Saturday, March 31, 2007


I have a thing for certain kinds of cars.

A semi-overhauled hard-candy muscle car can put me right over the edge. The way some hot-rods look, it makes me hear crazy angel music if I get too close.

The pearly iridescence, those rusty pentimentos -- so very transportive.

I tell you this to warn you:
I've been to a hot-rod show, and I came back with a CF card full of treats.

The Ontogeny of Action Painting

Friday, March 30, 2007

Prickly heart

For PhotoFriday: Growth comes, sometimes, at the cost of a prickly heart.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Abstract bio-artifacts. Sleep is elusive, but lichens aren't.

Lurk-Free Zone

There seem to be an ever-growing passel of lurkers sitting very quietly in Chatoyance-ville, hoping no one will notice their slight shadows cast.

For those shy souls, consider this your invitation to step out into the pixel-light and:
1. Leave a pebble to mark your pass-though like so -- (o)
2. Comment (even AnonyMice should feel free to squeak)
3. Yodel a lung-busting arpeggio

(I'd love to be able to visit your world, and can't unless you wave a "howdy" in my direction.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

In the cedar limbs

"... I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know. ..."

From 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens.

More on the number 13.

San Antonio de Valero Mission

One site of Texas' complex history. And despite its common place-name, I saw no cottonwood trees.

Friday, March 23, 2007

San Jose Airport, yesterday

He was reading a cut-down-sized "Dummies" book, but couldn't see which one.

I loved the large ears on the man in suspenders, and struggled with the proportions of the man with small chiseled features and soft jawline...

Everyone frowning and squinting at their electronica, tap tap tapping and talking too loudly hoping to be heard over the ambient din.

A recent airplane ride


The risen thought-balloons of rafts of engineers
are now my raft: steel bucket strapped to a blade
that carves through this pink abalone sky, shears
clouds into mother-of-pearl curlings frayed
by our wake through the trailing, rippling light.
It was magic, when I was a child, to fly
and see the way I thought astronauts might—
tiny towns winking below, moon eye to eye.
Now, tossing atop the molt of others’ calculus,
grown-up fear—the shed skin of those equations
might rip as we shudder through cumulus.
Anti-Occam’s razor: these vectored abrasions
that leave contrail scratches, our fingernail’s worth
of what’s grasped what I cling to far above earth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Equinox arrow

Teetering on the brink of more sun, less dark (for those up here in the Northern Hemisphere, that is. Here's a bit more about what the Southerners among us might see.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My view of Laura

Meet a friend, explore a city, chat, laugh, eat and drink all at the same time?

A challenge for me, but Laura handled it with verve and aplomb.

We had a great visit, and you'll note she was much more prolific than I despite all the distractions -- and thanks, Laura, for that fabulous sketch of me!

A day full of sketching

First, in the morning...

Later, in the afternoon...

Soul food

An unexpected delight I've found as of late? Putting smiling faces to names by meeting some of those people whose work and generous spirits I admire.

This month I was lucky enough to have met both Rachel of Velveteen Rabbi and Laura of Laurelines.

The pleasure of witty conversation about art, and life, and things that matter and move us -- true soul food -- left me smiling and grateful.

More sketches to come, but I'm off to meet friends for a walk in the woods.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


A very very short story, for you.

As suffused as I am with my qarrtsiluni co-editing efforts with Pica, and in response to other pulls, I wrote something in response to and triggered by Katherine Tyrrell's lovely nénuphars.



“Thank you.”
The smell of incense and fresh laundry, and we sit together.
The morning, veiled through old screened-in windows, is grey.

One of us smiles. One of us shifts on the cushion and says, “I saw a drawing of a lotus, and it reminded me of our lives.”

The smallest cough. “Sorry…just allergies. How so?”

“Every tiny colored pencil line was vivid and distinct, but it took all of them to make the whole. Hundreds of tiny marks—each individual color blended inside the viewer’s mind into something pink and lustrous. There was the illusion of a real thing, something 3D, but it wasn’t the real thing of course.”


“There was beauty, and effort, and for all that it’s ephemeral—and yet there’s something in it that’s more than a drawing, and I’m not sure what.”

Our breath, together, sends tiny jewels of dust swirling through a sudden column of morning light. An unseen mockingbird’s song filigrees, evaporates like dew. Then a muffled clatter, someone downstairs in the kitchen readying tea.

We sit.

“During zazen I remembered the drawing, and the lotus began to spin a bit—the petal-points started to resemble a compass rose.”

“Zhaozhou’s Four Gates.”

One head tilts, inquiring.

“ ‘A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is Zhaozhou?”
Zhaozhou replied, “East gate, west gate, south gate, north gate.” ”


Walls vanish, worlds flood then whirlpool away wink out, nothing remaining save a shimmering darkness, joy.

Thousands of years, and a moment.


The mockingbird begins again.
We both smile, and bow—joy in the transitory, joy in the effort, joy in the swinging gate.

Blue-eyed lions

This, like most of the horizontally-formatted images I post, is better larger -- please click on the pic to see more detail.

Friday, March 16, 2007

10 petals + poem 11

"... in time's a noble mercy of proportion
with generosities beyond believing
(though flesh and blood accuse him of coercion
or mind and soul convict him of deceiving)

whose ways are neither reasoned nor unreasoned,
his wisdom cancels conflict and agreement
--saharas have their centuries,ten thousand
of which are smaller than a rose's moment ..."

From poem 11 in E. E. Cummings' 95 poems

More on the number 10.
And more on the number 11.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Message in a bottle

Making a poem
For Peter

Speaking to someone presumed lost
at sea is like this—hissing rain and creaking
oarlocks drowning the splash of a tossed
tin can tied to a cord; it sinks, shrinking
from my line of sight, and then the twine
pulls tight. I hope it’s you listening as I
move my mouth over the metal lip: a sign,
a sounding back, a roar, even a slight sigh
all I ask. Such childish devices, I think as I drift,
longing to talk with someone I miss—not the way
Odysseus spoke with his dead friends, bloody gift
given so they’d be strong enough to ache, and stay,
and tell him pale stories from beyond that rift—
this poem a toy telephone, salt stinging my face
as I float through something more, and less, than place.

Forgot my sketch pad... I asked for an extra napkin.


Characteristically, I went out wandering in search of things to see Saturday. Uncharacteristically, I took a photo of someone, so I could share a bit more with y'all.

First, a look at things:

Wired and bolted in place on two large display trailer riggings, seat after seat after seat, each like some worn metallic flower catching the late afternoon sun.

I wondered out loud about what they were -- tractor seats? -- and the proprietor said no, they were older than that, some were plow seats, some were seats for old farm buggies.

He began to tell me about the price this one or that one had fetched at auction, and showed me a magazine article that mentioned his collecting ways. He said he was older now, and when I asked his age he said 93.

I decided to share a bit more than I usually do with y'all -- after all, it isn't every day one meets a semi-famous collector of cast iron seats. I asked if he'd mind if I took his picture, and he snorted a little grin and said I wasn't too picky if I wanted a photo of him. And then he said yes. He was quite the character.

His name is Don Lanford, and I only hope I'd be as full of sparks if I lived that long.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Two stars

I went looking for other stars, and found:

"The lines are straight and swift between the stars.
The night is not the cradle that they cry,
The criers, undulating the deep-oceaned phrase.
The lines are much too dark and much too sharp. ..."

From The Stars at Tallapoosa, by Wallace Stevens

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Kuan / Contemplation

Hexagram 20: Sun (The Gentle, Wind, Wood) above, K'un (The Receptive, Earth) below.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ekphrasis and you

For all my blog-friends, known and unknown, who create drawings, paintings and other visual arts that draw energy from the written word...for all of you who create short prose and poetry in response to visual arts...this one's for you.

The next issue of qarrtsiluni pairs Pica and me as guest-editors, and we're looking for recombinant artist/writer alchemies.

We're looking especially intently for more visual arts to spark the ekphrasis by filling an issue-specific gallery (just FYI, captions identifying the visual artists will show if you click the image.)

(No guarantees on acceptance, but it's really a wonderful venue and community. Please stop by, and please share the info if you can!)

Larry Spivey's Mural

Thirsty for candy-colored metal-flake glories, I went looking for a hot-rod show this weekend that was supposed to be in Temple, Texas. Turns out I'd been steered wrong (ow) and finally gave up when I landed in Cameron, far to the east of Temple.

I wandered around for a while, admiring among other random things a few murals by an artist named Larry Spivey.

When Murry goes out for a smoke

Here's how it works: it's the weekend, and we go out for breakfast or brunch. After we get the check and leave something for a tip, Murry says "I'm going out for a smoke," and leaves. I get a refill of iced tea or coffee, take my Disney Buzz Lightyear Sketch Pad (or any other ol' thing as long as it's large and not too fancy), whip out a pen and look around to draw for a few more minutes.

By the time I head outside to his truck, he's about finished his cigarette, and I have another small part of the weekend catch.

Sunday, March 04, 2007