By Tom H. Brooks 3
“THE CITY CHANGES FASTER THAN THE HUMAN HEART…………………….………………………”
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
“Thoughts in time and out of season…”
“No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.”
I`ve dug so many graves for myself by now,
I`d have to die a thousand deaths to fill them all…
Tequila: it`ll cure what ails ya…..
3/15 and 3/16, 2005
Cursed, dark days; going down in MY HISTORY as the most irritating days I`ve ever had…
Just plain STUPID. Today (3/16) has degenerated into a pathetic waste of time and humanity
and I`m about to blow up. And it`s only 11:08am. Could it get any worse? I fucking hope not!
I`m not even gonna bother to tell you why, because it would just sound like whining and what good does that do?
“Ya`ll gonna make me lose my mind! UP IN HERE! UP IN HERE!”
NYC street graffiti;
“Up so late dancing
felt like things haven`t
changed at all…”
ADIII at Howard and Crosby
“Rebel is American;
Be a good one”
ADIII at Mercer and Canal
“New York is a city that will be replaced by another city.”
“New York binds pleasure and harm inextricably together in the night.
Night is forgotten and endlessly repeated; it is glorious and sits next door to death.”
“Sun turning round in graceful motion
we`re setting off with soft explosion
bound for a star fiery ocean
It`s so very lonely
you`re 2000 light years from home…”
The Rolling Stones
I`m always yakking about being on the `first plane to Honduras…` Well, on 6th Avenue and Minetta Lane, there
is a big HONDURAS emblem hanging above the street. I just started laughing….
Early morning, Friday 3/18/05–the morning after St. Patricks Day–
The Amateur Night festivities are now over and no doubt, all the drunken Micks and holiday-only
drinkers are hung-the-hell-over and vomiting. Don`t get me wrong, I had a little headache myself,
but I, of all people, know all too well that the best cure for a hangover is to GET YOUR ASS OUT
OF BED and DO something. I chose the skateboard. I am now alone in a quiet, sunlit glade at
the Cloisters on North Manhattan Island, in the Washington Heights/Fort Tryon vicinity. I am staring
peacefully out at the slow, blue Hudson and the New Jersey Palisades across the way. The George
Washington Bridge looms. The day is mine.
“I went to cover the war and the war covered me.”
“But I was afraid anyway, more afraid, closed in, better to see, I didn`t go through all of that not to see.”
TOTALLY unfamiliar turf….names like Ellwood, Bogardus Place, and Nagle Street….
Springtime is upon us….I can tell by the birds….
“What`s the difference between Mexico and California?
There`s more Mexicans in California.”
Tom Brooks……Man of Leisure…….
This is how my Saturday begins; a Crown and 7, a joint…followed by jazz music and two hours of oil painting. I take a brisk
walk to gather food and drink before tonight`s predicted snow dusting. I might get lazy tonight. I often do when it snows. I am
like a bear in winter hibernation. I read the paper on a sunny bench on the Hudson and have a friendly conversation with 2
babes, from Paraguay and Columbia…..I`M GETTING EMOTIONAL…….
“What is the place where all the thinking and interesting ideas happen? F. Scott Fitzgerald told me it was Princeton, Herman
Melville told me it was a whaling vessel, Lester Bangs told me it was a record, Graham Greene told me it was prayer–
I want a bunch of people taking drugs and making art and fucking and posting to the internet, that`s what I want! When any
group of people pursue artistic freedom for its own sake without the thought of reward or backslapping is when people and a
place in time become vital, as pat and cheesed out as the phrase, `true artistic freedom` is. I like it `cause it seems true and
I`m so fake.”
Who wrote this? I forgot to write it down…
“A knife, a fork,
a bottle and a cork,
that`s the way
we spell New York.”
Cokane in My Brain
NYC Cafe Culture
“If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you.”
“We uncover and discover. All has been given, as the mystics say. We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one
with that which IS.
The clown appeals to me deeply, though I did not always know it, precisely because he is separated from the world by laughter.
His laughter is silent, what we call a mirthless laughter. The clown teaches us to laugh at ourselves. And this laughter of ours
is born of tears.
Joy is like a river: it flows ceaselessly. It seems to me that this is the message which the clown is trying to convey to us, that
we should participate through ceaseless flow and movement, that we should not stop to analyze, compare or possess, but to flow
on and on through, endlessly, like music. This is the gift of surrender, and the clown makes it symbolically. It is for us to make
The old everyday world, the world with which we imagine ourselves to be only too familiar, it is a world of magic–magic inexhaustible.
Like the clown, we go through the motions, forever simulating, forever postponing the grand event, we die struggling to get born.
We never were, never are. We are always in the process of becoming, always separate and detached. Forever outside…”
Epilogue to “The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder”
Tarot reading, 3/19/05 11:58pm
I am somewhere between
Futility and Fortune but my Chariot and Bull will carry me where I need to go despite any opposition…
WELL, THAT COULD MEAN ANYTHING!
” `What`s his offense?`
`GROPING FOR TROUT IN A PECULIAR RIVER.` “
“Measure for Measure”
The U.S. Postal service sucks so bad that I just went to see if I could FedEx something to a P.O Box….
“Every beginning carries the end within itself.”
“Every manifestation on earth is a parable, and every parable is an open gate through which the soul, if it is willing, may enter into the
innermost parts of the world where you and I, day and night, are one. Everyone passes through the gate to the path at different periods
of his life. Few actually pass through the gate and relinquish the mere illusion for the anticipated reality of what lies beyond…”
Diaphanous veils of
An explosion of light…
“You live on the socio-economic plane, while I am living on the astronomic plane,
which you can reach only if you have a pair of wings.”
“Aller Retour, New York”
“Either you take in believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird.”
“…his years as a wanderer, during which he scattered his manuscripts like seed…”
Minetta Tavern on MacDougal just south of West 3rd Street—good jazz, atmosphere, the whole bit; a new favorite….
“The way men live is a lie.”
…once again we have a revolt of the angels…
” `I have put language to sleep,` said Joyce. Aye, and now conscience too is being put to sleep.”
“I revolve in a Sargasso Sea of curiosity and delight. Everything I do looks good to me. It is always the best I know how, and if that
is far from perfection, it is not so terribly far from Paradise. I make my own heavens and my own hells, and I live in them and extract
all the juices. When I am painting, the world is mine.”
“It was the end for me. And yet not an end. In all the years which have since elapsed, she remains the woman I loved and lost, the
unattainable one. In her beautiful and mysterious eyes, so cold and inviting, so mirror-like, I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous
man, the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless and frustrated artist, the man in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always
seeking the unattainable. Behind the iron curtain between us, her image remains fresh and vivid as of yore, and nothing, it seems, can
tarnish it or cause it to fade away.”
I have to admit, sometimes it is great to sit in my room in SOHO, readingmy manuscripts, looking at photos I`ve taken and paintings I`ve
created, and in general, basking comfortably in the light of my own genius.
(If this sounds somewhat arrogant and smug and self-satisfied, well, IT IS. Remember, these books were originally intended for my eyes
only, and if anybody ever actually read them, I would have been long dead. Reading this last sentence still makes me laugh….)
“Welcome to the Future.”
One of my original photographs of a blurred boardwalk in soft, late afternoon sunlight, with receding gas lamps and the Hudson River and Hoboken
beyond, I gave to Loren Crawford `to paint an oil` of. I don`t know if he`ll ever actually do it but I like the thought. I scatter my art like dust on the
wind, like raindrops falling on the earth, like clouds in the sky, like waves rolling across the ocean and tumbleweeds bouncing erratically across the
desert….one way or another, here or there, I WILL HAVE MY SAY…..
“One takes up the path in order to become the path.”
“Even though all our creations be brought to nothingness, even though the good perish with the wicked, even though the prophets
themselves be silenced, NOTHING will prevent the coming of Zion!”
3/28/05 Blue Monday
Chiharu Nagashima–She was a springtime wind, a summer breeze through cool grass, a breath of fresh air; truly a pleasure in every way,
a woman with heart, warm and lovable–1000 Springs, indeed…
And, I must admit, I am left with a cold, hollow pain in my heart in her absence, one which I have not felt in a long time. I stand in the rain
on Chrystie Street as her bus leaves and she waves and I smile and walk away again, alone, rain and all, just like a sad movie…
Now I find myself sitting at Canal and Ludlow inside Les Enfants Terribles listening to mournful Brazilian music and staring out the window at the rain…
Everybody dies in the end; I suppose it doesn`t really matter how, but one thing I DO KNOW….it will be a SURPRISE.
“The House of Certain Death”
“Men God Forgot”
Every time you think you have me all figured out…..THINK AGAIN…..
“Those who have had a chance for 4 years and could not produce peace should NOT be given another chance.”
Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick) October 9, 1968
(Well then, I guess NO president should be given more than 4 years.)
PEACE is IMPOSSIBLE in this world. People are just too angry and greedy and stupid.
“dick nixon before he dicks you”
“Now it is not good for the Christian`s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: `A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.` “
“I AM that I AM…”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“The first casualty of war is always the truth.”
” `Break yourself fool !!` “
” ` What`s this? Ben Franklin looks lonely….is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?` “
” `I`m Wayne Brady, bitch!` “
Dave Chappelle Show
“WE WILL MARCH ON A ROAD OF BONES”
This madness has GOT to stop…..
(but you know it won`t…)
“YOU BIG DUMMY!”
“always something missing”
“Saturday night in the Captain`s clothes…”
“Please enjoy, HELL YES…”
“make your dreams out of paper mache` “
“Walking through the other side,
the devil trying to take my mind,
illusions never fake their lies…”
“Go to sleep
we`re so tired now,
in the snakepit of souls…”
“The scarecrow`s only scaring himself…”
“It`s a strange invitation…”
“When I wake up
someone will sweep up
my lazy bones…”
“I have lived through almost 50 pro football seasons thus far–along with five or six major economic depressions
and constant wars all over the world–but I`ll be dipped in shit if I can remember a year in the life of this nation
that was played out against a bleaker and more ominous backdrop than the one we have today.”
Hunter S. Thompson (R.I.P)
“Hey Rube” from October 14, 2002
“Go it alone…”
GZA and RZA (Wu Tang) Dave Chappelle show “Racial Draft”
“Yes, they deserve to die, and I hope they burn in hell……BITCHES!”
Dave Chappelle doing his imitation of Samuel L. Jackson
Big Darkness Soon Come
“The final mystery is oneself…who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?”
“There are no jokes. The truth is the funniest joke of all.”
It`s all crazy…..EVERYTHING……I`m telling YA!!!
“I wanna be sedated…”
“Man in the Hills”
Cold rapid hands
draw back one by one
the bandages of dark
I open my eyes
I am living
at the center
of a wound still fresh.”
“A broom is drearily sweeping
up the broken pieces of yesterday`s life…”
The cold lips of the night
utter a word
column of grief
no word but stone
no stone but shadow
through my vaporous lips real water
word of truth
reason behind my errors
If it is death only through that do I live
If it is solitude I speak in serving it
It is memory and I remember nothing
I do not know what it says and I trust myself to it.
How to know oneself living
how to forget one`s knowing
Time that half-opens the eyelids
and sees us, letting itself be seen…”
is a world not spoken:
drop of energy,
between the dark breasts
of the goddess
I write against the current,
against the mesmerized marker
and the plausible lies of the sundial;
like the shadow, the marker
follows the sun,
a sun without body,
shade of a sun,
Not the movement of the circle,
master of mirages;
at the center of the movement,
the not knowing what I say
between the absence and the presence
of this world, flung
on its own abandonment,
fallen like a drop of ink.
The letter does not lie still
on the page:
memory arouses it,
monument of wind–
feed on the dark,
feed on forgetfulness:
and what you say, what you forget,
is what you say…”
“Softly as a Morning Sunrise”
“She`s got a gold tooth
You know she`s hardcore
she`ll show you good time
then she`ll show you the door…”
The Beastie Boys
the hour is larger
and I more alone
to the center of the whirlwind
If I stretch out my hand
the air is a spongy body
a promiscuous faceless being
Leaning over a balcony
it is not the height nor the
night and its moon
It is not the infinities
that can be seen
but memory and its vertigoes
This that I see
is the tricks and traps
Behind it there is nothing
It is the whirlwind of days
for an instant true life
It had the face of death
the same face
in the same sparkling sea
If this beginning
is a beginning
it does not begin with me
I begin with it
I perpetuate myself in it.
Leaning over the balcony
this distance so close
I don`t know what to call it
though I touch it with my thoughts
The night founders
the City like a mountain fallen
white lights blues yellows
sudden headlights walls of disgrace
and the terrible clusters
the clumps of people and animals on the ground
and the bramble of their tangled dreams…
You are naked like a violated corpse
I am here
I don`t know is where
Not the earth
holds me in its empty hands
Night and moon
movements of clouds
tremor of trees
stupor of space
infinity and violence in the air
furious dust that wakes
a pilgrim`s steps are vagabond music
on this fragile bridge
The hour lifts me
time hungers for incarnation
I wait for my arrival…”
from “The Balcony”
I wrote this word in my book at 5:20am after one of those spasmodic jerking sensations
one gets when on the edge of sleep—
I mumbled to myself, `synapses`, scribbled it and slipped back into dreams. Something
to do with nerve centers in the brain or transmitters or something ….look it up…..
(that`s what Wikipedia is for…)
“There`s a sucker born every minute.”
“I draw these letters
as the day draws its images
and blows over them
and does not return…”
parabola of movement
Ideogram of Freedom
seers with glasses.
a coming and going
with no beginning and no end.
No one has gone there,
has heard the first word
will hear the last.
has drunk from the fountain,
has opened the stone eyelids of time,
has gone down into the pit of universes…
I am in the middle of this phrase
will it take me?
Poet: gardener of epitaphs.”
Me….behind the bar at Freeman`s
THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUSE!!!
oh sweet, sweet destruction….
KNOW YOUR ENEMY….teapots…
or … try to have no enemies
beautiful day in NYC…truly the 1st day of Spring…
“I LIVE FOR THIS SHIT!”
Vin Diesel in “Triple X”
Caroline and Aurora…two cute Asian chicks giving me a BAD haircut on the stoop on Rivington…
“Common sense is not so common.”
constantly living with pain and irritation and yet having WAY too much fun to care
“I`m a coin in a fountain of dust.”
IF SOMEBODY SCREAMS IN THE CITY
BUT NOBODY CARES,
DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?
“Is it ok to yell, `Movie!` in a crowded firehouse?”
“Does the Pope shit in the woods?”
“Without change, there can be no nostalgia.”
It has been suggested that the universe is indifferent
to individual dramas, however heroic or trivial….
And don`t forget what I always say….
THE SLOW AND SILENT
“Don`t give up on love…”
said very sarcastically by Caroline Tran
No true roots left…
I am a CITIZEN OF THE WORLD.
“Where must I find my Resting Place?…
(over the hills and across the valley…) “
Sickness–thinking of my eventual death–red light and “Bitches Brew”
“In the Heart of the Sea”….a remarkable and terrifying tale of the sinking of the Nantucket whaleboat, “The Essex,” in 1819,
by an angry sperm whale (the inspiration for Moby Dick).
“When boats were made of wood and men were made of iron…”
NYC chronic shopaholics (and shopaholics everywhere) irritate the shit out of me because they don`t watch where the fuck they`re
going as they yap on cellphones and gape slack-jawed and dumbstruck into store windows…
KUHAKU—blank, void, empty space…a blank in one`s memory.
good title: INTERMINABLE SOLILOQUY
“The landscape opens its eyes and sits up,
sets out walking followed by its shadow,
it is dark murmurs
that are the languages of fallen matter,
the wind stops and hears the clamor of the elements,
sand and water talking in low voices,
the howl of pilings as they battle the salt,
the rash confidence of fire,
the soliloquy of ashes,
the interminable conversation of the universe.
Talking with the things and with ourselves,
the universe talks to itself:
we are its tongue and ears,
its words and silences.
The wind hears what the universe says
and we hear what the wind says,
rustling the submarine foliage
the secret vegetation of the underworld
and the undersky:
Man dreams the dream of things.
Time thinks the dreams of men.”
“I speak of the City
the enormous City that dreams us all,
that all of us build and unbuild
and rebuild as we dream,
the City we all dream,
that relentlessly changes while
we dream it,
the City that wakes every hundred years
and looks at itself in the mirror
and doesn`t recognize itself
and goes back to sleep.
I speak of the forest of stone,
the desert of the prophets,
the ant heap of souls,
the congregation of tribes,
the house of mirrors,
the labyrinth of echoes.
I speak of the great murmur
that comes from the depths of time,
the incoherent whisper of nations
uniting or splitting apart,
the wheeling of multitudes
and their weapons like
boulders hurling down,
the dull sound of bones
falling into the pit of history.
I speak of the City,
shepherd of the centuries,
mother that gives birth to us
and devours us,
that creates us
“Between what I see and what I say,
between what I say and what I keep silent,
between what I keep silent and what I dream,
between what I dream and what I forget:
between yes and no,
what I keep silent,
what I say,
what I forget.
It is not speech:
It is an act.
It is an act
speaks and listens:
It is real
and as soon as I say
IT IS REAL,
Is it then more real?
comes and goes
between what is
and what is not.
and unweaves reflections,
scatters eyes on a page
scatters words on our eyes.
what we say,
the body of an idea.
the words open…”
(In case you haven`t noticed, this guy is a GENIUS…)
“THE HEART IS AN EYE.
CREATE IN ORDER TO SEE.”
“THE MIRRORED BAR,
AMBIGUOUS ALTAR WHERE GENIES
WITH INSIDIOUS POWERS SLEEP CAPTIVE
IN THE MULTICOLORED BOTTLES.”
“Plain of sheets
and night of bodies,
tide of desire
and grotto of dreams,
an intangible village sleeps
beneath your eyelids,
knotted bodies are the book of the soul:
With my touch and my tongue,
I write out on your body
the scripture of the world.
A knowledge still nameless;
the taste of this earth.
Brief light yet sufficient
to light and blind us
like the sudden burst
of seedpod and semen.
Between the end and the beginning,
a moment without time,
a delicate arch of blood,
a bridge over the void,
Locked, two bodies
sculpt a bolt of lightning.
in your bed
we were three:
the moon you and me…
I open the lips of your night
of unchained water…
to sleep to sleep in you
or even better to wake,
to open my eyes
at your center…
You spread out beneath my eyes,
a land of dunes–ocher, bright.
The wind in search of water
a land of heartbeats and fountains.
Vast as the night you fit
in the hollow of my hand.
Later, the motionless hurling down,
within and without ourselves.
With my eyes I ate darkness,
drank the water of time.
I drank night.
Then I touched the body of a music
heard with the tips of my fingers.
Dark bodies, together,
moored in the shadows,
our bodies reclined,
our souls unleashed,
in the water of night.
In the end you opened your eyes.
You saw yourself seen by my eyes;
and from my eyes you saw yourself:
falling like a fruit on the grass,
like a stone in the pond,
you fell into yourself.
A tide rose within me,
with a weightless fist I beat
at the door of your lids:
my death wanted to meet you,
my death wanted to meet itself.
I was buried in your eyes.
Our bodies flow through
the plains of night:
they are time wearing itself out,
a presence that dissolves in a caress,
yet they are infinite, to touch them
is to bathe in rivers of heartbeats
and return to the perpetual beginning anew…”
“the God of Small Things”
“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”
Me, finally `discovering` the internet, is roughly equivalent to the caveman discovering fire.
I am suddenly in awe….dumbstruck….amazed……
I`m almost embarrassed to have waited so long (not REALLY) but I learn fast. However,
I STILL PREFER BOOKS TO FLICKERING COMPUTER SCREENS…
“All the world`s a stage.”
“War Kills for Money
and Art saves lives for free”
On Crosby north of Howard
I don`t care what you think.
I`m just gonna keep being me.
I`ll keep doing whatever I feel like doing.
I`ll keep on creating whatever comes to me until the bitter end.
My recent photography kick:
A study in the Geometry of Shadows
“Love in the middle of a firefight
I am the world`s forgotten boy
the one who searches and destroys…”
“Come along on my Death Trip…”
Having it etched in my mind from back in `95, it is strange to revisit the so called Two Bridges or CHUMBO section
of Manhattan again. It is my favorite place to hide and chill out alone with a cold beer…
The Circus is leaving town…
Thursday afternoon in the Ramble, the most fascinating little corner of Central Park; winding paths, antique lampposts
that would do Narnia justice, a lake, a few charming stone bridges, yes, springtime is upon us, the birds are chirping,
the trees are blossoming, the whole world is alive with color. I was alone until a GIANT tour group, 50 or more invaded
my space. It just happened to be a gaggle of all women, and they passed through smiling and smelling like a summer
breeze. I am on a bench, but I`m about to go sit beside the lake on a stone beyond a thicket of bamboo, away from the
riff-raff, one of my secret spots. Later, I believe a ride on the Staten Island Ferry is in order, yes, that`s it. Life is good
and the only thing that can stop me are the cold, grasping marble-white fingers of Death…
Saw a GIANT frog lounging in the sun beyond the bamboo thicket…I`ll take this as a good luck sign…
Later, I walk faster than a horse trots, even while writing this…
Staten Island North Shore.
Sunset on the Kill van Kull,
nothing but the howl of the wind in my ears…
What a ridiculously insane City this is! Every single block on this vast grid is a new adventure,
a bubble, a little universe unto itself. Each block has its own atmosphere and character, some
amiable and inviting, others tinged with menace. The wonders never cease.
Hair in curlers and cornrows and 40oz`s, bitches!!
Morningside Avenue and the rocky cliffs that separate Columbia University from the hood below…
Amsterdam Avenue….The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine…
“Talk is cheap, motherfucker!”
The ultimate camera lenses…MY EYES…
Thanks for this life, this manifestation of my spirit, this existence of pain and pleasure….
Everything I see is engraved in my memory with loving and exquisite detail. I walk through
Central Park, the music drifts through the trees and across the meadows. There is the sound
of the wind, the trees are speaking to me, the leaves, the birds, all of it…a riot of color and sound,
a seething humanity, a symphony for the senses, and I revel in it with enthusiasm and boundless
appreciation…..LIVING the best way I know how…