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.

Here they lay, the perfect opportunity for a "portrait." I wouldn't have to worry about the subject blinking, moving, or otherwise ruining the shot.

As bad luck would have it, however, my camera's battery wore down. I recall snapping these two shots quickly and hoping there was enough juice left for the camera to function.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Faces in the Trees

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

Civic Lessons

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

To Adam Smith

I am an ipod

An iphone

A laptop

My wallet groans.

It’s not keeping up

It’s coming to be.

You can’t be yourself

Except as commodity.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Regarding May Day

I wish I'd have been aware of this in time for May 1st. I offer it now. It is from The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano and is entitled Forgetting.

Chicago is full of factories. There are even factories right in the center of the city, around the world's tallest building. Chicago is full of factories. Chicago is full of workers.

Arriving in the Haymarket district, I ask my friends to show me the place where the workers whom the whole world salutes every May 1st were hanged in 1886.
"It must be around here, " they tell me. But nobody knows where.

No statue has been erected in memory of the martyrs of Chicago in the city of Chicago. Not a statue, not a monolith, not a bronze plaque. Nothing.

May 1st in the only truly universal day of all humanity, the only day when all histories and all geographies, all languages and religions and cultures of the world coincide. But in the United States, May 1st is a day like any other. On that day, people work normally and no one, or almost no one, remembers that the rights of the working class did not spring whole from the ear of a goat, or from the hand of God or the boss.

After my fruitless exploration of the Haymarket, my friends take me to the largest bookstore in the city. And there, poking around, just by accident, I discover an old poster that seems to be waiting for me, stuck among many movie and rock posters. The poster displays an African proverb: Until lions have their own historians, histories of the hunt will glorify the hunter.

Monday, May 3, 2010

For My Stillborn Sister

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

Words on the Wind

Several weeks ago I hung a string of Tibetan Prayer Flags from our back yard fence. They are wind-blown, tattered by rain and sun, and faded to pastel shades of red, blue, yellow, and beige.
They flutter over tulips now shed of their blossoms, and wait for the roses to bloom.

I hope for some divine intervention to ease the eyesore of our back yard. We inadvertently applied an agent-orange like defoliant, thinking only that we'd applied some weed-killer. It looks as if the hounds of hell have been pissing on the grass.

I think I need larger prayer flags.