This Moment - October 31, 2010 7:39 A.M.

For over an hour there has been nothing but silence and the emerging light to keep me company. The anthracite sky is being slowly chipped away to reveal pockets of silver. I've spent this hour in the company of Proust, learning to retrace my step back to the place before. In the village of before, I am seven, and live in my oak tree reading and painting, pretending to be the captain of a great ship, clasping branches to navigate rough waters. Lights appear across the street in what I know is my neighbor's kitchen. Traffic is beginning, the number of cars shushering down and up the street predicting a busy Sunday. The trees have shrugged off the heavy cloak of night and are emerging persimmon and squash colored. Even surrounded with beauty, I return to before. In the city of before, I am eighteen, and live in the studio of color and light, holding a stick of charcoal like a compass. My dog is asleep at the foot of my bed, his nose tucked into his left paw. The sky is the color of old ash. Rust-tinged leaves clutter the lawn. In the metropolis of before, I am twenty-one, I am lost and live inside words that make the world real as they are spoken. The dog is awake and snarling, play-biting my hand, his tail a curl of joy, as if my hand were something other than my hand under the covers. A train pointed north rocks the house with its passing, and I think yes, this is how each of us are: trains gently rocking each other. Geese are flying over the roof on their mysterious road of air.

Where I'd Like To Be At This Moment - Cathedrale de Notre Dame, Paris, France,

Gargoyle Paris, France - Tracey Capone

Cathedral, translates to the house of the mother. Yes,I'd like to be inside the womb of Notre Dame today.

Poem Therapy at 11:30 A.M. October 28, 2010 - Peter Spagnuolo

Hatra Apollo

Interpol 22019-1.7: The Head of the Hatra Apollo
Peter Spagnuolo

Missing from the National Museum, Baghdad, April 2003

No light can gild the sun god’s cheek but strains
through burlap now, Phoibos the refugee,
his head a marble cabbage in a sack
jouncing east by pickup down a dirt track
across Seleucid wastes, Parthian plains,
once more fortune’s tourist, bobbing free.
Or not—just stashed behind a rubbish mound
where bare-boned goats might crop a scraggy meal,
scant miles from the museum’s shattered room.
Stripped of laurels, his oracles, his loom
of sacred strings, no Horai here spin round,
just pacing men who wait to close the deal.
A goatherd sings, slings a Kalashnikov:
the godhead mute since looters hacked it off.

Artists are precious. Art is precious. Remember this.

Artists, visual, literary, etc., are our most precious resource. The art they create is all we have of them. All we have to remind of us, of who we once were, who we think we are, who we can become.

Art is precious, especially art curated for the express purpose of being exhibited in museums, (and the tricky thing about this is that some of the art in these museums were appropriated from occupied countries, but in a few instances the art has been returned to its home country, but let's save that for another rant).

Art is precious, but it is not a commodity to be traded on the market, any market, whether Wall Street or the proverbial black market.

I'm not talking about art in private collections, or about the artists that create paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc. Visit any gallery, or art festival, or innumerable venue and you'll see a wide variety of artists plying thier wares. artists should be paid,and well, for their work, for their energy and vision, their contribution to humanity, because all we have of the past is the art and archetecture, the literature, the thoughts of great men and women.

I watched the looting of the Iraq Museum, watched as theives walked out of the museum carrying thier booty. In the chaos no one stopped them. I finally turned off the news and swallowed a lie that the stolen pieces, some the only evidence of our shared ancient history, would be recovered. Someday.

To those who steal and desecrate and secret art away, you deserve Shakespeare and Psalm 58's venom: "A plague on both your houses." "O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD."

If you're interested in seeing all the art lost during the pillaging of the Iraq Museum, check out this link. (fyi: this will take you to the google page, so click on the first subject item to view the powerpoint presentation).

I think the photo of the museum worker embodies despair.

Willow Tree Lane Field with Geese

October 24, 2010.

I took this picture midmorning after coffee with my father, uncle, and neighbor. The geese had flown in early morning and they stayed the majority of the day harvesting the newly plowed ground. If you enlarge the picture and squint, you can see the geese.

This field is one of the last open spaces in the bedroom town in which I live. One day the lane will be a paved road and the fields will be rows of track homes. As long as my father remains on earth, so will his land remain wheat, alfalfa, onion, and watermelon fields, with a garden of tomatoes, basil, tobacco, sunflowers, and home to fox, deer, racoon, quail, hawks, and frequented by a local falconer, beekeeper, bowhunter, and by residents walking their dogs.

The Coffee Project: October 24-27, 2010

October 27, 2010. Yet again post Shakespearean drama. Happy smiles all around.

October 26, 2010. Autumn roast coffee at Einsteins, and conversation ranging from inheritance to pets.

October 25, 2010. Life imitating art: post King Lear Act I scene i.

October 24, 2010. Post surgery sad sacks.

Poem Therapy at 10:21 A.M. October 26, 2010 - Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout

Haunted, they say, believing
the soft, shifty
dunes are made up
of false promises.

Many believe
whatever happens
is the other half
of a conversation.

Many whisper
white lies
to the dead.

"The boys are doing really well."

Some think
nothing is so
until it has been witnessed.

They believe
the bits are iffy;

the forces that bind them,

As Day of the Dead approaches, I've been thinking of those who have passed on, and wonder if it is possible that they are aware of us. I like to think that they are, even though I lie to the dead, my dead to be precise. I tell my own djinn, the one I sometimes feel watching me, I explain my reasons, give my excuses, and wait for absolution.

This Moment - October 26, 2001 8:11

Through clouds of hard water stains streaking the glass of my studio office, I see the island emerging. The mountains to the west are covered with a light scurf of snow and a suspended Chinese water-colored cloud is slowly diffusing into nothingness. My students will be here in a matter of seconds, so I must unlock the secret chambers of my heart. Since I last looked, heavy clouds have descended and are furrowing their brow, proclaiming the mood of the day. Here now are the voices, the expectant faces looking to me to reveal the contents of my head. Here now is the sun.

Poem Therapy at 11:40 P.M. October 22, 2010 - David Baker

Blue Dream - Tigran Akopyan

Tigran Akopyan is an Armenian painter who lives and works in the beautiful old city Prague,Czech. He exhibits his work regularly in Prague and other European countries. You can check out his work at

The City of God
David Baker

Now we knelt beside
the ruined waters
as our first blood,
our bulb-before-bloom,
unfurled too early

in slender petals.
Now we were empty.
Now we walked for months
on softer shoes and
spoke, not quite with grief.

This morning four deer
come up to the yard
to stand, to be stunned,
at the woods' edge
on their hoof-tips. Their

ears twist like tuners,
but they stay for minutes,
minutes more, while
we are shadows behind
windows watching them

nip at the pine bark,
nibble some brown tips
of hydrangea. It's
been a mean, dry winter.
The last time I prayed—

prayed with any thought
of reply, any
hope of audience—
I sat in a church
and the city smell

of lilac, fumes from
the bus line, filled me.
The joys of the body
are not the sins
of the soul.

Who knows
how many have come
to be with us? We
knelt, not as in prayer,
beside the toilet

and watched the first one
leave us utterly—.
They were deer. Now they
are fog.
Now the wind

pulls back though the trees.
We know it will
be this way always
—whatever fades—
and the dreadful wake.

As I read this, I was filled with regret, for the ones that came and were rebuffed. Who knows how many came to be with us, but were turned back, for reasons that seemed so reasonable at the time. I think living is better understood in reverse, when the consequences for actions are crashing down and the choice, the solution is so obvious and solid. But solids quickly turn to liquid and become gas and disappear.

The Coffee Project: October 20 & 21, 2010

October 21, 2010. War and work stories. Same shirt.

October 20, 2010. Different shirt. Tales of woe, the Depression years with a sense of humor.

The Coffee Project: October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010. Talking with his hands, he's back in the 1945-46 South Pacific.

Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going?: National Geographic's Genographic Project

Check out National Geographic's Genographic Project's A Landmark Study of the Human Journey. If you want to see for yourself your ancestors journey to where ever you are now, purchase your kit and wait patiently for two weeks for the result.

My family is participating and I'm excited to see our long journey from Africa to North America. While you wait, read the blog to see what other participants have discovered.

As for my family, I'm going to guess the following, based on genealogy, family lore, dreams I have had in which I remember speaking languages, and the origins of my childhood imaginary friend; (as always, a mix of logic and intuition, the ridiculous and the sublime):

Ghana/Ancient Africa & Egypt - Imhotep III era (Senya - imaginary friend abducted from homeland and brought to Egypt to serve in Pharoah's court - death by suffocation in sealed pyramid - her story follows the Aida opera very closely)
Sparta/Rome (death by arrow firing squad)
Friesland - 10th century(pregnant queen & fetus killed so as not to have regent rights)
Senegal - 17th century (snake wrestling initiation rite by moonlight - machetes featured prominently)
Russia - the Rus/Vikings
England & Germany
France 17th Century
Native American - Eastern tribes

The Coffee Project: October 12-17, 2010

October 17, 2010.

October 15, 2010.

October 14, 2010.

October 13, 2010.

October 12, 2010.

This Moment: October 15, 2010 7:40 P.M.

The last blue shadow has merged into pitch-colored blackness. Blue light and white noise from the laptop are the lone sensory details. On the opposite side of this country a man, if he lives through the night, will have beaten his genes. His heart will be the sole survivor in a long line of men whose hearts have given up,on, or before their fiftieth birthday. Strange, that of all of his line, he, would live. Perhaps it is for his two daughters. One that lives with him, and for the other that lives upstairs, who doesn't remember that today is this man's birthday. And who can blame a child for forgetting a father's birthday, a man who long ago, forgot his daughter. The skies are crowded with planes making thier way over my house to and from opposites sides of the country. They fly through the darkness, but they are not blind.

Where I Live - Utah's Rocky Mountains in Early Fall

I took all three photos close to the mouth of Ogden Canyon. I used to bike this back when I was barely graduated from high shool and headed to college.

My Own Back Yard - Love Tree & Willow Tree Lane

Love Tree Lane.

Signs for the family's private lane. Mom had them made three years ago for their 47th anniversary.

Willow Tree Lane.

The Coffee Project: October 8-11, 2010

October 11, 2010. Back at Einstein's talk-shouting about the neverending King Lear scene.

October 10, 2010. At Grounds for Coffee. He is scandalized we must pay for a refill. A large man in a kilt ordering quiche and a skinny mocha.

October 9, 2010. At Dylan's since Grannie Annie's was overcrowded. A ride afterwards surveying his empire, discussing his hopes for his family and legacy.

October 8, 2010. At Starbucks. I'm reflected in the mirror. Love that he's stifling a laugh.

Poem Therapy at 1:49 P.M. - Hard Evidence by Timothy Liu

Hard Evidence
Timothy Liu

A room walled-in by books where the hours withdraw.

At the foot of an unmade bed a bird of paradise.

Motel carpet melted where an iron had been.

His attention anchored to a late night glory hole.

Of janitorial carts no heaviness like theirs.

Desire seen cavorting with the yes inside the no.

A soul kiss swimming solo in an open wound.

The self as church where the whores now gather in.

It is a fact that I must be shown evidence of something I do not want to see, at the very least, three times. It is also a fact that three strikes means you are out. The third strike came in last night an hour before midnight.

Sti-Rke! You're Out!

Poem Therapy at 1:04 P.M. October 8, 2010 -

Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)
A. Van Jordan

Because a razor cuts across a frame of film,
I wince, squinting my eye,
and because my day needs assembly
to make sense of the scenes anyway,
making a story from some pieces of truth, I go
outside to gather those pieces.
Thousands of moments spooling out
frames of mistakes in my day.
As if anyone's to blame,
as if anyone could interpret the colliding
images, again and again, dragging
my imagination behind me,
I begin assembling.
I don't know anything, so I seek
directions, following the path
of ants from your palm, out
the apartment door to
a beach. Is this where I'm
supposed to ask if my hands on you
bend some light around shade? Maybe
I'm not ready for the answer. They say
art imitates what we can sculpt or write
or just see when we turn ourselves
inside out. I can't turn my eye away
from the sight of failure. The rain pelts rooftops.
I listen to the song, thinking
when the sun comes back,
beating down the door
in my head, I'll salvage whatever sits
still long enough for me to render,
before anyone knows what really happened.

I remember trying on many narratives growing up until finally one day the stories I'd been telling myself about my life became the truth, just as much as the stories my characters tell me, are true.

I'm beginnng to believe I've pieced my story, my reality, my life together in the same manner women used to piece and stich quilts together using remnants.

I suppose I'm thinking this way because I'm creating a new narrative and seeing the old story for what it is: frayed bits and pieces, that I stiched together until I had a large enough quilt to wrap around me and keep me warm.

Each time I've reinvented myself I've felt, this, this is it, this feels right. And I'm sure it did, then. It's time again to rewrite my narrative. The past is what it is, even the present is, and I can't and really don't want to change them, but, the future is the new story I'm writing, starting right now...

It was an overcast rainy day when Danna turned off her computer...

The Coffee Project: October 4-7, 2010

October 7, 2010. A better day. Conversation peppered with sob's. If he's swearing, it's a good day.

October 6, 2010. Coffee at home in the comfort zone. Rainy day by the fire.

October 5, 2010. Sixty-four years ago he was on a ship headed to Guam, with a stopover at his base in Hawaii.

October 4, 2010. Coffee after a day of trimming branches on their private Love Tree Lane.

These are the week's photos. I plan to add today's and Sunday's photo on next week's photo essay.

I think these photos document his days. His face, and his shirt changes, (or lack thereof), tell their own stories.

Mali Rising Foudation - Fundraiser Benefit October 9, 2010

Mali Rising Foundation school house - mixed media: paint, rhinestones, printed paper, metal, and wooden animals

Mali Rising Foundation school house - side view

I decorated this house for the Mali Rising Foundation benefit this October 9, 2010. Each house will be part of the centerpiece at each table and patrons will have the opportunity to purchase them.

All proceeds will go toward building schools in Mali, Africa. The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise awareness and money to help build schools in Mali.

The event is open to the public, (but you don't need to be in attendance to help!). You can read more about the benefit here.

Poem Therapy at 3:12 P.M. October 4, 2010: Testy Pony - Zachary Schomburg

Testy Pony
Zachary Schomburg

I am given a pony for my birthday, but it is the wrong kind of pony. It is the kind of pony that won't listen. It is testy. When I ask it to go left, it goes right. When I ask it to run, it sleeps on its side in the tall grass. So when I ask it to jump us over the river into the field I have never before been, I have every reason to believe it will fail, that we will be swept down the river to our deaths. It is a fate for which I am prepared. The blame of our death will rest with the testy pony, and with that, I will be remembered with reverence, and the pony will be remembered with great anger. But with me on its back, the testy pony rears and approaches the river with unfettered bravery. Its leap is glorious. It clears the river with ease, not even getting its pony hooves wet. And then there we are on the other side of the river, the sun going down, the pony circling, looking for something to eat in the dirt. Real trust is to do so in the face of clear doubt, and to trust is to love. This is my failure, and for that I cannot be forgiven.

This poem was something of a sneak attack. Read it. That last line will get you. Until I got to the last line, I was thinking about my testy shetland pony, Rocket, that found every way possible to buck me off its back or send me flying into a barbed wire fence. That Rocket hated to be accomodating in the ride department, is an understatement.Perhaps because we had a bad first encounter.

The first time I was put on his back, I was five. I held on for my life after my big brother smacked the pony on the hind quareters with a stick and then chased us around the pasture brandishing the stick and screaming with laughter. From what I remember, my other siblings thought it was hilarious. It wasn't to either the horse, or to me.

Children are beasts, and I was once a child and served up my own dish of mean-spritedness. Children soon mature into beasts of another nature altogether.

I found Schomburg's poem at Poem-a-Day feature.

The Coffee Project: October 3, 2010

October 3, 2010

A few of you, and by few, I mean the tiny handful of people who receive the daily photos or even know about this blog, have seen these photos already. For those of you who haven't, and care, what I'm doing is photographing my father every time we meet for coffee, which is almost everyday.

Although we've been meeting every day for years now, I just started photographing him.

I wish I had been taking photos the last five years, but better now than later, or never. I started taking photos and sending them back in August and will probably just post them from now on, but once I figure out how, I'll post the earlier photos altogether.

In case you're wondering, he's the same Daniel from and my 2009 Veteran's Day post.