Photographs. Anecdotes. And observations on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lessons from Pico Iyer.

"When travelling you obtain knowledge, but when you return to the states, you return as a child"

-Pico Iyer
It's funny travelling through the red light district at night and then in the morning going to the city square to realize that shopping for clothes parallels sex shopping--aren't both ultimately for the purpose of sex?

A man accosts me: "Ecstasy? Do you want some or not?"

I've seen Chinese, Mexican, Thai, American, Lebanese, and German (restaurants), but what is Dutch here? Maybe what you can get in a bakery? Pastries?

In the city of Amsterdam I sit in a courtyard. Street cleaners are working--a truck sprays some water (to dampen the dirt?), sweeps with spiral brushes, and men follow up with the collection of garbage. After they've left, I look around and realize that the courtyard is still filthy.

-Journal Entries, May 24th and 25th 1999. Amsterdam.
"As soon as you begin to know a place all talk of "old" and "new" or "East" and "West" becomes redundant. Just the movements inside it, the way it comes closer and slips away: That's all the excitement you need."

-Pico Iyer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vegas Vignettes Part One.

I'm in an elevator and a stranger joins me for a dive down thirteen floors.

Stranger: "Gambling?"
M.C.: "No, I don't gamble (I lie)."
S: "Why are you here?"
M: "I work for a bicycle manufacturer. I'm here for a trade show. You?"
S: "I'm here to be an idiot for a week."

The door opens and we both exit.


Barista: "What would you like?"
M.C.: "Could I get a refill of coffee in my travel mug?"
B: "We don't take those at this location."
M: "Then can I get a medium black coffee?"
B: "That will be $4.55."


Every hotel room in Vegas has a bible in the top drawer of the bed stand.
A frivolous offering (by the promoters of sin) to those writhing in the debauchery of Sin City?


(While eating dinner with an Australian friend)

"I've noticed that Americans ask too many questions. What type of bread? Mustard? Catchup? It's like War and Peace when you order anything."


There was a birthday party being thrown for a 16 year old. I thought to myself, 'I'm twice as old as this kid.' But then I forgot my age...Am I thirty-two or thirty-three?


I joined some friends at Hooters. There was nothing on the menu that I wanted to eat (vegetarian). While having a glass of water, a UFC fight was being broad casted on three TV's in a twelve by twelve room. Mid way into the fight, an opponent got an elbow to the eye brow splitting him wide open. He bled onto the floor. He bled onto his opponent's back.

Looking down I noticed that both of my friends had ordered hamburgers. Rare, blood seeping onto their plates. The room smelled like charred meat.


M.C.: September 21st, 2010.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Athens, Greece.


Of all the things to see in Athens
a quarter mile of sloped steps to the Temple of Athena
the sixteen remaining Corinthian columns of Zeus
the olympic stadium standing after two World Wars
and the many dogs that call home
these annals of lost human history.

To feel the sun in true mid summer
is to enjoy skin burnt from your arms
to sweat from your calves into your shoes
to scrape the salty grit from your scalp
and to dry out, finally, only to smell like wet dog.

To take cover under an olive tree
to lean on a stoop, half uncomfortable, looking into port
as international freight comes and goes
the ships claim Turkey, Italy, Morocco
the freight mundane, the same:
Only here is "Foreignness" tolerable.

Peter, a Greek limo driver sits beside me
and from a silver embellished case, he meticulously fingers
a cigarette between his lips and lights.
From the corner of his mouth
he begins and ends his story:
"Thirty days of mandatory holiday in Greece,
It's a shame, you Americans work too much."

M.C.--Photo and words. Athens, Greece. 2007.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oslo, Norway.

Journal Entry--June 4th, 1999.

"Oslo was most enjoyable: the fortress, the viking ships, the beautiful pier. At 11pm it was still light outside so I decided to take a walk to the graveyard. People were hanging out inside on park benches. Some were riding bikes along the sidewalks. On many grave stones were molds of the dead's heads. Some of the faces inlaid in the stone making them seem 3-dimensional. Saw Henrik Ibsen's grave as well as Edvard Munch's (who did the famous "Scream" painting)...on the way back to the bar, I peed on an ally wall. I later found out that the wall was actually Edvard Munch's house."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Santorini, Greece.


Six Hundred

There is a sign for a missing Jack Russel Terrier
yet no one pays attention as there is bottled coke
baklava and a semi-dormant volcano
that, long ago, sunk the island into the sea:
The black nipple of the Cyclades.

Five Hundred

Donkeys slump in the heat, with tongue out
like thick taffy waiting to be stretched.
Children are crying in spoiled misery
their parents in desperation, begging enjoyment
from the saddle that wrenches their innards.

Four Hundred

Looking down, I hop from stone to stone
left, right, left, right
piles of donkey shit, some hard, some soft
ooze over the marble curb cut.
Two women pass, gagging, with collars pulled to cover their faces.

Three Hundred

To look over the cement railing, to peer onto cacti
blooming in the fresh June heat
is like debating suicide
and I think of how hateful the pain would be
as a woman walks by in high-heels.

Two Hundred

Higher onto the cliff, the sun has blocked out
the horse, donkey, and mule piles
leaving a perfect, thinly spread path
of burnt grass, brown from equine acid
and by the trampling of a thousand morose hooves.

One Hundred

A woman assists a 90 year old man
to a resting spot shaded by a flowering tree.
He sits briefly, then stands butting his head on a branch.
Laughing indefinitely, he continues up,
his grin is all the reason
to climb these six hundred steps.

M.C.--Santorini, Greece. 2007.

Friday, September 10, 2010

From San Francisco to Salt Lake City: September 2010

Graffiti scrawled on the bathroom wall in the humanities building at the University of California at Berkley:

"Death comes to you kind"

and below this,

"The right to write isn't the right to write anything."

The Bay Bridge in San Francisco. 4pm on a Saturday.
Winnemucca, Nevada. 8:30am in route to Salt Lake. A rock in front of a random foot hill.
10 feet from the photo above. Politics show no bounds, they even haunt dried rock in the desert.
Layton, Utah. Sunflowers abound cutting upwards through the cracks of urban sprawl.

All photos by M.C.