Carlos and Boogie on the 6 Train

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Mainland012

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

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Now I’m towing my car, there’s a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there’s no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the T.V. page

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

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Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum
And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only the shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and relief

Ricky_Flores_Bronx_02

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in
They come, they come to build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now
Hey now
Hey now, hey now
Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now
Don’t let them win
Hey now, hey now

Photographs by Ricky Flores
Lyrics from Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House

Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays.
Clutch it, and it darts away.

His voice was as intimate as the rustle of sheets.

Most good women are hidden treasures who are only safe
because nobody looks for them.

Artwork by Diego Rivera
Quotes by Dorothy Parker

Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it.

Beauty is the promise of happiness.

A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.

The pleasures of love are always in proportion to our fears.

Power, after love, is the first source of happiness.

Photographs by Roberto Badin
Quotes by Stendhal

I love you
and because I love you
I would sooner have you hate me
for telling the truth
than adore me
for telling you lies.
—Pietro Aretino

11th Law of Ma’at

April 13, 2012

I offer words of good intent.

a ribbon around a bomb

April 12, 2012

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim,
and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.

La novia que se se espanta de ver la vida abierta.
The bride frightened at seeing life opened.

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone,
because I am the person I know best.

I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought there are so many people in the world,
there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre
and flawed in the same ways I do.

I would imagine her,
and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.
Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that,
yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

There is so much we take for granted in this life, like knowing the date of our birth. Like knowing our parents. Like knowing who we are. And where we come from. Because, we can use this as our path, or we can choose to let this go. But what if you never had this? What if you never know?

Somaly Mam does not know when she was born. Or to whom. She was orphaned in Cambodia during the war, and she grew up in the forest, without a name. Until a family took her in, and gave her the name she carries today. And of all names, it would be Mam, because she is mother to thousands of girls. And to me, a saint.

Her story is not pretty, yet she is beautiful. Radiant of heart, light, spirit eternal. Never have I known such a person was real. Never did I believe one person has the power to change the world. No matter what their circumstances.

Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Never let them steal your shine. Somaly Mam is a saint and a goddess and a heroine and a mother and she is divine. And, ohh, did I mention? She is totally down to earth. I don’t know her very well, but in the few moments in which we have shared, I felt this feeling that a saint is someone who is as real as flesh, as human as blood, and what makes her special is that she not only speaks the truth but she puts her life on the line.

Happy Birthday Somaly. Although I cannot be with you this evening, I am with you in spirit. You have changed my life in ways I do not understand and it is my dream that one day I should be able to give back to the world what you have given to me.

Somaly Mam Foundation

i am youu

March 30, 2012

artwork by David Hale

The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
—Rumi

freedom ~

March 29, 2012

 I am thinking I could have done better, I could have said it this way or that
when all of a sudden, I see through the lie.
I don’t have to be perfect. Because I am not.
And what is the point?
He has seen me as a train wreck
and
still
me he loves.

I don’t believe in dogmas and theologies. I just believe in being a good person.

When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.

I see things like they’ve never been seen before.
Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.

I need somebody who I can really communicate with.

When I have sex with someone I forget who I am.
For a minute I even forget I’m human.
It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist.

Quotes by Robert Mapplethorpe
Photographs by Lilla Szasz

this is my spirit ~

March 28, 2012

The Biggest Cat on Earth: The Siberian Tiger
by Clara Lehman

The Panthera tigris altaica, Siberian Tiger, or Amur Tiger as it is also known, is matched in size by no other wild cat. The Tungusic people of North China and Russia regarded the animal as a deity, and gave it names such as ‘Grandfather’ or ‘Old Man.’ There is no denying the majestic nature of this special animal, and even when looking at contemporary Chinese culture the Siberian tiger is seen again and again. Adult Siberian tigers can often reach lengths of 3.3 metres long, and a weight of 300 kilograms, but there have been recordings of animals larger than this. One Siberian tiger, called ‘Jaipur’, who was kept in captivity, reached a staggering weight of 465 kilograms.

Their Natural Habitat

Right now the Siberian tiger is mostly confined to the cold birch forests of eastern Russia, but they can be found in China, and also Korea. In centuries past these magnificent creatures were much more prevalent across a large area cutting through Russia, China and Korea, but in modern times their numbers have dwindled. Siberian tigers prospered in the isolated habitats away from human settlements, but as the human race grew and spread, the Siberian tiger began to lose its territory.

In a rare instance of the natural world, these animals sometimes engage in a losing battle with humans, often after being provoked or from an attempt to capture them. While they are not considered to pose a specific threat to humans, they have been known to defend their territory, and are more than capable of killing a man. These wild cats are so strong and powerful that they can successfully hunt brown bears, and make it difficult for wolves to exist in the same environment because they dominate the food source.

They hunt alone, without a pack to help them catch prey, and their technique is to sneak up on their next meal. They hunt a variety of different animals, but their usual diet consists of deer, wild boar, fish, and birds. Their habit of occupying areas with the lowest human density is a great advantage, because it offers them the most complete natural ecosystem where they can reign supreme.

The Strive to Protect


The Siberian tiger is currently in the endangered bracket in terms of conservation. There are no definite figures as to exactly how many still exist in the wild, but it is estimates from 2005 put the figure at between 300 and 400. There is a large effort to protect these now rare animals, but still they succumb to the poachers and deforestation, especially in China. The extent of poaching is surprising considering how dangerous these animals can be, and the damage they can inflict. Opportunist poachers with cheap van insurance really are risking life and limb when attempting to capture and transport a Siberian tiger.

One instance in 2002 saw a man from Jilin province in China survive an attack by a Siberian tiger. He claimed the tiger attacked him without any provocation on his part, but his story raised suspicions, mainly because Siberian tigers very rarely attack humans. It was later revealed that the man had actually set traps to catch the animal, and he was only attacked once the tiger in questioned had a snare around its neck, causing it untold pain. The damage and infection caused by the snare eventually killed the tiger, even after desperate surgery to try and save it.

Rarely thought of as a man-eater, the Siberian tiger now benefits from a large conservation effort that strives to protect the animal and ensure that their numbers stop declining. The majority of Siberian tigers, maybe as many as 95% of the wild population, live in the Russian Far East. The World Conservation Society Russia has a Siberian Tiger Project that focuses on collecting scientific information connected to Siberian tiger ecology and using it to help conserve them. They have been tracking the animals through the use of radio collars since 1992, and are building a complete understanding of how Siberian tigers live, their eating habits, preproduction rates, social structure, and use of territory. From their research they have concluded that around 80% of Siberian tigers die because of human influence. It seems that only increased efforts to keep deforestation and human expansion away from the environments that Siberian tigers inhabit, along with stopping poachers, will stop their numbers decreasing.

The Invisible Line

March 26, 2012

Eddie Brannan introduced me to Ellen Jong back in 2005. He told me she had a book she wanted to publish and would I be interested? Ohmagosh. Yeaa! With that introduction a beautiful friendship began, and I must say, rare is the person with whom I have collaborated that I can say holds such a shining place in my heart.

I have long been a champion of Miss Jong, and she of me. As we drew closer, I could see so many parallels between our lives. We have taken different paths, but we are going in the same direction. And once again our paths align, as she brings The Invisible Line to life this June at Allegra La Viola Gallery in New York.

As we talked, The Invisible Line began to make itself felt. It is the same line I have been crossing, though I call it the fire I walk through. The premise is elegant and essential to life. It is that we must cross the line cast by fear in order to grow, to live, to thrive. Life need not be mere survival. Life can be more than you ever dreamed, because every moment we are here, we create possibility.

I know this to be true, having lived so many lives by this time it is hard to imagine that still, I am young. I know this to be true because things I never imagined possible have become. The people I have known, have connected with, the unexpected being the constant, the dream becoming reality. This could only happen by facing fear with a big golden smile upon my face. And I now know facing fear is to take it on wherever the invisible line appears.

A common fear among artists is the fear of creation. I have been thinking of this lately, about how so many people never allow themselves to express the divine energy that is their birthright. The reasons (excuses) for this are numerous, but they hold no weight. They are chimeras, illusions, shadows of the fake.

One common fear is money. Who has it? Where will it come from? How to finance? How how ask? How to manifest our purpose with or without it?

Amazing that a piece of paper could hold such sway, but we will empower it to disempower us, unless we learn a better way. Kickstarter is one such way. It shows how technology can be used for the greater good. It provides the platform upon which we can introduce our dreams to the world. And here we can ask, without the residue of shame. Because why should there be shame in creating community among those who love and support creative energy?

I believe one must always put their money where their mouth is. I have poured money into people into whom I believe, never asking in return for anything, because that would be cheap. I am hypersensitized to cheapness and greed. I have seen it in my own character and it was the first vice I sought to erase. And so I began, supporting artists. Because this is America, a capitalist society. I believe we vote with our money, and where we put it can help other people thrive. And there is nothing greater than to be among the flourishing, to feel the energy that comes from being a part of something bigger than yourself, of supporting the provocative, the beautiful, the compelling, all that which is original thought.

Those who say nothing is original are those who have quit their own lives. Everything is original. Every moment we are on this earth is unlike any other, and in these moments, we create ourselves anew. And in order to do this, we must cross The Invisible Line.

Check Out The Invisible Line on Kickstarter

you are here and so am i
and maybe millions of people go by

doug aitken: song 1

Viva La Revolución

March 18, 2012

I have come to understand that dreams are not what they seem. For me, dreams are visions, spaces in which reality plays out in a non-ordinary way. This is why we believe them. This is why they feel real. Because they are happening, but we do not understand how or why. Dreams are proof that space and time do not exist. That we all belong to one mind. That separation is an illusion and the individual is a myth.

Something keeps echoing inside me. The way in which we cling to differences to divide ourselves from the source. The way we do not listen. The way we assert ourselves, needing to be right, needing validation at best—dominance at worst. His words echo over and over again, although it is not what he said but the way his words made me feel.

He knew things I did not, and that is why he came into my life. I knew things he did not, and that is why I came into his life. When I listened, I could hear him. And when I could hear him I could let go. And the wall I put up just crumbled and fell when I opened my heart to love. Because what I had taken as a principle was nothing more than a defense, and when I let go of my defenses, I grew closer and deeper. And I drew breath.

But I don’t know if he ever heard me because he needed his walls more than anything else. And he told me he could not let go, and that was where it all fell apart. Because, I took it personal. I had constructed the most pitiful defense. I believed that if he held on to his walls, he would never be my friend. But I was wrong. And I was terrified to admit the greatest truth of all; that everyone must be accepted on their terms, and no one must be asked to compromise who they are.

I see how it is that I had gotten it wrong. Because I had been so deeply compromised, I would roll over any time anyone did anything to violate my boundaries. I did this unconsciously, I did this without awareness. But I could feel something in me screaming. But I wasn’t listening. I thought the answer was for other people to do the same for me, rather than to finally learn that I could never compromise my integrity.

It’s funny, as in pathetic, some of the things I said. Because when I consider them in retrospect, I see they were lies I was telling myself. Right up until the end. I was lying. Because I could not speak my truth. Because I do not know how to tell people about themselves. Because I am still not sure if I hold that right.

There is nothing I hate more than people telling me who they think I am. Because if I didn’t ask, I don’t want your opinion. And I mean that, both good and bad. Compliments and insults are one in the same. And observations can be very dangerous because they are projections of the speaker, but the speaker almost never acknowledges this. I remember the first time we met, he told me I knew him better than he knew himself. But I didn’t know him at all. I only knew myself. And I saw myself in him: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I saw who I am. All that is within me. And it is through his presence in my life that I could grow in the most powerful way. I could take down my walls. I could be naked and free. I could take his courage and strength as inspiration to find my own. But I could not ask him to do the same. Because I cannot ask. Because it is not on me. One of the first things I learned with him is that you cannot make anyone else happy. They have to do it for themselves. And that is one of the last things I was willing to accept—that some people prefer to suffer because they want to continue punishing themselves because they think that is the honorable way to live.

And I get that. It is not until the guilt for a crime I did not commit lifted off me that finally, it was over. That finally, the rollercoaster ride had come to an end.

Last night, I dreamed of him. For the second time in my life. But I don’t remember what happened, though I know his message was important. I know he came to me to tell me to let go. And after I accepted his words, he turned into my father. And I stood before my father with all the courage I had and I heard my voice shaking as I looked him in the eye. And he looked at me, and denied me everything because that is the way he walks through this life.

And my mother sat right there, validating him because, for her, the other option is to die. And now, compassion comes to me, because imagine if you believe your only options are lies or death. And, well, death is lovely but imagine you don’t know that. Imagine you think death the worst thing to happen to you. You might lie so long as you draw breath.

And I knew, as I have always known, that my parents have defiled themselves. And suddenly, I think, this is not my problem. God bless. And in thinking this, my father turned into Danny, and that was the strangest thing. Because Danny is where it all began, and I have missed him, strangely.

And Danny is all I remember from my dream, because he was finally out of jail. And he told me he had been in Europe since 2005. And he had just come back to America, and he needed to see me, because he wanted me to hold on. And I wanted to, but I knew it was not possible. I had come too far. And I had to move on. To let go. To complete what I have begun.

I was just trying to write a sentence about the circle, about it completing a full turn, and I realized this word I am looking for is … revolution. And this reminds me of why I love to write more than almost anything in the world.

i love BOOGIE

March 14, 2012

Remind me not to make assumptions.

It’s been over a year since we last spoke and I fell off the list and I took it personal. But I was wrong. But how right I was to put myself out there and reconnect because in doing so I remembered just why I love Boogie.

I feel like I might write a little novella right about now. Or compose a sonnet. But then, I imagine him rolling his eyes and shaking those eyebrows and a smile spreads across my face. You know how lucky I am to have made two books with one of the greatest photographers working today.

I’ve been enjoying memories of the times we spent making It’s All Good and Belgrade Belongs to Me. Umm wait. Hold up. It’s All Good is out of print? I didn’t know. It’s $300 on Amazon! Ohmagosh. Boogie! I am so proud. I am glowing. I am…

Okay, here’s the thing. Boogie pitched It’s All Good but it went to the wrong person. No one replied. His work went ignored, if you can believe that. Then, funny style, Tim Barber made the introduction years later. And I fell off my chair. For real. My ass hit the floor. He started sending me photographs. And that was the very first time I can remember feeling high, so high. Looking at photo after photo with adrenalin shooting through my veins.

The cover of the It’s All Good hung over my bed for years. It always made me feel warm and protected. Cause I never noticed the gun. Just the love.

All photographs by Boogie

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