STREET JOURNAL 2

Standard

by Tom H. Brooks 3

Funny words you can find in the dictionary:                                               I

balderdash
ballyhoo
bamboozle
codswallop
flapdoodle
these describe what you are about to read…
_________________
Great song lyrics by Jimi Hendrix…..                                                       W
“Sometimes it`s not so easy
especially when your only friend
talks, looks, sees and feels like you
and you do just the same as him…”
*    *
“gonna buy this town
and put it all….in my shoe,
might even give a piece to you…
you think I`d do that?”
*    *
“Well, I`m up here in this womb
and I`m looking all around,
I`m looking out my belly-button window
and I`m seeing a whole lotta frowns,
and I`m wondering if
they don`t want me around…”
*    *
_________________
SEE YOU IN HELL                                                                                A
_________________
It is mid-November, 2001; Year of the Snake, year of the jackass.  Many things have gone horribly awry.                                 N
In spite of it all, I stand here at the LA County Museum of Art, perusing the galleries that currently hold
the “Broad Collection.”  There are paintings by Rauschenberg, Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns and so many more
interesting and bizarre pieces adorning the walls.  I admire their spartan simplicity and their eccentric
ideas and designs.  Of course, I admire their exceedingly amazing artistic qualities.  However, not even one
of their titles comes even close to touching my excellent titles (See Afro-Christ Superstar by me).  That goes
for paintings and stories alike.  That`s my gig, baby, interesting paintings lacking in refinement with masterpiece
titles.  My introspective mood is shattered by a bratty kid`s harsh screams that echo resoundingly through the
halls as he hits his mother and runs off to hide.
__________________
List of interesting things that jumped out at me:                                                                                                                    N
Jasper Johns     Nini`s Painting 1971     (again AFRO-CHRIST SUPERSTAR?  WAY better title)
                        waxy crayons scribbled
                        childlike on a 12×12 canvas
Cy Twombly      “The Secrets that Fail will never be the same.”
Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha are always great.
For example:  from Ruscha`s “Summer Paintings”
                     I saw a good title and painting….             Norm`s; La Cienega, On Fire
 
 
    HEAVY 
 INDUSTRY
Ed Ruscha
“Pop art reflected the era of commercialization in which it emerged, when art began to be seen
as a commodity, a condition that, if taken to its logical extreme, would give equal value to
fine art and generic comic book imagery.”
“The spectator is compelled to look directly down the road and into the middle of the picture.”
                            John Baldessari Conceptualism     (This picture forces everyone to stare
                                                                                 intently at the middle of the picture
                                                                                 by the power of suggestion alone.)
Luca Giordano 1634-1705  Baroque Art
*    *    *
TIPS FOR ARTISTS WHO WANT TO SELL
* generally speaking, paintings with light colors sell more quickly than paintings with dark colors.
* subjects that sell well: Madonna and child, landscapes, flower paintings, still lifes (free of morbid
  props…dead birds, etc.), nudes, marine pictures, abstract and surrealism.
* subject matter is important: It has been said that paintings with cows and hens in them collect
  dust…while the same paintings with bulls and roosters sell.”
John Baldessari  ( painted in bright yellow with bold black letters )
_________________________
I found an open gate on 6th Street and decided to cut through Park La Brea on my way to the                                       A
Gardner Street Library.  First time I`ve been in this fortified planned community and it`s not bad at all.
_________________________
LAUGHTER IS THE MUSIC OF THE SOUL
_________________________
“In meditation, what`s peeling away are your own thought patterns–worries, anxieties, cliches, bright ideas,                    B
ambitions, plans, mental and emotional hang-ups, all that half-conscious brain litter.  You strip the layers
away, one by one, until the images grow fainter and fainter and the noise grows quieter and quieter, and
you arrive at the core, which is naked emptiness, a kind of exhilarating vacuum.  Each layer is a landscape,
a separate dimension, a new world.”
Tom Robbins
_________________________
                                                                                                                                                                               E
Words critics like to use:
lucid
magnetic
luminous
incandescent
_________________________
                                                                                                                                                                               S
“Behold, the Man is become as one of Us.”
Genesis 3:22
_________________________
“Given a choice between a folly and a sacrament, one should always choose the folly–                                                 E
because we know the sacrament will not bring us closer to God and there`s always a
chance a folly will.”
Erasmus
_________________________
                                                                                                                                                                               D
“Don`t you find it a bit batty that people believe God–the absolute epitome of perfection and enlightenment–
could be so puffed with petty human vanity that He`d expect us to sing his praises at every opportunity and
twice on Sunday?”
Tom Robbins
_________________________
“Everybody on earth, unfortunately, is prepared for death, but very damn few are prepared for life.”                                 A
_________________________
“The gates of Paradise open wide for He who can make his companions laugh.”                                                            T
The Koran
_________________________
“Show me, if you can, where it says in the Koran that a devout Muslim has the duty or right to kill                                  E
those who don`t believe as he does.  Show me where Mohammed sanctions the murder of those
of another faith–or no faith at all…”
_________________________
“SEND IN THE CLOWNS”                                                                                                                                         D
_________________________
People of the world………RELAX
_________________________
On the 33 bus, westbound to Venice Beach…some ham-fisted melon head that looked like a chollo but talked like
a cop, just told me not to point my camera in his direction.  No one tells me where to point my lens and I almost
photographed him anyway out of pure spite.  I was actually going for a beautiful shot of a mother and a baby but
his ugly mug would`ve fucked it up anyway.  As if I were a paparazzi or something and I could possibly want a shot
of this particular “celebrity,” with that pork chop that some would call a face.  I told him he was paranoid.  He said I would
be arrested.  I guffawed and told him not to threaten me with arrest and what, are you a secret agent or something?
Your cover is blown now, after this big scene.  I can now only wonder about the strangeness of this random exchange.
Was his backpack full of drugs, guns, cash, or all three?  Was he an undercover cop?  Or a killer?  (Sometimes, one
and the same, I know…).  Was he CIA?  Or was he just another paranoid, angry, delusional psychotic roaming
the streets of LA with the rest of them?  My guess is the last one….
_________________________
Anne Frank is quoted as having said,”I believe that deep down, all people have good hearts.”  The innocent and charming
optimism of this statement cannot be denied, HOWEVER—–
I think that more often than not, people are mean; sour, glum, angry, bitter, jealous, spiteful little people that wander
the cities of the world with grimaces on their faces and holes in their black hearts.
  As I write this, 20 ducks, quacking at full volume, fly in from the south and land on the Venice Canals with an
exuberant splash, startling me sufficiently to get up and move on…..
_________________________
Heretofore, I have introduced you to micro cassette art and expanded on Life art and now,
I give you IMPULSE ART…that which comes from the most hidden depths of the subconscious
and rises to the surface at strange and cryptic times, spur of the moment, random….IMPULSE…
hence my photos, writings, recordings, music, and paintings are born and rendered in the physical world…
_________________________
Venice Beach, California
…where the freaks blend with the norms, where the poor mingle with the rich, where the Euros blend with the Africans and Latinos and Asians
and everyone…an ethnic stew of humanity.  Venice…where the urban scum and trash meets with the endless sea, where a stinking
crack fiend or meth-head who lives in a dumpster behind Windward can brush elbows with a rich German baroness from Hamburg.
Venice…where an imitation city of a place in Italy has become, rather, a true original, a place stranger than strange; a place where
the blue of the sea is a little darker, the sky by the coast is a little smoggier and the sunsets are stunning and the wind always blows
trash and sorrow through broken and demented hearts.  And we are all smiling.
_________________________
HISTORY IS MYTH
AND                                                 winners write the books
MYTH IS HISTORY
_________________________
Mathematical Problem
If Timmy made a movie and it made 5 million dollars and Sally`s movie made 20 million dollars,
how much will Timmy have to pay his therapist before he can be happy for Sally?
_________________________
“Poor Otis dead and gone
left me here to sing his song,
pretty little girl with a red dress on,
poor Otis, dead and gone…”
Jim Morrison
_________________________
Wed. Night at Las Palmas nightclub…
Beers, whiskeys, sexy girls, loud music, massive crowd, sweat, cigarettes, chaos…
_________________________
“Mockingbirds are the true artists of the bird kingdom.  Which is to say, although they are born with a song of their own, an innate
riff that happens to be one of the most versatile of all ornithological expressions, mockingbirds aren`t content to merely play the
hand that is dealt them.  Like all artists, they are out to rearrange reality.  Innovative, willful, daring, not bound by the rules to which
others may blindly adhere, the mockingbird collects snatches of birdsong from this tree and that field, appropriates them, places them
in new and unexpected contexts, recreates the world from the world.  For example, a mockingbird in South Carolina was heard to
blend the songs of 32 different kinds of birds into a 10 minute performance, a virtuoso display that served no practical purpose, falling,
therefore, into the realm of pure art.”
Tom Robbins
_________________________
funny bumper sticker…
“My child can surf better
than your honors student”
only in CA….
_________________________
“A shadow does not belong to the object that casts it.”
_________________________++++++++++++++++++
“When the 5th veil falls, and with it the illusion of financial worth, individuals might recognize themselves again, might find themselves
standing, as if naked, among ancient values in a long-lost landscape.  Meanwhile, it can be stated with some validity that for all
of the clamorings and phobias that it generates, money barely exists.  An abstraction, a symbol, an act of faith, an IOU backed only
by a banker`s word, money is first and foremost a substitute.  The funny part is that it`s a substitute for things that often do not exist.
What is plain is that neither money nor the love of it is the root of all evil.  Evil`s roots run deeper than that.  Anyway, money is not
a root.  Money is a leaf.  Trillions of leaves, actually; dense, bushy, dollar-green, obscuring the stars of reality with their false canopy.
The 5th veil will surely fall.  It will fall at the moment of our death.  As we lie there, helpless, beyond distraction, electricity stealing out
of our brains like a con man stealing out of a suckers neighborhood, it will occur to many of us that most everything we ever did, we
did for money.  And in that instant, right before the stars blink off, we will, according to what else we many have learned in life, burn
with an unendurable regret–or have us a good silent laugh at our own expense.”
“Religion was an attempt to pin down the Divine.  The Divine was eternally in flux, forever moving, shifting shape.  That was its nature.
It was absolute, true enough; absolutely mobile.  Absolutely transcendent, flexible,–absolutely impersonal.  It had god and goddess
aspects, but it was ultimately no more male or female than it was star or screwdriver.  It was the sum of all those things, but the sum
could never be chalked on a slate.  The Divine was beyond description, beyond knowing, beyond comprehension.
But, of course, the puny of soul, the dull of wit, attempted to hang a face on the Divine.  They went so far as to attribute petty human
emotions(anger, jealousy, etc.) to it, not stopping to realize that if God were a being, even a supreme being, our pathetic prayers would
have bored him to death a long time ago.  The Divine was expansive, but religion was reductive.  Religion attempted to reduce the
Divine to a knowable quantity with which mortals might efficiently deal, to pigeonhole it once and for all so that we never had to
reevaluate it.  With hammers of can’t and spikes of dogma, we crucified and crucified again, trying to nail our stationary altars to the
migratory light of the world.  Thus, since religion bore false witness to the Divine, religion was blasphemy.  And once it entered into
its unholy alliance with politics, it became the most dangerous and repressive force the world has ever known.”
“The illusion of the 7th veil was the illusion that you could get somebody else to do it for you.  To think for you.  To hang on your cross.
The priest, the rabbi, the imam, the swami, the philosophical novelist were traffic cops at best.  They might direct you through a busy
intersection, but they wouldn`t follow you home and park your car.  Was there a more difficult lesson for a human being to learn,  a paradox
harder to accept?  Even though the great emotions, the great truths, were universal; even though the mind of humanity was ultimately
one mind, still each and every single individual had to establish his or her own special, personal, particular, unique, direct, one-on-one,
hands-on relationship with reality, with the universe, with the Divine.  It might be complicated, it might be a pain in the ass, it might be,
most of all, lonely but it was the bottom line.  It was as different for everybody as it was the same, so everybody had to take control of
their own life, define their own death, and construct their own salvation.  And when you finished, you didn`t call the Messiah.  He`d call you.”
Tom Robbins
 
___________________________++++++++++++++++++++
THE DEAD ARE LAUGHING AT US.
EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO YOU.
___________________________
There`s just gotta be a reason for all this.  I sure hope so anyway….
___________________________
If we all go out in a blinding flash of light
tomorrow
it wouldn`t matter
The cosmos would endure
If I get hit by a bus
things will keep rolling along
If my head just fell off
and rolled into the gutter
nothing would really change
If anthrax becomes as
common as penicillin
people`s hearts still wouldn`t change
If the sun set forever and
we lived in eternal darkness
valuable lessons would
still lie hidden and ignored
If the oceans rise
and the land is swallowed up
only our stubborn ignorance
would survive
If a comet hit the earth
and exploded like a bomb
the survivors
would still be idiots
If the earth went out of orbit
and plunged into the sun
it would only be like
the blink of an eye, the universe
clearing its throat
of an obstruction that
kept too many doors closed
In the next realm of the spirit
if there is one
allow me access
to secrets and mysteries
of the infinite Divine
Do not force me to wallow
in this quicksand
forever
trying to pull us all under
trying to extinguish
the few flames that still burn
in defiance of the
winds of destruction
Let me be one flickering candle
in the eye of the endless storm
_______________________________
A crescent moon like a silver scimitar
cuts through an Easter egg pink sky at dusk
INFIDELS!!
_______________________________
THE MIDNIGHT BUS RIDE TO THE END OF THE LINE
_______________________________
“Can you give me sanctuary?
I can`t take it anymore…
The Man is at the door….
Can you give me soft asylum?
I need a place to hide….”
Jim Morrison
_______________________________
“Tonight the city is full of whores,
and all the toilets are overflowing.”
“Pay No Mind”
Beck
_______________________________
The original title of “War and Peace” by Tolstoy was actually….
“War :  What is it Good For?”
_______________________________
Despite all the madness, I think everyone
has a home waiting for them somewhere…
_______________________________
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live…”
_______________________________
Blinding winter morning
sunlight
like daggers
in my tired eyes
empty streets
empty head
I trudge along
in my clothes
from the previous night
filled with debaucheries
and excess ( walk of shame fame?)
pointless
without direction or meaning
but
I keep on anyway
keeping pace
with drums
that only I can hear–
following dreams
that only I seek
climbing mountains
that appear
just for me….
________________________________
EMPTY HEADS AND EMPTY HEARTS
HOLLOW CITY
________________________________
There is a place
beyond the stars
that few of us can speak of
and even fewer understand…
there is a place
in our hearts
that most of us
are afraid to go…
there is a land
beyond the nevermore
where all dreams
are realized…
there is a place beyond
where all we imagine
and all our questions
are answered and all hearts are filled…
________________________________
“Where`s that confounded bridge?”
Led Zeppelin
________________________________
“That there
that`s not me…
I go
where I please
I`m not here
This isn`t happening….”
Radiohead
________________________________
When I meet a nice bus driver on the Metro in LA,
an actual friendly person,
my jaw drops in awe and my face almost slides off my skull…
________________________________
When I walk through a city as vast as Los Angeles, a city where very few people bother to set foot on the ground at all
except in a parking lot, I see and observe MANY things that most people will never notice.  I see a place of unbelievable
polyethnic diversity, something harder to grasp when driving by at high speed.  Worlds within worlds, strange juxtapositions.
It`s like passing through a microcosm of the whole world.  Also, the ubiquitous specter of chaos still rules.  Everywhere
I look, it is there; Beverly Hills to Skid Row, Santa Monica to Long Beach.  And most of all, LA is a city of polar contrasts,
a place where paradox is the norm.  I see a wedding chapel next door to a divorce clinic, I see a man in a Hugo Boss
suit standing over a homeless man lying ragged on the street.  I see a mosque down the street from a Jewish temple
and a Catholic church in the middle of the same block.  One minute I`m amongst suits and high finance, the next I`m
walking by trash piles and live-in cardboard refrigerator boxes.  There is no middle ground, no sense, no sanity–just
a constant and crooked path where the art of being crazy has been brought to amazing new and lofty heights of glory,
where the rich and poor can mingle without seeing each other; where the good and the bad can hang out with the ugly,
all one and the same if you think about it.  Welcome to the land of dreams and nightmares, the land of sunny days
and sad, lonely nights.  Welcome to the jungle, the monkey house, the funhouse, the asylum….
Welcome to the funny pages, the Mad Hatter`s tea party…whatever….just enjoy yourself, because what else is there?
________________________________
“THE FLIGHT OF THE HAWK
CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED
WITH THE WINGS OF THE SPARROW”
________________________________
“Every great nation or civilization has eventually
fallen by corruption from within or by being forever
altered by foreign migration, or both.”
________________________________
Riding the subway in Los Angeles is a completely different experience than the subways of NYC.  The New York
subways are dirty and old and dangerous.  LA subways are newer, cleaner (for now) and still, of course, dangerous.
This is what happens when you have people riding in big tubes underground.  NYC subways are packed all the time
and LA, only now and then.  There are no visible rats in LA subway stations but they`re everywhere in NY.  Most of
the time, the subways here are nearly empty and remind one of some futuristic Babylon, abandoned and haunting.
Try to find that in Grand Central Station back east!  I`m having a hard time writing this right now because this strange
German girl, Angela, is standing here, constantly talking, offering me sexual favors for money.  She is strange with
crazy eyes and she is trying to read what I am writing.  I am at the 7th Street Metro station.  Now I am leaving so I can
ditch this needy cling-on woman.
________________________________
“This is Major Tom to ground control…
I`m stepping through the door
and I`m floating in the most peculiar way…
and the stars look very different today….”
David Bowie
________________________________
“If greed is your god, then you possess very little of true value.”
________________________________
“My feeling about this weirdly inflated village in which I had come to make my home (haunted by boyhood memories spent
in beautiful mountain parks, the timberline country of northwestern Colorado) suddenly changed after I had lived in Los Angeles
for seven long years of exile.  I have never been able to discover any apparent reason for this swift and startling conversion,
but I do associate it with a particular occasion.  I had spent an extremely active evening in Hollywood and had been deposited
toward morning, by some kind soul, in a room at the Biltmore Hotel.  Emerging into painfully bright sunlight that morning, I
started the rocky pilgrimage through Pershing Square to my office in a state of miserable decrepitude.  In front of the hotel
newsboys were shouting the headlines of the hour; an awful trunk murder had been committed; the district attorney had been
indicted for bribery; Aimee Semple McPherson had once again stood the town on its ear by some spectacular caper; A USC
football star had been caught robbing a bank; a love mart had been discovered in the Los Feliz Hills; a motion-picture producer
had just wired the Egyptian government a fancy offer for permission to illuminate the pyramids to advertise some forthcoming
production; and, in the intervals between these revelations, there was news about another prophet, fresh from the desert, who
had predicted the doom of the city, a prediction for which I was morbidly grateful.  In the center of the park, a little self-conscious
of my evening clothes, I stopped to watch a typical Pershing Square divertissement; an aged and frowsy blonde, skirts held
high above her knees, cheered by a crowd of grimacing and leering old goats, was singing a gospel hymn as she danced
gaily around the fountain.  Then it suddenly occurred to me that in all the world, there neither was nor would ever be another place
like this City of the Angels.  Here, the people of the world were erupting, into America, like lava from a volcano; here, indeed,
was the place for me–a ringside seat at the circus.”
Carey McWilliams
1946
“Southern California Country”
(carved in stone in Pershing Square)
_________________________________
THE CITY THE ANGELS ABANDONED
_________________________________
Chinatown
That putrid smell coming from Peking Chicken
sure as hell does not make me crave poultry.
_________________________________
Walked into Phillipe`s French Dip at dusk and walked right up to the counter
and ordered, no line at all!  This is unprecedented, first time in my 32 years.
Stop the presses!
_________________________________
“I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA”
_________________________________

 

THB3

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