By Tom H. Brooks 3
I AM THESE WORDS…………………….……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Nobody will ever see NYC as I see it…
I`ve already written this one in my books. I don`t care; I`m gonna write it again. And you`re gonna read it again….
“Coming and Going
stained stone, bruised bone,
I crossed through arches
and over bridges,
I was alive, in search of life.
In a lunar room
the light lost its blood, fish men
exchanged cold reflections.
I was alive and saw many ghosts
all made of flesh and bone,
all of them greedy.
Tower of topaz and blood
black tresses and amber breasts,
the subterranean lady.
Tiger, heifer, octopus, ivy in flames:
she burned my bones, sucked my blood.
Bed an extinct planet,
night and body a mirror trick,
lady a mountain of salt.
The sun of high plains
eats my remains:
I was alive
and went in search of death.”
Octavio Paz (GENIUS)
The course of time shall turn everything to dust…
Let the jackals come for me, I will already be gone…
You read this again too….DO IT……
A Million Shades of Gray
Let me tell you a story
of a million shades of gray,
of blue skies and thunderstorms
madness and dreams
a thousand faces and places
in a single day
and a thousand and one nights
of delirium and desire,
of hot breath
and beating hearts,
and soft velvet flesh
bathed in sweat
like arcane symbols
in some mysterious ancient rite…
Let me tell you a story
of tomorrow and yesterday
and this moment right now.
The wind blows golden leaves
diamonds glitter on East River,
bathed in light…
“The universal mirror that
repeating this world
that transforms what it copies,
man is not what he is, cells or god,
but that which is always further off.
Our passions are not the unions
of blind matter.
To paint is to search for the
to sketch the echo,
to paint the link…”
“There is a place where time stands still. Raindrops hang motionless in air. Pendulums of clocks float mid-swing…
As a traveler approaches this place from any direction, he moves more and more slowly…”
“Existential angst apparently won over work experience and resumes here…”
a quote from the NYC Daily News regarding our restaurant, Freeman`s
Sleeping on the A Train in an empty car, all the way to 207th Street….
A quiet and meditative moment
on the Harlem River
the Bronx across the way
everything sparkling in the
crisp winter sunlight
a jet streaks
blue dome of sky
The stillness of noon
A leaf falls
from a tree
Wind hisses through dry branches
Stones sit mute and cold
wheel erratically above
A red balloon floats by
I am alone
and alive in this picture…
I made fun of them before; now I am the ULTIMATE cell phone artist…
MY photos make the others look like a child`s Crayola drawing…
Inwood Hill Park, the area I`ve named Deadman`s Triangle–aggressive black squirrels that look like half-breed rats;
I sense death…forgotten here, perhaps an old buried graveyard. All of it, totally empty on a 55 degree winter day.
“Out of the blue and into the black…”
THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR SILENCE
Kana Harata….a hot Japanese chick that I met at Freeman`s….
Sunday morning on the sunny side of the Bowery…
Thousands of saffron orange banners line the walkways of Central Park in a giant land artwork called, “Gateways”,
by Christo and Jean-Claude. They span all over the place for 800 acres….quite striking, really….
a grain of salt
a diamond of fire
a river of light
a pile of ashes
a sunbeam on a white wall
a lotus blossom
a mirror image
frozen in time
unique in its character
ripe with wonder
begging to be deciphered
windows unto new worlds
in their dark
a beam of light
in the void
a wavering candle flame
an eternity of echoes
the blue flame
in the endless night
a white bird
over dark oceans
an endless flow
without and within
and nothing more…
“Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.”
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
Conversation excerpt; with JB on 2/15/05 at Freeman`s
Me “That girl on table 11 is hot.”
JB “That`s a trannie, man!”
Me “No way! Are you sure?”
JB “Yeah, I`m sure. Look at his arms, look at his wrists.”
Me “No, that`s definitely a woman…it`s gotta be….too sexy to be a guy.”
JB “Whatever. It`s a man. He`s got an Adam`s Apple, dumbass…”
Me “Well, then….he`s hot….”
Later, I met one that actually WAS a woman ( I checked closely for an Adam`s Apple ), Aisha from Ivory Coast….gorgeous…
This world has turned into a parody of itself
“Nothing in my dreams
but some ugly memories,
Nothing left alive
but a pair of glassy eyes…”
“I take my time, gazing out the window as I eat. The station`s packed with people streaming in and out, all of them dressed in their favorite
clothes, bags or briefcases in hand, each one dashing off to take care of some pressing business. I stare at this ceaseless, rushing crowd
and imagine a time a hundred years from now. In a hundred years everybody here–me included–will have disappeared from the face of the
earth and turned into ashes or dust. A weird thought, but everything in front of me starts to seem unreal, like a gust of wind could blow it all away.”
“Kafka on the Shore”
“Everything is a metaphor.”
Any time could be the last time…
“mmmm….I`m just a warm, toasty cinnamon bun and I NEVER wanna leave this bed…..oh oh, gotta take a leak….”
“Listen, what you`re experiencing now is the motif of many Greek tragedies. Man doesn`t choose fate. Fate chooses man. And the sense
of tragedy–according to Aristotle–comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist`s weak points BUT FROM HIS GOOD QUALITIES.
People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their VIRTUES.”
E X P A N D
“Symbolism and meaning are two separate things. I think one finds the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic, like
captured words in a dream; it`s like delicately catching hold of a butterfly`s wings as it flutters around. Artists are those who can evade
“Necessity is an independent concept. It has a different structure from logic, morals, or meaning. Its function lies entirely in the role it plays.
What doesn`t play a role shouldn`t exist. What necessity requires DOES need to exist.”
“If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it`s got to be fired.”
“If this is gonna be THAT kind of party, I`M GONNA STICK MY DICK IN THE MASHED POTATOES…”
From a Beastie Boys song…
“Hey baby, let me make you an omelette…”
Teriyaki Chicken at Zen Restaurant on St. Mark`s Place on a cold gloomy Saturday. It is noon and the place is nearly empty. I drink some
hot sake and read Haruki….
“THE TIME HAS COME FOR US TO STOP TUNING SEPARATE INSTRUMENTS
AND, TOGETHER, CREATE A SYMPHONY…”
Kafka means Crow in Czech…..
“Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.”
“Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.”
“You sit at the edge of the world
I am in a crater that`s no more,
Words without letters
standing in the shadow of the door.
The moon shines down on a sleeping lizard
little fish rain down from the sky.
Outside the window there are soldiers,
steeling themselves to die.
Kafka sits in a chair by the shore,
thinking of the pendulum that moves
the world, it seems.
When your heart is closed,
the shadow of the unmoving Sphinx,
becomes a knife that pierces your dreams.
The drowning girl`s fingers
search for the entrance stone and more,
lifting the hem of her azure dress,
at Kafka on the Shore…”
“I head off into the heart of the forest, a hollow man, a void that devours all that`s substantial. There is nothing left to fear. Not a thing.
AND I HEAD OFF INTO THE HEART OF THE FOREST.”
paintings with words
a thousand birds flying
a canvas of thought
through a veil of mystery
A crow squawks
A fire alights
in the still air…
Listen to the wind
Messages come in many forms
Follow the signs to the heart of the matter
I find out that my old friend from San Diego, Eric Oenning ( refer to MEXICO JOURNAL ) , has passed away.
I am very, very sad to hear this. He lived FULL, and crazy, and well.
Rest in Peace, brother…..Go to a better place…..
Sleep the sleep of the dead….
“I`d rather be a free man in my grave
than living as a puppet or a slave…
the harder they come, the harder they fall….”
Jimmy Cliff (Our Mexico theme music….)
“Everyone I know, goes away in the end….”
On top of everything else, I find out that the great author, Hunter S. Thompson, committed suicide today by blowing his head off with a shotgun….
Rest in Piece, Raoul Duke…….
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
“A MAN ON THE MOVE AND JUST SICK ENOUGH TO BE TOTALLY CONFIDENT…”
“When that black Sunday comes for me, I`ll open the door, look him right in the eye and say, `the check`s in the mail.` “
“To see the world in a grain of sand and Heaven in a wild flower,
to hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
“I want you to remember me.
If YOU remember me, then I don`t care
if everyone else forgets.”
“The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder”
POP THE CLUTCH
I notice that I have stopped listening to my music as I walk around NYC. I always used to listen to it in LA because the music
filled up all that open space, the void between everything and everyone. In NYC, the city makes more than enough music of
its own, enough to keep one alert and aware of the sights and sounds all around him. There is still a void between people. We
are all alone, walking amongst ghosts. But here, there is a certain vital life force combined in a bewitching way with death. It
stimulates the soul and gives birth to Art…
Within just a few short weeks, Stone Age Tom, has moved into the 21st Century with a vengeance….e-mail, cell phones, texting,
cell phone photos….all that crap….so much, so sudden, so sad, really…..
People who make noise complaints in the City can go to hell and die. You want quiet, move to the Catskills, scumbag. Do you
expect quiet? REALLY?!!? Do you know where the fuck you are, asshole?!!? This is NEW YORK FUCKING CITY!! Your heavy
footsteps make more noise on my ceiling than sirens and horns outside. What`s up?! Now get your fat ass outta here before
I cut some bacon off your back!….
Downtown NYC/ City Hall District / carved in stone on the edifice….
“THE TRUE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IS THE FIRMEST PILLAR OF GOOD GOVERNMENT.”
How`s THAT for today`s AMERIKA?
Beekman and Park Row
Sunday afternoon church bells down by South Street Seaport, 2pm, haven`t heard them in a LONG time….
Tribeca, Staple Street….spectacular……
“Let no one think I thought this story out. Auguste (the clown) is unique in that he came from the blue. But what is this blue which surrounds
and envelops us if not reality itself? We invent nothing, truly. We borrow and recreate. We uncover and discover. All has been given, as the
mystics say. We have only to open our eyes and hearts and become one with that which IS.”
Introduction to The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder (which leads to the moon…)
Walking through a lightly falling snow on the LES singing Sublime, “Badfish”….totally oblivious to the cold, loving every minute of the snow…..
WHO SAW THIS COMING?
“The greatest men in the world have passed away unknown. The Buddhas and the Christs that we know are but second rate heroes in comparison
with the greatest men of whom the world knows nothing. Hundreds of these unknown heroes have lived in every country working silently. Silently
they live and silently they pass away: and in time their thoughts find expression in Buddhas or Christs; and it is these latter that become know to us.
The highest men do not seek to get any name or fame from their knowledge. They leave their ideas to the world; they put forth no claims for themselves
and establish no schools or systems in their name. Their whole nature shrinks from such a thing. They are the pure ones, who can never make any stir
but only melt down in love…
The highest men are calm, silent, and unknown. They are the men who really know the power of thought; they are sure that even if they go into a dark
cave and close the door and simply think 5 true thoughts and then pass away, these 5 thoughts of theirs will live throughout eternity. Indeed, such thoughts
of theirs will penetrate through the mountains, cross the oceans, and travel through the world. They will enter deep into human hearts and brains and
raise up men and women who will give them practical expression in the workings of human life. The Buddhas and Christs will go place to place, preaching
these truths…but these enlightened ones are too near the Lord to be active and to fight, to be working and struggling, preaching, doing good as they say,
here on earth, to humanity…”
Did I mention that I have moved out of Grace`s house on the LES and moved over to Grand Street and Crosby in SOHO?
I am living in a HUGE loft with Marianne, JB`s girlfriend, and JB stays a lot too. It is an excellent place. I have never lived
anywhere like this in my life. Totally amazing.
A GIANT room, space of my own. I have started filling my wall with canvases that I paint. It is like an art gallery in there…
The creative process is such a fascinating thing…the way it comes about…the visitation of the muse….
Thursday night, maybe 2/24, I took a big mushroom cap, didn`t feel much though, because I was drinking…
2 nights later….Saturday 2/26, I wake up from a delirious sleep–I think I am dreaming, maybe I am–I feel a dark
presence bouncing around my bed, the cat Jade, perhaps–no, my door is closed and locked. I reach for the lights,
no electricity, I`m enveloped in darkness. I light a candle. I look to the top of my bookshelf; impossibly, the dog,
Monkey, is up there…..(??WTF??). I go to the door of my room and it is stuck closed. With the illogical nature
of dreams, I shrug all this strangeness off and turn on Radiohead`sAmnesiac and lie down and go back into a
hallucinatory, inner-eyelid-kaleidoscopic, dreamworld where everything is surreal and bizarre. I am lost on the Astral Plane.
I awaken in the morning with a sense of dutiful obedience to my dreams. I am irresistibly drawn to going on an
exploratory mission….to find new places, new things, the unexpected….TO CREATE. And that I do, I draw sketches,
I take amazing photos with my camera AND cell phone and write tiny, minimalist masterpieces. This is my creative process this week…
(And where did the dog go? And why does my door open easily now? The electricity works? I guess that WAS a dream…)
Tim threw a snowball at least 70mph at my head…with my ninja-fast reactions I turned my head to the right. It skimmed my left cheek
and flew directly through the open front door of Freeman`s and hit a customer in the leg.
FUNNIEST SHIT I`VE SEEN IN A LONG WHILE….
Tim is up in his little apartment above Freeman`s Alley shooting off bottle rockets again, scaring the life out of everyone below…..
(except me, I fucking love it!)
“He has to be a victim of his passions before he can rise above them.”
“till 6 in the mornin`….”
“from the black of the night
till the red morning light…”
“What we dream, we become. We`ll get the knack of it soon. We`ll learn how to annihilate the whole planet in the wink of an eye–just wait and see.”
“The Air-Conditioned Nightmare”
“The world awake. Humanity on the march. Nothing can stop it–A conscious humanity, neither exploitable nor pitiable. Marching! Going! They march.
Millions of feet endlessly tramping, treading, pounding, striding, RHYTHMS change. Quick SLOW staccato, dragging, treading, pounding, striding.
GO>>>>>. The final crescendo giving the impression that confidently, pitilessly, the going will never stop…projecting itself into space…voices in the
sky, as though magic, invisible hands were turning on and off the knobs of fantastic radios, filling all space, criss-crossing, overlapping, penetrating
each other, colliding, crashing. Phrases, slogans, utterances, chants, proclamations: China, Russia, Spain, the fascist states and the opposing democracies,
ALL breaking their paralyzing crusts…”
Composer—Edgar Varese (born Paris, died NYC in 1965) Also known as the “Father of Electronic Music”
describing the theme of an OPUS
I suggest you listen to Arcana and this will mean more to you…
“Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of…a bad future too…”
“The Air-Conditioned Nightmare”
GET NOTHING FREE
“It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child…”
“Meet me at the bank of the beautiful river…”
“Check out the real situation
there ain`t no use,
no one can stop them now…
seems like total destruction
is the only solution…”
“Coming in from the cold…”
Yes, there are still hustlers on Broadway that set up and play 3-card Monte…
and YES, there are still suckers losing money on it….
“If the moon was made of green cheese, would ya take a bite?
I would….it`d be delicious….”
Will Ferrell doing his hysterical imitation of Harry Caray
ONE MAN RIOT
“The Mothership Connection”
OOMPA LOOMPA HIBBITY HOO….
“She was headed for LA. No money, no car. All the nuts and crackpots seem headed for LA. And they all travel light, like the birds of the air.”
“It was after much hesitation that I decided to write this book. For I believe that no man can faithfully, accurately and fully describe a single
instant of his own life in all its intricate meanings and its infinite connections with the universal life. How, then, is one, no matter what his
talents, to put between the two covers of a book the life of another man, be he an idiot or genius?! In that respect everything that men relate
of men under the name of `history` is, in my judgement, but so much froth breaking over the surface of the sea which is human life; the depths
remain deep, and the horizons too distant for any pen to plumb, or any brush to paint. Until this day we have not been able to write the `history`
of any man or anything at all. Had we written the history of but a single man IN FULL, we should be able to read in it, the history of all men;
and had we recorded FAITHFULLY the story of but one thing, we should discover in it the story of all things…”
“…during this period–too much to do, too much to see, taste and so forth–the past and the future converged with such clarity and precision that not
only friends and books but creatures, objects, dreams, historical events, monuments, streets, names of places, walks, encounters, reveries, half-thoughts,
all came sharply into focus, broke into angles, chasms, waves, shadows, revealing to me in one harmonious, understandable pattern their essence and
Where my friends were concerned, I had only to think for a moment in order to evoke a company or a regiment. Without effort on my part they ranged
themselves in order of magnitude, influence, duration, proximity, spiritual weight and density, and so on. As they took their stations I myself seemed to
be moving through the ether with the sweep and rhythm of an absent-minded angel, yet falling in with each in turn at exactly the right zodiacal point and at
precisely the destined moment, good or bad, to tune in. What a medley of apparitions they presented! Some were shrouded in fog, some sharp as sentinels,
some rigid as phantom icebergs, some wilted like autumn flowers, some racing toward death, some rolling along like drunks on rubber wheels, some pushing
laboriously through endless mazes, some skating over the heads of their comrades as if muffled in luminol, some lifting crushing weights, some glued to
the books in which they burrowed, some trying to fly though anchored with ball and chain, some were suspended like blazing planets, others like cold and
distant stars–all of them, vivid, named, classified, identified according to need, depth, insight, flavor, aura, fragrance, and pulse beat.”
“One could already sense the mummy which the flesh would become. One could see the bird of ill omen perched on his left shoulder. One could feel the
moonlight altering his blood, sensitizing his retina, dyeing his skin with the pallor of the prisoner, the drug addict, the dweller on forbidden planets.
Looking deep into his sorrowful eyes, somber, simian eyes, I could see the skull within skull, an endless, cavernous Golgotha illumined by the dry, cold,
murderous light of a universe beyond the imaginative bounds of even the hardiest scientific dreamer.”
“Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”
THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUSE
The most amazing live jazz album ever….
Coltrane at the Village Vanguard with Eric Dolphy in 1962….
Chasin Another Trane
Softly as a Morning Sunrise
White and gray pigeons fluttering in a blur outside my window in the alley,
with a backdrop of sunlight on red and faded bricks…
The dead will find me–
and I will see them again too….
“YOU LEAD A USEFUL LIFE NO MATTER WHAT RICHES COME TO YOU”
a Fortune cookie
“I`m going out of this world the same way I came in…
naked, covered in blood, and screaming….”
Louis at Freeman`s
The dance of the snowflakes against the ancient red bricks…the air vent below actually makes them go back up,
flying by my window in lazy circular patterns…
In the 1880s, it was said in NYC that you could stand on the corner of Broadway and Houston and fire a shotgun
in any direction and not hit an honest man.
I WONDER IF ANYTHING HAS CHANGED….
One more time for Timbo…..
“I DON`T HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM.
I HAVE A STOPPING PROBLEM.”
THE BLUE AT THE HEART OF THE FLAME
this would make a good book title; perhaps one day, I`ll use it…
Eating sushi at Zen and listening to 50 cent on the speaker system (“….shake that ass, girl!”). It seems somewhat
incongruous in this setting but somehow I still find it highly amusing….
The Nomadic Museum, Pier 54 on the Hudson River;
made entirely of wood and old shipping containers and beautiful photos of elephants, and birds and people….
like nothing I`ve ever seen.
It is called “Ashes and Snow” and the film, art and photos are by Gregory Colbert. It is spiritual and sublime….
“These images are a ladder to my dreams,
these images are my letter to you…”
NYC “a riot of texts, a forest of signs…”
“We took enough speed to keep Hitler awake in the bunker for 28 days and enough acid to make him think he was in the Austrian Alps.”
“I felt like a two-ton manta ray jumping all the way across the Bay of Bengal.”
Hunter S. Thompson
Friday, March 11th, 2005
“complete disorganization of the senses…a flight into the unknown…”
Thanks Arthur Rimbaud….
the writing is on the wall
I SEE the symbols
voices call to me
and from higher places
my concerns are somewhere
in another existence
I will disappear
and you will wonder
but I will live on
in collective memory….
” `But Morpheus, I can`t help thinking, what if you`re wrong?`
`Then tomorrow they`ll all be dead, but how is that different from any other day?` “
“The Matrix 2”
“All this talk of disappearance; it`s so strange…”
I hope you never thought I`d want to go out any other way…
East 7th Street sign….
“BURP CASTLE/ Temple of Beer Worship
operated by Brewist Monks since 1022 A.D.”
what a mind-blowing walk-in artwork!
Little 12th St. and Gansevoort….great visuals….
I will NEVER understand why anyone in their right mind would want to go to a stinky gym
on a beautiful, sunny day and walk on a goddamned treadmill! Just take a walk outside, assholes!
Collect Pond Park–formerly known as Paradise Square, the heart of the infamous Five Points.
History is all but totally erased here, especially the architecture. A group of homeless people are
trying to catch pigeons, probably to eat (I don`t really want to know for sure…). Even now, the
squalid poverty still lingers….
“Tough times don`t last, tough people do…”
A sign at the White Horse Tavern
Winnie`s in Chinatown
The Ear Inn in Westside SOHO….
4 guys spread out at perfect 3 chair intervals; there is only one left for me at the end of the 3 chair spacing policy…..PERFECT, I`ll take it….
They say every photo has already been taken…..WRONG!! They ain`t seen SHIT yet. Tribeca is bad-ass…..
“I don`t know karate,
but I know CRAZY!!”
“The Big Payback”
“If you don`t know where you`re going,
any road will take you there.”
ONE MORE FROM JAMES BROWN AND WE`LL WRAP THIS UP, PEOPLE……..
“ONE MORE TIME!
CAN WE HIT IT