You again?


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.


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.

Source: TVTunesQuiz

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.


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

“Grumman Greenhouse”, Jordan Griska, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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

Senior thinking her thoughts, Barnes Foundation Reflecting Pool















Bible Study Hour

Bible student, N. Independence Hall











Fashion Finest

South street staff photo opp










that’s it for now. Where to scope out my stuff:

Street photography:

Other goofy stuff:


Goof 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!


’til we meet again.

♦ ♣ ♥ ♠

I have scarcely left you
When you go in me, crystalline,
Or trembling,
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.

My love,
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
A rose.




– Pablo Neruda

2 thoughts on “You again?”

  1. Mayor Jones..

    Pleased to see you back. I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to tell you that you should have something prominent on the top of your email to tell people this (which I just found after I had given up): “If you do subscribe, please don’t read the post in its nasty email format. Click on the title for the real thing.” I stumbled onto the Kodacolor view by accident, much as the blind hog finds the ear of corn. It’s a handsome website..!

    I thought maybe you’d have changed your title to Governor Jones.. to keep up with his Newsomeness. Actually I’m beginning to appreciate the dude a little more.. probably now that he gets more national press. And, as yet, he’s one of the six or seven politicians that the media hasn’t needed to add to their recipe for shish kabob (not that most of them don’t deserve it).

    I am really going to enjoy studying your photographs again. It’s been awhile. I need prodding and reminding to continue doing anything for more than about the half life of a fruit fly. I love the whole thing about the sub-tracker.. the actual installation.. your photo, the angles, the people, the light and shadow all make for a real classic!

    I’ve thought of you each time I read something more outlandish about your city by the bay.. deciding that I needed to stop sending you links to what they’re up to.. smacks too much of sending someone stories of how their ex was picked up once again for DUI or for peeing in the fountain.

    I would try to convince you that you need to read more.. but you don’t.. if you read more you’ll write less.. and then the rest of us would be poorer. Have a good evening Alexandria…

  2. Jim! You have remained loyal. I forgot this would go out to subscribers and was startled to see a comment. Checking in for the usual formatting errors.
    You know, I think I woke up. Been in some kind of a daze for the past seven years! Lost my best friend to cancer in 2012, had to leave SF in 2013, spend three years in a city I didn’t want to be in, lost my job there and nearly my apartment
    , had to do a GoFundMe to get me back to Philly, where my mother soon died…and adjusting to being back in the family manse which I fled in 1991 to go adventuring. Quite an adjustment, as the 1st four months I was living in a pile of both my and my mother’s stuff.
    But I think I’ve turned a corner. I apparently haven’t forgotten how to write (too vain?), and am close to finishing the first book I’m reading in years. The hilarious “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!” by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. He’s quite funny and chock-full of enthusiasm.
    I actually have two other columns almost ready to pop. I’m well pleased with myself!! Thanks for checking in! Have a lovely spring and summer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *