Friday, September 15, 2017


Accidental Image

I see a variation of the laughing face that adorned the credits of some early Three Stooges shorts. Something funny, but also a hint diabolical. Sometimes it's impossible to discern meaning from the quivering and ever-changing Semiotics of the day-to-day; this is where your creative mojo kicks in. 

The ability to see unique wonder in the banal detritus of our industrial nation lives. The eye twitch of brain synapse that distills a glance into a Zen-like zap of beauty or symmetry or conundrum; the visceral perception of something fleeting or ephemeral that nevertheless makes the heart hum or entrances the eyes in delightful vision; the sudden apprehension of a building's detail that causes you to smile wanly.

Rubbing a cat's belly

You don't have to go to any trouble to notice things; you just have to look around with interest and curiosity. And allow yourself the luxury of unfiltered observation, allow yourself the pleasure of creating your own visual enjoyment by noticing the weird or enigmatic detail somewhere on the vast sheet of your Total Daily Landscape. It is there, that odd juxtaposition, that elegantly spontaneous composition that jumps out at you from the plastic surround, you can ascertain it, you can etch it into your gravitational spin, but you have to be open to it.

You have to have your head up, your eyes surveying the landscape. You cannot be staring at the screen in the palm of your hand. Living and noticing combats staring and clicking.

Out of nothing

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Lescaret and a partial eclipse of the sun
August 21, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

With No Time Left to Fool Around

Tour de France 2017
They said it was something else   
but when the truth came out
many people were left chagrined,
wondering how they'd been so
easily deceived.

Sometimes there's nothing to say. There is only the blurry horizon line
sinking into evening.

On the off chance
that ale falls from the sky
and roast lambs sprout
from barren fields, do not
stop to question your 
good fortune.
Eat and drink like
someone with no time
left to fool around.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vermeer in the Tour

Two riders

"... two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Geometry of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2017, Stage 11

Tour de France 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Gordon Ball reading from "East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg"

The GINSBERG : GREEN night at the Sprinkler Factory in Worcester, Massachusetts on April 7, 2017 brought together Beat fans, poets, artists, writers, publishers, and a melange of interested and curious citizens to celebrate and acknowledge Allen Ginsberg's longstanding contributions to the environmental movement and the movement to legalize marijuana. 

Headlining the evening were Ann Charters and Gordon Ball, both groundbreaking Beat scholars; unfortunately, at the last minute Ann Charters was unable to participate. Nicole DiCello, artist, activist and poet read in Ann's stead.

Of note were the virtuoso soundscapes of Jordan Hoffman and Steve Benson, two audio alchemists with alarming vision and the ability to create other worldly sound installations; Patrick Warner's reading of a Ginsbergian textual collage with the accompanying soundscapes offered a unique portrayal of the poet's work, one not gratuitous or ponderous but bardic and oracularly honest.

Audio alchemists Jordan Hoffman and Steve Benson

Gordon Ball offered a captivating reading from East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg, his reading style soft of touch with tender playfulness and pragmatic confidence. Both professorial and eccentric, a little like a Gregory Corso lite, Gordon Ball related poignant and insightful anecdotes from the years he spent at Allen Ginsberg's upstate New York farm, roughly 1969-1972. 

After Gordon, Kevin Keady, Massachusetts musician and songwriter, performed, with guitar and vocals, Ginsberg's "Father Death Blues" (from "Don't Grow Old"), "Gospel Noble Truths," and "Do the Meditation Rock." Kevin Keady, himself a disciple of Allen, also lived at East Hill Farm, or as he and friends referred to it, "the Committee" (as indeed technically the farm was held under a non-profit entity founded by Ginsberg, the Committee on Poetry). His lively and sensitive performance seemed channeled in part through sacred memory, recollections of Allen Ginsberg, teacher and American hero.

To end the night, a spirited take of Ginsberg's classic "Hum Bom."

Patrick Warner, Nicole DiCello, Kevin Keady, Gordon Ball
reading "Hum Bom"
at the GINSBERG : GREEN celebration
April 7, 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Books of Note, Gordon Ball, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Schumacher

Gordon Ball has a new book out, a collection of stories set in Post WWII Tokyo called On Tokyo's Edge: Gaijin Tales from Postwar Japan. Published by Red Mountain Press, this slender paperback is handsome, the printing crisp and clean. Simple, sometimes quirky, sometimes achingly innocent, the stories, like the book's design, are elegant and unadorned. Their spare sentences belie richly textured snapshots of the emerging life of a boy named Robert. Gordon Ball is a renown experimental filmmaker and these stories almost feel like scenes from a reflective cinematic movie. 

Michael Schumacher, Ginsberg biographer (Dharma Lion), edited First Thought: Conversations with Allen Ginsberg, new from the University of Minnesota Press. Among the uncollected interviews included in this timely release is "Ginsberg in Washington: Lobbying for Tenderness," not so much an interview but an article by Don McNeil originally published in the Village Voice in 1966 describing Ginsberg's testimony before a Senate subcommittee investigating LSD.

 "Whatever prejudgment you have about me, or my bearded image, I hope you will suspend it so that we can talk together as fellow human beings in the same room of Now, trying to come to some harmony and peacefulness between us." (AG)

Finally, Grove Atlantic has released The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beat Generation, a volume of Ginsberg's lectures given during the course he devised and taught first at Naropa Institute and later at Brooklyn College.

"Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, complete with notes, and paints a portrait of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries."

The 20th anniversary of Allen's death comes next week on April 5, 2017. That books by and about him continue to appear reinforces the notion that his voice is one still to be heard, that his words and ideas remain germane in a world that, in some ways, has manifestly changed since he was alive, but that in other ways, in the ways of war and police state violence and planetary peril and political corruption and Moloch-esque greed, heartlessness and abuse of power, are much the same. 

Allen Ginsberg would surely be active and vocal in resisting the toxic political madness burbling in the un-drained swamp of today's Washington D.C. I asked Anne Waldman how she thought Allen would be dealing with the current times, and she replied:

Allen would be in the resistance struggle and trying to communicate with the other side! The 2018 mid term election important need ! to act now-
I'm trying to rise to all the occasions I can, not stop and be loving and encouraging to others... and keep travelling..
I'm curating a festival at Casa Del Lago in Mexico City next week ..
Performed at Jaipur festival in India
And did Keynote there. 
Naropa New Weathers theme will be
Strong this summer June 11 til July 3...
Trungpa warned about fascist 
Takeover and here it is
Pathological sociopaths!
Why a lot of folks went to Halifax...
Onward and best.. remember your wisdom even if we don't make it
We just have to try
Very best

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Troubling Times

City Hall, Worcester, January 31, 2017

Troubling times come to all nations eventually, even "exceptional" ones like the United States. 

Unfortunately, what is exceptional about the United States is not what politicians and the ruling class would have us believe, that we're a welcoming, tolerant country founded on principles of liberty and equality, that we alone among the world's nations have the moral authority to script the planetary moral code.

All it takes is intellectual courage and the willingness to examine History through a lens wiped clean of nationalism to discern that America as a moral beacon is an obvious falsehood. Though the national myth suggests a nation of toleration & freedom made steadfast by the rule of law, the truth is something else.

A careful and honest appraisal of the nation's past - from slavery to Manifest Destiny and the genocide of the Native Americans, from Jim Crow to Joseph McCarthy, from Selma to Saigon - reveals a history stained with violence, xenophobia, venality, and cruelty. This is simply true.

History continues. History , in fact, is not the past, it is the Present. We lurch forward now into the era of the Ignorant Beast. Ban the immigrants. Restrict the vote. Deport the Other. Make America White Again.

Yet there is another story within the story, an aspect of the National Narrative that cannot be denied or erased - Resistance. At every step of the bloody way, the Beast has been confronted by the people. The underground railroad. Geronimo. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The Suffragists. SDS. The Black Panthers. AIM. The levitation of the Pentagon. The Women's March on Washington. The list is long, prestigious, awash in sadness and punctuated with triumph.

Today our turn has come to continue writing the story line of Resistance. We must take strength from the examples of our predecessors, we must incorporate the lessons of their movements into our own, and we must decide, each one of us, what our role is to play in the gathering struggle.

Responding to the anti-immigrant actions of the Beast
Worcester City Hall, January 31, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Whole Foods parking lot, Hadley, MA
February 19, 2017

"... dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom."

The bumper sticker on the far right reads "Howl if you (heart) City Lights Books." 

I'm always happy and surprised to see one of those but it's pretty cheesy & cliched, a bumper sticker no where near creative enough to represent either the great poem or the famed book shop & publisher.

But still, I take heart in seeing it on a car in America. 

"America, I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel."

And slapping my Ginsbergian politics & my organic gardening enthusiasms on my tail gate, too.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The View from the Road

ND and I drove from Woo City to Baltimore, MD where we stayed overnight before driving on into the heart of D.C. Saturday morning. 

NJ Turpike
January 20, 2017
If you drive along the northeast corridor on a Friday afternoon at any time of the year you are likely to encounter a traffic nightmare at some point. Doing so while hundreds of thousands of other people like yourself are also driving toward the capital means that, collectively, you overburden the infrastructure. 

Particularly the bridges. Getting to and getting across both the George Washington Bridge and the Delaware Memorial Bridge was insane. Semi-organized chaos. Everyone's rage and frustration is constrained by sheer helplessness. Once you enter that fray, belted inside your car, you are completely contained by the crush of vehicles on all sides and in all directions. You literally go with the flow.

The GW Bridge is truly terrifying, an engineering miracle that's the architectural equivalent of a gargantuan iron dragon, a beast so hideous and frightening, so noisy, tense and simmering with coiled violence, that you grind your teeth and grip the steering wheel tightly with both hands while crossing it. 

In fact, just getting to it puckers the sphincter. You speed along on RT 95's battered pavement and cross that majestically wretched yet somehow captivating sprawl of the Bronx, and everyone is in a hurry and the energy is RELENTLESS and AGGRESSIVE and, not wanting to jinx your passage, you desperately try to avoid thinking about what you would do if you got a flat tire.

NJ Turnpike
The folly at the Delaware Memorial Bridge was the funneling of four jammed lanes of traffic through toll booths and then forcing them to merge down to two lanes. Kafkaesque absurdity. It took 30 minutes to inch our way about three miles before finally getting onto the bridge itself.

Despite those choke points, our spirits soared periodically when we saw other cars full of people that were obviously heading toward the Women's March like us. We fed on that portent, that fleeting connection to strangers, and we comforted ourselves with the thought that something positive was coalescing across the land. For the first time in a very long time we began to sense the awakening of a common purpose. 

The Women's March on Washington the following day was an gigantic expression of common purpose; you didn't have to sense it, you heard it in the roar of solidarity of 500,000 people, and you saw it in the packed city streets around you, and around the country.

American highways are harsh, unforgiving landscapes fraught with danger. You'd be advised to adopt a survivalist mentality when venturing onto them. 

To survive, you must know what is going on around you at all times. You must anticipate the unexpected and take nothing for granted. You must always know your escape options. 

You must always expect that someone will do something incredibly stupid that could jeopardize your life. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hope and Despair 2017

Where do we go from here? On Friday, January 20, the nation swore in the 45th president of the United States, a serial liar and raging narcissist. To put it in locker room talk (a vernacular the president-elect admittedly understands well), we swore in a real dickhead. 

Washington D.C.
January 21, 2017
A day later, more than half a million people, the majority women, thronged the very same national mall where the inauguration was held, and manifested a profound demonstration of opposition to the new administration. And not only in Washington D.C. People took to the streets in massive displays of principled resistance around the nation - Boston 200,000 people, NYC 250,000, Philadelphia 50,000, L.A. 750,000, Chicago 200,000, Denver 100,000 - and around the world.

History provides plenty of examples of societies slipping into authoritarianism, fascism, or simply devolving into corrupt and/or incompetent oligarchies. It's naive to comfort ourselves with "it can't happen here" smugness. We are not an "exceptional" nation as politicians of all stripes aver. We are as susceptible as any nation state to dissolution, chaos, and violence. 

So it seems quite apt, even necessary, that on the day following the installation of such a crass and unpredictable president, the People gather in the nation's public spaces to remind the new administration that women's rights matter and that we, as a vigilant and passionate body politic, are watching.