There are questions not even a child would ask. There are dependencies so dependable no doctor would diagnose them, chemicals so addictive, none would name our need dependency.

The first day that didn’t happen, we resolved not to worry; these things, we told one another, have a way of righting themselves. Our children were more resourceful, more inclined to see the advantages. They climbed out their windows under dark of afternoon, kissed in parking lots in full compliance with their curfews. We grounded them for all we were worth, but as ever, their urgency was wisdom. They understood how little time had to offer them.

This was before the new ordinances, of course, which were themselves before we lost any will to enforce them.


[ Originally Published in Sun: A Collection of Vignettes about the Sun, Edited by Joseph Carlough and published by Displaced Snail Publications in Frenchtown, NJ. Below is the transcript of the Facebook chat in which Joseph requested my contribution, which I think is more illuminating than anything else I could write about this delightful anthology and the exuberant manner of its genesis.]

[ Origin stories, below the fold. ]

eventual knowing

The Earth Below: 3 album cover illustrations

terry never thought much of my romantic decisions. i guess really he didn’t think they were decisions at all.

“you don’t know anything about her,” he would insist, though the contention was never well-received. i was not a casual dater, even in college, and “her” was generally someone i had been sleeping beside, arguing with, reeling out and back in and/or clinging to desperately for months upon years. this assertion of my ignorance would have been unpalatably insulting, had it not been so empirically absurd.

but terry has cultivated a certain curmudgeonliness to cope with his daily exposure to the unfettered whimseys of well-funded youth, and my visible offense only inspired him to dig in his heels. “you don’t know anything about any of your friends,” he’d expand.

[ i know what i know, below the fold. ]

the ministry of lengthy walks

occupy the highway

i went down to zuccotti park to see the marchers off, to chat with them a bit, to approximate and internalize their faces. this was not, in its conception, to be a terribly unusual use of a morning for me, but the project proved more complex than anticipated.

[ complexities and anticipations projected below the fold. ]

occupy sunday

the people’s reference librarian, and other occupiers

you’re looking at the people’s reference librarian. one of them, anyway.

within minutes of my initial descent into liberty plaza, where the much-heralded occupation of wall street is now in its fiftieth day, i realized i’d been woefully misled. this was not so much a matter of bias, which, as an oft-obsessive consumer of news, i feel capable of identifying and accounting for. it was instead an utter lack of understanding among the vast majority of those assigned to report on the protest of what it was they were looking at (it doesn’t help that many didn’t bother to show up before settling in to pontificate). this haziness on the part of our media intermediaries has been widely perceived as a lack of purpose or organization among the occupiers themselves, but the absurdity of this appraisal reveals itself to physical visitors almost immediately.

[ more revealing immediacy, below the fold. ]

mic check

faces of the occupation

[ a young man reads naomi klein to his friends on the east steps ]

have you heard about this?

despite the prohibition of amplified sound, the residents of zuccotti park have devised a way to be heard over the drum circles, jazz bands, political debates, and ambient city soundscapes that compete for the plaza’s dense sonic space. it works like this: somebody (who can be anybody, because it’s that kind of scene) shouts “mic check!”

to which more or less everyone within her sphere of audibility replies, “MIC CHECK!” in something usually very nearly approximating unison.

satisfied that “the people’s mic” is functioning properly, the speaker continues with her announcement:

[ hear ye, below the fold. ]

truth be told


[ buy this print. ]

at the age of ten, madison was still drawing.

in and of itself, the fact is oddly significant. by her age, most kids seem already to have identified the visual arts as something they do or don’t “do.” or perhaps something they do or can’t do.

it’s a perplexing phenomenon. most of us are pretty mediocre writers, and yet i’ve never heard somebody say, “oh no, i don’t write,” or “i only do tweets.” to be fair, drawing is less closely associated than writing with one’s appeal to potential employers, and so we are allowed, well before the age of employment, not to pursue it.

but i was among that endless stream of heretofore tone-deaf ninth-graders who decided to pick up the guitar (which remains, sixteen years later, one of the great pleasures of my little life). once sedentary college friends found devotion to intramural sports or modern dance. who’s ever started drawing in her early twenties? “i only do stick figures,” people will assure you.

[ continued below the fold. ]

s.p.x.tra, read all about it.

matthew ocasio and neil brideau sell some zines

it was my first year attending s.p.x. as a civilian (rather than exhibiting), and i quickly remembered how much i enjoyed festivals, how much more i wanted to be there, back when they were play, before the time was spent worrying about my “career” and the many ways in which i was failing to advance it, before the whole enterprise seemed like something i was doing wrong. to be sure, i missed having a home base, and trading affectionate barbs with my tablemates, and the sense of being part of what all the fuss was about. but i finally had time to roam the floor, to pick up unfamiliar minis and chat with their creators, to be surprised by and excited about comics.

and comics are pretty exciting. if you didn’t make it down to bethesda this year, or weren’t similarly liberated to wander about, here’s a few things you might have missed:

SPX 2011 haul

[ read all about all of that, below the fold. ]

big shoes

lincoln unclenching

a few years back, my buddy barack got himself a fancy new house down in the district. i’d been meaning to get down there, have a look around, see where life and ambition had led my old friend since our days of knocking on doors and flyering for community board meetings, but you know how it is. and then last week i was in town on a travel job, put up in a fancy hotel on the hill with a few hours to myself, and figured i ought to have a look around.

[ what there is to see, below the fold. ]

thunderbolts and lightning

lightning duck pin-up

the worst consequence of missing mecaf this year was forfeiting my spot alongside hugh tims, a delightful artist/self-publisher/gent who lives and draws and farms and teaches yoga and various martial arts in rural maine. ancillary perks foregone include the pleasure of his company, getting to soak in his wood-burning jacuzzi, and getting my hands on the new issue of lightning duck.

[ i fulfill a lifelong ambition to draw anthropomorphic ducks, below the fold. ]

the kingdom

Isaac beneath a shady palm

my dad and baby brother [ above ] took me to orlando, that immersive capitalist dystopia where the dream that every last inch of everywhere might someday come under private ownership has been very nearly realized, where each place is carefully crafted to advance the brand identity of its steward, and where the commons (to the extent to which any space here can be called public) are beset by an equal and opposite tragedy: the insidious tyranny of commercial concern.

[ viva la resistance, below the fold. ]