Observation – January 6th, 2021, Wednesday

It is cloudy in Minneapolis, a gray day in America

The capital is occupied by terrorists, insurrectionists

A coup de etat is being attempted in America

Shots fired at the capital

A woman rolls past the cameras on a gurney

Her face bloodied, gravely injured

Terrorists have occupied the floor of the House

The Senate chamber is under their control

Trump supporters flying Trump flags wearing Trump hats

A bunch of brown shirts, chickens come home to roost

The mob is fighting the capital police

Reports of flash bang grenades

The final process of ratifying the presidential election has been upended

The clock is ticking, they have five days to complete their work

Observation – December 5th, 2020, Saturday

The floorboards are creaking above me

A reminder that I do not really live alone

Kitty is curled up in a ball on the couch

I hear the deep rumble of engine outside

Small branches swaying in the light breeze

Dark slender finger, against the pale sky

There is laughter somewhere down the block

People are walking outside, riding bikes

There is no snow on the ground, no ice

It is warm for Minneapolis in December

Michelangelo de Caravaggio – Artist

I was a teenager when I discovered Caravaggio.

Beginning in the seventh grade, when I was twelve years old, I spent a great deal time immersing myself art, wandering the halls of the Minneapolis Institute, our grand museum, when I should have been in school. There are none of Caravaggio’s work in the MIA’s permanent collection, but there was enough from the late renaissance to enable me to be conversant with those masters who were the precursors of his style.

I did not encounter Caravaggio there, I encountered him at my neighborhood art-house cinema, the Uptown Theatre at Hennepin Avenue and Lagoon.

It was the 1986 film by Derek Jarman, starring Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean that made me aware of his work and influence.

It was a lovely movie, somewhat surreal, and it familiarized me with Caravaggio’s great achievements in the history of painting, the foremost being his mastery of foreshortening, which allowed his images to leap from the canvass, and in the second place his development of the  chiaroscuro style, the sheer beauty of bringing light from the darkness which was his signature.

In 1990 I stood in front of a Carvaggio canvas for the first time. I was at the Chicago Institute of Arts and I was amazed at the dramatic realism in his work.

From that point forward if somebody were to ask me who my favorite painter is, I would say Caravaggio, without hesitation.

The more I learned about this masterful artist the more this remained true.

The 1986 film captured a great deal of his story, including the character of his life, its irreverent nature, which endeared me to him.

It wasn’t until I took an art history class as an undergraduate student at the University of Saint Thomas, in 1995, that I discovered what a rebellious spirit he had, and for that spirit I consider him a man of heroic stature.

As an artist his principle patron was the Church, and the most common subjects he was commissioned to paint were scenes of religious devotion.

He was imprisoned for his depiction of The Death of the Virgin, because he used as his model the bloating corpse of a prostitute he had fished from the river, painting Mary in a state of corruption and decay, which was an act of heresy because Mary was considered to be inviolate and incorruptible, even in death.

When he was commissioned to paint the Conversion of Saint Paul, seventy-five percent of the canvass he painted was taken up by the ass of the horse Paul fell from when he was blinded on the road to Damascus.

It was another great joke Caravaggio played on his patron, for which he is now well loved.

Caravaggio

Given First – 2020.07.18

Transform, Part III – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.30.2020

Transform, Part III
The past week in my home city of Minneapolis we have been witness to events that have shown the world just how much we need a radical transformation of the social compact.

Minneapolis is the most culturally homogenous city of its size in the country. We are not just white we are ulta-white, northern European, Scandinavian white, this has made our social-compact fragile, brittle and as evidenced this week…broken.

On Monday, an unarmed African-American man was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer with cruel and calculated indifference. That white police officer was aided by three of his fellow officers.

They squeezed the life out of him, even as he pleaded with them, calling on his deceased mother to protect come for him, and protect him.

They police kneeled on his neck for nine minutes while he lay handcuffed, face down in the street, one officer applying that crushing weight, while two others held him at the midsection and at his legs.

He was not resisting.

Even as they were killing him, he was polite addressing them as sir, begging for relief.

They held him down for three minutes after he had become unresponsive, and did not register a pulse, while they denied an EMT access to him sixteen times, which might have saved his life.

They filed false police reports, even though it was all caught by their own body cameras, by surveillance cameras, and by the cell-phone video footage of bystanders who were witness to the killing.

The police officer who knelt directly on his neck, knew the man, they both worked as Security guards at a nearby nightclub.

They killed him in broad daylight, in public, in front of witnesses, they killed him with reckless indifference because in their heart they believed they would get away with it, and the sad thing is, that even though all four of them were fired and the worst among them has been charged with third degree murder, they still might get away with it, because justice is not impartial, our social compact is broken, our police behave like predators and kill with impunity, expecting and receiving the complicity of their brothers and sisters in uniform.

This corrupt and unjust system demands transformation.

There have been protests, without which the officers would likely still be employed.

Those righteous protests have been coopted by white supremacists and other bad actors who have looted and set our city on fire.

We have been burning for three days: police stations and post offices and libraries and banks, businesses and homes.

The smoke is thick in the air, I can taste it. It is horrible, but at least I can still breathe, unlike the man who’s murder set these events in motion, unlike George Floyd.

Winning Entry – The Sun Times 55 Word Short Fiction Contest 2017

Chapter Three: Portents

 

Jim projected a profound sense of doom, of danger. It lingered in the vacuum that was left when he departed. The strength of it filled Kathy with unease, as if an event were about to happen that would stop everything.

 

She looked around and saw the world covered in ashes, with everyone choking for air.

 

https://issuu.com/ntmg/docs/sun_55_fic_17_issuu

 

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #55Words

 

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Read at Poets and Pints, Minneapolis 2017.09.20

Attached to a Phone Cord

It was an image out of time

 

A man walking with telephone in hand

 

The long handset at his right ear

 

The bulky base hanging from his fingers

 

At his waist, the curling cord

 

Like a bandolier across his chest

 

A long cable trailing along the floor

 

A slender, flat worm, fixed to the wall

 

Shifting as he paced around the room

 

Watch, as from time to time he switches

 

The parts of the phone form hand to hand

 

Pausing for a moment to cradle the handset

 

Between his shoulder and his ear

 

The phone base swings from left to right

 

The handset mid-sentence, from right to left

 

An archaic dance, a vision from childhood

 

When we were tethered by the cable

 

To the phone, by the cord

 

Within which electrons flow

 

As now they pass right through us

 

Ten thousand conversations at a time

 

Binary signals in the ether, invisible fingers

 

Digital ones, and zeros, drawing pictures

 

Touching nerves

 

Inside us 

 

Given on the open mic at:

 

The New Shit Show, Minneapolis

The Fox Egg Gallery

2016.10.21

 

St. Stephen’s

Found Poetry

The note promised help, outreach

Even the drunkard is worthy

 

Connect, reach-out

The street is no-place to live

 

St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr

After Jesus, who loved the poor

 

Feed the hungry, house the homeless

The human being next to you, is your sister,

Is your brother,

I am in them,

as are you

 

Translated From:

ST. STEPHEN’S STREET OUTREACH

**you do NOT need to be sober**

to access our services

 

To connect with an Outreach Worker

612-879-7624

Or free from any phone,

1-888-550-7624

 

St. Stephen’s Street Outreach is part of

St. Stephen’s Human Services, which offers

Shelter, housing, employment, advocacy,

And ex-offender programs to those

Who are homeless or living in poverty.

 

Main Office:

2211 Clinton Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55404

612-874-0311

www.ststephensmpls.org

 

ending homelessness

 

St. Stephen’s Human Services