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

Monday, December 27, 2010

About Thirty Years.

I've not written verse in over seven years
And I can't stay awake to read, none the less hold a pen to paper
And write; the meaning has slipped, memories fall short
And my drive cycles through the physical, a leper

Too routine the days--salt. The nights--pepper.
Like a clock face, clock work, the onset of a turning season
Three gone, triple to seper-
Ate, and eat life likes its your last...

Seven years, my innards like phosphorescent tubes, flash
Blast, flood into a thin sheet like cake
and I drink coffee, bitter sweet, biting, and pleading to make
What I so hoped for, and somehow forgotten to ask:
Again, I beg you, please return, for empathy's sake
my loved ones, and loving memories: the remembrance of things Past.

Tampa, Florida. May 22nd, 2007.


The fields lay in waiting
Fallow, like eggs to be cracked
With a tiny orange spade: a Philip's head beak.

Heat beats wheat stalks over a hill
And under a Roman buttressed bridge
Oscillating, waving, my back says goodbye
Soaked in the lavish heat of June.

I peel it off like cellophane and he says thank you
And wishes to be dipped in cool waters
Those cricks that accompany this road
Through The United States of Central Europe.

My back the Imperialist, so sopped, dressed
Like wheat bread whipped with perspiration.

It opens up to the air, to eat
Tepid and loud.

In route to Weimar, Germany. June 2000.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Human Bread: MCMXLV.

The salt of rye
The raw salt of rye
When the rind peels away
First with the hands, then the teeth.
Spiral the grain, and a saliva sweet ball
Is left rolling and dipping and dying
Into your esophagus.

It is what it is after
As when it was formed
The doppelganger on a tin sheet
Stapled, yet sliding to where we think "it belongs"
To browned perfection
Beautiful and forgotten.

Buchenwald death camp, Germany. Summer 2000.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yosemite now and then...

Photo taken on my trip to Yosemite. May 24th, 2009.
Photo taken of my Great Grandfather (Andrew Jackson) by my Grandfather (Joe) in 1959. I was given this photo a year and half after shooting the one above. Nice coincidence.


Monday, December 6, 2010

What Everybody Needs...

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."

--John Muir--

Redwood stump, Muir Woods. March, 2009.
Redwood Grove. Muir Woods, 2009.
The quietest place on earth.
Photos by M.C..

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear G.C..

Dear. G.C.,

It was good seeing you last week, I know it’s been awhile and I know I need to visit more often. But I’ll be honest, I get worried before stopping by. I’m afraid you’ll forget who I am. Since your diagnosis, I know it’s a matter of time before that’s the case. But each visit you remember me; the exact time I’ll stop by, what I like to eat and what we talked about on our last meet. You even remembered to make a copy of that photo I love. The one from Chicago in 1938, when you were sixteen, serving as a maid to those wealthy people from the city. You look adorable in that photo, It’s no wonder Grandpa snatched you up so quick. But on each visit you slip away just a bit further. In subtlety; you look a little older, your attention to me more distant. Death, but more so, dying, becomes a reality to me when I see you. And I just don’t know how to handle it.

Did I mention that the frame you picked out for that photo couldn’t have been more perfect. You’re so young there in that yard; your youth eases the thought of time running out.

Last November you asked me a really odd question. Do you remember what it was? You asked, “what are all those markings on your legs?” And I thought you were talking about my shin injuries. Those scars that run up and down my legs: from when my foot slips off my bike pedals. I went into detail explaining to you the grim, bloody, details of those scars and then realized you were talking about tattoos. The one on the back of my calf in particular: that tarot card, with the image of a death’s head. Its true meaning serves plain and simple as the symbol for death. Who’s death I’m not sure? I wasn’t planning on it being my own, and I wouldn’t wish death on anyone. It just makes me feel young; having this image of the ultimate stuck underneath my skin and not being scared. Well I am scared, I just try not to think about it. Seeing you reminds me how fragile you are, and really, how fragile I am. I know that at some point, death is all that will be on my conscience. I know I will be consumed. For now, apathy is my antiseptic.

Besides the image and what it truly is, the card serves as a symbol of “treasure,” of something that I wish to keep forever. Let me to you a little story.

A. brought the card back for me from her trip to the city. She hated the image. A bit brutal it is, a bit too abrasive. But I loved its grimacing face, the colors, and the font that “death” was written in. For years, I have had it above my computer. As I busied myself with schoolwork, writing tedious essays about science experiments, or, what I thought was meaningful lines of verse, the death’s head loomed on my shelf. For me, it was and still is a gift from A., besides death, something that represented her kindness, her support, and her love. It was like any other little treasure. Its true meaning hidden behind something subjective, something you created for it the moment you received it. It could have been a box of candy hearts, it could have been a plastic skeletonyou know I love skulls and bones. Because of A.’s devotion, it all means the same thing, regardless of the shape.

Do you remember the last time I visited you? I stared at my brother’s wedding photo and you, you sat to my left, in your dinner chair with your favorite cushion. There were remnants of pasta in your bowl, some fresh vegetables unfinished. You looked up at me and asked what I was looking at. And I told you how long A.’s hair was. How beautiful she looked. How I love her glasses even though she hates them. How I still can’t believe we’ve spent ten years together. I apologized for A. not being able to stop by on that visit. I told you that the photo seemed like yesterday. You paused, took a breath and said that you didn’t know who A. was. My heart sunk.

Instead of explaining, I just stood silent. And in that instance, your Alzheimer’s became a reality. I knew that it was going to be a slow process. A metamorphosis changing everything that is ultimate; self-worth, the love bestowed upon you by others, and the simple, yet so complicated act of living. It breaks my heart that life is given away to something as hateful as nothingness. It just breaks my heart.

I’m going to stop by again soon when I’m not so busy. But I feel guilty that that’s my excuse. It’s funny how you always forgive me, you say it in the same, lackluster tone: “I understand, everyone is busy.” But being too busy can be a curse. And I’m caught in it, caught up in the moment where “busy” is an excuse not to think, not to feel, and not to worry. It’s easier that way, and I’ve become really good at it. Once every month is like a year in your condition. I’ll have to visit once a week. Just a quick visit so you know that I’m coming back soon.

I don’t want you to forget me.


your grandsonM.C.

P.S.-Tonight I took down that Tarot Card from my shelf. Funny enough, the little clearing that opened up offered a perfect place for my new framed photo.

Published in HRVST: "Death," Issue #1. March 2010. Berlin, Germany.