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“Roll Softly”

Verbal Alteration
Year: 2010

Roll softly over
With each
Washing away
All knowledge
Of what came
We lost it

“War on Tomorrow’s Past”

Verbal Alteration
Year: 2010

These trembling walls dance
With their Maker’s invisible Spirit
As we wage War on Tomorrow’s Past.
Victory was better an hour ago
And Defeat is a low-tide…

The Distance is calling Our name.

“Fragile and Free”

Verbal Alteration
Year: 2010

Each passing storm
Brings a clearing of Mind
The spiral rhythms
Of color
In your eyes
Both fragile

And totally free

“Watchful Eyes”

Verbal Alteration
Year: 2010

Watchful Eyes
We pretend the Machinery
Will clean up the Remains
Of our Freedoms
Lost Forever
To the Systematic

We Burn your Money
Weep with your Love.

Cold Cure

The machine grinds away churning the night into writhing hallways of smoke, sweat and indifference, pierced by the rapid fire strobe of distant memories flashing on the back of our collective retina. Memories that keep us here, even as we stumble through the back alley exit, numb to the cold, numb to the sight and sound of the neon machine engaged in a timeless battle with the wind and the rain and the darkness of night.  Candy coated electrical conduits transmitting the disease.  Infected.  Stage 6.

Waking in the gutter, shirtless and void, no cure in sight, we fix our blurred gaze on the sliver of crescent moon hanging low on the vertical horizon as the sun prepares to slip sideways into the light of day.  Our long lost senses slowly return to their frostbitten homes amongst our synapses, and an inescapable reality envelopes us;


It has become our enemy, gripping and shaking us as we wrestle into our still-wet wetsuit, 20-grit with sand from yesterday’s ocean.  The frozen darkness of pre-dawn has not yet revealed the reason we put ourselves through these paces, but we can hear it in the distance, like a machine grinding away, churning the remains of the night into swirling walls of water, salt, and stoke.  The sound stirs memories that keep us alive, and keep us coming back for more.

We stumble out the back of our van, insulated now from the cold, nearly tripping over the shirtless guy in the gutter.   Where’d he come from?  Back to the van for a blanket and a bagel and what’s left of our morning coffee.  We throw the blanket over his wretched frame, stopping to see that he’s breathing, leaving the food and coffee beside him, hoping he’ll figure it out.  We make our way across the sand as the first light of day dawns, the moon hanging even lower now over the rhythmic horizon, soon to be immersed in it’s daily cure.  Just like us.

Board Art Benefit Show @ Driftwood Salon, San Francisco

Traveling Light

Now let me get this straight, I’m supposed to want what you’ve got?  Ain’t no wagon big enough to hold all the worldly possessions you offer, the shine and pop glittering off your leadbolten chains sunk and anchored deep in the molten core of the earth. No offense, friend, but I’m aiming to travel a little lighter than that.

Everything I own is packed up here, ready to go wherever life is still fragile and not yet covered with concrete and steel.  Boxes of unsettled memories, most of them mine, some of them borrowed, but that’s just fine.  I trade them on the roadside to strangers and friends alike just to feed my family. I got kids that call me Pa and a wife that loves me true and a newborn baby with eyes so blue they make the ocean cry even when the sun is shining, so it don’t bother me none that my tarp’s been leaking and my lung’s been rattling.  You call me poor, but I am rich. Richer than you anyway.  Your mountain of worthless money can’t buy what life has given me freely.

And you still say I’m supposed to want what you’ve got?  You step out from behind your polished black veneer of tinted glass to hurl spit and fire at me, threatening with scorn that I should dream your dreams for you?  You wonder why I stand unmoved as you command me to sign the dotted line and exchange what I’ve got for your drunken dream?  A cup of clean water for your barrel of poisoned wine?

Your dreams are nothing to me. I am the undreamed, my friend, and your stillborn dream will be left on the road unmourned where it will be trampled by the masses you dreamt of trampling.  And as for me, when all the words have been spoke and all the dreams undreamt, I’ll ignore my leaking tarps and my own rattling lung just long enough to smile on my kids and hold my wife close and jump in to the cleansing ocean of my baby’s eyes one more time before I have to travel even more lightly on.

Life is Poetry

While  driving home from the gallery the other day I was contemplating what to do about a recent spell of slow art sales, when I heard a commercial on the local radio calling me a “famous artist” or something like that, right as I was driving past the local food bank where a desperate looking man sat on the curb wearing a t-shirt I designed for our local high-end organic food market years ago.

Life is poetry.

Death is Unoriginal

There is nothing creative about death.  Destruction and decay follow the course that’s been laid from the foundation of the world.  Turning life into death is the natural order of things and always has been.  Tune into the program nightly and witness the procession of fast-food destruction served up on microwave-safe trays for public consumption on a global scale.  Pass the ketchup.  The armchair graveyard is never satisfied.

The crushing weight of seven LA freeways cannot compare to the tragedy of the needless speeding of Death’s Process.  Recklessly darting from lane to lane while shrieking a mournful howl across all 8 lanes, Death’s Process hangs one hand out the window flipping a wretched bird to every hopeless soul who by birth, design, or foolery lacks the horsepower to keep up with the flow of traffic.  Confined to the right lane, where they await a forced exit, cut off forever, these legions of hopeless are unmourned by the onslaught of a constantly accelerating culture.

Standing on the side of the highway, breathing in the concrete vapor of exhausted lives it’s a terrible and tragic fleeting moment when you connect the dots and see the wreckage spelled out in slow motion.  Parents weeping for children ripped from their arms by needless disease.  Children stranded, orphaned, and worse because we all had important things to do the day we saw them on the side of the road.  In this moment, delicate as the fluttering wings of a butterfly, the rush slows to a walking speed, the city evaporates and there is nothing but barren fields of earth.  Welcome home.

The TV is dead and gone now.  A new vision has sprouted from it’s earthen grave. Why live another spoon-fed day when we can go to the kitchen ourselves and cook up a thunderstorm with the fruit of the suddenly fertile earth? Feed the children, comfort the parents, take them all in to your own broken heart and listen for the sound of the wind and rain beating against that thin veil separating you from death itself. Life is not what you ever expected.

Ain’t Dead Yet.

When some folks find out that you are an “artist” it’s always funny how quick they are to point out that your art won’t be worth anything until you are dead.  They’re not being mean about it, and they say it many different ways, most often just innocently referencing famous artists whose work became immensely valuable to collectors years after their passing.   But the reality is most artists work never appreciates in value after the death of the artist… it just all gets bequeathed to some unsuspecting heir to sort out and save a piece or two and the rest gets offloaded to a thrift store and that’s that.   That’s what I expect of my art after I’m gone anyway…  and I’m fine with that.  I’d rather my art have it’s value in the present moment.   If you enjoy it now, it’s worth enjoying and that’s more important than piles of money that have no value in the hereafter.


The Unexpected

It happened again the other day.  Cruising up the coast for a surf, minding my own business, getting passed by a speeding funeral hearse, and in one instant flash, the course of my life was altered.  No, it wasn’t an accident, at least not of the car wreck variety. It was more of an accident of mind, and it’s been happening a lot lately.  Apparently I never read the life-as-an-artist handbook that warns of all the dangers of inspiration.  I worry that if I keep this up, my creative license may get revoked.

Inspiration is a tragic fleeting moment where a new vision sprouts from the shallow earthen grave of a bad idea.  Often times I cling to the rotting corpse out of desperation, not knowing where else to turn, ignoring the funeral procession, refusing to wear black.  But I play the fool.  Death itself was made for bad ideas. There is nothing creative about destruction, decay, and death.  Turning life into death is the natural order of things.  Do nothing, and you will have played your part in the unmourned dance.

The tragedy of inspiration is that often the lifeless idea is the safe idea.  And when inspiration comes gently fluttering in with the breeze, behind it lurks the force of a thousand waterfalls not to be resisted.  Life itself blasts out a soul-splitting bass-line from the speakers of the funeral hearse.  Get up and dance!  Mourn if you must, but get up and move!  When death turns into Life, it’s never what you expect.

It’s often not what anyone else expects either.  Always surprising, at times embraced, but more often rejected, true creativity has no other path than to walk through these rusty gates.  The lock’s busted, the gates swing freely in the wind, creaking out a strangely melodic tune.  Welcome to the graveyard of bad ideas.  Here you’ll find the world’s best artists dancing on the graves while Inspiration herself does donuts on the graveyard lawn with the volume turned up to eleven in the funeral hearse.

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