Balcom and Vaughan; Seattle, WA. 1954


Iraq...is it all oil and suicide bombs?

Here is a beautiful portrait of life in Iraqi Kurdistan through the eyes of Ed Kashi.

At best, we only know maybe half of the story. The other half belongs to those who's lives are the story.


4 or 5 Trees

"I was thinking about it again the other day...i'm not sure of...i can't remember the name...it was down the street from my apartment...once a month or so. It was set back from the street."

And so a song by Rachel's called 4 or 5 trees carries on in this beautiful mess of completely coherent nonsense.

A symphony of sound waves weaves its way through sound bites of a man describing a building [i suppose] and a place. It was so striking i had to share it with you.

Does it stir something inside of you? If so, what?


A Life Of Questions

This blog has, in the last couple of months, become a very insufficient place for me to express and convey what is happening in my life. More and more I see myself as a stranger in a strange land. The politics, policies, and parameters of this nation have caused me to question the country I was born into. No doubt living in Seattle has helped to feed my naturally questioning nature, and I am very grateful to everyone in this place who has helped to open my eyes to the world around me. Lately it’s been a feeling akin to being born, again.

I will be leaving Seattle at the end of March to spend some time in solitude. I will be reading books, thinking, theorizing, and meditating on the inner workings of my life in an attempt to better understand my place in a society that rarely stops to think about why it does what it does.

In this hyper capitalist nation people are stripped of their humanity and valued not for who they are but for what they can do; what they can produce. I am not a machine and I will not live like one. I have hopes and dreams and visions, things that machines will never have and governments will never be able to contain. I have a mind and I intend to not live mindlessly.

Years ago my ancestors came to this land in search of something. Did they find what they were looking for? Does what they came seeking still exist in this place? Does this nation, in its practices and decisions, embody that which I believe?

Is America a place that lives out in action and deed the following statement, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” ?


A Writer

This guy, Mr. Howard Zinn, is an amazing man who will probably be remembered (by me at least) as a major catalyst for perspective change in my life. I found a copy of a book he wrote some years back, "Passionate Declarations", sitting outside of my neighbors door in a pile of stuff they were getting rid of.

How often is it that the best things in life are free? For me, often. This book has been a blessing to me in more ways than i can convey to you. He tackles issues i have wrestled with for many years. War, government systems, injustice, civil disobedience and that's just in the first three chapters. He eloquently and unabashedly makes statements about America so beautiful that it has brought tears to my eyes because of the honesty found within them.

I wont say that Zinn has given me hope to believe in any real change within this country but he
has reminded me that there are a remnant of folks left in this hollow shell of a nation who still believe that "all men are created equal" and are willing to stand up for those who can't.

I'll leave you with a few quotes from his text:

"How many times have the dreams of young people-the desire to help others; to devote their lives to the sick or the poor; or to poetry, music or drama-been demeaned as foolish romanticism, impractical in a world where one must "make a living"? "

"To defend or attack Columbus is pointless. What is important is how we look today at what is done to human beings, what criteria we use for "progress." We [Americans] are accustomed to measuring the state of the nation by the numbers on the stock market (the Dow-Jones average), rather than by how many children died of malnutrition."

Great writing if you ask me.


The Machine

Frontline, one of the only programs on American television that I am comfortable with vouching for, has put out a new documentary on retirement in America called "Can You Afford To Retire?" (if you click on that nifty little link to the left you can watch the entire program online, yet another reason why Frontline is an amazing program).

This show was very disturbing to me for really one reason which I'm not sure the producers intended it to be (and if they did intend it they did not cover this issue in the show). This show proved (once again) that corporations (yes, I do believe they are straight from the pit of Hell!) see their employees and the American public as nothing more than disposable batteries. Retirement plans which use to be handled by the company you worked for now have "given" the employees the responsibility to save money for their retirement. Sounds nice and liberating right? Wrong. Corporations set up the 401(k) plan so that they would eventually have to put less and less into their employees pension plans. And that is exactly what they are doing.

Understand this, corporations care nothing about you. They need you to fuel the wheels of their greed and that is all, plain and simple. You are expendable, you are not unique (as far as they're concerned).

Here is an activity you might want to try on your own time. Read this article: "Escaping The Matrix", then go out and rent the first Matrix film and look for the parallels spoken about in the "Escaping The Matrix" article. You may just find yourself beginning to see the world around you in a very different way.

That article basically sums up the much of the class i took at Seattle Central last quarter called "Escaping the Matrix: A Discourse of Power". It was one of the most eye opening and perspective challenging experiences I've ever been engaged in.

I hope this entry was not a bore. I don't normally post entries about these kinds of issues but i felt compelled to upon finishing that documentary. Feel free to view the program and post your comments on here. It would be cool to have a little dialogue about it.


Bus Stop

She stands on the sidewalk with her back to the big glass windows full of mannequins. I see her almost everyday I come to this stop. She flits around a pile of trash bags stacked three high and four across as pedestrians wait anxiously for their steel chariot to carry them home. The bus numbers 5, 71,72, 73, and 358 stop here to transport people out if this city, eventually stopping somewhere near their homes. The buses take people away from her, away from the despair, away from the sadness, away from the madness that is life in this city.

When you wake up from sleeping on the streets you tend to look more like the streets have slept on you. No, I’ve yet to lay my head to rest on the thin sheet of cardboard separating me from the cement of the sidewalk, I cannot say I speak from experience. But I have seen faces and heard stories that have helped me to understand that a part of your soul is left on that concrete when the early morning comes and you rise up from a bed of cardboard.

So I think to myself, “why at this bus stop, why does she stand here? Did something happen here long ago that brings here comfort?”

The number 5 pulls up to the curb and as I board one thought runs through my head, will her bus ever come?


Reflections on a steel island.


Dark Nights

I've been reading this book by Thomas Moore called Dark Nights Of The Soul. I've found it to be ridiculous, preposterous and beautiful all at the same time. I don't suggest you go out and read it. Its not an entertaining read. Its a I-need-to-find-peace-in-the-darkness-of-my-life book. So if that's what you're looking for maybe you should pick it up.

Here are a few quotes from that text:

"Again, contemporary America values opinion over reflection. It always wants to know who is right, and not who has the most interesting and suggestive ideas."

"And so we are left with a great battle, not between good and evil, but between really living and just pretending."

~Thomas Moore


Beyond Grace

One day I’ll be lifted up above the treetops and I swear I’ll come up laughing. Six hundred and thirty full moons later and life still remains a great and boundless mystery to me. I’ll hold onto my dreams for as long as I can. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to give up on life than simply stop dreaming, stop hoping, and stop believing in what you cant explain. It’s as simple as that. Life ceases to be worth living when the imagination is so pumped full of “realism” that it can no longer move beyond the possible and into the realm of the impossible.

Every night my room goes dark to this world and becomes illuminated by another. Some nights my room is so full of life that it wakes me with a start. There are also moments during my waking hours that contain a richness for life I cannot comprehend.

Sometimes I hear songs, experience moments, and see things that puts my spirit somewhere that reaches beyond grace.

“More than ever
Our thoughts are blinded
By the way we all see.”

~Micah P. Hinson