Take out During Covid

I park in my favorite spot at the subway station which is usually hard to get but now, of course, it isn’t. Now it, and all the covetable ones in it’s row, are available.

Two Oakland, California transit buses are parked by the bus stop sign. They haven’t moved in a while. It’s 5:30pm on Monday day afternoon and three people are on the street. I go to Cactus Taqueria where there is no wait and several large dots on the floor six feet apart.

I’m near the cash register now because I’ve ordered and I’m standing in my circle appropriately distant from the couple on the other circle.

I’m interested in him. He looks like perhaps skater gone golf pro if that could ever be possible. Wearing a US Coast Guard T-shirt and short hair, the style of Vans he is wearing, don’t look like Vans.

I came to get a burrito partly just to get out of my place. You can’t help but notice people. You can’t help but wonder. He’s cute in an “I-played-sports-in-highschool” kind of way. Not my kind.

He pulls a hand out from his jeans back pocket to scratch the back of his neck above the navy blue tee. I notice a text tatoo on the inside of his forearm.

In big uneven Gothic font, it says “PRAY HARD”

I think to myself , I’m with you buddy.

All that earlier stuff goes instantly away in the mention of the absolute. And besides, I was on his side anyway

Late afternoon beach

Entering the water always takes time. For me it’s about loitering at the edge where the water dissolves into sand and getting used to the temperature.

Alongside me four maybe five boys with dark hair play with a ball. The ball is colored like the earth. So clever, why hadn’t I seen one like it before? Players sound Brazilian. Leave it to them to be playing with a soccer ball on the beach in Hawaii. Very cool. I mention this to my friend who says to me there are a lot of Brazilians……he says, “I mean it’s like out of balance” and I say “yes, because Brazil is out of balance”.

Three young girls approaching puberty, just below adolescence, sit crosslegged where the sand is a mirror to the sky after the wave. Elbows akimbo, resting dainty hands on knees raised high. The fingers figuring meditation mudras.

After observing them for less than a minute I see the goal of the game is to try to keep that posture when the wave comes. Gleefully, None of them can do that. As I walk away from them I hear one girl telling… about something But I can’t tell what. So I listen with more attention.

She says, “…you know it’s like when you’re playing hide and seek and you know where someone is hiding but you pretend you don’t know so you don’t have to find them. “It’s like that”, she says and I ponder, what’s like that?

Walking along the beach I see a boy name Noah; actually I see his father first; actually I see the sandcastle first. First and only one on the entire walk along the entire beach. It is spectacularly very well-built. Like a fortress. It has four towers. It is nicely decorated with shells that look like shields and tiny pebbles that look like tiles. A marvelous castle from which to

hear the birds chirping And the waves breaking. I feel the sun go in and out. there is no radio playing to drown out the little laughter that comes along like wisps of sky.

The dips in the sand, especially under the late afternoon of saturated light become footprint puddles mimicking the waves like music in the ocean. Granular Dry yellow sand merges into blues, deep blues and whites.

A bright transparent lime green inter-tube escapes on the wind and skims the water.

On the chair, under the sign, blackened and brunt sparklers rest, left over from the night before.

Going home the windshield wiper reminds me of childhood.

The light and the wind & Chanting for world peace

We got our lights, our lemon rinds with oils and wicks which flamed slightly

But when we got outside the breath of the wind took the light away

A lady relit mine and it faded 20 steps later

A man reignited it at the edge of the lake but it lasted then less than a second

Fair is fair

The light is eternal anyway

And all that soft chanting for world peace down to the lake

Is most important

Our intention

The wind had earlier in the day

Been strong enough to cut the power

No internet, no dice

I’m like WTF

I’m not missing electricity as it’s a bright sunny day

In my bright sunny studio

Then I get it, the electricity is gone, therefore no net

Fine

Now at night, after the big 12 moment where the past year turns into the next

I see in the darkness, from my window into the garden

The holiday lights I’ve strung swinging and jumping in the wind

They look strong and happy

in a happy new year.

I care, don’t you?

Recently I was at a UCLA 2018 commencement ceremony.

During this process the National Athem was beautifully played. We were told to stand up and put our hand over our heart.

Thinking of the children inconceivably taken from their mothers at the border, I sat.

A few sat. Most of the thousands stood and looked at us sitting as if we were in the wrong. 
And then, that Melanie Trump’s jacket. OMG. 

It’s hard to believe this is really happening. How to stop it? 

Clearly, it’ll take more than sitting

Summer Solstice Reflections

Chapel of the Chimes is a gorgeous building built by the visionary architect Julia Morgan. It is also a crematorium. It is a maze of beautiful little rooms where the walls are filled with the remains of the once living.

I am at this place because my friend is playing music in one of the rooms. Lots of people are playing music in lots of the rooms. It is the annual summer solstice ritual. There are a couple of thousand people along with me moving through the rooms and up and down the stairs. These people are very alive and a good crowd too: kids, twenty somethings on up to the 7os. Interesting people at an interesting event. Lots of good outfits.

The event changes the surroundings; still I am fascinated by the storage of the dead. These remains are housed in fake metal books with the dates of said life on the metal binding. These are the dates of their story. Some people paid more and have bigger books. Some people have little framed photos of themselves by their books. A snapshot taken not at the end of their life, but some prime time in the story. Some have objects next to the books: cars, baseball hats, Mickey Mouse dolls and such.

Our wristbands showing we’ve paid and can come and go as we alive people please are a bandaid color. Weird. There are alcoves with water fountains and strange triangular metal cones. You can put water and flowers in these and then slip it through the circular ring beside your friend or relative’s book. I notice one book that has no flower (most don’t) but has one dirty white sock instead. It’s not a regular sock but one with two holes in it. Holes like you’d put a shoelace through. It looks like what I remember a planeria to look like. I am remembering said biological creature as a very beginning creature. Not one with a story. But who knows?

Some people are not in books. They are in vases. Urns. My mother’s ashes and bone fragments are in a beautiful urn. My good friend made the ceramic pot and top. I glazed it in my mother’s favorite colors. It is not visible in a crematorium but buried in the ground for no one to see. So I show it to you here.

Back to the memorabilia. It doesn’t seem to me that this stuff is what makes a life. It’s the invisible non object that is more important. One’s effect on people and vice versa. The love. To me, that’s what makes a life in this dream we are all co creating.

Sometimes I even wonder if the space things are happening in is more important than what is happening and to whom it is happening. I imagine this space to be a unified unindividuated force field of love.

Dry point intaglio printing

“Would you like to come up and see my etchings?”


I draw daily. I have been drawing my entire life. I pick up a pen or pencil and draw on a piece of paper. Sometimes I photograph it and print it or post it on social media. I often draw (and paint) on the iPad. Quick and easy. No paper, no pencil, no photography. I can print the image in minutes. I can print hundreds of images in minutes. I can even blow up the thing 3×4 feet and print it in minutes. No big deal.

Not so with etching! Haha! Took me 3 hours to prepare a zinc plate 6×8 inches! First I must bevel and file all the edges, using the metal tool to get rid of the sharp metal edge (which would otherwise rip the blanket on the printing press). Then I spend a couple hours polishing the metal until it shines like a mirror. It is an activity requiring enough effort to make my arm sore the next day. All of this activity is equivalent to opening the iPad or grabbing a piece of paper.

Next, metal tool on now shiny metal surface, I scratch in my drawing. Believe it or not, that’s the easy part!

Once the drawing is done, I ink up the plate. This also takes forever and has to be done “just so”. I want to take the oil base ink off the clear places but keep it in the drawn lines. It is one of the messiest things I’ve ever done. Gloves are discouraged because at one point I use the natural oil of my hand in the final wiping of the plate. Finally I print.


Amazingly enough after all that work a dry point plate will yield TEN exactly the same prints. 20 if you are a genius. After that I can still get an image but not the consistent kind that is required for an edition. Wow!

Talk about old school! This is the original old school; as in hundreds of years ago with Rembrandt and the boys. It’s amazing. I’m hooked. I’ve only been doing this for a week but I intend to eventually be making good prints. What objects of quality they will be.

Also, here is a shout out for my teacher CHARLIE CHAVEZ at Laney Community College in Oakland. It doesn’t get better than Charlie. The man has infinite knowledge and enormous presence. It is an honor to be studying with him.