four walls, no walls, you and me.

June 27, 2008, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

on a related note, I’ve been trying to read a poem a day. usually i end up reading a bunch of poems once a week. but i think it averages out to more than a poem a day, ha! i’m going to post some here.

The Fish

by Elizabeth Bishop

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of its mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
— the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly —
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
— It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
— if you could call it a lip —
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels — until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.


letting go
June 25, 2008, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

i left almost everything i own in boxes and bags in a basement in lawndale, il. all of that is gone now. the circumstances are fucked up but sometimes the truth is fucked up. but i’d rather know them and be stripped of my belongings, my history, my memories, my story, my love and hate; than to live blindly in the dark and believe lies.

i’ve made peace with it for the most part. but every once in a while i’ll remember something that was left down there and a little piece of my heart gets torn up. Like right now. I just remembered that one of my journals was there. my most loved journal. black with red corners and thin paper. pages filled with grey ink that by now must be almost invisible. it knows things that even i don’t know, or have forgotten.

i would give anything to be able to thumb through it’s pages again….

on books n things
June 25, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. Some things are trivial and not worth mentioning, while others are too young and vulnerable to be sent out into the great blogosphere. One thought recently, and one that recurs almost every summer, has to do with books and reading.

Nearly every summer, whether I’m working or taking classes or chillin like a california villain, I inevitably make my weekly retreat to the Cerritos Public Library. I also inevitably complain to everyone who will listen about how frustrated I am that despite the $22 million renovation, seemingly none of that money went toward acquiring books. Instead, the library was outfitted with new sound-proof study stations, new computers and Eames chairs, a gold leaf roof, a giant fish tank with live shark…. et cetera. All of this is fine and does a great job of impressing visiting friends from out of town but really, I’d gladly trade it for four concrete walls and a well stocked catalog.

It also occurs to me every summer, that few people share this same love. Most of my friends (well, most of my friends who were born and raised in California) rarely read for pleasure. Those who do will nurse a book for months (which is fine) or only read when they are stuck at LAX waiting for a flight (and even then, mostly magazines, with the exception of Mer who reads Murakami). A big part of me feels like such a geek for hiding from the sun and whiling away my summer hours inside with a book. But then again…who cares?

My friend and fellow reader Jacob shared an article he read about the Google Effect on reading and brain function. Pretty scary stuff. You can read it here: What’s even more scary is that I do read, and STILL I found myself victim to the Google mind warp. Honestly, I made it to the end of the article but only because I was determined to not close the page until I saw the end, and even then I couldn’t tell you with any great accuracy what the last half of the article said.

Another related thought is I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am a book whore. I read books from the library and immediately regret not having bought it instead. I cannot leave a bookstore empty handed. Book sales and second hand bookstores are up there among my list of vices. Art books in particular are a strange group. I cannot stop buying art books. Every specialized topic, every artist, every era, every city, I want to know it’s role. I have an entire shelf of books on or relating to art and I have not read most of them. Yet I keep buying more and more.

I used to feel a tinge of guilt whenever my gaze happend to scan across the piles of books on my bedroom floor. I knew instinctively that I needed these things, even if I didn’t necessarily need to read them cover to cover. And then this article: It was as if I meet myself 20 years later. The same pride, the same disarray, the same specialized OCD, the same irreverence, the same lust for tactile pleasure, the same bizarre sense of memory. And he teaches history of photography! No wonder I felt like we were kindred spirits!

Of course, my love for the written word may also have something to do with the fact that the library is airconditioned and sometimes I just need alone time and secretly love being a hermit. Again, these are just a few thoughts….