IT’S BEEN YEARS!
You trot out the new
and not necessarily improved Ax Files (Redux) back in September of 2016, using your “September 1st is the most hopeful day of the year” initiative, pound out five columns, all in September, then nothing.
I WAS SUSPENDED
from my own disbelief
of current events. I was a lady-in-waiting, for two things: the presidential election, and the death of my mother. They both happened in November of 2016, and both threw me for a loop.
I had arrived in Philadelphia
in July of 2016 on the heels of personal turmoil, if not crisis. For the second time in three years, I was on the verge of losing my apartment. That did happen in San Francisco in 2013, due to lack of sufficient work, and again, nearly, in Portland, Oregon, after losing my job and not finding another. It so happened that at that time, my mother had gone into long-term care, leaving vacant her apartment in the duplex she shared with her brother, my uncle, which I now share with him.
So back to my native Philly
I went, after a 35-year absence and residencies in Portland (1981-1996—interrupted by a six-month pit-stop with my sociopathic and now dead boyfriend in Whidbey Island, Washington—in Berkeley (1996-2003), San Francisco (2003-2013), and Portland (again—2013-2016).
with being back to my eastern roots in Philly. I never thought of myself as a left coaster, always an easterner. This intro to NYPD Blue encapsulates the urban edge I missed out there—density, chaos, unsightly infrastructure, crumbling facades, rawness, generic unpleasantness. That barreling of the subway train into blackness feels right. BART was not nearly gritty enough, Portland almost too lovely.
Though I’d thought
San Francisco was my city, where I was meant to be, it was that city only while I had the means to be there. When I ran out of them I became a black hole waiting to be filled by someone else’s money.
SO I’M BACK
While weary of writing I took up photography. Photos are immediate; it takes a finger-snap for a first look, whereas printed pages require work performed upon them. They all look more or less like ants in formation. The words could say anything. They need to be scanned, absorbed, digested—read. Though I am or have been a writer and have a degree in English, as I age I quickly tire of reading, rarely finishing a book, article, or even paragraph. But now I find that I miss telling myself things in words, or just marking time as the years pass. Now it’s my compulsion for taking pictures I’m growing weary of—thousands sitting in wait to be edited, if ever.
It’s not a disorder.
It doesn’t disrupt my life; it is my life. It’s what I do. Take photos. Write about stuff. Document what I observe.
Here are some pictures I took “while I was gone.”
♠ 20th Century in the 21st
This one looked like a wartime goodbye with battle remnants heaped on the street. That is a Grumman Tracker II, a 45-foot-long Cold War-era naval plane with a 73’ wingspan, a submarine bomber. Sculptor Jordan Griska obtained the decommissioned plane and folded the metal of the nose and body so that it appears to be crumpling into the platform. And he turned it into a greenhouse!
♣ Reflecting on Reflections
♥ Bible Study Hour
♦ Fashion Finest
OK CRASH BANG
that’s it for now. Where to scope out my stuff:
Other goofy stuff:
Goof City.com is regrettably under reconstruction
About my (dumping ground) flickr stream:
My flickr stream is my free-for-all photo farm. This is not the cream of my crop–it’s the whole 40 acres and a mule, including fine dining, light snacks, totally non-nutritive filler junk food and outright garbage. Stuff that perhaps should never have been harvested and left for compost, but here it is, for your consideration. May you find something to your taste. Food for thought, at least.
I began my column The Ax Files in 2005 with the broad announcement: I am here to write whatever I want, whenever I want, for whatever it’s worth.
Same with photography. “I photograph anything that can be exposed to light,” as Imogen Cunningham put it. More specifically, I photograph anything that catches my eye–because it’s lovely, sad, tragic, boring, there.
Some of my obsessions are pigeons (the underdog of the bird world), abandoned shoes (all the lonely shoes; where do they all come from?), bulldogs (because some of my best friends are), X for Alexandra, 55 for the year of my birth, and the soulless people known as mannequins. They are dead yet alive.
I practice street photography as social documentation of both political and human conditions. I take photos only in public spaces and situations. If you see yourself here and do not wish to be included, please send me a flickr mail.
If you take a photo of something, you are saying, “This is worth looking at. This is how I saw it.” I hope you enjoy seeing what I saw. Cheers!
I BID YOU ADIEU
’til we meet again.
♦ ♣ ♥ ♠
I have scarcely left you
When you go in me, crystalline,
Or uneasy, wounded by me
Or overwhelmed with love, as
when your eyes
Close upon the gift of life
That without cease I give you.
We have found each other
Thirsty and we have
Drunk up all the water and the
We found each other
And we bit each other
As fire bites,
Leaving wounds in us.
But wait for me,
Keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
– Pablo Neruda