Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

canción desde el muelle

si yo fuera pescadora
cuantos pescados te regalaría
si yo fuera cazadora
mira las estrellas que yo te daría

pásame la soga
pásame la soga
pásame la soga

pásame la soga
pásame la soga
pásame la soga

yo sé hacer un lazo
yo sé atar muy bien
yo sé hacer muchos nudos
yo sé atar una red

yo sé atar un lazo
yo sé atar una red
yo sé atar y desatar
yo sé atar muy bien

pásame la soga
pásame la soga
pásame la soga

pásame la soga
pásame la soga
pásame la soga

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hang down your head Marie.

While flowers are commonly associated with all things female, I consider most of them unabashedly intersex. Take this stunning calla lily for instance. When seen from the outside, my flower is all whiteness and grace. When I look from a diffent angle, a fearful reverence rises in me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


1. Thank you for the flowers in the flower stand on the way home.
2. Thank you for the man who tells me their names.
3. Thank you for the names of the flowers.
4. Thank you for the pink rose.
5. Thank you for the act of kindness: a gift between strangers.

To say that an uninterested act of kindness in Mexico City is close to miraculous would mean that I have nearly lost my faith. I won't lose my faith! Thank you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bury your hands in the earth.

My friend says the more clothes one puts on, the more naked one becomes. Clothes externalize the internal. I made a voodoo shirt because there is something new in me and because I need protection.

Here is what I learned: A male shirt becomes a female shirt when you remove cloth. Then: Sewing a spontaneous pattern twice around each severed hem is a certain, wordless prayer.

I cut the Alabama flag into a rectangle of cloth and sewed the pieces around the neckline. The appliqués contain tiny secrets. For example, there is a watermelon seed in the center of the cross.

An X can cancel or negate. It can also indicate. It can be a lifeless eye or a star. A nameless signature. A piece of fire.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Rain is But a Pretext for the Raincoat

1. If I could paint, I would make an wall sized portrait of two boys I saw in the metro last weekend. They were dressed in suits and dress shoes, and situated at that particular border of adolescence at which they may or may not be old enough to be pallbearers and wedding ushers. They sat across from each other, propping up their feet on each other's seats, communicating hilarious messages back and forth in short, low tones. Liberated from the event that required formal behavior, they experienced a secret shared thrill from being so elegant in the metro together. I would paint them like that: young and happy together.

2. As a grad student, I have noticed that it is useful to say that thing B is just a pretext for thing A. Example: The photograph is just a pretext for the painting. The jar of rasperry preserves was just a pretext for the sandwich as a whole, for the diagonal line. The diagonal line is just a pretext for getting to know you better. Try it! The umbrella...

3. My roof doesn't look anything like this photo, but I can't get my camera out of the delayed shot setting. Help!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When Justin had my camera in Chilapa

When Justin had my camera in Chilapa, he took pictures of the tigrada, a tradition in that town in which many people dress as tigers (even tiny children) and participate in an enormous party. I missed the party, but am in posession of Justin's pictures because he had my camera in Chilapa.

Why do so many tiger masks have mirrors for eyes? It is notable that human eyes can be used for this puppose, that is, to see one's reflection. When is the last time you looked for your reflection in someone else's eyeball?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is It So Strange?

is it so strange? written by faron young, sung by me

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jesus Walked That Lonesome Valley

jesus walked that lonesome valley by mississippi john hurt

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rapid Notes

My cell phone came with ten pre written text messages. They are called notas rápidas. Here are my translations, in the order they are listed in the phone.

1. I'll call you later.
2. Urgent, call me.
3. I will be __ min late.
4. I'll wait for you __ .
5. I'll see you __ at __ .
6. Be happy.
7. I'm waiting at the train/bus station.
8. Don't worry, be happy.
9. Have a good day.
10. I will always love you.

Dear reader, please stop what you are doing and text someone, anyone, to say "I will always love you". Please do this for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Self Disclosure Via Object: Guitarra escolar

The metro in Mexico City is problematic ya de por si because it is frequently slow, late, jam packed with people. It becomes more difficult to manage one's voyage when one goes with baggage.

One man has a basket of churros big enough to hold baby Moses and a green wooden stand for the churros and a black plastic shopping bag filled with boxes filled with marzipan.

Another man has a bundle of wood which he will later assemble around an eighteenth century painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe he has restored for a Swedish banker's wife.

Another man has a greeting card in a white envelope to give to the boyfriend his parents, siblings, coworkers and friends from High School have never met. He is running late to the birthday dinner.

I have a child sized acoustic guitar which I have purchased so that my fingers will not forget how to make chords and so that I can record contemporary interpretations of gospel favorites in my wonderfully resonant bathroom.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sonnet XX by Fernando Pessoa

When in the widening circle of rebirth
To a new flesh my travelled soul shall come,
And try again the unremembered earth
With the old sadness for the immortal home,
Shall I revisit these same differing fields
And cull the old new flowers with the same sense,
That some small breath of foiled remembrance yields,
Of more age than my days in this pretence?
Shall I again regret strange faces lost
Of which the present memory is forgot
And but in unseen bulks of vagueness tossed
Out of the closed sea and black night of Thought?
Were thy face one, what sweetness will't not be,
Though by blind feeling, to remember thee!

Retrieved from "http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:35_Sonnets_by_Fernando_Pessoa.djvu/14"

I memorized this on the plane from Houston to MXCity, before arriving safe and sound. In the evening it rained, and I went up to the roof to test my raincoat. In every direction I looked I could see the lights of the city, as if I were looking out at four different huge metropoli from the top of a distant hill, but it was only one and I was somewhere near the middle.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stormy Weather

misty blue by dorothy moore

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Amy V. Desexualizes Bidets, Persimmons

Amy Vanderbilt is a skilled technical writer. She makes the communication of arbitrary social protocol to the rising middle classes of post WW2 gringo populations seem effortless. Her style is as inoffensive as the white of a five minute egg.

Ms. Vanderbilt on Bidets:

"The initial use for the bidet is as an adjunct to personal hygiene after use of the toilet. If it is thought of as a minuscule bathtub it doesn't seem so outlandish. It may be sat upon forward and aft. It may be used for soaking the feet, giving a small child a sponge bath...Small boys like to float boats in it."

Ms. Vanderbilt on Persimmons:

"Grasping the persimmon with the left thumb and index finger, scoop out and eat a spoonful at a time, keeping the shell intact. Avoid the skin which, unless dead ripe, is puckery. The large pits are cleaned in the mouth, dropped into the spoon, and then deposited on the side of the plate. Persimmons...should be dead ripe and slightly spotted."

from Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette: The Guide to Gracious Living. Doubleday: New York, 1952.

Oh Ms. Vanderbilt! What did you do, when you stepped away from your writing desk, with bidets and persimmons and words left unsaid?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pot Likker Fetishists

Mary Mac's Tea Room is located at 224 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. This enterprise and its constituents appear to have mastered the sale of southern food folklore. Last week I listened to Tony, an employee of the tea room, agressively sell two tourists from the North crawdads and fried pork chops after offering them pot likker.

According to Michael Stern, who posts on Roadfood.com, pot likker is a "spuce-green brew, known as pot likker for its intoxicating flavor...an intense study in southern-style greens."

Tony described it as the vitaminous liquid rendered off in a pot of slow cooked greens and pork which people here in the South eat with cornbread and a spoon.

For me, it is that which cornbread sometimes sops up.

In the photo you can see a brown haired faker, a contemplative tourist, and the action portraits of women who work in a kitchen which hang on some of the Tea Room's walls. Who decided to document and display the labor behind the likker? Why? Is it to promote the restaurant's authenticity or to remind diners what it is they're eating?

Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jefferson County Courthouse

The Jefferson County Courthouse is located at 716 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd North in Birmingham, Alabama on the southwest side of Linn Park.

If you ever have the chance to visit, please pay some attention to the murals on the walls of the lobby. These murals don't get enough attention; they're famished.

What were these images trying to say to the powerful functionaries of a recently erected, post Civil War Birmingham? Was it, "Don't worry men, industrial capitalism won't change much. Won't you stop behaving like women so we can have a smooth transition?"

Read the other way around, they might say, "Don't be fooled by this new plan. It is nothing but the old plan in disguise."