“It would shock you too…”
“…the things we used to do on grass.”
Yeah, I know, Mother’s Day is quasi-holiday that is way too commercialized. But that doesn’t mean we can’t legitimately set aside one day per year to honor our mums for bringing us into this world and then doing their best not to fuck everything up after that. Motherhood is hard work, a lifetime of it. It’s 24/7 for at least 18 years but really it’s from the day you’re born until the day one of you dies. And for the rest of their life whoever remains has to do whatever it takes to keep from falling completely apart emotionally.
It’s vicious, it’s cruel, it’s love, and it’s life itself. If asked I bet most mothers would say they wouldn’t trade one good, great, bad, or horrible second of raising their children for anything. I hope that includes your mom.
To celebrate this day of Eggs Benedict, mimosas, and fresh-cut flowers I present a small gallery of photographs I’ve taken in the past few years of moms and their kids. I hope you enjoy it, and see the beauty and edginess in these people who share a human bond like no other…
Brisbane, California, July 2015
Kagurazaka, Tokyo, Japan, November 2015
Sierra Point Yacht Club, Brisbane, California, September 2016
Clarion Alley, San Francisco, March 2017
Nijiya Market, Japantown, San Francisco, July 2017
My fuzzy espionage friend Mikazuki and I are pleased to present you with this brief visual guide illustrating The Four Stages of Kitty-Induced Aggravation, as established by famous Swiss animal behaviorists in the 1960s. However, be advised this is for educational purposes only. My cat is a professional. Please don’t try this at home…
Stage 1, Denial: “Mika, you son of a bitch, DO NOT even think about it!”
Stage 2, Anger: “Goddamn it, Mika, get the FUCK down from there!!”
Stage 3, Bargaining: “Mika-chan, please don’t do that. Mika, please come down. Mika-chan?”
Stage 4, Acceptance: “Jesus Christ, he did it. I’m impressed. Now I need the step ladder.”
Tonight the moon was less than full but more than willing,
the kind of moon that inspires killing
lovers, hearts, and alcohol,
this versatile moon can do it all.
And if the moon isn’t worthy, it’s still better than you.
It never killed for a temple or pew.
So sleep your dreams, and dream of sleep.
The moon is never ours to keep…
Here, take a minute to look at these photographs of a textbook case of dog. Her name is Allie Anne and she belongs to a friend of mine here in Brisbane, California.
There, isn’t that better? This is cheering you up a bit, isn’t it?
I thought so.
Seriously, looking at these photos has got to be better than whatever dismal and infuriating news reports you were reading about the fucking moron in the White House who is systematically tearing our country down and apart with his stupidity, ignorance, and racism.
Yeah, I know. It’s continually depressing and hard to summon either courage or hope.
Hey, I know, I’ll look at the dog with you. Let’s be calm for a few minutes and just sit here together and look at the happy dog.
Before my face scraped the road,
I saw a shop that glowed.
I couldn’t get inside,
So the tender ghost without me died.
This freed me to further travel,
And continue to unravel
Secrets that I sought.
Truths that can’t be bought
In illuminated shops,
Found at bus stops,
Or drunk in bars of great divinity.
My secrets aren’t within onyx superstructures of great art,
Or in the meat sack we call the human heart.
So resting overnight I watched the shop glow.
By morning the sun rose so fast
It seemed retrograde slow.
There were places I had to go,
People I had to be.
More ghosts I had to fetch,
And a love I longed to catch.
For decades this place was a bodega (the Coca Cola sign), then a retail shop (the India Rose sign), now apparently it’s a private residence.
Kill your television?
Television’s thinking about killing you…
Lacking both the energy and ambition on Christmas Eve to present to you photographs and text covering my usual range of topics, I’ve decided to just show you some pictures of my cats. My insane, hyper-kinetic, fuzzy-beautiful fucking cats. I figure no matter where you are as a Scholars and Rogues reader on the American political spectrum, my 10-month-old cats will cause no offense and might even make you smile.
See, 2017 has been a rather shitty year for me. Two big reasons why are my wife was hospitalized in January, then we lost our beloved cat Indy on Valentine’s Day. Being the life-long cat ladies that we are, my wife and I intensely felt how empty both our lives and our house were after Indy. So even though we both felt emotionally that it was too soon after his death and the deep grief it caused to have new cats, we adopted two eight-week-old kittens on April 1st from some very nice folks up near Sacramento.
And these are they, Kuro and Mika, brothers from the same litter, furry brigands who chew on everything, routinely beat the shit out of each other, and haven’t a mean bone in their bodies even though the are ruthlessly lethal to the toy mice (with the rattling bits inside) that I keep finding under every goddamned piece of heavy furniture in our house. So it goes living with with the aggravating grace of the feline species…
Mika, on the left, has white feet and a distinctive crescent moon patch on his neck. Kuro, on the right, is entirely jet black. They’re thrilled to meet you, as you can see.
Mika also has white areas on his chest and belly. And he likes to leap over our bathroom door.
They both like boxes, but Kuro is particularly fond of them.
Kuro also likes to chew on shit, in this case my cigarette lighter.
Mika loves toys, but wasn’t fast enough to eviscerate this pink one when I dropped it for him.
This will be their first Christmas with us, or with anyone. They’re not entirely clear on that concept.
My wife and I live in an 88-year-old house which has never been adequately retrofitted to accommodate the installation of a washer and dryer for laundry. We’re slowly setting aside the cash to one day solve that problem, but in the meantime once or twice a month we schlep our dirty duds to a local laundromat. Now, you’ll get no argument from me that the process of driving (or walking) five or six pillow cases full of laundry to the laundromat then spending two or more hours washing, drying, and folding your wardrobe is basically a pain in the ass.
It is, particularly if the laundromat is crowded and you have to wait for dryers. So, yes, laundromats are as mundane as a library card. But they’re also rich, warm places in which to be in the thick of humanity’s ebb and flow. At least the one I use is. And yesterday, the last Monday in September, was a very rewarding day for me as a photographer washing socks and capturing human moments at the laundromat…
Tiny twin girls, who were as adorable as their big, burly father was good-natured and easy with a laugh. I learned what a easy-going fellow he was when I asked his permission to take this photograph.
Miles the laid-back Chihuahua, in the arms of his primary human and receiving loads of adoration from his fan club on the left.
Edgar the relaxed Malamute, with a nice lady who coincidentally is the mother-in-law of a friend of mine. The lady rescued Edgar from a Malamute breeder who beat him the first two years of his life and kept him in a small cage with ten other dogs.
This is Brenda. She’s 72 and undergoing cancer chemotherapy for the first time in her life. She just started the chemo, that very morning in fact, but won’t know if it takes until some time this November. She’s happy to be getting treatment, because the cancer was making her very sick. She’s originally from North Carolina, but she and her man are moving to San Diego to settle while Brenda undergoes further cancer treatments. Her pink ribbon hat caught my eye, but her candor and aura of optimism and hope held my attention.
At the laundromat, there’s always more life and hope and joy and pain than you think.
(Super Coin Laundry, Brisbane, California, September 2017)