on this eve of destruction

Brian Eno & David Byrne-Jezebel Spirit

go 'head sister.


Hip Hop Thursdays: Art Rap After Parties

El-P & Camu Tao-Jukie Skate Rock (from the Central Services EP)

spaceworm beats meet backpack jam in the kind of strip joint you won't tell your friends the location of thats how good it is, the hottest thing out of 2010 (r.i.p. Camu Tao )

Danny Brown-Cyclops

i am speechlessly crunk off of this.

Open Mike Eagle-Haircut

i like rap about haircuts, and videos full of hairspirations.

Kid Cudi-Ashin Kusher

do cool hand moves. some finger-poppin.

Laurel Nakadate, Porn Stars Reading Poems (2010)

don't you like it

when something that looks like a joke makes you feel something beautiful.


may the bridges i burn light the way

(text from Beverley Hills 90210, episode 119 "Things That Go Bang in the Night!", 1994 performed by Tiffani Thiessen,Jason Priestly, Luke Perry)

Valerie Malone: All right you want the truth? The truth is I can't do this anymore. I can't go to these KEG frat parties or hang out with your square, straight-arrow friends knowing that Dylan is all by himself going down and down, and I'm the only one there to keep him afloat!
Brandon Walsh
: That's his choice.
Valerie Malone : How can you say that? You told me that you are willing to let me start over 20 times if you have to. What did Dylan ever do to you that was so terrible that you have to completely shut him out?
Brandon Walsh : He knows if he wants help, all he has to do is ask.
Valerie Malone : But he is crying for help! Can't you see that? Dylan is so angry at himself, angry at the world for being lied to and betrayed by people he's come to like and trust that he doesn't know how. God, what kind of rock-bottom are you waiting for him to hit? The kind where he might end up dead? He's over there right now drugged out of his mind.
Brandon Walsh : He's taking drugs now?
Valerie Malone : Yeah, hard stuff. This is just like watching my father all over again in the weeks before he blew his own brains out. Feeling he's lost everything, nothing to live for, cleaning his gun, debating with himself whether or not to put it to his temple and...
Brandon Walsh : Wait a minute. What gun?
Valerie Malone : You know what I'm talking about. Some pistol he bought from a street dealer. You told me that he almost shot you with it just last year.
Brandon Walsh : He told me he got rid of it.
Valerie Malone : Well, apparently he lied.
Brandon Walsh : That's not the first time he's done that. Or for that matter... you.

Valerie Malone: Dylan, what are the bullets for?
Dylan McKay
: They're for the gun.
Valerie Malone : What's the gun for?
Dylan McKay : It kind of goes with the bullets.

[Dylan, high on drugs, shoots his gun at a paper Halloween skeleton sitting in an armchair]
Dylan McKay : What are you laughing at?

Brandon Walsh : [trying to wake up Dylan sleeping on his living room couch] Dylan? Dylan, come on man. Come on Dylan. Hey, come on. Wake up! Hey, hey, hey, hey. Come on. Come on, let's walk around here a little bit huh?
Dylan McKay : I'm fine! What, you think I O.D.? I was alseep.
Brandon Walsh : Must be a heavy sleeper. It took me nearly two minutes to wake you up.
Dylan McKay: Just very tired.
Brandon Walsh : Big day shooting up the house?
Dylan McKay: What house? This isn't my house. Don't got a house. I got nothing. No house. No money. No friends or family. Hey, where's my gun?
Brandon Walsh : Look, Dylan... I know that Kevin and Suzanne ripped you off, but... I'm really sorry. The only thing I can say is you gotta get over it.
Dylan McKay: [sarcastic] Yeah, I'll get over it... first thing in the morning.
Brandon Walsh : All right fine, then don't get over it! But do something besides just getting wasted everyday. I mean, what are you saying, man? That there was never anything more than money...
Dylan McKay: [interrupting] Don't... don't come over here after two months and start analyzing me! What do you know? How do you get so wise and come over here? Man, you live at home. You live the most cuddled existence of anybody that I know, and yet you come in here and tell me that you have some idea of what I'm going through. Man, you have no idea to what I am going through!
Brandon Walsh : Don't try to turn this around. This isn't about me.
Dylan McKay: No, it's never about you, isn't it Brandon? It's about Brenda. Brenda's got guts, man. She had the guts and moved away to another continent just to get away from you and everyone else in this evil world we live in!
Brandon Walsh : Dylan, at this point in time, I'm just about the only friend you've got. You sure you want to do this? Push me away like you've done to everyone else?
Dylan McKay: Yeah! May the bridges I burn light the way!
Brandon Walsh : Okay...
Dylan McKay: Brandon! Don't take my gun. If you walk out of here with it, I'll call the cops on you myself!
Brandon Walsh : Go ahead. My license plate number is 3E5503. Want me to write it down?
Dylan McKay: No... just go. Get out. Leave me alone. GET OUT!


How to Make it Snow

Hip Hop Thursday with Thomas Kinkade

Wale-Make it Rain Freestyle

Freddie Gibbs-4681 Broadway

Fat Joe-Make it Rain

UGK-Game Been Good To Me

thomas kinkade

Thomas Kinkade's memo to staff for The Christmas Cottage feature film: (from here )

The Christmas Cottage

The sixteen guidelines for creating the "The Thomas Kinkade Look".

1) Dodge corners or create darkening towards edge of image for "cozy" look. This may only apply to still imagery, but is useful where applicable.

2) Color key each scene to create mood, and color variation. When possible, utilize cooler tones to suggest somber moods, and warmer, more vibrant tones to suggest festive atmosphere. In general, create a color scheme for each scene that can be accentuated through filtering, DI treatments, or through lighting. Most of my paintings feature an overall cool color envelope, into which warm accents are applied.

3) Create classic compositions. Paintings generally utilize a theme and variation compositional motif. Heavy weighting of the image towards one side, with accented areas of interest balancing it on the other side. Allow the eye to wander into the scene through some entry point. Be aware of where the viewer is standing at all times. Utilize traditional eye levels for setting the shot -- that is, no high vantage points, off-kilter vantage points, or "worms eye view" vantage points. Generally focus on a standing adults viewpoint of the scene at hand.

4) Awareness of edges. Create an overall sense of soft edges, strive for a "Barry Lyndon" look. Star filters used sparingly, but an overall "gauzy" look preferable to hard edge realism.

5) Overall concept of light. Each scene should feature dramatic sources of soft light. Dappled light patches are always a positive, glowing windows, lightposts, and other romantic lighting touches will accentuate the overall effect of the theme of light.

6) Hidden details whenever possible, References to my children (from youngest to oldest as follows): Evie, Winsor, Chandler and Merritt. References to my anniversary date, the number 52, the number 82, and the number 5282 (for fun, notice how many times this appears in my major published works). Hidden N's throughout -- preferably thirty N's, commemorating one N for each year since the events happened.

7) Overall sense of stillness. Emphasize gentle camera moves, slow dissolves, and still camera shots. A sense of gradual pacing. Even quick cut-away shots can slightly dissolve.

8) Atmospheric effects. Whenever possible utilize sunset, sunrise, rainy days, mistiness -- any transitory effect of nature that bespeaks luminous coloration or a sense of softness.

9) A sense of space. My paintings feature both intimate spaces and dramatic deep space effects. We should strive for intimate scenes to be balanced by deeper establishing shots. (I know this particular one is self-evident, but I am reminded of it as I see the pacing of the depth of field in Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon".)

10) Short focal length. In general, I love a focal plane that favors the center of interest, and allows mid-distance and distant areas to remain blurry. Recommend "stopping down" to shorten focal lengths.

11) Hidden spaces. My paintings always feature trails that dissolve into mysterious areas, patches of light that lead the eye around corners, pathways, open gates, etc. The more we can feature these devices to lead the eye into mysterious spaces, the better.

12) Surprise details. Suggest a few "inside references" that are unique to this production. Small details that I can mention in interviews that stimulate second or third viewings -- for example, a "teddy bear mascot" for the movie that appears occasionally in shots. This is a fun process to pursue, and most movies I'm aware of normally have hidden "inside references". In the realm of fine art we refer to this as "second reading, third reading, etc." A still image attracts the viewer with an overall impact, then reveals smaller details upon further study.

13) Mood is supreme. Every decision made as to the visual look of each shot should include the concept of mood. Music can accentuate this, use of edges can accentuate this, atmospheric effects accentuate this, etc.

14) The concept of beauty. I get rid of the "ugly parts" in my paintings. It would be nice to utilize this concept as much as possible. Favor shots that feature older buildings, ramshackle, careworn structures and vehicles, and a general sense of homespun simplicity and reliance on beautiful settings.

15) Nostalgia. My paintings routinely blend timeframes. This is not only okay, but tends to create a more timeless look. Vintage cars (30's, 40's, 50's, 60's etc) can be featured along with 70's era cars. Older buildings are favorable. Avoid anything that looks contemporary -- shopping centers, contemporary storefronts, etc. Also, I prefer to avoid anything that is shiny. Our vintage vehicles, though often times are cherished by their owners and kept spic-n-span should be "dirtied up" a bit for the shoot. Placerville was and is a somewhat shabby place, and most vehicles, people, etc bear traces of dust, sawdust, and the remnants of country living. There are many dirt roads, muddy lanes, etc., and in general the place has a tumbled down, well-worn look.

16) Most important concept of all -- THE CONCEPT OF LOVE. Perhaps we could make large posters that simply say "Love this movie" and post them about. I pour a lot of love into each painting, and sense that our crew has a genuine affection for this project. This starts with Michael Campus as a Director who feels great love towards this project, and should filter down through the ranks. Remember: "Every scene is the best scene."

The list above is not all-inclusive, but is a good starting point for internal dialogue. These guidelines are not listed in order of importance, but are dictated off the top of my head. After painting for nearly 40 years, I still wake up every morning daydreaming about new ways to make paintings. Creating a movie is a natural extension of the picture making process, and hopefully my catalog of visual paintings, along with my visual guidelines in this memo will provoke dialogue, experimentation, and a sense of over-arching visual purpose.


towards the serial

Here is a paper I wrote this semester for a course in art theory. For the past 5 months I have been focusing on the disruptions that occur in semiotic comprehension and cohesion within serial art works, whose language is evolved from the history of archive creation, a scientific and taxonomic method of working vested in structures of power and authority. For me, the intersection of the aesthetic object ( meant to provide personal pleasure ) and the power structures inherent in serial taxonomies (meant to provide authority and control subjects and objects) is a territory rich in contradictions and fascinations. By investigating the work of serial killers who also happened to make photographic archives, I am straining towards an new territory where serial work can potentially be held for questioning and eventually liberated.

Note: this essay references the photographic archive of Rodney Alcala, a part of which can be downloaded, along with a hard copy of this essay, here

Relentless Representation:On Serial Photography and the Archive


The invention of photography: For whom? Against whom?-Jean Luc Godard

But never did Henry, as he thought he did,

end anyone and hacks her body up and hide the pieces, where they may be found.
He knows: he went over everyone, & nobody's missing.
Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up.
Nobody is ever missing
(John Berryman, Dream Song 29)

All photographs are memento mori”-Susan Sontang

In March 2010, the contents of a storage locker in Seattle, Washington belonging to Rodney Alcala, a California based serial killer that had been imprisoned in 1979 for the murder of five young women and girls, were released to the public by the Huntington Beach Police department. In this locker, along with the pearl earring belonging to one of his victims, were 2,000 photographs of young women(and a few young boys), part or all of Alcala's personal photo archive. It is believed that Alcala, an amateur photographer who studied film under Roman Polanski in the 60s, would approach his subjects by introducing himself as a fashion photographer looking for models. A few of the women he approached became his victims. Most did not. The minor hysteria that accompanied the release of ninety of these photographs, a move ostensibly motivated by an attempt on the part of the police department to identify undocumented and un-recovered victims and to resolve “cold cases” potentially linked to Alcala, is one phrased in the panic that circles around organizations of law and order when they are challenged with that thing that they are designed around-- namely, the documentation, and by extension, control of political and cultural subjects. Alcala's archive, and our response to seeing it (the photographs were published in various media outlets for free public consumption), is one that both mirrors and complicates the aims of the institution that provided it for consumption. Our looking is one rooted both as subjects of institutions and subjects who consume aesthetic objects. Looking at photographic archives such as Alcala's illustrate the two-pronged machinery of thought that underlie our understanding of archives as a general mode of production, and leads us to the problematic question of

Photographic archives: for whom? By whom?

Looking at Alcala's archive, we experience the body of work in two ways. On the one hand, we are appalled and saddened-- the proper response, one that is expected and programmed for us. As normative political and cultural subjects, our response to the creepiness of such an archive is one that is bound up with a complicity with the aims of the organizations of law and order, whose presentation of the archive as a trespass guides us towards an understanding of these photographs as documents that function as evidence, objects to be handled towards a practical goal of resolution. We are instructed to identify, an action that places us within the context of the law as up keepers and affirmers of it. This action marks our cooperation as subjects within that sphere. Our moral indignation is a response coded as subject-formation here. When we look, we are tools of the organization which asks us to mimic the processes that define it; thus, our look is motivated, regulated, bound up with those processes of identification, judgment and documentation. We are empowered- that is, granted the authority of law- by this aim1 Like the eyes of a security camera in a modern day panopticon, our eyes no longer belong to us, but to the law.

Perhaps the most disturbing element of Alcala's archive, at least for us as subjects of the law and most certainly for the arbitrators of it, is the mimicry and appropriation of the language of the law by the lawless in this case. The serial killer, one who is firmly situated outside of and in opposition to the organizations of power,who wields his(and it is almost always a man)power in secret, in motel rooms and personal living spaces, in the unregulated spaces of the private sphere,is a perversion of the functions that define the law: systemic repetition(the seriality of the murders), organization(the selection of victims and processing of their bodies),violence, power. The output of these functions is the archive. Alcala has made a body of documentation exactly akin to those made by governmental organizations (prisons,police departments, human resource bureaus, etc), whose documentation of subjects is remarkable in its emphasis on the systemic repetition. The photographic archive,echoing the structure of taxonomic classification systems and rooted in the empiricism of documentation, is turned on its head with the existence of sinister archives of personal violence such as Alcala's. But it is precisely this type of archive that serves to ground an exploration of an archive's supposed empiricism and objectivity.

What defines the archive? Defined, an archive is a collection of “primary source
documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime.”2 The archive is rooted in systemic accumulation, and its objective, beyond that, can be understood to service documentation in some form or the other. The element of the serial enters in to the understanding of the archive as a body of things defined by sheer numbers, repetition, chronology. The personal is sublimated in favor of the general-the mass. The documents of an archive become anonymous when placed in this context. Even if they are, like most objects, rife with specificity, by virtue of being inserted in a series of other objects that are connected through systematized representation and organization, they are scrubbed of a priori meaning. The objects in an archive inevitably beg (or, indeed are required) to be considered together, as a greater whole, lending the body a homogenized quality. Because the archive presents itself and its aims as documentary, it is understood to pay service to neutrality. When the archives are photographic, an additional element of neutrality enters into the way we are to read the body of documents. Photography, already a form rooted in empiricism, the representation of “reality” in a visual form, lends the archive another layer, a patina of indifference. Our question, as consumers of the photographic archive, is, how neutral? How indifferent? Photographic archives “establish a relation of abstract visual equivalence between pictures.”3 These relations form a visual and semantic territory. Because of the pre-supposed objectivity of archive work, it is easy to forget that someone-an author- has, if not created, then directed the archive and created this territory. Within this space, the indifferent documents begin to speak to each other. They are there for a reason, and each image connects to another and back to the whole in some way. Here we have a challenge to the empirical quality of the archive: meaning. Archives are created for a reason, and they exist to be read. Alcala's obsessive snapshots serve perhaps( and we can never know, for he has never admitted his intention in creation)as a file of his intended victims, prey he was stalking, or simply and in a more complicated way, as aesthetic documents that captivated his attention and led him to an industry of accumulation. In an archive, meaning is transferable. Not just metaphorically, either; because of the supposed neutrality of the body of documents, the entire archive may be literally transferred and re-appropriated. For example, an archive of photographs depicting cars according to manufacturer may be sold or re-possessed by a governmental body to gather data later for varying purposes, some of which may never have been intended by the original creator/curator of the archive. Authorship trades hands, and intention is re-formed according to those hands, those eyes.


The archive, then, is a contradictory form: it insists on its neutrality and discredits authorship, presenting itself as a truth, while within the archive itself, meaning is negotiable, transferable, mutable and subjective. In the history of photography, Bernd and Hilla Becher, German artists working in the 60s and on, popularized a “straight” style of photography that insisted on the accumulation of images of similar things(industrial objects, buildings and spaces), presented together systemically in an un-elaborated and deliberately un-gorgeous manner. They are credited with the formulation of “Serial Photography” as a mode, one which relied on the bureaucratic language of the archive to subvert the insistence of aestheticism and narrative in visual art. Their intention is to “make families of objects, . . . [or, on another occasion] . . “to create families of motifs’ – objects or motifs “­that become humanised and destroy one another, as in Nature where the older is devoured by the newer.”4 The Bechers acknowledge here the violence inherent in repetition, and the erosion of the subject that occurs in repetitive representation. The Becher's mode of production adheres closely to the tradition of photography as social and scientific documentation, a tradition the medium struggled against from its inception in attempts to prove its validity as fine art. In part, the Becher's work is a response against that struggle, defining itself through a return to the aims of the work of a photographer such as August Sander, the German social documentarian of the 1930's, whose large-scale photographic archive project attempted to categorize Germans of every social milieu and profession before World War II interrupted not only his work, but the very society he was attempting to document. The camera is a scientific tool in the hands of the early social documentarians, and the work being created is intended for the filing cabinet, the organizational storage device of the bureaucracy5. When Hilda and Bern Becher photographed as if for the filing cabinet but displayed the images on gallery walls in grids, instead, are we to understand the photographs as documents? Evidence? Art? Unlike August Sander and other photo-realists producing archival social-documentary bodies of work, the Bechers acknowledge their interest in repetition as an aesthetic statement. Their serial, sequential photographs have a link to Walter Benjamin's conception of the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, in their deliberate stripping away of the “aura” or poetic transcendence of their aesthetic production. Speaking of Eugene Atget, the early 20th century French photographer whose repetitive images of empty Parisian streets are like “scenes of a crime”, Benjamin writes that these images are “photographed for the purpose of establishing evidence . . photographs become standard evidence for historical occurrences, and acquire a hidden political significance”6 The semantic territory of the images is created by repetition and standardization, creating a text where the repetition and not necessarily any single image itself provides our access to understanding and reading the work. Benjamin uses a crucial word in this description: “hidden”. Like the self-described erosion of subjectivity the Bechers spoke of in their serial work, the erosion of implicit significance that occurs in repetitive representation allows for new meanings to emerge from nothing more than the form-the repetition- itself. Where this erosion becomes fraught is where the repetition of the serial refuses to acknowledge its power to erase- and to remain silent. Because the archival mode of representation says to the reader, “I am true”, all the while saying “I am inherent”, the link between knowledge and power is submerged. This is an insidious message, one that opens the reader to the manipulation of the author/artist(hidden) and that discredits the subject(s) of the archive. Because it claims itself as an aesthetic statement while appropriating the bureaucratic language of power and control that is inherently coded into the history of the archival methods of photographic realism, serial photography can remain silent while it silences.

Susan Sontang has commented on the
predatory nature of photographing someone, saying :“to photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have;it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.”7 In Alcala's archive,we can see the sinister nature of the question of INTENTION and authorship that is denied by the serial photography format. Alcala's archive, like many archives (personal or bureaucratic) will not reveal its intention in the accumulation of its subjects. Because Alcala went on later to violate the law by committing murders in the serial fashion with which he photographed and compiled his photographs, it is normal for us to feel uncomfortable with viewing his archive. With any other archive, however, this discomfort(the discomfort of knowledge) is not accessible to us. Blindly, we accept the implicit authority of the empiricism presented by the archive's organization and seriality, not questioning the authorship and intention. The photographer becomes, contradictorily, both an authority and a cipher. This mode of consumption of aesthetic objects is troublesome to me because the viewer is silenced by the hidden authority of the presentation of the body of work. Because repetition is aestheticized and intention is subverted by accumulation, the work acquires its power through the silencing-the semantic killing-of its subjects. This becomes more or less troublesome depending on the subject(s) of the work. If all photographs are memento mori, then we must consider the archive to be bound up with the same violence of representation that it discredits by proclaiming to remain neutral. Rodney Alcala's personal archive, a body of work that runs counter to the processes of organizational control, can be appropriated, placed outside of a context of personal aesthetic pleasure, and become a tool of affirmation of the sphere against which it is posited and created. If all photographs are memento mori, the archive is a living sphere of shifting control, controlled secretly and presenting itself neutrally so that we,too, may be controlled by whomever takes possession of it. We must view with suspicion and with a critical eye any body of work that utilizes the functions of the archive(to silence, to command, to break the link between power and knowledge)and aestheticizes those functions, and view all of this type of work with the same approach we take in viewing the archive of a serial killer, both in and out of his hands. When we do this, we liberate the archive and can begin to re-claim it.

1“Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces,lights,gazes;in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce
the relation in which individuals are caught up . . . there is a machinery that assures dissymmetry, disquelbrium, difference. Consequently, it does not matter who exercises power.
” Michel Foucault,

3Allan Sekula, “Reading the Archive,” in Blasted Allegories, ed. Brian Walls(New York: The New museum of Contemporary Art, 1987), p. 118.

4Bernd Becher in conversation with Jean-Francois Chevrier, James Lingwood, Thomas Struth, in Another Objectivity: June 10–July 17 1988, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London 1988, p.57. Bernd and Hilla Becher quoted in an exhibition statement for ‘Distance And Proximity (Germany), Bernd & Hilla Becher / Andreas Gursky / Candida Hofer / Axel Hutte / Simone Nieweg / Thomas Ruff / Jorg Sasse / Tomas Struth / Petra Wunderlich’, http://www.photosynkyria.gr/98/ex/ex48_en.html.

5“In short, we need to describe the emergence of a truth-apparatus that cannot be adequately reduced to the optical model provided by the camera. The camera is integrated into a larger ensemble: a bureaucratic-clerical-statistical system of “intelligence”. This system can be described as a sophisticated form of the archive. The central artifact of this system is not the camera but the filing cabinet.” Alan Sekula, “The Body and the Archive”, in The Contest of Meaning, ed. Richard Bolton (Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1992), p. 351.

6Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, (New York: Random House Inc. , 1968), p. 226.

7Susan Sontag, On Photography, (New York:Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1977), p. 14.

a series of utterances

Repeat. REPEAT.

1. I will know everything, I will erase myself.
2. I will forget all that I knew, I will gain myself.
3. Black Knowledge, Black Knowledge.
4. White Knowledge, White Knowledge.
5. Stones in the quarry, Silent.
6. Under the snow: More snow.
7.Behind the dark sky: More dark sky.
8. Pennies in the well: Eons.
9. A mirror, a Layer.
10. My body, a Liar.

work forward, work backwards.

keep yourself faithful.

(for c)

not just religious, these spirituals. jesus can be any thing. jesus can be yourself, waking up tomorrow and washing off the mascara streaks with the sun always on your shoulders as you surface up,
always you can count
10 9 8 7
in the mirror
5 4 3
baby you're beautiful,
your face is the morning
shining with leaving
that was yesterday


Hip Hop Thursday

Curren$y-Micheal Knight

ski di di di di di di di!

Alexander Spit-Beautiful or Bust

contains the most confusing reference to Harmony Korine i've ever heard but i still gets geeked

Papaya-I Believe

Papaya-Black n' Red

back to chicago.

Celia Cruz's shoes. Custom-made, 1970's


HOT: notes from Eyes Without a Face video (1984)

make a good night extra special by mixing and matching elements from column a with column b:

black leather Dune separates
billy sneer
crucifix earring
weird conceptual head wear

Kenneth Anger volcano
smoke machine
emotive floor thrashing
fire symbology
ass drumming

(for experts only)
steal a car and go to las vegas
water cannon
billy hawk


this moment of clarity

sometimes it happens so suddenly like in the car cresting a hill and coming down fast barely anytime to think of what is happening to you amazed at the ability of the vehicle to coast smoothly down this surprising occasion. other times, it is being pulled away from yourself and seeing your life like an alien object, oh look at that!, placidly, through windowpane but what can you do. you just keep passing these things by and letting them go until they are nothing but specks in the rearview,
and then
nothing at all.

but their memory lives on in a quiet way
the way images tend to return at odd intervals
maybe 2 years from now, doing the laundry, folding
on another continent
in the mid-afternoon
the radio playing something
lonesome and familiar
and you will remember your life
and how it was
so strange
that the things that once felt as
massive and difficult as razoredge bluffs,
storm sky in montana,
2 thousand miles to drive,
the salty disturbed ocean,
keeping bodies apart;
are nothing but
the flash of a
on the road trip,
moving towards


always moving


my prayer for you:
i hope you have good blades on the windshield wipers
to take the haze off
your mind these
see it


(images by lee friedlander )


love and hate: creation manifesto

The First Elegy

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels' hierarchies?
and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday's street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.
Oh and night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces.
Whom would it not remain for--that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence,
which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
Don't you know yet?
Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe;
perhaps the birds will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.

Yes--the springtimes needed you. Often a star was waiting for you to notice it.
A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past,
or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing.
All this was mission. But could you accomplish it?
Weren't you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?
(Where can you find a place to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
going and coming and often staying all night.)
But when you feel longing, sing of women in love; for their famous passion is still not immortal.
Sing of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.
Begin again and again the never-attainable praising; remember: the hero lives on;
even his downfall was merely a pretext for achieving his final birth.
But Nature, spent and exhausted, takes lovers back into herself,
as if there were not enough strength to create them a second time.
Have you imagined Gaspara Stampa intensely enough
so that any girl deserted by her beloved might be inspired by that fierce example of soaring,
objectless love and might say to herself, "Perhaps I can be like her?"
Shouldn't this most ancient of sufferings finally grow more fruitful for us?
Isn't it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and,
quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension,
so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain.

Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:
until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn't notice at all: so complete was their listening.
Not that you could endure God's voice--far from it.
But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
Didn't their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
quietly come to address you?
Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death--
which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.

Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to leave even one's own first name behind,
forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
Strange to no longer desire one's desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
they themselves have created.
Angels (they say) don't know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.

In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us:
they are weaned from earth's sorrows and joys,
as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we, who do need such great mysteries,
we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit's growth--:
could we exist without them?
Is the legend meaningless that tells how, in the lament for Linus,
the daring first notes of song pierced through the barren numbness;
and then in the startled space which a youth as lovely as a god has suddenly left forever,
the Void felt for the first time that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and
helps us.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Duino Elegies
(emphasis mine)

I hate all of my work.

there it is. it feels so good to say it, to live with it, to demolish everything. i can't remember when this all began, maybe this summer, 2k10, forever now to be known as the Summer of Destruction. i hate creating beautiful things-to try to. i want to destroy those things that are beautiful. can we understand beauty? i think this is impossible. beauty, so mute, inexpressive. we know it when we see it, like we know love when we feel it. the origins of both seem erased from our ability to do either justice. what can be said about the unknowable. maybe that was what Rilke spoke of when he says beauty is the beginning of terror.

hate is so specific. hate is always ugly. does it seek to destroy? i think not always. where beauty and love shut a door to creation, hate may burn the structure down. and when the structure is burnt to its nothing, can something be built there, in the places between that invisible thing and this, our ever-renewing struggle to tear meanings from sunken worlds, to speak in mingled pleasures and half-sentences? to create in tension? to create against, and in spite of ? reject muteness?

i hope so.

there it is.


archive research:articles

william henry fox talbot, articles of china
william henry fox talbot, aricles of china, plate 3 from The Pencil of Nature 1844

was that fun


the water's fine