Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
For several years a statue of Buddha on the grounds of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center has inspired me. When I first noticed him he was already showing signs of wear, his surface crumbled by year-round exposure to the elements. I admired the perseverance even as the figure chipped and flaked and appeared to dissolve into the ground.
Years have passed and this statue is much the worse for wear. Halved in height, his legs reduced to rubble and the rubble swept away he now leans against a tree for support. Yet for all of the statue's infirmaries his serenity is constant.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Where were you stationed?
I wasn’t so much stationed as sent, the names of places secondary to the mission. Hell, they wouldn’t even tell us what country we were in. Central America, I gathered. We crossed some borders in support of an objective, blasting the hostiles sometimes. Other times having to pussy-foot ‘round some rag-tag cluster of rebels when we coulda as easily taken them out. Three years of that shit and I got out. Hard to find a job, though, when the only skill I had was shooting people.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Colonizing efforts seek always to obliterate the peoples they dominate. My sister-in-law, a Ukrainian, was prohibited from speaking her native language by the dominant Russians during the Soviet Era. A former co-worker of mine, a Crow Indian, was prevented from speaking her people’s tongue by the priests and nuns of her elementary school. There is no shortage of historical examples of cultural suppression. Conquered lands and conquered peoples themselves are to be a tabla rosa on which a victor’s history of imperial aims is portrayed through a whitewash of benevolent intentions.
This peculiar and predictable narrative continues to play out in Prescott, Arizona where an artist’s mural at an elementary school in a predominantly white neighborhood has come under censorious consideration. The artist’s inclusion of a Latino child prompted a request from school administrators to “lighten” the complexion of the child. The reason cited by these administrators is, they claim, artistic considerations.
Given the demographics of Arizona’s population—a Latino majority—you might not think the inclusion of one dark hued face in a mural would warrant outcry from a Caucasian enclave. It is a dismal commentary on Arizona, and by extension on the United States, that the presence of a non-Caucasian cannot yet be seen as representational of community and continues to be viewed as provocation.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I visited the home and studio of my friend the artist Paul Nehring on an autumn day. Among the many curios laying about I saw several casts of faces on the ground.
Friday, May 14, 2010
In the woods around the tiny clearing plaster casts of skulls lay on the ground. Some lay face down, empty eye sockets full of earth; others lay on their sides as if at rest; still others incline to the left or to the right as if quizzical regarding the origin of a sound echoing among the trees. Finally, there are those skulls who stare into the tree tops awaiting the ripening of the faces growing there, guessing at their intention.
Monday, May 10, 2010
We were to rise from our seats, all of us in 3rd grade, place our right hands over our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. All but one of us took to our feet. Sandy remained seated with her belief that any such oath taking was a form of idolatry forbidden by her faith.
In full voice the teacher swooped down on Sandy and attempted to yank her to her feet. She pulled on Sandy’s body while Sandy clutched her desk. The desk, with attached chair, clanked and banged against the floor to the rhythm of the teacher’s exertions, while the words from my mouth spun like dust-motes in the sunshine.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
What? What? I’m related by blood to a phantom. She ages slowly and bears the bruised knees of childhood.
She opens her mouth and swallows my unanswered questions. Her eyes are bright with reflections of emptiness.
Character from a blank book, she erases what could have been; her absence is my presence. She holds unheard history.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I last saw Chick Corea in Kalamazoo, Michigan back in the 1970's. Then, he was taking a break from his heralded jazz-fusion group Return to Forever by playing improvisational piano pieces. My appetite for these pieces had been primed by my introduction to both Corea and improvisational piano by my dear friend Anne.