This past Thanksgiving

In the time of coronavirus, my wife and I didn’t do much on Thanksgiving Day 2020 but stay home and cook for ourselves. We didn’t even watch the Macy’s parade. Cooking Thanksgiving feast for two people, which included an 11-pound turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and a persimmon pie, was a surprisingly time-consuming endeavor.

Still, I did get out briefly a couple of times during the day and shot this collection of photographs. Enjoy…

A suspension of color in my deceased father-in-law's living room...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

A suspension of color in my deceased father-in-law’s living room.

The calm of the world as the sun comes up...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

The calm of the world as the sun comes up.

A turkey at my neighbor's house...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

A turkey at my neighbor’s house.

The turkey goes into the oven...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

Our turkey goes into the oven.

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The flag and a family on the high street.

Last-minute grocery trip for daughter and father...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

Last-minute grocery trip for daughter and father.

My wife would like to show a happy world to everyone...
Brisbane, California, Thanksgiving Day 2020

My wife would like to show a happy world to everyone.

(Photographed in Brisbane, California on Thanksgiving Day, 2020. I hope yours was happy and safe. See my other work here.)

Saturday, at the edge of the world

My wife and I,
imprisoned with each other these past one million days,
decided on a Saturday morning
to hope in the car and go see the edge of the world.
(I meant ‘hop’ but the effect is the same.)

ThorntonBeach 7-1

When we got there
I looked out
at the crest of the ocean,
the horizon it made,
and I wondered if
there were people in Japan
looking from their edge of the world
who couldn’t see me either.

ThorntonBeach 8-2

It’s probable.
It’s likely.
My wife and I blew
the dreamers on Japanese coasts a kiss,
and laughed because we love
that the ocean is here
at the edge of the world
even though we rarely come to see it.

ThorntonBeach 9-3

And then I thought
in 31 years
of bad careers, drink, and madness in California,
she has been my sun.
My sun more than the actual fucking Sun.
And all the bad
was erased
standing on the edge of the world with her.

ThorntonBeach 10-1

Everything bad
in my life, in our lives,
was all worth enduring
to be able after 31 years
to stand at the edge of the world with her.

ThorntonBeach 11-5

And I told her that.
And she kissed me.
And I knew, once again,
we would be okay.

(Photographed at Thornton Beach, Daly City, California in November, 2020. See my other work here.)

The psilocybin skateboard

He said

he was bored

Brisbane RAW 2087-1

and, the day being hot and slow,

I understood that.

Brisbane RAW 2088-2

And he said

he was on mushrooms

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and, being a recovering alcoholic,

I smiled quietly at that.

Brisbane RAW 2090-4

(Photographed in Brisbane, California in September, 2020. See my other work here.)

And, lo, there was a bird

And, lo, there was a bird

outside the picture window

of the living room

where my father-in-law died.

#1 113-2

It was a day of peace

and happiness.

I was entertaining a friend

with dinner in the living room,

and the bird was

just being its bird self.

#1 117-1

It had nothing to do

with what happened

to my father-in-law

in that living room,

but being there

made me think of him

and whether in some way

he was in the bird

and looking in

on the home of the life

he left behind.

(Photographed in Brisbane, California in September, 2020. See my other work here.)

Tokyo likes you

I’ve got another book for you, something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years but only managed to construct in the past couple of months during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders my wife and I are living under here in California.

And as you’ve likely guessed from the title above my book is about Tokyo, my favorite city in the world and a warmer, friendlier town than one might think. At least it has been for me. Maybe I’ve just been lucky or haven’t pissed off the right people, who knows?

TokyoLikesYouPromo

Anyway, the book is full of (mostly) black and white photographs of (mostly) happy, smiling people in various street locations around the city. And like my last book, it’s free. But unlike my last book, there’s very little text in it (beyond captions) and the overall message of the work isn’t a heavy downer.

  • So download “Tokyo Likes You”. The cover is here and the book is here, both totaling just under 30MB.
  • And donate (if you’re so inclined) to my “getting ‘Tokyo Likes You’ printed” fund here.

I’d love to hear your comments or criticisms. You can unload on me about “Tokyo Likes You” by leaving a comment on this post, or by contacting me via Facebook, or Twitter.

Thanks for having a look, and I hope you enjoy “Tokyo Likes You”.

SignatureRed

(Brisbane, California, April 30, 2020. See my other work here.)

To Michele on our 20th anniversary

After 20 years
I don’t have it
in me anymore
to not love you
more than my life
more than mankind
more than any life
but yours.

DR

You have saved me
so many times
from myself
I’m pretty sure
you hold the mortgage
on my soul.
If I believed in souls.
If I did
you would be one,
an immense, timeless
born-before-god-and-sin
holy, anti-entropy soul.

And I love you
more than
any version of god
anyone ever invented
and sold by the pound
to the poor, needy,
and helpless.

Jessica's Birthday 097

You are better than all of that, ever.
You are beyond that
in my uneasy mind,
a mind troubled by
literally every fucking thing
but you.

I want to hold on to you
to love you
and have you
near me
for 100 years more.
Alive, I mean.
I know you knew that.
There’s no sin
in the simplicity
of hoping for
an impossible wish.

MicheleSalmon 238-1

I already got one: you.
And I want
another 100 years of you,
because the 20
we’ve been married
just doesn’t
seem like enough.

(In California in 1991, 2005, and 2019. See my other work here and here.)

How we get to the snacks

So, the coronavirus, yeah. How are you holding up? It’s crazy out there, right? Not like ‘violence in the streets’ crazy, not yet, but nutty enough. I really hope you’ve got enough savings and food and family support and job security to get though this as painlessly as possible.

I’ve been going out every day, mostly just to my local grocery store a few blocks from my house to get Dr Pepper and cigarettes. And I started a little project photographing people wearing masks, at food stores and elsewhere, to protect themselves from viral infection. It’s not a world-changing project, but it’s something to keep me occupied while we’re all mostly stuck at home all day.

So I hope you enjoy the photos here, and the growing number of photographs I’m compiling here. Thanks for having a look.

Dressed like the frozen food section is contagious Antarctica...
San Francisco, California, March 2020

At a Grocery Outlet in San Francisco

Happy family in virus time...
San Francisco, California, March 2020

Waiting in line outside a Nijiya Market in San Francisco

Lovely eyes and a virus mask...
Brisbane, California, March 2020

At Midtown Market here in Brisbane, California

(San Francisco and Brisbane, California, March, 2020. See my other work here and here.)

She took a moment to compose herself…

During the coronavirus panic I’ve been going out every day, mostly to my local grocery bodega here in Brisbane, California for cigarettes and Dr Pepper. And even though my town is literally right next to San Francisco, sharing a city and county line, folks here have been nice, calm, and collected. No freaking out or hysterical behavior, at least not that I’ve seen.

The lady in my photographs here is a good example. It was sunny and in the high 60s on March 19th when she came walking up the street while I was loitering in front of the grocery store having a smoke. I loved her lace dress and her glittery sandals, and asked her for a few photos.

And she cheerfully agreed. But as you can see in these photos and the complete sequence here, she took a moment to compose herself. But she looked kind of great doing it…

She took a moment to compose herself, 2...
Brisbane, California, March 2020

She took a moment to compose herself, 7...
Brisbane, California, March 2020

After she finished composing herself...
Brisbane, California, March 2020

(Brisbane, California, March, 2020. See my other work here and here.)

Convenience

I’ve shopped in a lot of 7-11s in my life.

At the 7-11...
South San Francisco, California, September 2016

Maybe you have too.

At the 7-11...
South San Francisco, California, May 2017

I only started photographing people I’d encounter at 7-11 a few years ago. I was a public school substitute teacher in 2016 and 2017, and I used to stop by whatever store was on my way to work for a Dr Pepper and some kind of donut for breakfast.

At the 7-11...
South San Francisco, California, November 2016

I’m not a school teacher any longer, but I still treasure my 7-11 adventures. See more of the people I met at the convenience store here. I hope you enjoy them.

(Photographed in South San Francisco, California in September and November, 2016 and in May, 2017. See my other work here and here.)

On New Year’s Eve, 2019

On New Year’s Eve

I always get weird.

I think about my failures,

for there’ve been more of those

than successes.

I think about my wife,

her gentle, enduring beauty,

and about my life

and how it’s going to unfold

in the next 20 or 30 years.

If I have that long.

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I’m closer to death now

than I ever have been before.

So are you.

You know that, right?

Every little day

closer to the big sleep.

And when mine comes

I hope you’ll be at the party,

a big party,

for I will have raged against dying.

Raged hard, obstinate, and fiercely.

Hell, I’m fighting death now.

I mean, aren’t we all?

I’m fighting it all the time.

Because it’s going to be 2020 in about 12 hours,

and, you know, I have shit to do.

(Brisbane, California, November and December, 2019. See my other work here and here.)

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