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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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Encinitas, January 2017.


Mission Beach, San Diego, January 2017



Beautiful Thinking

By Angie Estes

Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor

so that motor launches from shore
can nurse alongside. All afternoon we studied
les structures où nous sommes l’objet, structures

in which we are the object—le soleil
me dérange, le Côte d’Azur nous manque—
while the pompiers angled their Bombardiers

down to the sea, skimming its surface
like pelicans and rising, filled
with water to drop on inland, inaccessible

wildfires. Once, a swimmer was found face down
in a tree like the unfledged robin I saw
flung to the ground, rowing

its pink shoulders as if in the middle
of the butterfly stroke, rising a moment
above water. Oiseau is the shortest word

in French to use all five vowels: “the soul
and tie of every word,” which Dante named
auieo. All through December, a ladybug circles

high around the kitchen walls looking for
spring, the way we search for a word that will hold
all vows and avowals: eunoia, Greek

for “beautiful thinking,” because the world’s
a magic slate, sleight of hand—now
you see it, now you don’t—not exactly

a slight, although in Elizabethan English, “nothing”
was pronounced “noting.” In the Bodleian Library
at Oxford, letters of the alphabet hang

from the ceiling like the teats
of the wolf that suckled Romulus
and Remus, but their alibi

keeps changing, slate gray like the sea’s
massage: You were more in me than I was
in me. . . . You remained within while I

went outside. Hard to say
whether it was Augustine
speaking to God or my mother

talking to me. Gulls ink the sky
with view, while waves throw themselves
on the mercy of the shore.

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Love is On | Or When the Rose Showed its Thorns. Paint, found objects, fabric, dry roses. March 2017.


My friends,

I had to choose between sleep and Art 

Between clear eyes and Poetry 

So I chose to get lost in Divine intoxication

Now Hafiz and Rumi while away the small of the night with me 

I drink their wine

Frida winks at me and snaps her fan 

I took leave of the land of the measured – now I only visit-

 I shall follow my heart and the Muse 

(she does not come to those who run their life like a business – and  a clean easel is the saddest sight you will ever see) 

Now my hands are tinted blue 

I hear the birds praying each dawn 

And I smile. 



San Diego, March 6, 2017 

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Stealing 1.5 minutes from Chronos to roughly sketch out surroundings. Academia has claimed the time reserved for Art, yet Art shall overcome. Cafe Bassam. January 2017



The Eyes of the Poet

Let me try to explain the way
the poet sees.

To the poet the sparks of electricity
zapping along the trolley cables
are falling stars

A thread on the blue carpet
curls in the shape
of butterfly wings

The poet writes on the bus
and carves
tiny offerings to the Muse
out of dense, secular days

The poet sees a sky of pink
when she looks at the facade
under fluorescent street lights

(that’s when they started killing nuances)

The poet is always, always somewhen else

For example, when she closes her eyes she is in a city of spires and
horizonless turquoise

Here, wings tethered to a chronograph,
longing only for infinity,
and the only time that matters,
art

In her chest the poet keeps:
incense and ink
the space between words
certain nights

Her soul is already beyond the asphalt,
Through the pavement to become light

She understands exile now
and the words of those far
from the land of the two domes, from Beauty

As she walks through a city with no past a man tells her:
Let me guess. Size six.


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And, suddenly, you are gazing at the eternal sublime. Venice’s borders are the dream realms. This is a city that starts on water and ends in the soul. Venice is a portal between reality and myth. A city that is real, but also impossible. My little cousin declared, at ten years old, that ‘this is the most beautiful city in the whole world.’ In no other country man-made and natural Beauty is so entrenched with the national psyche and identity. Beauty is elevated as the greatest national virtue, privilege and asset. Beauty is Italy’s doctrine and her true religion. We are, after all, Il Bel Paese.
Venezia, Italia, January 1, 2017.



‘There is still one of which you never speak.’
Marco Polo bowed his head.
‘Venice,’ the Khan said.
Marco smiled. ‘What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?’
The emperor did not turn a hair. ‘And yet I have never heard you mention that name.’
And Polo said: ‘Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.’

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities





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Ink on Moleskine paper. Schneider Hybrid 0.5.  San Juan, Puerto Rico. June 2014.

Ink on Moleskine paper. Schneider Hybrid 0.5.
San Juan, Puerto Rico. June 2014.

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Break my Heart in Three Hundred Words – Or Less


The light is lilac in the morning
Red at night
A blush of time
I was shedding skin
When I met you


San Diego, May 2014




….and that is the only thing I want.
And since I can’t have that, I don’t care about the rest.

I don’t care about anything, anything.

Anna Karenina

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