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Rainer Maria Rilke writes:

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write.

This above all — ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.

[…]
A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other.

In this spirit I offer you, Reader, this poem and these images, stemming from one brief November visit to the city than never sleeps – and several months of correspondence.

 

 

In a New York Minute [Glissando]

 

“If you can receive it at the wavelength is is playing at, you may love it.”

From a review of the series “Forever”

 

 

We existed

in the ellipses between

words appearing on screen

and giving up

 

Suspended above the city

you loved how I used the word luscious

 

We kissed with our souls

on the tip of our tongue

this is from Spoon River Anthology

 

You are morse code

and I need continuity

 

–when I asked if we were ships in the night

and you said yes did you notice me wiping the water

on my cheeks? I barely noticed too.

 

But then you said : “Body and heart.”

Body and heart.

 

You spoke of fire between our souls,

as if you knew about souls.

You only know about fire.

 

My tears don’t fall

I do

every single time

— how many goodbyes did it take?

 

So elegant in your detachment, like it was an art form.

Precise in your choice of words,

I fell in love with your philosopher brain.

I still fall in love with it every time — liminal.

 

A New York minute.

You were the space separating

Love and reason

 

I was addicted to a city

giddy at the thought of walking her streets beside you

how do you fly and walk

at the same time?

 

Even if you don’t see her torn feet

the effortless dance of the ballerina

is a flower bloomed out of pain.

 

Take each sentence, rearrange as you wish.

This is not to scale.

The timeline is not linear.

 

To hear you whisper, half-asleep: “When?”

Zero things better.

 

I heard that New York is the heartbeat of the world.

In that heartbeat a part of me is marked by your passage.

 

We will never go to Tokyo.

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I finished my visual journal a week after Roxanne Evans Stout’s beautiful workshop, but left right away to Oaxaca, Mexico ( photos forthcoming 😊). Here are some photos taken outside of Jana Freeman’s fabulous Way Art Yonder workshops (above) , Day 2 of the workshop ( details from Roxanne’s teaching table and my work area with “preparatory piles”) and, finally, my completed journal.

At home, I had to co-opt my kitchen ( I need my studio back 🤪)… but thought this would make a nice tableau, so I’m sharing it here. This is how things looked deep in the night, two Sundays ago..

And finally…c’est fini! My first art journal – and first video posted here on SketchBloom.

All of the lovely journals from the workshop:

A closing plen air celebration at the end of the weekend. Can’t wait for my next (February) art workshop…

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The Feast of the Redeemer (or Festa del Redentore) is one of the most important Holy days for Venetians. For one day the whole Basin of San Marco is transformed into an immense piazza/party with hundreds of boats and revelers enjoying dinner on the water and waiting for sunset. The religious day is held the third Sunday in July, and chronicled here is the day before.. the secular fête. I had seen a painting of Tintoretto depicting the yearly ceremony of the City of Venice’s marriage to the Sea.. and when my cousin, who is from nearby Mestre, told me he was invited to the Feast I suspected it would be a once-in-a lifetime occasion, and I begged him to let me tag along.

At night, beautiful fireworks light up the already dreamlike city of Venice. It is a dream within a dream ( lucid Venice) .. just like the hallucinatory Carnevale.

This tradition was started in medieval Venezia, in 1576, when a Feast was planned to celebrate the end of a particularly disastrous Plague (Venice suffered many) which killed more than 50,000. The painter Titian was amongst the perished. None other than Andrea Palladio was commissioned to build the Church of the Redentore, which was completed in 1576.

The Doge ( the Venetian ruler of the Imperial Serenissima) would walk on a bridge made of barges from Le Zattere area of Venice to the Redeemer Church each year.

There is no way that a camera, let alone a phone ( with, what I suspect a wet lens) on a moving boat could capture what the Redentore is, being surrounded by thousands underneath the summer night skies, all in love and in awe of one city. The energy of seeing a people dancing and celebrating on a sea of boats was awe-inducing ….but here I offer some impressions, pale comparisons to the live Lady at Night.

Just as wonderful as the Feast and the fireworks, was the ride through Canal Grande to admire nocturnal Venice. The Canal is only open to boats without resident permits once a year: on the day of the Festa del Redentore.

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Carillon. December 16, 2017. San Diego, California.

Carillon. December 16, 2017. San Diego, California.


They had put together a delightful album with the postcards that Pietro Crespi received from Italy. They were pictures of lovers in lonely parks, with vignettes of hearts pierced with arrows and golden ribbons held by doves. “I’ve been to this park in Florence,” Pietro Crespi would say, going through the cards. “A person can put out his hand and the birds will come to feed.” Sometimes, over a watercolor of Venice, nostalgia would transform the smell of mud and putrefying shellfish of the canals into the warm aroma of flowers. Amaranta would sigh, laugh, and dream of a second homeland of handsome men and beautiful women who spoke a childlike language with ancient cities of whose past grandeur only the cats among the rubble remained. After crossing the ocean in search of it, after having confused passion with the vehement stroking of Rebeca, Pietro Crespi had found love. Happiness was accompanied by prosperity. His warehouse at that time occupied almost a whole block and it was a hothouse of fantasy, with reproductions of the bell tower of Florence that told time with a concert of carillons, and music boxes from Sorrento and compacts from China that sang five-note melodies when they were opened, and all the musical instruments imaginable and all the mechanical toys that could be conceived. Bruno Crespi, his younger brother, was in charge of the store because Pietro Crespi barely had enough time to take care of the music school. Thanks to him the Street of the Turks, with its dazzling display of knickknacks, became a melodic oasis where one could forget Arcadio’s arbitrary acts and the distant nightmare of the war.”

“Habían hecho un precioso álbum con las tarjetas postales que Pietro Crespi recibía de Italia. Eran imágenes de enamorados en parques solitarios, con viñetas de corazones flechados y cintas doradas sostenidas por palomas. «Yo conozco este parque en Florencia», decía Pietro Crespi repasando las postales. «Uno extiende la mano y los pájaros bajan a comer.» A veces, ante una acuarela de Venecia, la nostalgia transformaba en tibios aromas de flores el olor de fango y mariscos podridos de los canales. Amaranta suspiraba, reía, soñaba con una segunda patria de hombres y mujeres hermosos que hablaban una lengua de niños, con ciudades antiguas de cuya pasada grandeza sólo quedaban los gatos entre los escombros. Después de atravesar el océano en su búsqueda, después de haberlo confundido con la pasión en los manoseos vehementes de Rebeca, Pietro Crespi había encontrado el amor. La dicha trajo consigo la prosperidad. Su almacén ocupaba entonces casi una cuadra, y era un invernadero de fantasía, con reproducciones del campanario de Florencia que daban la hora con un concierto de carillones, y cajas musicales de Sorrento, y polveras de China que cantaban al destaparlas tonadas de cinco notas, y todos los instrumentos músicos que se podían imaginar y todos los artificios de cuerda que se podían concebir. Bruno Crespi, su hermano menor, estaba al frente del almacén, porque él no se daba abasto para atender la escuela de música. Gracias a él, la Calle de los Turcos, con su deslumbrante exposición de chucherías, se transformó en un remanso melódico para olvidar las arbitrariedades de Arcadio y la pesadilla remota de la guerra.”

“Avevano fatto un grazioso album con le cartoline postali che Pietro Crespi riceveva dall’Italia. Erano immagini di innamorati in parchi solitari, con illustrazioni di cuori trafitti e nastri d’oro sorretti da colombe. “Io ho visto questo parco a Firenze,” diceva Pietro Crespi sfogliando le cartoline. “Stendi la mano e gli uccelli scendono a mangiare.” Certe volte, davanti a un acquarello di Venezia, la nostalgia trasformava in tiepidi aromi di fiori l’odore di fango e peoci marci dei canali. Amaranta sospirava, rideva, sognava una seconda patria di uomini e donne belli che parlavano una lingua da bambini, con città antiche della cui passata grandezza restavano soltanto i gatti tra i ruderi. Dopo aver varcato l’oceano alla sua ricerca, dopo averlo confuso con la passione nei brancicamenti pieni di veemenza di Rebeca, Pietro Crespi avevo trovato l’amore. La ventura portò con se la prosperità. Il suo magazzino occupava allora quasi un isolato, ed era un semenzaio di fantasia; con riproduzioni del campanile di Firenze che davano l’ora con un concerto di carillon, e scatole musicali di Sorrento, e portacipria di Cina che se aperte cantavano temi di cinque note, e tutti gli strumenti musicali che si potevano immaginare e tutti gli artifici a molla che si potevano concepire. Bruno Crespi, il suo fratello minore, dirigeva il magazzino, perché lui non aveva tempo che per badare alla scuola di musica. Grazie a lui, la Strada dei Turchi, con la sua abbagliante esibizione di cianfrusaglie, si trasformò in una gora melodica per dimenticare gli arbitri di Arcadio e l’incubo remoto della guerra.”

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The French poet Paul Valéry said that all things are generated from an interruption. I learned this from my favorite Italian thinker, Alessandro Baricco, here in en español, whose lectures – to be found only in Italian – I listen to to learn about literature, writing, and life.

There were many interruptions this year, and not just personal. I can think of the devastating Hurricane Irma in my beloved, beautiful Puerto Rico, or the September 19 earthquake in my favorite city this side of the Atlantic, Ciudad De México – which occurred on the 32nd Anniversary of an earthquake that killed more that 10.000 people.

My personal earthquake and hurricane happened on August 21 of this year, when my dad passed away. I can now finally begin to write this sentence, and about it, without being swallowed up in the chasm that this loss left in my life. I know his spirit went back to his sea, where he returned, and I feel he is near, both inside my heart and dancing around in freedom and light. I like to think I can take him with me wherever I go now, and share my life in a more immediate way. I like to think his energy was transformed into waves of the sea. The sea can hug you, yet you can’t hug the sea, his immensity. I like to think he is in a butterfly, sometimes in a song. A friend of mine wrote “I heard your dad went back to the Universe”. I like that.

My dad loved the Old Man and The Sea, drawing boats and fish, Jonathan Seagull, reading, Venice, watching documentaries on nature, fishing, and working on his boat. He loved his friends and he loved me. He is the reason art is in my life. He is the reason I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in middle school (I used to raid the books of his youth unbeknownst to both my parents). It became my favorite book, it still is, and magical realism, anarchy and arcane literary worlds shaped who I am.

I thought about coming back to SketchBloom with a post on Van Gogh, and the film Loving Vincent, which I saw this month. The movie reminded me of my dad, of his love of painting, his simple bedroom , and his fisherman shack on the beach, La Baracca Del Bucaniere, which he lovely composed for the last ten years of his life here on the Earth school.

That post is in the pipeline, and I took new photos of his sculpture when I was last in Calabria –  but I wanted to return with a sketch, a return to art.

I just got back from Mexico (that is how the locals call it, Mexico…no need to use “Ciudad de”) yesterday, where I finally got over my protracted artist’s block.

Here, a simple sketch (above) and some photos/vignettes/stories I bring back from my trip.

Walking in Coyoacán – Frida’s neighborhood:

Scenes from Roma, one of the neighborhoods of DF:

This is Barba Azul, a cabaret from another era, where salsa is danced from midnight till dawn, where there is an altar upstairs (I have seen them in parking lots, too) and where the exit is a tiny rectangle carved into a decorated garage door- something out Pinocchio’s Paese dei Balocchi (toyland)…or a circus in a Fellini movie. One of the many surreal vignettes of this metropolis.

Unfortunately I could not take a better photo of it (with the usher emerging!) but it is on my list for next time. I also learned about the ficheras , the ladies of the establishment who sell a dance for a token (and more, at their discretion).

The obligatory photo of the Palacio De Bellas Artes, November 2017 version:

Where I had the chance to see Diego Rivera’s murals…

…and learn about the Rojo Mexicano (the red pigment from cochinilla bugs found inside the cactus fruits in Oaxaca, which was utilized in paintings around the world from the XV Century to the XIX) and see Van Gogh’s Bedroom At Arles with my own eyes (!!!).

I also visited Cuernavaca, La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (The City of the Eternal Spring), where i completed my yearly self-evaluation for #work in a garden within Jardines de Mexico, surrounded by butterflies. Talk about INSPIRING.

Italian Garden at Jardines De Mexico (my favorite, obv)

In Cuernavaca, I stayed in a copy of Unité d’Habitacion (but if you follow me on Instagram you already know this).

I want to close with a poem by Octavio Paz — who is considered the greatest Mexican poet and thinker — and, of course, was a native of Mexico City.

This is his poem Hablo de la Ciudad | I Speak of the City. Below the text in the original Spanish and the translation in English.

This poem perfectly encapsulates what Mexico City is. I have more posts on La Ciudad to craft, from my previous visits, and more poetry- but this shall suffice for tonight.

Here is to more gentle earthquakes and hurricanes in 2018, inner ones to bring soul renewals, and to a kinder year.

For the Aztecs, this was the bellybutton of the Moon.

Nos vemos pronto, Tenochtitlán.

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A Thousand Churches (Your Eyes). Graphite, Watercolor, India Ink. August 12, 2017.


Dear Single Reader,

You might have thought I had disappeared, and would be the third person in a week to ask me what happened to my sketchbloom…but I’m back for the summer.

An international conference in Hong Kong , research writing /presentations and academia have absorbed me until the end of June…not to mention that thing called life, and heart, and two moves in two months ( apartment renovation). It has been CRAZY. 

I just got back from two amazing weeks in Puebla, Mexico where I was part of ArtFest17 and went to teach at UVM (Universidad de la Valle México) a workshop called Myth of the City.  

Here you can see all the work done with my students and read about Puebla, the “Second” city – the first being of course, Mexico ( Ciudad de). It was an incredible experience, after having co-taught the course in Santa Fe, New México in 2013 and 2014. One could say I went from New Mexico to “Old” México with this.

In Puebla i was surrounded by “my people”, migente, artists, intellectuals..the bohemians and the romantics, and got back my creative juices!  Now, a new beginning…

I have lots of travel photography and new poetry to share so stick around 🙂 

Thank you for reading me and not forgetting about me ❤️ your support means everything to me, as art is and always be my first love- and the true love of my life. 

I am on an art-recovery program but I don’t know what to do about those pesky writing deadlines…#thestruggle. Life is so full, and exciting new design opportunities –like being a juror for Orchids and Onions in San Diego and a Pecha Kucha presentation on Storage Cities — keep presenting themselves. It’s accelerated, beautiful life…yet art needs the half-time of dreams.

Well, wish me good luck, there are some posts in the pipelines so I will see you soon and… work in progress as usual! 

I do hope you are having a glorious summer.

Below are some photos from lovely, lovely Puebla… two of my students’ models and the City that is home of so many incredible riches. A true treasure of humanity/ patrimonio de la humanidad. 

PS: I have been posting on Instagram but have to confess I always feeel guilty if I don’t post drawings/sketches/watercolor/collages… after all it is called Sketchbloom not Photobloom ( but you can follow me [@sketchbloom] there and it would make me so happy😊.) 




Puebla, Estado de Puebla, México:

What a magical city: Baroque churches where Tllaloc and Quetzacoatl are venerated, the fusion called Barroco Indígena ( San Francisco de Acatepec and Santa María de Tonantzintla – Barragán’s favorite church), Aztec temples and cities, 400 year old stone buildings, the tallest church towers in Mexico and the greatest covered stepped pyramid in the world ( Teocalli de Cholula)…finally the oldest public library of the Americas. Puebla is where the battle celebrated during Cinco de Mayo took place and where the Mexican Revolution started. Wow. 

Take a look…




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The Tuscan/Pomegranate sky in San Diego right now. Absolutely no filter.

Pomegranate

By Kevin Pilkington


A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on

with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,

stops and asks if I would like to dance.

I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide

on a waltz that she begins to hum.

We spin and sway across the street in between

parked cars and I can tell she realizes

she chose a man who understands the rhythm

of sand, the boundaries of thought. We glide

and Fred and Ginger might come to mind or

a breeze filled with the scent of flowers of your choice.

Coffee stops flowing as a waitress stares out the window

of a diner while I lead my partner back across the street.

When we come to the end of our dance,

we compliment each other and to repay the favor

I tell her to be careful since the world comes to an end

three blocks to the east of where we stand. Then

I remind her as long as there is a ’59 Cadillac parked

somewhere in a backyard between here and Boise

she will dance again.


As she leaves content with her dog, its tail wagging

like gossip, I am convinced now more than ever

that I once held hundreds of roses in my hands

the first time I cut open a pomegranate.

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The final full moon of Winter 2017: the Worm Moon {Native Americans} or Storm Moon {Pagan Rites} or Lenten Moon {Christianity}. Also known as the Seed Moon or Chaste Moon. This is the final moon of Winter 2017 and the last full moon before the Spring Equinox. Tonight is also the time that Daylight Saving Time ends in most states of the U.S… returning time and hours to their natural cycle and us to a more harmonious rhythm. The days will be longer thanks to moving the clock ahead one hour -in the UK this is called “Summer Time”. This is the moon of nature’s rebirth from the dark winter months; its meaning is new, fresh starts.


//These poems were typed, not copy-pasted. It makes a difference.//


Venus Just Asked Me 


Perhaps 

For just one minute out of the day 

It may be of value to torture yourself 

With thoughts like, 


“I should be doing 

A hell of a lot more with my life than I am 

Cause I’m so darned talented” 


But remember,

For just one minute of the day. 


With all the rest of your time-

It would be best

To try

Looking upon your self more as God does. 


For He knows

Your true royal nature.  


God is never confused 

And can see Only Himself in you.  


My dear, 

Venus just leaned down and asked me 

To tell you a secret, to confess 


She’s just a mirror who has been stealing 

Your light and music for centuries 



She knows as does Hafiz,

You are the sole heir to 

The King.




Hafiz



The Size of the Love-Bruise


The

Gauge of a good poem is 

The size of the love-bruise it leaves 

On your neck. 

Or 

The size of the love-bruise it can paint 

On your brain.

Or 

The size of the love-bruise it can weave 

Into your soul. 

Or indeed-

It could be all of the 

Above. 




Hafiz


 …


The Shape of Laughter


Let my words become like a skilled 

Potter’s hands, 


Quieting,

Smoothing your life 

With their knowledge,


Reaching into your tender core 

And spreading you out 

Like the morning 


That leaps from the sun’s amused wink 

Onto hills, brows and backs of so many

Beautiful laboring beasts.


God’s duty is to make perfect 

All your movements of mind, of limb,

And your ascending shape of laughter.


Watch the way my hands dance 

With their diamond-edged brilliance 


Cutting you open with music, 

Reaching into your heart


And spilling the night sky- jar you carry 

That is always full of giggling planets and stars. 



My words are a divine potter’s wheel.

If you stay near to me, 

Please, 

Stay near to me–



And Hafiz will spin you into 

Love.




Hafiz



…..

The Fools Who Dream 


Here’s to the ones

who dream

Foolish, as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts

that ache

Here’s to the mess

we make


She told me:

A bit of madness is key

to give us to color to see

Who knows where it will lead us?


And that’s why they need us,

So bring on the rebels

The ripples from pebbles

The painters, and poets, and plays


And here’s to the fools

who dream

Crazy, as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that break

Here’s to the mess we make


From “La La Land”, 2017 

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A night light-writing ( photograph) of one of my favorite homes in my neighborhood held a sweet surprise. 

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Moving


I think moving is not the few hours on a bleary Saturday morning

-the act of-

No, it is weeks:

Looking around at everything you love

And know you’re going

to have to say goodbye.


Like holding a lover for the last time

A little death


Everything we know is going to end

One day 

They say”


Maybe moves and doomed love affairs are

God’s gentle way of reminding us

Nothing is permanent.



Remember that last look

right before you closed the door

and knew you wouldn’t be back?

Isn’t that the definition of living,

Isn’t that the definition of loving.

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Reflection through glass of my favorite morning view, the terra-cotta tiles from my windows. I feel my gaze is always southward, Mediterranean, drawn to the Sun

I love the aging cracks of my favorite lilac mug. These cracks represent our relationship, and countless mornings where the heat of coffee or tea strained the enamel into a filigree of imaginary landscapes, or sea creatures


When choosing amongst different photographs of a subject, I always ask myself “Which one makes you dream more?”

I want to leave you with this quote today, shared by my Yoga teacher Michael Caldwell:

“Love is paying deep attention to your life.”

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 Little brothers and sisters: 

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Joseph Campbell

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The Prophet described iman, or faith, as such: “Faith is to acknowledge with the heart, to voice with the tongue, and to act with the limbs,” (Chittick 6).

This outlines the hierarchy of bodily domains that human beings consist of: the heart, signifying innermost awareness; the tongue which articulates and expresses; and one’s limbs, the source of action.

The art of poetry incorporates all three of these, for one cannot compose a poem without the cognizance of the heart, the use of speech or the physical use of limbs to write out the words.

Poetry channels the three spheres of the body so that awareness, thought and activity fuse to create one product.

Beyond Words: Chronicling Spiritual Ecstasy and Experience in Sufi Poetry

Kate Van Brocklin 

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit the old section of the town of Vittorio Veneto, in the region of Veneto, in Northeastern Italy. Present-day Vittorio Veneto is the result of the fusion of the municipalities of Ceneda and Serravalle after WWI. 
The photos below are of the old Jewish ghetto of Ceneda, and the centro ( center or downtown) with its villas, park and piazzetta ( small piazza). 


The Church pictured just below was a surprising find: it is the oldest churchsite I have ever visited, and dates from the IV century (!!!).  The Church you see was rebuilt in 1400, a millennium after the first structure was erected. The timing boggles the mind: in 313 CE Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Milan, and on this site a church was built shortly thereafter. 



Serravalle, like Treviso, the regional center of the prosperous region of Veneto, features frescoes on the façades of buildings. This is something fascinating that I learned during this trip (from my mom, who is from Treviso) Frescoes in Serravalle- a town of Roman origin-were not just relegated to the interior of churches, but graced the buildings’ street elevations and were painted by notable local artists. Most of the palazzi date from the 1400’s. What was depicted on them? Hard to say from what remains in Serravalle. I could discern some courtly scenes  and patterns/coat of arms. Both here and in Treviso, the frescoes were plastered over during one of the bouts of the Plague, in a misguided effort to ‘disinfect’ homes. 

One of the photos depicts the winged lion of Venezia (Venice) on top of a tall pole. This whole area was indeed part of the inland empire of La Serenissima (the most serene) Republic of Venezia.

The best part for me, as a flâneuse was walking through the many porticoes of Serravalle. Enjoy my flâneuring..

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Luna e Venere | Selene and Aphrodite | Chak Ek’ and Ix’Chel. Mestre, Italia, January 1st, 2016.




Venus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, and sometimes looks like a bright star in the morning or evening sky.

Source: windows2universe.com



Venus is one of the five planets that are visible with the naked eye. Due to its easy visibility, the ancient people were well aware of the planet’s existence. They also kept track of its movement in the sky. 

Venus is 10 times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Venus’s clouds project the light of the Sun as a mirror would. In addition to Venus’s amazing luminosity is the origin of its name.
Venus derived its name from the Romans who religiously followed the Greek tradition. Venus is the Roman version of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. The Roman and Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility is Venus and therefore, the planet was named after her. Perhaps the fact that Venus is the brightest planet in the sky contributes to how it got its name. It is quite possible that the Romans found the brightness to be so enchanting that they felt it deserved to be named after the goddess of beauty and love. Furthermore, the Romans were aware of 7 bright objects that existed in the sky, moon, sun, and the 5 brightest planets. These planets were named after the most important gods. Due to Venus being a goddess of womanhood, all of the features on the planet, except for one, are named after women. The main craters, for example, are named after influential women that existed during various times. One of them is the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who lived from 1881 to 1931. Sacajawea, the Native American tribeswoman who explored the West with Lewis and Clark, has a crater named after her as well. The greatest female poet of ancient Greece, Sappho, has a crater named after her too.  

The planet Venus represents woman hood, pride, and love in many ways. The symbol for the planet Venus is the symbol of a circle with a cross at the bottom, which stands for being a woman. 

Source: moonphases.info

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Dear Single Reader (as Stephen King used to say),

I fear you might have given up on me.

Here is what I have to show from the months of June – September: the publication of my first academic research paper, presented to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) International Conference in Santiago de Chile.  I went there in June, and from there onto Buenos Aires.

This, and irresponsible happiness.

Late September was Baja California, Mexico, and its searing sunrises.                 Halloween saw me as Frida; Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light ( October 30- November 3) saw my home, and heart, ablaze.

“Being a candle is not easy; in order to give light one must burn first.”

Rumi 

Happy last night of Diwali, the Indian Festival of light. This is a time where light banishes darkness,a time of renewals and new beginnings.

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Northern Hemisphere,
June 19 and June 20, 2016.

Strawberry Moon and Solstice, an event that occurs every seventy years.
Full moon as the Sun stops to take Her in; the union of the masculine and the feminine. I hope you  have been casting spells, and were looking skyward.

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Mission Beach, San Diego, California. 19th of June, 2016

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Cafe'-inspired ink drawing and collage. San Diego, June 2016

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Café Lulu, Sun and Moon. San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, June 2016.

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The Reader. Café Bassam. San Diego, June 2016.

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Rosa de Tijuana 1/15 . June 2016.



A Mi Tijuana

Milton Ríos

Spanish | English


La olvidada, la 100 por ciento criticada!..

A la que puedes dar mil opiniones sobre ella

La única que es coherente con su equilibrio

Entre las cosas buenas y malas!

La ciudad malvada… la maravillada,

La llena de narcos!

Artistas, multicolores y muchos tantos…

Esta ciudad… ciudad de paso

Y paso a ser mía,

Mi ciudad! Mi metrópoli confundida

Ayer la mas violenta

Hoy el ejemplo de paz!

Pero solo en mi Tijuana se puede vivir esto!

Balazos, teatro… buena música, cineastas en acción

El party el revolución! La que ya no es nada

Por que nació la calle 6ta.

Donde se junta lo subterráneo,

Las culturas urbanas, donde no ahí negros ni blancos!

Ni mexicanos ni gringos…

lo que importa es la noche bohemia,

algo de baile y alcohol

que viva la diversión…

la ciudad de segunda!

De segundas oportunidades

Donde caen los deportados

Donde comen y duermen los emigrados,

Donde se respira libertad

Donde ahí policías buenos y malos!

Y aquí te preguntas? Para que ir al otro lado…

Si acaso nomas de compras,

 a conocer lo bien planeado.

Pero para dormir a gusto! Para respirar a diario…

Con la adrenalina constante,

De Tijuana ahí que ser amante.

Y así a donde vallas al decir soy de Tijuana

Obtendrás ese silencio! Que es un silencio ganado

De respeto por que para criticar Tijuana

Solo  nosotros los que la vivimos

Los que la hemos hecho nuestra

Y ser tijuanense, claro que satisface

Pero también pesa y cuesta!…




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Hello Stranger!

In case you are wondering what happened to me and why I’ve gone M.I.A during the month of February and most of March, the board above is one of the reasons. As it happened in 2010,
our school underwent an enormous accreditation visit, which meant preparing for months collecting, documenting and providing evidences.

One of the best things to come out of the work leading to the Accreditation was that Faculty was once more asked to prepare a record of what we have been doing – outside of teaching- the past five years.
It is a monumental task to audit, select and curate five years of life, work, art – yet I welcome the chance to take stock of where I have been, for it points to where I want to go. This process of self-evaluation is a privilege not afforded to many professions, and I was thankful for the challenge.
We were also asked to write a brief narrative. I worked on this more hours than I care to admit and I am happy to now share this with you: words, drawings and travel photography — some of which hasn’t been seen here yet! Hope you enjoy it.


“The French writer Daniel Pennac describes the notion of  the passeur, of the ‘transmitter’, as intimately connected to the ownership of culture.  He considers pedagogy as a branch of dramaturgy: a great teacher is a playwright, a vector of knowledge who instills curiosity, personifies her subject, and communicates passion. As an academic, designer, artist, and poet , storytelling is central to my work.

When I was six years old, fascinated by a book of folktales of Northern Europe, I decided I wanted to be a collector of legends. Though my path took me to Architecture and Fine Arts, teaching History of Architecture brought me to travel to Latin America, the American Southwest and the Caribbeans  where I began to record the history of place through the stories of its native people, These ‘stories of architecture’ become the framework of my courses. Through drawing, urban sketching, collages, photography, and writing, my preoccupation has been with collecting, documenting, processing and communicating narratives – while letting the spontaneous unfold.”


Miti Aiello, San Diego, March 2016

Writer Update:

My abstract on my research on Storage Cities has been accepted by one of the two main Architecture academic bodies here in the U.S for presentation at their International Conference! They are sending me to Santiago, Chile in June, and will publish my academic paper. Too excited for words. If you want to get a sneak peek and read my abstract check out my academia.edu page.

This is likely a hello/byefornow.
I wanted to update my blog now that classes have ended for the quarter, and before once again leaving for Mexico, this time in Baja California Sur for a week of volunteering. Faculty and students of my school are going to help build a healing center using natural architecture in a location that is three hours away by car from the closest road. It will be very remote, challenging and, I am sure, transforming. I will document everything.

Few weeks ago I wrote that, sometimes, we don’t have time to do art because we are too busy living a life that is art itself.
That is a true blessing, amidst the inherent challenges.

Although I have not posted here, I have not stopped taking photographs, seeing, collecting, thinking. My hope of hopes is to get caught up with my posts this summer…Promises we have heard before…

“You don’t need motivation.
What you need is discipline, young lady!”

Joe

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We are the Stargazers,
We are the Memorykeepers

We are the stargazers,
we are the memorykeepers
the nightwalkers
the moonseekers
we are the solitude dwellers
we pause, head lifted to look at clouds
moving fast through the night skies
like steam raising from hot coffee
in a makeshift cafe.

[ stop looking at your phone
and look at the stars ]

We are impractical madness.
We are the timeconjurers,
propelled through dark hours
chasing follies
– we pause to take photographs when we’re late; we always answer the muse
and she comes at the most inopportune moments.
We are the harbingers,
we are the jesters.
We sit on street corners in the cold, listening to the banter of clochards.
Our hands hurt
we write poems no-one will read.

We are the stargazers,
we are the memorykeepers
we are the storytellers.
We are the art warriors,
we battle against the loss of words,
which come unexpected and vanish so quickly, like the tendrils of love in the morning.

We fight against time which consumes.
We succeed – and steal one verse or image from the frenetic chasm.
We indulge in vain attempts to capture stars.

We are the dreamers,
we are the songcollectors
we are the last romantics.
Our job is to always have innocent eyes.
We are the wanderers.
Our job is to remember and coalesce.
We preserve life’s gossamer fragments of beauty, we keep them like strands of lights in a jar.

We are the butterflies,
we are the petal priests,
we run red lights.

We wander at night and are consumed by fire.
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

San Diego. January 18, 2016

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The light in your soul is far greater than the darkness. Shine your light.

Lailah Gifty Akita

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No se trata de velocidad
Si no de resistencia
Para lograr lo que se quiere.

To achieve what we want
It’s not about speed,
But resistance.

I wish you a Glorious 2016.

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Bassam's Café , the post-art hangout

[ Updated, more crisp scans.
I hereby promise not to post phone photos when I can provide scans. ]

On the evening before the Winter Solstice, I rejoined the group that meets in the lower level of the San Diego Arts Institute {The Museum of the Living Artists} in Balboa Park, for “One Last Hurray”– tonight was the last night Live Modeling will be hosted in the Gallery . These rendez-vouz became scarcer with the passing of the last few months, from every other Monday, to one Monday a month, to a late summer hiatus, to this…the end.

Once more I am reminded that the only constant in life is change. I will miss these evenings of art, self-paced, the bodies of the models always surprising once translated into the page. The outcomes always tell me more about myself than them. I had not attended these Live Modeling sessions since October, when the school year resumed and I found myself teaching First Year again on Mondays and Wednesday evening (which was exciting, and cyclical at the same time…because as things change they do, occasionally, repeat).

It was nice to say goodbye tonight. I pushed colored water with brushes, with no expectations, reminding myself that I am a painter more than a drawer, and reciting my farewell to painting/drawing nudes. My interest lies in making (collages and pantings that do not involve bodies) and these ‘art therapy’ sessions did much good in helping me find time for art, but it is time to move on and find the discipline within me.

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Watercolor on the wrong paper- Strathmore Bristol. San Diego, December 21, 2015

Speaking of discipline, this time physical, this Fall I was also pining for my old Wednesday night zumba/dance class, taught by one of the best teachers in town and, lo and behold, that class is also no more. Everything is telling me to let go and let myself be unmoored because routines, and certainties, are only illusions of the mind and of time.

I am reminded at least few times a day that, since I became Assistant Professor, a title that I longed for and a milestone for me, the time that I used to have for Art and SketchBloom has vanished, leaving me with scraps, and occasional posts during school breaks. It is bittersweet, because when I had more time, I also had different challenges.  On the plus side, I feel that my classes are getting stronger and that all the energy put into what I do is bearing beautiful fruit, and my travels a re translating into lectures, thoughts, incipits of papers. My students have been blossoming , and what I offer them, though intangible, is perhaps my greatest art…the words and the stories shared in the intimacy of the classroom.  My favorite part of this Fall was new lectures on Native American Architecture and the Empires of the Sun (Aztec, Maya, Inca), along with those for Hindu and Buddhist Architecture. It was wonderful to share my travels to Teotihuacan and Mexico City, DF (July and November) and various museum visits. All these will be documented here in the coming days.
I am going to visit new Mayan sites soon 🙂 and I feel blessed that what I love to do (travel) also makes me better at what I do. One of my students wrote me that what I shared from my travels was her favorite part of the History of Architecture and Urban Design course, and that made me smile inside. Another told me that I am, indeed, a ‘collector of legends’, what I knew I wanted to be at 6 years old as I was put in charge of our classroom’s bookshelf.

I have been reading a lot on Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and there is a whole section of advice on, basically, doing your best, and letting go. Letting go of what you think is the idea of perfection, because life is already perfect, in secret ways that we will only understand in time. SO many ways to convey a message that I run into again and again.

I swear at least once a day in the past few months I have encountered and recorded places, people, feelings, stories, books, quotes, readings, images  that I wanted to share here but pressing obligations and life prevented me. I trust that what I have been collecting (the speed and quantity of memories accumulated akin to hoarding for its sheer size) will be shared and enfolded in time. The thought of living hard and traveling harder to make memories for my old age has crossed my mind. One thing I did not do is draw  or paint, but I believe, now, there are other ways to make art.
Photography is one. Or writing.
Also, creating the space and conditions that allow art to emerge: clearing your life and decluttering, physically and emotionally, to make room for art, for the NEW.
Is not prepping the canvas also part of the painting? Then I have weaved that canvas fabric with the threads of days full of wonder, struggle and discovery, primed it with an unshakeable faith, and strengthened with tireless service, resilience and endurance.

Please forgive me, it is the end of the quarter, and the end of a stupendous year …and I am waxing poetic. Time to sum up the past 12 months. I wanted to count all the things I was grateful for in 2015 and I counted 41. How many things are you grateful for? Every difficulty came with a breakthrough and a blessing for me, a strengthening lesson. I hope the same for you, Reader.

I know it is not the end of the year proper yet, but for me it already has come, with the close of another quarter and the time, silent and special, to calculate grades, my students’ and mine. I wish all my readers and visitors a great journey in 2016, untroubled by worldly events and guided only by that ‘light that never goes out’, our own.

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Watercolor on the wrong paper- Strathmore Bristol. San Diego, December 21, 2015

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Watercolor on the wrong paper- Strathmore Bristol. San Diego, December 21, 2015

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A rare rainy Sunday brought us close to
Paris. Vive La France ❤

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Last night, between November 10 and November 11, and all day today we celebrate Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights. I had fun arranging light
‘sculptures’ and enjoyed the presence of so many candles and lit lamps in every room, till the wee hours of the night.
Magical, powerful fire and all manners of colored skins, screens and effects to spread, diffuse, and scatter light…I loved this night.

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What is Diwali ? – you might ask.

Diwali is the Festival of Lights in India, a day to celebrate good triumphing over evil and light over darkness.
It is in, fact, the end of darkness.
Diwali is a day to honor your inner light and bless your home. It is a day for  new beginnings, as it celebrates the start of the Indian New Year.

H  A  P  P  Y     D  I  W  A  L  I 

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Light up all the candles! Hang your lanterns and luminaires…string all the lights.
….
Diwali is called the Festival of Lights and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil (light over darkness).

The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities but its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light”.
Source: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/diwali

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We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.

Pascal Mercier
Night Train to Lisbon

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I walk at night.
You can keep mornings, with the aftershave of salesmen, rush hour…with the Starbucks lines and hair perfectly
well done.

(Mafalda says that everything good in life messes up your hair)

You can have the morning with its blinding light, its lack of nuances…leave the night to blur lines, to hide and to reveal.

The morning of road warriors, weekend warriors, commute warriors, checkers of life’s milestones – I lost count, and it is not my race.

Leave me the profound night, let me walk at hours of my choosing, when empty streets whispher poetry lines, if you just listen.

This is my queendom, let me patrol my land of empty office buildings, of Mexican night workers, of quiet and shadows.

The night of orange streetlights, of vacant lots and sleeping churches.

Of red windows, where the artists burn.

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In January I collided with two splendid creatures in Balboa Park, Lila’Angelique and Thoth, which together form Tribal Baroque.

I wanted to share some portraits I took of them, in order to share some of the magic of their presence and music.

Nothing prepares you for the beauty that is Tribal Baroque, but here is a taste of what’s in store if you can make it to one of their prayformances in the park.

This is the Facebook page of Tribal Baroque, so you can catch these fairies who are here in San Diego for a limited time.

{more to come…see below}
…….

Four days ago, I spent two hours crafting the perfect posts on my muses, full of links and perfectly ( to me) worded prose.

When I went to publish the post, I LOST everything. It is the first time that this has happened on WordPress, which is usually excellent at saving drafts in progress.

I have been too heartbroken to come back and re-craft my post, but I have new art from Saturday and tonight – yes i started sketching and painting again (!) – and new photographs that I want to share, and life must go on.

Enjoy this images for now.. I will come back in the morning, refreshed, and tell you its stories…
…….

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Thank you for bringing the *triple* rainbow and pink sky 😉 :
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California Building Tower. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.


In the past couple of months, we’ve had the most spectacular sunsets – the most magnificent skies, really.

In addition, balmy, magical nights.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but San Diego and Southern California are becoming more and more lovely and precious each day.
It is like falling in love, all over again.

Tonight I want to share some night and sunset shots, reserving the day skies for another post.
These photos have all been taken and corrected on my HTC One camera, hence the sometimes annoying light ‘spilling’, low res and graininess.
I will start carrying my Panasonic camera again, and correcting on Photoshop. I realize that my photos look better on a small screen…
One day I would like to invest in a proper Digital DSRL, but for now accept these artisanal shots.

I have taken to making nightly pilgrimages to our Balboa Park.
This is our cultural park, with more than twenty art museums and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The pairing of Spanish architecture and tropical greenery take me to Cuba, to Puerto Rico…to the Caribbeans. Balboa Park was built in 1915 for the Pan-American Exhibition, and is celebrating its Centenary this year!

The central plaza, Plaza de Panama, is now restored as the living room of the city.

To my eye, the park is more and more beautiful each month that goes by.

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View from Cabrillo Bridge. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.

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Night view from Cabrillo Bridge. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.

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View of Plaza De Panama. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Arboretum. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Sculpture Garden. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Museum of Man. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

And here are other end-of-day scenes from San Diego.

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Normal Heights, San Diego. January 2015.

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Bankers' Hill, San Diego. January 2015.

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Hillcrest, San Diego. February 2015.

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University Heights, San Diego. February 2015.

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Hillcrest, San Diego. February 2015.

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Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza. December 2014

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Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza. December 2014.

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Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego. Cafe' Sevilla. January 2015.

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163 South Highway towards Downtown San Diego. View from Cabrillo Bridge, Balboa Park. March 2015.


And now, two poems to the Night.

The Night is Still

by Edith Matilda Thomas


The night is still, the moon looks kind,
The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
An ivy climbs across thy blind,
And throws a light and misty wreath.

 
The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
Buds bloom for which the bee has pined;
I haste along, I quicker breathe,
The night is still, the moon looks kind.

Buds bloom for which the bee has pined,
The primrose slips its jealous sheath,
As up the flower-watched path I wind
And come thy window-ledge beneath.

The primrose slips its jealous sheath,—
Then open wide that churlish blind,
And kiss me through the ivy wreath!
The night is still, the moon looks kind.

….

A Gift

by Leonora Speyer


I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
Her moon-song,
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.

 
Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.


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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

Autobiography of Eve

 by Ansel Elkins

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.

Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.

I leapt
to freedom.

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Attraversiamo! Let us cross!

Not knowing where to start, we can start from here, from tonight.
Of all the nights, why not tonight?

I picked up my electronic pen, my fingertips, so many times, only to put it/them back in the drawer.
Fragile, breakable souls…we get overwhelmed so easily…we take so much time to process.
Life is always a zero or thousand percent experience to an artist…we know no ‘efficiency’ or safety…and we crave intensity because, for some of us, that is what art and life is made of.
I tend to store moments, spaces, bodies, souls, words, in mental collages as white-hot and dangerous as rocket turbines.
Fuel for the winters of life, emotions that could only be collected in tranquility.

Yet, what if life moves so fast that there is no time to process it through artwork?

The real life of absorbing work, passionate friends, culture, travel, service, relationships, often happens faster than art, words, and poetry…and demands to be lived with our heart on ‘fingertips and tongues’, as Fernanda Pivano writes.

To be an artist, which is never a choice –or at least not a choice than any sane person would make– requires that not only we live life at its fullest, but that we show up to our craft, that we transform the energy of our life, entropically, into artwork.

As soon as things get a little off- balance, that is, too much time passes without creative outputs, the feeling of being overwhelmed begins. Because the storing of information and experiences that will translate into artwork never stops in an artist.
Sacrifices need to be made…time-outs need to take place for the alchemical crafting of life into art, yet that doesn’t/can’t always happen.

Where does one start, then?

Digging through more than a year’s worth of raw, brilliant life, stupendous falls and magnificent failures….when does collecting become hoarding?
When there is no sharing. Most of us are compelled ( condemned? ) to offer up our work. These words, these ideas, these posts, need to leave my mind so that I and them can be set free.

Then there is time, and guilt.
Time away from the craft that is transformed into guilt.
This is an evil cycle for artists, made worst with each passing day. It is a sort of paralysis, a mental block due not to lack of ideas, but due to too many — coupled with the most peculiar fear of success.

And muses, muses inspire, but also distract, and disrupt. It is in the nature of muses and we won’t fault them.

How many times have I promised myself the return of myself – in full glory? Is this it?

Then I read an introduction to an art exhibit in Rome, something about the concept of  ‘taking time’ — the fact that art is also made of the fallow time it took to process life, that the in-between time of silence is an intrinsic part of evolutionary works….

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Thank you to Carlotta Pisano for this photo and inspiration.

A work of art is not only what is visible to the eye, but the result of a complex journey, of going-away and re-compositions

The exhibit, which I will never see and exists as a sort of Borgesian riddle
( I have the instructions, yet no machine; this being the whole point of the instructions) aims to
“underline the value, priceless, of that golden moment which is the possibility of producing a kind of thought that looks at art , without the anxiety of having to furnish a product. These works ( we will never see them, therefore we can imagine them as we wish )  have a baggage full of the process that matured and realized  them. It is the difference between looking and seeing.”

In these two years, I learned the importance of chaos, and that one must respect it and love it as an akward child.

I learned of nesting, and of working on a home as a temple.
Without order, at least for me, there can be no art, just escapism.
I learned I solve myself by working on external harmony.
(Or maybe I was just avoiding myself, and procrastinating.)

I learned patience, which is not burning anymore, but peaceful. I learned that forgiveness is part of the creative  process. And so is letting go.

I learned I am not reading enough books.

I learned that, when I am too tired to do anything else, and sleep does not come, words are there, images are there…and I can go into my vaults and cellars and create something to share with you.
I can write.
It is not academic writing –that will come in time–but something that likes to combines poetic prose or poetry with images. This is the sound my soul would make, if it could sing.

This output brings me immeasurable joy. More importantly, it keeps me alive.

I was recently, and repeatedly, reminded of the quote :

Find what brings you alive,
and do it.

The truth is that without showing up here, my soul atrophies. Simply put, it has become a matter of survival.

A lady I know and love likes to say, in matters of home organization,

You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; 

I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?

So I will start from where I am tonight, and work my way back, back through these past two years in images. As I said, I can offer more words and photographs than drawings and paintings at this point.
I decided to stop beating myself up for this.

I will jump in where we are too, with current (attempts at) drawn and painted work, back to using my hands everyday.
Consider this my artistic physical therapy after the most wonderful accidents.

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Solana Beach, California. February 13, 2015.


Invitation to Love

by Paul Laurence Dunbar



Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

 

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it to rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

 

Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.





Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.
This poem was published in 1896, when the poet was 24 years old.
He died ten years later.

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La Mujer Que Lee ( Woman Who Reads ). Pastel, Paint, Newsprint Collage on Board. 2004

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Picture the two of you lamp-shopping at IKEA, orchestrating a from-scratch dinner, and generally being capital-T Together.

Refinery29.com

No Te Enamores De Una Mujer Que Lee.
[Do Not Fall in Love With A Woman Who Reads]

By Martha Rivera-Garrido

No te enamores de una mujer que lee, de una mujer que siente demasiado, de una mujer que escribe… No te enamores de una mujer culta, maga, delirante, loca. No te enamores de una mujer que piensa, que sabe lo que sabe y además sabe volar; una mujer segura de sí misma. No te enamores de una mujer que se ríe o llora haciendo el amor, que sabe convertir en espíritu su carne; y mucho menos de una que ame la poesía (esas son las más peligrosas), o que se quede media hora contemplando una pintura y no sepa vivir sin la música. No te enamores de una mujer a la que le interese la política y que sea rebelde y vertigue un inmenso horror por las injusticias. Una a la que le gusten los juegos de fútbol y de pelota y no le guste para nada ver televisión. Ni de una mujer que es bella sin importar las características de su cara y de su cuerpo. No te enamores de una mujer intensa, lúdica y lúcida e irreverente. No quieras enamorarte de una mujer así. Porque cuando te enamoras de una mujer como esa, se quede ella contigo o no, te ame ella o no, de ella, de una mujer así, JAMAS se regresa”.

Don´t fall in love with a woman who reads, with a woman who feels too much, with a woman who writes… Don’t fall in love with a cultivated, magician, delirious, crazy woman. Don’t fall in love with a woman who thinks, who knows what she knows and also knows how to fly; a woman sure of herself. Don’t fall in love with a woman who laughs or cries while making love, who is capable of turning her flesh into spirit. Don´t fall in love with a woman who loves poetry (those are the most dangerous) , who could spend half an hour staring at a painting and can’t live without music. Don’t fall in love with a woman who is interested in politics; one who is rebellious and suffers enormously because of inequality and injustices. A woman who enjoys football matches and ball games but doesn´t like to watch television at all. Don´t you dare to fall in love with a woman who is gorgeous no matter her face or her body – an intense, playful, lucid and irreverent woman. You don’t want to fall in love with a woman like that.  Because if you do so, whether she stays with you or not, whether she loves you back or not, from her, from a woman like that, you´ll NEVER EVER return.

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Balanced Recklessness. Milano, December 2014.

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Escape, or Freedom

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Plaza de Panama. Balboa Park, San Diego. December 2014.



I was trying to find a poem
To describe your skin, night
But the poets don’t know
the hours, or the look i just tried on you–
I cannot find you in their words.

I am always hiding in their verses,
moon behind clouds.
Distilling memories, crafting them into images, words:
what is the wine that we drink?
and who can write about the way you held me?

They do not have a name for this, for how perfect we were, the amber and coffee
of our hips.
Your kind chest,
your arms, taut as steel,
and the fact that i did not look at you, not once, afraid of learning too much
from the way you walked,
or the way your clothes fell.

Drowning so sweet,
tender fire.

Name the nights this year,
count them on the palm
of one hand.
Indifferent city, i stole moments of brilliance
from your stingy months.
I ride dark, subversive waters
and capsize
continuously.

‘Until the inconscious is made conscious, the subconscious will rule your life,
and you will call it Destiny.’
Carl Jung

Do the poets write
of a lion lying with his lioness?
Of fleeting things?

You drove and i held your hand
You told me one must laugh, pray and cry,
everyday.
I argued the last point.

San Diego, December 2014

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Sunset. Venice, California. November 2014.

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Anything Can Happen. Anything Can Be. Santa Monica, California. November 2014.



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How to Love
By January Gill O’Neil

After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love, 
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape 
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance. 
 
What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see, 
the three wild turkeys crossing the street 
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to  do 
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross. 
 
As they amble away, you wonder if they want 
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too, 
waiting for all this to give way to love itself, 
to look into the eyes of another and feel something— 
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night, 
your wings folded around him, on the other side 
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.

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Continents



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Perfect Storms


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Icescapes


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The Light of Florence at 5PM


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Resilience


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Land becoming Cloud.

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Habeas Corpus

by Jeffrey Schultz

 


In memoriam the once-frozen North

Our collective consciousness does not allow punishment where it cannot impose blame.

United States v. Lyon
Judge Alvin Benjamin Rubin, dissenting

 


There is of course the other idea: that the intricate latticework
Of our bodies loosed from us at last will leave us free
To become anything, pure light, perhaps, or wing-beats

In fresh powder beneath some maples locked up in their thin veneer
Of ice. But then as always a sudden gust and the limbs’ clacking,
And, as when some insurgent sound crosses over the porous border

Of a dream, the world recrystallizes around us: midday, snow-
Grayed, the wind-chill’s sub-zero like a ball-peen to the forehead.
It’s cold enough to quiet even the soul’s feathery throat-song,

And so it does. Nothing moves and I move through the woods
At the edge of its city with dog, hoping he’ll shit his daily shit
Before this reddening flesh numbs entirely. Nothing moves,

But beneath months-thick ice and powder, winter’s put up its dead:
Squirrels and sparrows, the wren and the fox, whole families
Of field mice posed as if in the pet store’s deep freeze, even,

Here and there, scattered and whole, occasional missing persons.
For now, for guilty, for guiltless, no matter, the world offers neither
Deliverance nor decay, and though we trust in that the thaw

Will come, that someday soon some pond water, water
Still and softly rippled as pre-War window-glass, will again reflect
Its image of the bloodless sky, cut, at intervals, by spring’s

First returning vultures, and though the police will then take
A little comfort, as they kick the MOBILE CRIME LAB’s tires
Before rolling it out for the season, that the birds help at least

To ease the legwork, we know no one’s, you know, going to be
Set free. The skull’s thin as eggshell so far as the beak’s thick curve
Is concerned. The raisin of the eye’s an easy delicacy.

And so to imagine the future is to imagine the present, but warmer,
But more forthrightly, more honestly violent. And so another day’s
Bones picked clean. There is of course the idea’s consolation:

For eternal patience, eternal reward, for the meek, the Earth’s
Corpse. Instead, a sort of waking sleep, a sort of waking slow;
We rub our eyes, warm the last of yesterday’s coffee, stare

As our email loads: surely something must have come, surely
Someone has spirited us that which would make all the difference.
We call to complain that nothing’s working because we like

The on-hold music, which is a sound other than our breathing.
We ask the music if we can speak to its supervisor but when we try
To explain it only laughs, Guiltless!
Who do you think you are anyway?,

Laughs its little soprano sax laugh before it loops back to its loop’s
Beginning. The coffee pot runs on mediated coal and drips acids.
The car’s topped up with artillery and emits amputees. The idea was

Waking would make things clearer, would startle us as from any night’s
Nightmare: these sheets’ cold which is not bare concrete floor,
This patch of light the moon has cast not the interrogator’s light,

This knocking in our head not some still-indecipherable code
Tapped against an adjacent wall by who knows who, by someone
We can’t even begin to imagine, someone stuck here longer

Than even ourselves yet still committed to the idea that finding
A way to speak to each other would help matters, this knocking
None of that but rather something real, here, furnace clank or thief

In the night, something real and something present and not
The dream of what must be held that way until it stops thrashing,
Not the dream of being held that way, but what could be danger

Or else nothing once more, which means we prowl once more
The house, ridiculous in our underwear, ridiculous with a flashlight
Gripped like a truncheon, the floorboards cold somehow as bare

Concrete, the floorboards that croak somehow like vultures who are
Not here, who winter south, scan the Sonoran desert’s northern
Edge, its empty water bottles and tire ruts and those nameless

It dries to a sort of jerky, those nameless who labored in vain
To cross it, who had hoped that in crossing, they would be set free.
Nothing’s wrong, the house secure, bolts bolted, latches latched.

Somewhere in the distance beyond the kitchen window, downtown
And its bus bench bail bondsman, downtown and its graffiti
Covered wall’s Great Writ:Repent! The End Is Nigh! As always, as always,

Answers the darkness. But, pre-War? In what will soon enough be
Dawn-light, in this near-light, who can tell if it’s blood spread thin
On our hands or else just a healthy, living glow?  Outside, the idea

Of night and the idea of day seem to have come to a standoff.

No one’s calling for negotiations. We know what happens next:
Whether the stars flicker or merely flinch, the sun, whose face

Is a badge, has always been a little trigger happy. And though
The firestorm will consume, soon enough, everything, it seems
For the moment this will go on. As if indefinitely. As if without cause.

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San Diego Harbor, October 18, 2014.




to my single reader:


perhaps one day soon
i will tell you about puerto rico, taíno heart, and driving into méxico at midnight
like two fugitive moths
the indio angels
perhaps i will share the secret tales
of a heart that keeps returning
to the south
and reading poetry as an act
of revolution.
i did not forget. i am not gone.
i never gave up.
artists cannot stop seeing and sharing beauty, no more than poets can stop feeling and bleeding ink.
it is not a choice for us.
understand that a pen lies dormant sometimes, oftentimes,
only to gather strength, and stories,
like our souls.
only to heal.
the vessel eventually spills over.
i will tell you about calabria, my tierra, my fisherman father, then new mexico, the beautiful natives of this country, their poignant song…and the lines i wrote
at ten thousand feet
they might make sense
once stitched together.
i will talk about
traveling as an act of infinite love
to heal, to forgive, to archive
yet never, never forget (i will never let you go, hold you into the light)
but i will never say a word.
there will be more photos than drawings, please forgive me.
there will be, more often than not, no explanations, and little context [as in life]
accept these scattered offerings.
what is the music that one hears
as we change skin?
i can only bring back
dispatches.
the giving of one’s self
receiving infinite blessings
and signs
i will find a way to share this
hiding my hands, covering my mouth.
breaking awful tiles on that grey vinyl floor ! and every instance that made me thankful
for a heart that was broke open
like a seed that could finally flower.
for a traveling soul
that will always eschew expediency
for narrative.


but not tonight.
tonight is not the night
for everything to be told.
it’s a start, a shy coming back
after months abroad.
the new world, the old world.
i return to the shuttered home,
look at these years
stacked in neat boxes,
wrapped with care, once.
a gift from ourselves, to ourselves.
it is time to return,
harvesttime is once upon us, and finds me stronger.
it is time to shake the dust covers, unpack
and finally, finally move in.
there is never enough time to do housework, single reader,
but i figured  you know
it is not the thought of unfinished laundry
that keeps me up at night.

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Cities and Sieges

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After the brief siege ended, 
and the city was laid open at his feet, walls fallen apart like scruples, maybe he thought:



‘I don’t want you to be my first girl,

But my last.

I’ll walk away from your eyes,

And feed you silences.


Because the time is not ripe, 

I will put up fences in the water

To separate

And dams

To hold

My expansive heart.



[ You and I 

Inevitable as thunder

Follows lightning]



I will build, with concrete

Walls that cut through

Olive groves and piazzas

And I will

Contain you.’



Somewhere in between, endless summer, 2014

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Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis, July 2014



Love after Love


The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.



Derek Walcott

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Lapis Azules

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My next painting 🙂

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Home....

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Lei’ que San Juan, Cadiz y La Habana son la misma ciudad, pero en otros lugares

I read that San Juan, Cadiz, and Havana are all the same city, just in different places.
V.

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These Rocks Were Put Together By Cats {American Officer}

These Rocks Were Put Together By Cats {American Flag}

Bobby Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Bobby Doesn’t Live Here Anymore


Decoupage: A technique were text is disassembled and reassembled, leading to new interpretation. Used by David Bowie to compose lyrics.
. …

Love in the Morning

By Annie Finch

Morning’s a new bird
stirring against me
out of a quiet nest,
coming to flight—

quick-changing,
slow-nodding,
breath-filling body,

life-holding,
waiting,
clean as clear water,

warmth-given,
fire-driven
kindling companion,

mystery and mountain,
dark-rooted,
earth-anchored.

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The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.

The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.

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With my pattern and leather in the Materials Lab, to trace images in Illustrator and experiment with the laser cutting process. “The object feels good if the process feels good.”

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The laser etched leather swatches. Fire drawings…scars…tattoos and cattle branding.

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Preparing for night surgical cutting, tailoring and riveting. And documenting. The whole project came about in three days (Friday to Sunday), but was months in the making (and in the thinking, and in the promising).

 

 

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The prototypes are done!

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Laying out this graphic board illustrating the process took longer than I would like to admit. In the end, it was a process of elimination…which is the secret to design, really.

 

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Exhibit time. Board layout #2 with Illustrator patterns :).

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Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos....by yours truly.

Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos….by yours truly.

 

 

Idea #13: Temporary Leather Tattoos

Experiments with recycled leather, tattoo patterns and the laser cutter in our Materials Lab for the Action/Reaction Faculty show, where students react to faculty work.

I chose to explore these tribal tattoo patterns I drew long ago and finally turn them into ‘temporary’ leather tattoos – since an actual tribal armband tattoo is out of the question (#italianmother).

In the process, I learned how to make leather-on-leather tattoos, used the laser cutter for the first time, hand-cut till my hands were sore, learned how to put rivets, and was taught about vector lines and patterns in lllustrator by my wonderful, patient students.
Thanks to student feedback/critique (which was extremely positive about the artifacts :)) the board could use one more ‘pass’ as far as fonts and background, but I wanted to post this now, as the show is coming to a close.

While researching case studies, I was astonished by the amount of cool accessories, arm bands and earrings made with recycled bike tires and inner tubes.

Etsy, here I come.

 

Here are some photos from the Action|Reaction opening, by Donn Angel Perez, the curator of the show (and author of the beautiful paintings shown), along with student Chuck Wilson

For the opening- in keeping with the recycled/sustainable theme, and to save time 😉 – I projected my board.

 

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…….

littlescreenshot <<<and this, this little guy on my desktop just makes me happy.

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Shift #5

Ali Liebegott

for Seamus Heaney

 

 

a box of coconut water
two cans of coconut milk

so many looking for help

some people care when a poet dies

a poem is a conscience
a report card, a confession:

today my lies were a motor that spun the Earth

how can you get truth from a hill
when I am the continent that drifts?

how can I taste what I’m mourning
when soon everything will be salt from the sea?

 

—8/30/13, Register 6
1 PM—5:15 p.m.

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San Diego, April 20, 2014

Open the windows of your soul,
And let the light in,
As a house shuttered for months
Receives the Sun.

San Diego, Easter Sunday 2014

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Austin-Bergston Airport, April 10,2014

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Don Draper: As much as I would like to join all the ads making fun of the ubiquitous San Francisco hippie, let’s try to trade on the word ‘love’ as something substantial.

– I don’t think that it’s possible in this context.

Don Draper:
So why are we contributing to the trivialization of the word? It doesn’t belong in the kitchen.
” I love this.”
” I love my oven.”
” You know what I’d love ?
I’d love a hamburger.”
We are wearing it out.
Let’s leave it where we want it.
We want that electric jolt to the body.
We want Eros. It’s like a drug.
It’s not domestic.

What’s the difference between a husband knocking on a door and a sailor getting off a ship?

About 10,000 volts.