Eventually Twilight

Their voices, low and quiet then loud and excited, ran up the steps and into the store with the excitement of a lonely dog seeing his masters return from a long day of work. It was that brilliant lazy hour between sunset and moonrise as the men lounged on cement steps behind the t.v. repair shop listening to stories, jokes and the crackle of cigarettes burning dimly in the fading light. They knew each other well and it showed in the easy smiles they exchanged. Eyes affixed to the storyteller even though most of the men had heard most of these stories more than once.

It wasn’t the content of the story so much as the place it brought those who were telling it. Retelling their story was the closest they would ever come to being there again. That particular point in history had passed them by like the coastal coal trains that rolled by the docks catching the early morning light. It was fully there one moment, with all the sound and smoke to prove it, and then gone the next, leaving nothing but a ringing in your ears and the smell of coal dust on your winter coat.

And in this way their evening gathering became a way for them to lift themselves from the struggles of the present to live in the glories of the past. The past was at the mercy of the one remembering it. Hard times became bearable when told looking back, good times became great and the moments between hardship and greatness took on familiar warmth that only time could create. Time allowed for space. Space between the moment past and the present moment. In that space imagination could take over and add to or take away the varying elements that went into the wondrous tale you heard being weaved into your very being.

Eventually twilight came and with it the orange glow of tungsten bulbs illuminating porches and living rooms. A series of lasts soon followed the pending night.

Last stories, last cigarettes, last goodbyes.


If You Can't Handle Raw Honesty Don't Read This.

I’ve got a lot to say but words fall short of expressing what I need to say. Today its darkness. Today I see death, hear death, am surrounded by death.

A country of death built upon the deaths of others.

Renee breaths some of what may well be her last breathes upon this earth. I don’t know how to say goodbye. I'm terrible with goodbyes. You would think after a lifetime of goodbyes that I would have acquired some skill in this area of farewells.

I haven’t.

Today Tim will stand on the well manicured lawn at the University of Washington and read from a list of over 3000 people lynched “throughout the American South between 1882 and 1930, for offenses ranging from rape and murder to foul language or treating whites disrespectfully. The vast majority of lynch victims were African American men.”

How can we as a nation begin to move forward into healing from the atrocities of the past if we do not first acknowledge that the atrocities happened?

We are a sad proud race. We don’t know where we are going because we do not know where we have come from.

But don’t listen to me. I am a melancholy, depressed, pessimist who only sees darkness where others see light. I am an over sensitive soul who doesn’t know how to cope with the realities of life on planet earth.

Realities like war and injustice, poverty and famine.

Come on Corey, get a grip! Right? Isn’t that all I need to do? Get a grip? Stop focusing on the bad, the negative? My life is good, right? I'm healthy, loved by many and hated by none (well, maybe one or two). Shouldn’t this be enough?

No, today it’s not enough.

Damn you life, damn you death.


Destroying Home

My neighborhood is disappearing. Developers are moving in and looking for easy prey. Anything that’s over 30 years old is at stake. So I’ve decided to do what I can to keep this place alive even if it will soon be only a faded memory: take pictures. I've added a new gallery of images from around the hood, which you can view here: Nightlights.

I don’t deal well with the kind of change I see sweeping across Seattle. A change that tears down the old and replaces it with nothing of any real benefit to the community. Most new buildings will be condos and town homes that are unaffordable for anyone but those who fully buy into the system of capitalism. Tearing down old homes means less affordable rent options for broke artists like me.

All of this makes me sad, angry and embittered toward a system that has no regard for community and humanity but instead sees everything in dollar signs. I’ll spare you the capitalism rant; you’ve heard it from me before (although it’s a rant I believe should be heard again and again).

What will be left when all we have are generic, ugly and lifeless neighborhoods? Perhaps something that closely resembles an insane asylum.


The View From Up Here

Every night my soul dies.

I know this to be true because with the last cognizant sigh I can hear a sort of goodbye lullaby being sung quietly over me as I drift off to a place I know little of.

Upon waking a rebirth of sorts happens. Some days I am reborn with the strength of a man who knows his place in the world, knows what he must do and how he believes it must be done. Some days I feel the rebirth to be premature, with the desire to stay within the incubator that is my room far outweighing all other demands.

And then there are days when I am reborn into a world that is as beautiful and wonder filled as a newborns first breath. I wake kicking and screaming, waiting for the cord to be cut between what has passed and what is soon to pass.


Light comes in varying hues. Pulsing in reds, greens and blues I see the world not as a linear plane where one minute comes after the other but rather where one momentous moment hold’s its breathe waiting for the next moment when it can exhale a glorious cloud that enshrouds me with its thick grey cloak of mystery and life.


Looking For Change

Me: I wanted to tell you something before I got off the phone; this Friday I went to an Obama rally in Seattle.

Dad: I think he’s the Anti-Christ.

I pause before responding into the small cell phone receiver. It is in this pause that I realize where my political extremism might stem from. This is not the first time I have had this realization. It certainly will not be the last. I decide to ignore the statement my dad has just made for two reasons:

1. I know that my father is a wise man and as a result does not really believe this statement.

2. My dad is not only a Fox news junkie but also listens to certain talk radio hosts who tend to lean more toward a discourse of fear and hatred than one of rational thought.

It is because of this knowledge that I do not hold statements such as “I think he’s the Anti-Christ” against my father. This is not a notion he concocted on his own. It was fed to him in the same way that the liberal media feeds me everything I believe. At least that’s what people tell me.

Let it be known that my father is a good man and that I am in no way trying to discredit his goodness by relating this story to you. If you’re reading this dad know that I love you and am only writing this story for the entertainment value that is inherent in politics in general.

I went on to tell my father of how there were so many people at the arena they had to turn thousands away. I was one of nearly 18,000 who made it inside the arena, perched so high above everything that the speaking platform looked small enough to fold up and fit inside my pocket. Obama came out, after 2 hours of waiting, and delivered a tired sounding speech about hope and change. Something I suppose we all could use a little more of.

Tim, reformed southern and good friend of mine, and I left before Obama could finish. We were hungry. Hope and change would have to wait until after lunch.

As we walked from the crowded arena past the Space Needle and down wet streets I talked with Tim about the rally. I talked with him about how I was reluctant to believe much of anything that came from not only Obamas mouth but any politician in America. I told him that the distance between the promises made from that platform to the cold streets we walked down was rarely bridged by any politicians lofty promises of change.

And perhaps I am wrong in thinking that politicians should be the ones to help bring about change. Perhaps my expectation of them has been ill perceived.

Either way, I know that the only change I saw on the streets that day was scattered on the ground beneath a department store awning.

Or maybe there was something else changing and I was just too jaded to perceive of it.



The length of a night, day, week or month for that matter often escapes me as I live from one moment to the next. I’ve learned this about myself, that wherever I might be I am fully there, or as fully there as my constantly meandering mind allows me to be. When I sit with you I am there to do that one thing; sit with you. That’s why I show up, for you. Not to say that I don’t have my own selfish motives in mind but I try to be as present as the present allows.

I have tried to live my life in such a way as to have time for long, insightful conversations. This is what I live for. If I am not a rich man it is because living simply and loving others does not lend itself to making one rich, monetarily that is. I am coming to grips with the fact that in this life I will, save for some stroke of dumb luck (i.e. something like a drunken midnight decision where I find myself stumbling into a 7-11 handing over 2 dollars to the clerk behind the counter and him handing me back a lotto ticket which I hastily scratch off to reveal the lofty prize sum of 10 million dollars!!!), live a simple, low income life. At this point I am ok with that. In fact, I'm not sure I’d have it any other way.

Truth be told, I am naïve. Perhaps my mother sheltered me like a chick beneath the warmth of her wings for too many years. I do not know the woes of the truly poor. I am healthy, articulate enough to gain favor from a wide range of people in varying classes, and, simply put, white.

Sometimes I create. As an artist I have a certain amount of societal grace bestowed upon me. A grace that allows me to live in an unconventional way yet still be looked upon as a semi valuable member of society. As long as I am creating something worthwhile (worth is something completely subjective) then I am left alone to keep creating as I see fit.

You’ll have to forgive me as I have completely lost my train of thought due to a great burst of wind rushing down the blind black alley beside my room and out into a small courtyard which contains one, small bush that behaves more like a tree in appearance and height but is still only a bush by definition and species. This small bush tree is shaking violently for only a few seconds, the possession coming and going in a way that only the wind can truly produce.

The wind moves out over the fence
and into some town homes that are built close enough to spit on. And sometimes I want to spit on them. Not because they are filled with people who are completely disconnected from the neighborhood that surrounds them but mostly just because I can spit pretty far.

It's a skill I picked up while living out my younger years in the south surrounded by NASCAR loving rednecks (R.I.P. Dale Earnhardt) and Skoal tobacco. Only once did I try a plug of chaw and even then it was the wussified version, all of the dark, rich tobacco wrapped up in a neat little cotton pouch which I was instructed to stick in the space between my lower lip and gum line. After 5 minutes of long hard pulls I became sick to my head and then to my stomach, promptly throwing up in the tall reeds that grew beside the stagnant algae green lake we were fishing in.

After that we reeled in our lines, threw our poles in the back of a rusty old truck bed and headed home.

There they are. The random thoughts of a quickly fading mind. Bright and early tomorrow morning it’s Obama and the Key Arena Rally. I'm there to catch a glimpse of what might possibly be our darkest skinned president yet to come. It sounds shallow but then again I never claimed to be deep.