Sunday, June 18, 2017

Upside Down

2017-06-17 Pay Attention 

"There comes the strangest moment in your life,
when everything you thought before breaks free—
what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite
looks upside down from how it used to be.

Skin’s gone pale, your brain is shedding cells;
you question every tenet you set down;
obedient thoughts have turned to infidels
and every verb desires to be a noun...."

from "There Comes the Strangest Moment" by Kate Light


Saturday, June 17, 2017


Urban jizo 

When one peers into the heart of darkness,
it peers back at one - never a fun time -
especially when one considers
we all have the same 
human heart.

And so - today was folding cranes
and spreading Jizos - simple,
repetitive, quiet acts that
scrubbed away at the
residue of horror.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Making Jizo's


They're a low production endeavor, maybe nine a week get made at a clay studio in Rowley. My studio mates were at first curious / perplexed that these little figures were all I was going to make. One person told me in good fun that I was a "one trick pony." Little does he know that really I am a "no trick pony." Over time though, they've embraced this repetitive, singular, activity and sometimes even ask where they have been placed recently..

That's the thing - the point of the Jizos - is for them to be placed in the world to be found by whomever. The scroll that they carry in their stomachs carries a brief introduction and a confirmation of ownership "Since you found me, I am yours. Take me home."

To a one - they've all been scooped up - all of them gone from where they've been left to wait. As to what's become of them after discovery - well - who knows.

Because it's the 21st century and because there is instagram, people are able to follow along with some aspects of The Jizo Project. I say 'some' because The Jizo Project is uniformly upbeat / positive / funny. It doesn't harbor any of the darkness and doubt of this rag.

The writing tone of The Jizo Project is deliberate. The personage of Jizo in Buddhist stories is shot through with optimism, no-matter-whatness, and cheerfulness. It would not do to have an instagram stream dedicated to O-Jizo-Sama and have it be a sad re-telling of the doubts and darkness everyone experiences every day.

Which is not to say that Jizo is a bright-sider - oh no - he knows shit from shinola. He knows how mightily fucked up humanity is and in turn how fucked up life on this planet is.. Despite this knowledge - which actually caused the Buddha a moment of despair - Jizo committed himself to save everyone everywhere before he attained enlightenment himself.

Whether one believes any of this Buddhist storytelling to be true is quite beside the point. The acts of making, placing, giving away, discovering, and adopting a little lumpish figure are true acts that in and of themselves are momentary breaks from the normal flow of things. And - that - that is what I wish for people who find them - a momentary cessation in the endless loop of wounds, worries and contagions.

On the face of things it's not very much at all - I know. But - some times you can't tell where things will lead you - and I feel lead - to a destination unknown - outcome uncertain.


Gloucester Harbor - Sunset

Gloucester Fish Pier at Sunset 



Indra's (fish) net

Netting - Gloucester Fish Pier 


Friday, June 9, 2017

Too bad. I can.


“If you want to understand why America has the shoddiest social safety net of any Western nation, you can start with the deep and abiding faith that you don’t owe anything to anybody. And if you want to understand why liberalism, with its emphasis on community, has had such a hard time gaining purchase here except when Americans are desperate, you can start there, too. You can’t afford health insurance? Too bad. I can. Comparing America to Europe, de Toqueville noted that this overweening individualism was ruinous to a healthy, well-functioning society. He was right. It is also ruinous to a healthy, well-functioning world.”



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's what they do..


"The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together.| There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."

~ Italo Calvino ~


Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Only Question

Lynnfield Burial Ground

What is this that drags this corpse around?


Saturday, June 3, 2017


Sandy Point 
Sandy Point, Newburyport MA



1-2-3 Drink 1-2-3 Drink



Holy pony

Half Crazy 

Well we're all half-crazy
And half clear as a bell
Half believer, half goin' to hell
Half goin' to hell
Half goin' to hell
Well we're all half Rama
And half Bonnie and Clyde
Half devoted, half buried alive
Half buried alive
Half buried alive

On the one you love

Holy pony
Lord, Lord, Lord, what have I done
A cloud of hornets blackened the sun
Blackened the sun
Blackened the sun

~ The Barr Brothers ~


Learning to shoot at someone who out-drew ya

Just me & you 

"You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong.| You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that - well, lucky you."

~ Philip Roth ~



Thursday, June 1, 2017


Austin TX

"I have often run across men (and rarely, but not never, women) who have become so powerful in their lives that there is no one to tell them when they are cruel, wrong, foolish, absurd, repugnant. In the end there is no one else in their world, because when you are not willing to hear how others feel, what others need, when you do not care, you are not willing to acknowledge others’ existence. That’s how it’s lonely at the top. It is as if these petty tyrants live in a world without honest mirrors, without others, without gravity, and they are buffered from the consequences of their failures."

The Loneliness of Donald Trump

~ Rebecca Solnit ~



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

thank god we are so small...

There's no chance at all that we brutes,
with all our childish appetites,
will be able to inflict lasting damage
on this blue ball.

Soon enough - we will snuff ourselves
out in a blaze of ignorance and
the planet will be able to
finally rest.


Monday, May 29, 2017

How did >you< think this would all turn out?

Self portrait

"The outward forms of democratic participation—voting, competing political parties, judicial oversight and legislation—are meaningless theater. No one who lives under constant surveillance, who is subject to detention anywhere at any time, whose conversations, messages, meetings, proclivities and habits are recorded, stored and analyzed, who is powerless in the face of corporate exploitation, can be described as free. The relationship between the state and the citizen who is watched constantly is one of master and slave. And the shackles will not be removed if Trump disappears."

From The Death of the Republic ~ Chris Hedges ~




Sunday, May 28, 2017





Saturday, May 27, 2017


DeCordova Museum 
DeCordova Museum 
DeCordova Museum 



Some people always have great plans for my projects whether it's rosaries, writing, drawing, pictures or Jizos. You should show your pictures. You should sell your rosaries. You should write a book about Jizos.

You should.
You should.
You should.

The "You shoulds" are always a combination of advice and an implied judgment that my efforts to date are too uncomfortably small for them.

But I see these things for what they are - tiny gestures in the face of the infinite maelstrom and am happy if once in a while, they land in the hands or before the eyes of one of my fellow travelers and it makes them happy.

The plain fact of the matter is that we're all small. Even the greatest among us are, as Song Chol Sunim said "Foam upon the waves." So, when I am being told "You should" I am also quietly imagining one bubble advising another to "add a bit more iridescence here" or "you would be better if you were a larger diameter" just before they both winked out of existence.



The Sink Sessions

Sink session