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Showing posts from February, 2017

Photography: Khee I, 1978 by Jack Whitten––Exhibiting at Studio Museum in Harlem

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Amongst several wonderful artworks on display in one of few current exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Circa 1970(Nov. 17, 2016 - April 2, 2017), my favorite is the great abstract work, Khee I, 1978, by Jack Whitten. Every time I walk into the gallery, I am drawn to, and into, the beautiful abstract painting. It excites so much, say so much, say so little: fibs beautifully and seems sincerely cruel. Leaving one to decide whether to take it whole or just the part that feels favorable. I have been struggling to choose, but yesterday, as I sat in front of it––during my lunch hour––to try to find the words to write of it, I finally came to accept it whole and I believe now it speaks no lies, just truth. It is I who went to it and tried to tell it to be either or. Its sharp countless steep horizontal gullies––sharply rising terrace-like etchings––leading only into itself is at the same time a flat surface with minimal texture. In one instance it is everything complex, unique, and…

Postcard From Feeling: Dizzy Spell Playing

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spin into spells dislocate pin——sharp/blunt——
in spin - j

Slipping Into Minimalism

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When first I could shoot for this week’s style post there was a bliss-hard (you know it as blizzard. I am into it!); when next I could shoot the cold was hostile. But the real suspect is exhaustion, also the name of my new state of residence, with motivation as its unruly ghost. But the subject is not the level of said body’s fatigue but what goes onto it and a little on why. Here is a gist of my style resolution: acquire no article of clothing/shoes/accessories unless absolutely necessary. The idea is to give creativity more challenge in working with what’s already owned, which is so much more than needed and much more than wanted. And this would reflect here in future style shots. This experiment has failed in previous years because there was no real understanding or craving for practice of theory. However, the contemporary perspective on life seems to decrease, tremendously, the difficulty felt in previous years. There is also the eerie reminder that all Grandma’s possessions, inc…

Winter Diary: One at Table For Two

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The spirit of the new year still a young robust cheer within, I found myself walking by a favorite place to eat––a bit overpriced and all, but because eating there is a once/twice a year event, I don’t complain––and I did not pause for thoughts, I went in, sat at a table for two and waited to be served. This is a big deal to me! You see, I have been shy about seating alone at a table for two for eons. Whenever I think to do it I chicken out; killing the urge with a string of silly excuses.

Of course, once the whole thing started feeling real I begun to tremble like a leaf; I could not decide if I should keep my eyes mostly to my shoes or the table. Eventually I started to look around only to realize that no one gave a farting cow––and even if they did, so what? When my food came, I ate very slowly with an obvious trembling hand. It all felt like a good laugh.

At one point, when I was almost done eating, a little queue of groups of two and more started to form closer to the door, and …

Photography: A Book of Poems

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- j

Let Everything Happen by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Let Everything Happen

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

––Rainer Maria Rilke
As translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

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Happy Valentine's Day! ^_^


Observation: An Old Woman Crossing the Street

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She tottered slowly on, pushing a four legged walking aid, across the street. Only midway through, the traffic had turned green from red and a car had come to a halt a few feet from woman and walking aid. The incident brought to mind a common cartoon scene I must have watched a thousand times. Something fitting from an episode of Tasmanian Devil, perhaps. The memory dragged a smile up the corners of my lips. My gaze went back and forth between driver and street-crosser, and I assumed, based on what usually happened in those cartoon shows––rather than the very little I could make of the driver––that he was probably glaring at the woman crossing the street with undiluted impatience. He would not think of what she must be feeling, being only halfway across the street and at the mercy of his temper and machine. It is likely she is frightened. Then I realized I had no memory of ever considering the event of crossing the street from the angle of the old persons I have encountered several t…

Rad Red Felt Hat

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An old man pushing his cart up the bridge behind and above me stopped midway up and gave me a big grin and a thumb-up sign; otherwise a quite wintry afternoon with only a busy squirrel going about his nuts business, for company. Upon seeing this photo, my brother started to laugh. Asked what amused him, he said I look like a man (we are brought up to be extremely honest with one another). Something about the hat and glasses makes me look manly, he claimed. All needed is a little beard, he added. I was amused. My style has no ambitions to fit into anybody's idea of what is gender-acceptable or even beautiful. It does not try to impress but merely amuse me and encourage my sense of self. I like to wear things that are comfortable in cut but uncomfortable in style. 
The felt hat has been with me for years. I acquired it, perhaps, some time during senior year in high school. It is wool and handmade in Italy. But it has gone under some recent alterations: I removed a band that went ar…

Winter Diary: Not Another Lemonade

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I am reading a few books, one of which is the Discoursesby Meher Baba. In one of the early chapters in Vol. I, he differentiate between need and want by saying when one is thirsty, it is water one needs, not lemonade. This made me laugh for I have being having issue with our popular lemonade saying. You know the one: "when life gives you a lemon you make a lemonade?" Well, despite the fact that I love lemonades (and I make really really good lemonades), I do not care for this saying. It sounds in need of jolts of creativity. The thing is, the idea of making just the one (and quite useless, too) thing out of a rather good gift feels like a genuine waste. So perhaps what they are actually saying is that when life gives you a lemon, first you say thank you. Not because you know what the lemon is but because you had no lemon and now you have one; and because you have the good sense to recognize a beautiful gift when you are given one. Secondly you make and take the time to unde…

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever by John Keats

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A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
’Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless f…