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Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page


In by Michael on May 31, 2010 at 7:22 pm

As you take in the city, you can’t help but notice the food culture here.

Not only in the creperies and pastry shops, but also the falafel spots and Asian noodle restaurants, you see people who take pride in their food. They’ve got the cool confidence of a Manhattan bartender or Italian tailor or German automaker.

But you’re not sure whether this city of supreme romance has played a little trick on you. Because as you savor each morsel while you picnic in front of the Tower, you remember it’s just stuff you bought at the store 30 minutes ago.


In by Michael on May 31, 2010 at 5:40 pm

The architecture is funky, Gaudi-esque and Art Nouvea. All 4 corners of every block are chopped off, giving an open airy octagonal feel to each intersection. The public sculpture is vibrant, and none of it – the cat that looks like a hippo, the empty cube, the rectangular face in the sky – takes itself too seriously. Among all of this “high” art and architecture, there’s still room in the society to appreciate street art and graffiti – it lines the walls of even the nicest areas.

Barcelona is punk rock. As one local told me: “I love the Spanish. But I’m not.”

A Better Way

In by Chris on May 31, 2010 at 1:36 am

“I just won’t think about it,”
she said. “It’s better that way.”
With that she stepped out.
She stepped herself over the sunset
and over every shadowed ravine
that gave the mountains their relief.
She stepped over conversations
that branched like oak trees.
“Why should I have to face it?
I will bury it like the plague.”
Already murmuring
Are the plague-ridden bodies –
Still infectious and waiting
For the unwitting shovelful
To expose them.
“I’m just going to move on.”
She moves on and up and over
And out of this world
With her face put on
And eyes ahead.

A Thoughtless Mistake

In by Chris on May 31, 2010 at 1:36 am

I’m not sure I have what it takes to be a man.
I hate my spine and my thick skull,
The shadow of my obstinacy and forgetfulness.
How many times must I learn these lessons?
Men are to be held to an elevated code,
And though I was born with the code inside,
My baser emotions sometimes flop out first
Followed by my horrified thoughts.
Rationalizations are excuses.
I must say one excruciating thing:
I’m sorry,
Blame no one but me,
I shouldn’t need to learn this lesson,
I am no man.
Please give me the chance to try again.

Song For Non-lovers

In by Chris on May 29, 2010 at 10:55 am

It’s a beautiful thing to realize you’re not in love.
You, Miles Davis, blow those lines into my night,
Send my love across the thousand horizons of this earth.
I care, I do, but I love not you.
If I could wander I’d meet every fellow human here
And play them this record, and eat dinner after.
Monoliths dot the history of this land;
Underneath are the dives where futures are bandied
Like so many pit bulls on leashes.
Faithfully I’ll walk, though I don’t know where,
Unrestrained by love I thought was mine,
Ever alert and coveting the air.

(Title Below)

In by Chris on May 29, 2010 at 10:54 am

“We Love To Hear Ourselves Talk, Especially When Comparing One Important Thing To Another, Even If Said Important Thing Is Not Actually So Important, Or Even If Others Would Like A Chance To Talk While We’re Making All The Noise”

like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and like and

The Spear Fisher

In by Chris on May 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

He was more comfortable squatted onto his haunches than standing. His eyes had that wide-open look of life spent in perpetual peering. His right elbow fit into a groove on his right knee, and he could hold his left hand poised with a spear aimed where he was looking for hours. The surface of the water did not obstruct his perception; rather it had become a sort of corrective lens so that when he walked back through town with a dripping bag slung over his shoulder, he glanced about furtively as though not quite sure of what he was seeing.

Heavy Eyelids, Heavy Hope

In by Chris on May 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

My eyelids are rigged to my optimism control,
And when a long day finally ends,
If I don’t close them right off
And my body needs rest,
My spirits fall.
Under the blanket of stars,
If my eyes are open and struggling,
My hope for the way I might
Move through the night struggles also.
But if my eyes are shut
And my mind rests under a blanket of dreams
Optimism and hope and pessimism and fear
Are supplanted by shapes
Flapping through the depths and currents
Of a mind freed from time.
Those are exciting non-times,
Eyelids shut,

Write Like Crazy

In by Chris on May 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm

OK. My mind can only work on one thing at a time. Let’s say that there are four possible activities to occupy my mind – reading, watching television, cooking dinner, and going for walks. I live in a very simple world. When I finish one activity, whether out of boredom, physical necessity, or another reason, I change to the next. If I were to replace those four activities with four separate writing projects, how many pieces of writing might I finish? If each had a different tone, the task shouldn’t ever get tedious. Remember, it’s a simple world I live in.

Brainstorm Of Things Fishermen Might Say

In by Chris on May 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Fish on!
Oh, they’re out there somewhere.
What’ve you got on there?
Why the hell haven’t I been using my lucky rod?
That’s a beauty.
I’ve caught those things using a matchstick before.
Well, we might be going a little fast right now.
Just let him run; we’re in no hurry here.
A bobber and bait? A bobber and bait! I’m a scientist!
Nothing to it, you could catch a hundred in an hour.
Nice lookin’ fish. Reminds me of one we caught up in Alaska. So we go out at sunrise and hit this cove, looks like nothing’s there…

A thought

In by Wyatt on May 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

Sometimes I think about the drive that humans have in life, and compare that to the drive that dogs have in life, and compare that to the drive bees have in life, and to the drive that diseases have. And I think, there is no one point at which the drive to continue living changes between organisms. What does a bacterium have to live for? The same thing we do. And it seems, bacteria live simply because they do. There isn’t purpose to them, they simply exist. And thus it seems, we live simply because we do. There isn’t purpose.


In by Wyatt on May 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’m smelly, tired, jetlagged, and home. Twelve hours of trains, buses, metros and planes, and I’m no longer in the country of sun bright midnight and smiling strangers. The water is pure — melted snow runs through the taps, pretty rain sifts down, swimming rivers flow between the city’s islands. It says, “Maybe, actually!” It has antiquated drinking laws, but they speak for themselves in the safe streets and contented youth. The clothes were made for my body, and the hot dogs’ crispy bits made for my mouth. Our hostel was on a boat. We floated, and Sweden carried us.


In by Wyatt on May 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

The door is just there. But it’s unreachable. The bathroom right outside your room is a world away. Food is in the kitchen – you can almost smell the ripe pears waiting for you in their little woven basket. But you could just as easily grow your own as get one.

When you don’t move it, it doesn’t hurt. So you forget about the afflcition and an hour later wonder why you’re still lying in bed. At least I do. I’ve been in bed the whole day. Ankle, meet stairs. I believe you two got off to the wrong start.


In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Chorley grew up clutching his baseball mitt under one arm
And trying to wash the dirt from under his fingernails
So that the books his mother gave him wouldn’t get dirty.
His life was a puppy taken to the park to play.
His life was a jet fighter flying in formation.
Maybe Little House on the Prairie was all right for Chorley,
Or maybe it just made him jealous.
Chorley wasn’t so great at reading or at playing sports,
Though once in a T-ball game he got a homerun
When the third baseman threw the relay home into the stands.

Setting Myself Up For An Impossible Task

In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Before I relate this brief story, there are some things I need to lay out, in order that no reader may come to the end and feel he has been cheated of the truth. I operate under the notion that information can only lead one in the path of appreciation, and as there is a great deal of ignorance muddying the world, this simple story might be misconstrued or even abandoned without these precautionary words. How many times have we read a book and been confounded by the conclusion, for the lack of information that the author might have supplied?

Unstoppable Joey

In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Nothing could stop Joey! He was unstoppable!
It was the morning of his birthday, and he stood at the top of the ponderous hill leading down from his neighborhood. He twitched. He laughed to himself and looked all around. Then he was off! He leapt onto the scooter and shot downhill!
Halfway down the speed bump rattled him, but it could not stop him. It was his birthday! Throw caution to the wind!
At the bottom was a cross street. He sped through it, the tiny wheels screaming. He was safe! No car could touch him! Glorious ride! Oh acceleration!

Tree Kangaroo

In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I’ve found something else now. The old things still feel important, but I am distracted from them almost continuously. Let’s say that I am a tree kangaroo who has spent most of my life searching for lofty pastures of orchid shoots to eat. One day while out beyond the known territory, I find a waterfall accessible only by a tall tree growing against the cliff. I still need to eat every day, the orchid shoots have not been forgotten, but now all I can think about is bringing all of my kin to see this new, safe source of water.


In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Gregarious rhymes with nefarious,
Odd since the two were the various
Nicknames of a man named Darius.

This man was a mammoth,
And daily his hand he rammeth

Into the jowls of an orange rim
Hung in the rafters of a dark gym.
The grin on his face was ever grim
Since his lips, like his legs, were slim.

He would say, the game is piece-of-pie.
You stand, I jump and look you in the eye.
I score and score and while you cry,

The people cheer the raging bull.
Harder than horns was his skull,
Full and nefariously egotistical.

Top Deck Smoke Break

In by Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm

“By any chance do you have an extra? An extra of one of those?”

“Where you from?”



“Monterey in the state of California.”

“Oh right there. In the middle.”

“Yeah a lot’s going on in that area.

“Has you been here before?”

“This is my second time. Second time in this sea, I’ve been over in the Gulf and out in the Pacific of course.”


“How’d you end up here?”

“I was born here. I took class for cooking and work here for last four years.”

“Pretty damn nice place to be working.”


“Damn nice here.”

Castigado (Grounded)

In by Michael on May 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Things my 9 year old host brother has been grounded for:

Being late for dinner. Squirting too much ketchup on his plate. Yelling. Squirting ketchup on the table. Lying. Calling his gramma a liar. Not speaking when his mom asks him a question. Speaking when his mom tells him to be quiet. Crying about being grounded. Crying about not getting enough food. Eating too many cookies for dessert. Eating cookies right before dinner. Eating his brother’s cookies. Squirting ketchup on his brother’s plate. Not doing his homework before dinner. Not taking a shower before dinner. Interrupting. Did I mention ketchup?

Removed from the Internet.

In by Michael on May 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

“The photograph has now been removed from the internet,” wrote the PR agent, regarding the image of the gorgeous actress, whose face was convincingly photoshopped onto a naked body that happened not to be hers.

The photograph has now been removed from the internet. The punch has been unspiked. The car accident has been corrected. Yesterday’s newspaper has been unwritten. The peanut butter has been scraped out of the shag carpet. The gossip has been contained. The melted ice has been reassembled exactly. Last night’s booty call has been uncalled and unbooty-ed. Reality has been fixed and everything is fine.


In by Chris on May 5, 2010 at 8:26 am

Bird calls and car alarms
Edgar Allen Poe must have lived in dungeons
Cockroaches and spiders scare me
Charles Dickens lived in cities
Should I go to join the conversation outside?
Sail away because that’s what Herman Melville did?
You must hold down the handle for the toilet to flush
Polished shells on tables once were creatures
Nella Larsen once lived in Harlem
When I breathe the beach air I feel…
When I watch the waves I see…
Then shut in a room hung with items, where thoughts are currency
Gabriel García Márquez found Macondo in eighteen months of solitude

A Bad Accent (With Advice)

In by Chris on May 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

She’ll short-circuit yer sprockles an’ drive ye ta the very ends o’ the earth. Nothin’ but underbracin’ great falls thar, mayhaps ye’ve heard say o’ these things an’ the spoutin’ toutin’ sea ‘strocities that be livin’ thar bouts, what will enchomp ye, givin’ the plank’s lonesome chance. All this she be, an’ a shipsload more, ye mayhaps will see. I know, I’s been in yer tuckers meself once a many moons nigh, whence I perched meself amast a full-flowered schooner, draggin’ full o’ her favoritest baubles an’ wrangled many a wave ta bring it ta her. Watch yerself precautionally now.


In by Chris on May 5, 2010 at 6:42 am

Before me hangs a jar on a pink wall. It was made to look old, and a feather is stuck through one of the clay handles. To the right hangs a large mirror, perfectly square, framed by lengths of wood painted in yellows, greens, and blues. Where my face is reflected, there are patches of gray oxidation. Above a green light switch bolted into the wall hang a piece of cactus wood – woven like the fossilized thread of monstrous spiders – and a set of horns from an animal that never wandered this desert. There hang a skull and an abalone.


In by Chris on May 3, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Music is the opiate of my mind. I can be breathing, thinking, talking, observing all day long, building to some great conclusion in the moments before I fall into my well-earned rest, as if the day were a Shakespearean play with its vicissitudinal crescendo, and if I innocently put on a song recorded in some yesteryear, my mind becomes a blank receptor for the notes, incapable of marshalling itself to any type of inspiring action. Alas, the sad notes of America play, and my being is stranded in a far-off desert, removed from the sounds and smells of today.


In by Chris on May 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

The fireworks exploded above our heads and then they slid off into soft colors in our eyes. We kissed, then with tamale-stained fingers intertwined, looked up again. Everyone says ooh and ahh when they stand beneath fireworks, and the sounds inescapably came from deep within us, unnoticed by anyone. The colorful tracings transformed into shimmering gold that nearly fluttered down into the bay. We were alone together, yet we were also as one with the great crowd around us, every person with their face upturned. The mariachi music on the loudspeakers had a faraway sound, and she was so near.

Absolutely Everything

In by Michael on May 3, 2010 at 7:16 am

So far this quarter I’ve been photographing absolutely everything, except the conversations, the music, the taste of fresh olives, my host brother’s antics, wandering thoughts, the buzz of an afternoon espresso, the reliability of the Metro, the difference in feel of sand on Spanish beaches in the north and the south, the pulse of the dance floor at 5 am, the roar of the stadium when Real Madrid scores, the smell of my señora’s cooking, the sexy Spanish accent, the familiarity of the same jeans worn across 5 different cities without being washed, and my excitement for Paris this weekend.