefully dubbed—political correctness—often used to paralyze and render meaningless certain types of critical discussions, I strongly agree with you there’s no logical escape from the nuances of stereotype in practice.

In a world where we are told to believe that statistics don’t lie, particularly when agenda-driven sociologists insist on a set of numbers and effects as proof for the need in setting parameters in the social sphere as they see fit. We all rely on personal observations to make informed choices and to characterize events and situations in our lives. But, we can agree, generalizations are an unfortunate substitute for individualized details when distinguishing specifics among any loosely defined group. The sheer hypocrisy that certain “politicalized” groups and individuals practice from either end of the social spectrum in forbidding all but their own “designated” stereotypes is folly and deceit of the highest order.


Therefore, I submit to you that we must look for another fixating criterion upon which to hang our formula for the True American. I suggest we return to the original DNA of Americanism, and that is the documentation of those founding fathers, who in rebellion against the king of its former lands in Great Britain, forsook much and labored plenty in codifying for their own and subsequent generations of a people that became known as Americans.

My Only Book Review

16 Oct




Nearly two years after its publication, and despite the dissemination of forty or so copies among the few friends, family members, and strangers beating back the night sweats of literary intent, I have come to accept the fact that I write in such an outlandishly dull way as to render this special class of improbable bibliophiliacs completely and utterly devastated to the point of unleashing their inner mute upon the very grains of sand upon which I stand.

Now, I have not handed this book away to just anybody with a cap size or a Big Gulp to spare, but only to those who pleaded, cajoled, paid for in the case of some of the more deep pocketed critics, wished for, promising a review each and every one of them, and if cool beans are a good source of protein, threatened my well-being for a personal copy of this collection of visceral sweat and tears, bloody for the twenty-five years it stewed in the making, usually a signed copy, and usually accompanied by some petty insolence that they loved poetry, or some such glad-handing gush as that. Notions of the silent rejection, notwithstanding, The Silent Cull & Other Mechanical Ideas, Collected Poems 1980-2005 is not your usual thin volume of contemporary poetry, but is four hundred pages of seething canonical arrest, and I use the word "canonical" and "arrest" in all their usual connotations plus a few more that I insist are both canonical and arrested within the pages themselves, banking on subtleties of style and insight that are only coming apparent to the ill-prepared general public in these, our own spectacular terror-driven chaotic times. Well-minced words are a swallower's delight, and this book rarely portrays paradise, or other romantic follies of the past or future tense of mankind, but in its own galloping way wraps itself in the contemporary physics of time and thought itself, tackling its author as much as the culture that spawned him.

But this entry is not about describing the book. It has been aptly described elsewhere.

Here I wish to fan myself with those few words of praise, or words of any kind that have wafted my way in the context of this inpenetrable book. The following paragraph was sent to me by a local artist, a young painter of some early renown, still in his late twenties, whose first son was to be born on my birthday (the second of my friends whose firstborn sons arrived likewise) named James Coleman:

I really like the book man, I read it out loud to Christie at night when we go to bed, they say the baby can hear it and its good to read to him, but I dont know. I really love it man they say if you reach one person, blah blah blah, well thats me. I can sit on the roof and smoke a cigarette, lay in bed at night, damn i would even take it to the beach. It flows it pulsates, it moves me. Im not kissing your ass, I have no reason to. Just wanted to give you an honest opinion, and for whatever reason, it speaks to me. When I read it I feel like I did when I was in college smoking opium and reading boulbelaire or at the coffee shops reading dylan thomas, thinking I should start a fight. What I am trying to say is that at this point in my life your book works for me. Great job man, Im not a literary figure or even a good writer but just wanted to tell you. If I see you and I am drinking and tried to tell you all this, you would think I was full of shit.

What can I say? For all the silent pretenders haunting my crude ambitions, this single review is just about the most stirring string of thoughts an old poet, fat on the failures of inertia, far past his gameface prime, could ever hope to absorb.

Thanks JColeman...

Magnets In The Broader Sense

09 Oct

I. Natural Selection

pushing this open paranoia preamble where effing ironies
can't compete with the steady parade of divas shoving crass
the beacon sass into wry faces of fly America as she crumbles
to her skin-colored knees looking for go daddy go
off to the beach, down to the shore

a petty officer's bargain to famous quotes,
paper or plastic quotas, plug and play devices
siphoned off the highlander's lovely terms
proud to be schooled in urban hubris,
strutting around in those Great Empty Legs
economic theory gone sour like rainy day
toadstools, some mediocre rite before curfew,
lured, groped, incensed, kept begging for more,
ever more frequently without the usual flutter
traffic, those thousand and one Persian tales
leaning heavily upon the elocutionist's shoe
preaching a diet of polish sausages, juicy gossip...

can you see it, it's easy if you try
but at least Europe the Lesser no longer
wails on about tiny hotdog explosions on the 4th
scaling the absence of Mr. Monroe's lost doctrine
ashen Cuba defies, cruel Afghanistan survives—

and, "oh say can you see..."
former glory of Beirut the Paris of the Middle East
as fully capitalized revelation or just so much
a simple pound of flesh among many,
endangered pigeons dancing in purple brows of Khomeini
like sweaters on cockring girls we used to marry just to swing
her father from that melting forest we knew how to follow
like a good rule when it mattered,
for a price of a ticket,

recorded here as burning sheep to shake down the nations.

Biblical floods of panic warriors aching to march
took to taking of old hills and dry dales and still shots to defend
scrubbing magnets, the brass armory, and roving ideals, as older ones
of each become unavailable or unrenewable.

II. Magnifying Glass

every newsroom model doffing designer eyewear,
tagged uranium flags smiling at cleanup observations
under broad bold Houston Intercontinental airport sky
trapped in a bursting bubble of imaginary fairness,
my engineer's transit crushed under huge rubber wheels
never a clean coordinate again to appeal to concrete
surfaces from which I am paid to observe the observers,
pay next to nothing, right next to it...

several beautiful women in pumps, hatred their mouths
furiously debate merits of slick, shiny Chinese silk
patches hand-sewn by able and ready prisoners
air-tight, dignified, aeronautical,
flattering our formal fighters,
interpreters of the return.

ruling class black and white pictures
we'd inhaled from life-sized magazines
before television, world travel and Hollywood
reign we satirized as classical opulence, overindulgence
not really a part of the walking around psyche
approach until we grasped the greasy ugly truth
of one hundred, even four hundred years
of transitory inviolate stain

not until milk delivery stopped clinking
milk racing down our collective chins
came bearing key genetic histories
measuring keen the Iron City past
from racy cornerstones Sumerians
squatted, calculated, mined

not that I buy all that much of it,
I rise to salute smile I once borrowed
(pencil between my teeth, eraser in my fist)
kept in a bedside jar pennies on the dollar
until fly frazzled razorback of ancestry
finally perished for lack of direct proof,
a better argument or soil worth the rank
as the living finally earned
the promises of death...

battery mates compost
fly-away pinstripes stripped down
same doubt history frequently changes to maybe
survivors service armies stinking of fashion
fifteen full and pepsident minutes

until xeroxed Andy Warhol coughs
in grave confirming active swindle
revived from sandlot grassed over
during Cleveland riots & responsibilities
firm peaches along the tracks in Willacoochee,
DuPont-Lucent layoffs starched to hostility
class warriors storming erudite Berkeley
taking cues, La Crosse teachers' unions
grudge pound Corpus Christi, signaling
Vincennes railroad men to echo Window
Rock tattoo artists, as Boise sheep
herders with aim to build
skyscrapers all the way
to Times Beach the Almighty isotope,
spackle bromides of oil and water pipelines

stealing from filthy poor to give to filthy rich,
and save our uncle from Law of Spic and Span
finally put to its rightful use.

[ Washington DC, 2013 ]

A Tarot Card Reading

08 Oct


The Hierphant


You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching. All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors. The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

Have you joined a group that makes you feel like you belong? Are you following a course of instruction that has you deeply immersed in a new way of looking at life? Have you developed a newfound interest in your cultural heritage? Has work or family recently forced you to conform to certain standards? Is a person in your life or a philosophy you are interested in pushing you to behave to a norm? Expect to see The Hierophant card in your Tarot reading if you are submitting your individuality (consciously or unconsciously) to a group, a cause or an ideal.

The Hierophant is the embodiment of political and spiritual power that can only be found in groups. Even though the Hierophant is a man, he is merely holding his office until he dies and is replaced by the next Hierophant...
A man sitting on a throne is holding up the two-fingered sign of peace with one hand while holding a gold staff with three crossbars in the other hand. He is the Hierophant. He has an ornate crown and wears a red robe with white trim. On the trim are crosses that are also embroidered onto his white shoes. These rest on a red carpet. Behind the man is a gray wall with two large gray pillars on either side of him. Around his head and shoulders, the backing of some of his throne can be seen. In the card's foreground are two men kneeling before the Hierophant. These kneeling men wear ornate robes and have prominent bald spots on the backs of their heads. In between them are two golden skeleton keys crossed in an X pattern. The keys are directly beneath the Hierophant's feet.

The Hierophant is the medieval Pope. Unlike today's Pope, in medieval times, the Hierophant had his own army and the Vatican State was a sizable area of present day Italy known as "the Papal States." The Hierophant is the embodiment of political and spiritual power that can only be found in groups. Even though the Hierophant is a man, he is merely holding his office until he dies and is replaced by the next Hierophant, but it is the maintaining of the papacy itself over two millennia from whence its power emanates. The keys illustrated here are presently on the flag for Vatican City. The bald spots on the heads of the kneeling men are traditional shavings that medieval priests and monks would make to show their submission to the authority of the Pope. As the priests submit to the authority of the Hierophant, so to does the Hierophant submit to the authority of the very office he holds.

There Once Was An Antagonist

24 Sep


Antagonist, NYC 9/07


In New York City, on Thursday September 6, I showed a few antagonistic paintings in a tiny sweltering East Village basement. Highlights included a long chat with a New York poet about the enigmatic state of literature from the perspective of Generation Y still searching for its own voice, networking with a fellow who owns and operates the same image press I've had my eye on for some time now, and the pride of beautiful young felines who flashed this old poet and painter a smile. The heat was nearly unbearable however. This was the first night back into the space after a crisis. The AC was not working, a victim of torrential rains and flooding in the lower areas of New York City, including this East Village basement a few weeks earlier. Made a mess out of me. Sober & sweaty. Thanks, New York.

Shout out to fellow Antagonists Alex, Scott, Tom, Julian, Kari, Ted, Un, Ethan and Liberty Sue, each for your generosity of spirit...

There was some talk of a Berlin gallery which interested me, and I even sold a couple packs of postcards...

Tracing The Roots Of My Umbrella

20 Sep


The Howell House 2004


Originally published on June 11, 1999

Peggy once held down that same night auditor's job at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Peachtree way back in the early Eighties, although to those of us still dangling her memory chains, it seems like yesterday's music, always with us, cotton soft protection against the white light of a permanent game of trenches. Every cuticle of horsepower in RCH management and grunt services, starting with the owner himself, shined of pride, sliced butter like the most tapered of gay blades, rolled with a sophisticated childishness she admired in herself, so Mother always referred to herself—not as the token female (having owned that role before) but rather—the token straight, always sharing a laugh with her accommodating lads, sharing their jokes as an surrogate, even honorary insider. As a woman in constant struggle and a woman of a certain breeding, she had always prided herself (there's that word again) the longsuffering supportive mother of a high-strung gay son, my youngest sibling, John. Yes, she was of tolerance and empathy, she told the world, however misguided and self-indulgent she often was in presenting this deceptive image of herself.

In fact—Mother was on the job when I took respite on her sofa at the Howell House a mere hundred steps away. This move of mine began a rather quick but import six weeks era of great reading, writing, and window gazing at the street below, little else to drag me into action, after wheeling into the great Georgia capital city from Corpus Christi, poor, thin, desperate for a sneeze and my own artistic statement to initiate my transition from stiff to standard bearer, or something worse.

Home was a sixth floor, corner, modestly appointed, mid-scale one bedroom apartment in a Midtown Atlanta eighteen floor highrise. Mother lived there rentfree in exchange for her services, straight up for acting as the senior-citizens coordinator in a building demographic just over 50% extremely geriatric.

The Ritz-Carlton towered over Peachtree directly across the street from the fabulous and famous Fox Theatre, where "Gone With the Wind" premiered back in the 40s at the height of Hollywood glamour. Tucked into the street level corner of the hotel was famed Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom, now under new management and dubbed the Agora Ballroom. I never saw a show at either.

On the Fox side of the block only a parking lot and Third Street separated the elegantly ornate old theatre where I watched the moneyed classes pour into the streets after soaking up bands like the Stray Cats, the Go Gos and Elvis Costello (whom I had already seen in Houston five years earlier when I was a still a stakeout chief flush with cash). And me six flights up wishing and twitching I'd had the money to go, but once accepting I'd missed the show, miffed I had no camera to mark the spatial moment of my desires.

Beautiful people playing ugly, ugly people playing beautiful, each marked for the glory of the times screaming bloody murder at the winds of freedom flung out to every dick-n-jane exercising the basic American youth ritual of bringing down a rock show, a right fought for and won about the time I was busy being born in 1955. But pacing barefoot in carpet along the sixth floor corner windows, I peered out.

Blank gazing, I had nothing to do but generate assumptions, skirt ripping, roaring assumptions about these oddball and crazy people as they laughed and skipped and coughed and cursed, perched from on high pined the pointless I. Though I was young for my age, I was already 26. And yet, though I was old for my age, I was only 26.

A zetetic heritage group had recently saved the Fox from the demise of public demolition, which to Old Atlanta seemed more a personal humiliation than an urban renewal project, which gave them just enough gravitas to gird themselves for the fight they were panting for. The grand theatre, still in decent shape with a spit of glistening in her eye, yet aching for major repairs was then owned by a notorious porn mobster headed to jail who was threatening to bulldoze the landmark to spite the city as well as raise funds for his own empire quest. Rumor was Southern Bell wanted to erect another 'scraper on the spot.

One block west on Third and West Peachtree stood the 688 Club, the only only punk club in the city at the time. Punk as in cheap. Cheap tickets. Cheap beer. This was the only life I had for those six weeks rocking out on Jason and the Nashville Scorchers, as this powerful crew were originally called. The Georgia Satellites, as THEY were then known. Pylon. REM. The Swimming Pool Q's. Richard Hell. The Restraints. Punk and nasty. Ample nights bled into all night dream sessions quickening into stark frightening unfulfilling stations.

Fashionably thug ugly Chris Wood, the diabetic skinhead lead singer of the Restraints always squeezed off an insulin syringe into his bald skull at some spectacular point in a song during every show. He had a local hit single, an S&M ballad called Whacka Whacka Whacka, where he usually tried, and often successfully to pull a babe onto the stage for a whacking. When the fuss had ended, the girl in suburban clothing was scratched and torn, ass was bared. This was eyeball to eyeball punk rock Atlanta 1982-styled, pre-Genitorturers-GWAR-Mentors razorsharp breakout jones.

I heard through the Carol Jean Reed grape I guess two years later, my first year in DC, that Wood had been convicted of murder, and was in prison for a long string, and that was that. Diabetes and minor rock stardom wasn't enough for this guy. He wanted more more more whacka whacka whacka. But true to the myth he was a soft-talking nice guy when we drank a few beers together at some jukebox bar in the area which offered up the Whacka single before he pushed off into the ether of yet another fame flameout...

Pushing up skin on occasion a few more blocks up West Peachtree at the kindler, gentler, most quaint Bistro was a glitterpunk lesbian band called the Lipstick Stains. The L-Stains, along with another queer band called Weeweepole featuring a pre-drag Ru Paul jacked our jetsons once or twice a week, so the awakening had never been richer or more frivolous for me during my previously coarse life. Packing it up for the Lipstick Stains were three girlz & a boy who knew how to throw pajama parties at the Bistro, doing so with a flourish unique to the scene back in the day, and not a moment too soon as I began digging at the roots of my umbrella...

But that was then, this is now, so pray tell, what on God's black and blue is going on between Matthew Manus the night auditor and Kubhlai the life counselor, father of eight, and moral consciousness of our group? Does it concern me, GT, the SWORG, the changing of the guard, the seasons, the starch I've never had spray my underwear, what?

Oh yes, I almost forgot, after a number of months, three, four maybe, the gay brigade eventually ran my mother off the job to replace her with another of an endless parade of fey boys. She was notably upset at the time, really digging the convenience and prestigious atmosphere of the office, but she shoved on, kept her senior-citizens duties at the Howell Howell for another couple of years or so, and was still kicking up the dust of all her detractors...

The gay mafia clandestine machine, like all special interest power machines, lives on to stroke its unrelenting agenda ...

[My mother does not.]

Lost In The System

17 Sep




Orginally punlished on January 18, 1998

Most did settle out of court from what I've read. Now, law is leaning toward allowing companies an edge in arguments against domain name speculators, but I think the domain name wars are over as a result of this a new set of seven upper domains on tap, plus the other two that are already on the market at TABNET, but who knows if "" will declare manifest trademark rights on "" Doesn't seem to have, after a quick check.

Still painting, burning weeds. Order in the court. Speaking of that. The DC government has sent me a two dollar check for appearing in court for jury duty on January 7, 1998. They also sent me a thirty dollar day for January 7. Then I received another two dollar check for services rendered on January 8. Then another thirty. I only went to the courthouse a half a day, and that was January 7. This, after blowing off the whole thing back on December 8, when I was originally scheduled to appear in Superior as a potential petit juror. Being sick, I didn't go, but I straightened up. They sent a threatening letter teasing me with a $300 fine, seven days jail, or both. Now they are sending me all this money.

So far, Hector has liked everything, graphically. He just thinks it’s too big, and needs to be scaled back, which is my evening project, after I finish this forest green painting of the paper closet, install the bric-a-brac-and handle, and set up the new ETF account I was telling you about.
Got to rework the Takaro Farm site nearly from scratch again to be viewable without scrolling at 640x480 rez on a 15" display. This the client now prefers, after first declaring he wanted frames because he saw them elsewhere, but disturbing inconsistences in the display of text over graphics on one of the pages in the current design are forcing me to rethink and revamp the site at large, so as to have the material fully viewable on first screen, in that monstrous resolution, at a size that looks large to him. What's your take on this topic, Steve? Two years ago I could agree with Hector, but Hector admittedly knows nothing about his own computer, much less the industry. If he did, he should perhaps try to lure some Apple money into his pockets. But today? I think 15" display 800x600 resolution is by far the norm, and more specifically, the cheapest view I can imagine someone looking to purchase a $10K horse from around the world, would be visiting the Takaro farm site. So far, Hector has liked everything, graphically. He just thinks it's too big, and needs to be scaled back, which is my evening project, after I finish this forest green painting of the paper closet, install the bric-a-brac-and handle, and set up the new ETF account I was telling you about.



"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""