By Tom H. Brooks 3

“…Quoth the Raven, `NEVERMORE`………………………..”
Edgar Allan Poe
“I don`t care what you think, scumbag…”
Me mumbling to myself on 4/17/05
one of my NYC t-shirts….
a picture of a futuristic looking monorail rising above a sleek supercity…
City of Tomorrow”
“Fuck Inner Beauty”
a Taavo t-shirt
As everyone knows, I love throwing my artworks into the Matrix.
I left my painting, Sapphire at Spring and Mott.  15 minutes later, I saw a woman
come and stare at it, look around, and then take it.
Later I left Shapes in the Void on Orchard on the LES and then Smile at the Foot of the Ladder
in the park under Williamsburg Bridge.  I didn`t bother waiting around to see what happened to those…
The secret VCR burial grounds….Mechanic`s Alley in CHUMBO
“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence.  I wanted excitement and danger and the
chance to sacrifice myself for my love.  I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no
outlet in a quiet life.”
Leo Tolstoy
As you may know from previous entries in my Street Journals, this has been a big year so far for death–this
Year of the Rooster, this Year of the Reaper…First, my good friend Eric Oenning of San Diego and the Mexico
Journals fame.  Then, the great Hunter S. Thompson suicide, master of the Gonzo style of writing, which he
created.  And now, another Eric, one Eric Gelman of the Los Angeles Marmalade Cafe, who was tragically
stabbed and killed in a mugging outside the restaurant, across Fairfax on 1st Street.  RIP Eric G.  It`s a wonder
I`m still around.  We`ll see how long THAT lasts…
“He was alone, he was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life.  He was alone and young and willful
and wildhearted, alone amidst a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle
and veiled gray sunlight.”
James Joyce
“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”
I`m gonna write one called
Portrait of the Artist as a Washed-Up Old Bastard
“No one ever followed his genius till it misled him.  Though the result were bodily weakness, yet perhaps no one
can say that the consequences were to be regretted, for these were a life in conformity to higher principles.  If the
day and night are such that you greet them with joy, a life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs,
is more elastic, more starry, more IMMORTAL….THAT is your success.  The greatest gains and values are farthest
from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them.  All nature is your congratulation,
and you have cause to bless yourself.  This is the highest reality.
The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.
It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
Henry David Thoreau
(I know I`ve written this before but I just love it…..SO TRUE….)
“It may, after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that
yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who cannot translate their psychic wounds
into significant art or thought.”
Theodore Roszak
“In Search of the Miraculous”
You should not own any more than you could carry
on your back at a dead run…
“The desert is the environment of revelation, genetically and physiologically alien, sensorily austere, aesthetically
abstract, historically inimical…Its forms are bold and suggestive.  The mind is beset by light and space, the kinesthetic
novelty of aridity, high temperature and wind.  The desert sky is encircling, majestic, terrible.  In other habitats, the rim
of sky above the horizontal is broken or obscured; here, together with the overhead portion, it is infinitely vaster than
that of rolling countryside and forest lands…In an unobstructed sky the clouds seem more massive, sometimes grandly
reflecting the earth`s curvature on their concave undersides.  The angularity of desert landforms imparts a monumental
architecture to the clouds as well as to the land…
To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles.  Here the leaders of great religions have
sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to FIND reality.”
Paul Shepard
“Man in the Landscape:
A Historic View of the Aesthetics of Nature”
National Potsmokers Day
Paperwork, legal forms, taxes, records, receipts…….I cannot be bothered with these trivial obligations.
I answer to the calling of a higher order…
I wonder how far I`ll make it with this whole `LIFE` thing….
That`s not in my contract, motherfuckers…
I don`t need anybody patting me on the back, thanks anyway…
 “Like it or not, I was obliged to create a new life for myself.  And this new life I feel is MINE, absolutely mine, to use or to
smash as I see fit.  In this life, I am God, and like God, I am indifferent to my own fate.”
Inwood Hill Park–I sit alone in the middle of a grassy field.  The salt marshes are filled with ducks and geese.  It is low tide.
Even the gas barrel revealed in the muck is beautiful.  The Henry Hudson Bridge looms in the background.  The laughter of
distant children filters through the trees, a school field trip perhaps?  Birds surround me with their various chorblings and chirpings,
all colors–red, black, blue, white.  Clouds drift overhead, the blue sky fades to gray, humidity in the air.  Trees and flowers
are blossoming in full color, life can be so beautiful, so tragic, so amazing, so trivial, SO MANY THINGS…but this moment…THIS IS MINE….
15 miles north of where I live in SOHO, I am at the very top of Manhattan Island–the last street I could find was 226th Street–and my cell
phone rings.  It`s JB.  It is raining down south.  No problem.  I am at the very north end and probably by the time the rain gets here, I will
be on the subway headed south where it will have stopped…
I love woodpeckers and I can understand why Walter Lantz based a cartoon character on one of them…
The single most defining characteristic that distinguishes MY WORK (photos and writings) from others is the simple fact that
I go places where other people don`t or won`t go.  I go where others fear to tread, places they don`t even know of, places they`ve
never even heard of.  That is what makes my Art unique.  I observe details and abstract oddities.  I am an explorer with my eyes
wide open…
186th and Overlook Terrace/ Fort Tryon?  A very strange part of the city indeed…
179th and Amsterdam storefront…”Oh Cerveza bien fria…”
W. 162nd  Washington Heights
Epic Skateboarding…from 226th at the top all the way down to 135th Street, zigzagging back and forth across the island at random and riding a lot of nice downhill runs.
The top of Manhattan has a lot of hills.  Lower Manhattan is much flatter….
I`ve seen some beautiful buildings today.  I stopped and had a 50 cent snack of Lay`s Potato Chips and a ghetto fruit punch at 153rd St. and St. Nicholas Place…
A place I want to check later here in Harlem…Nick`s Jazz Pub at 148th and St. Nick`s Avenue…..”Take the A Train” to 145th St.
“Art–the art of living, involves the act of creation.  The work of art is nothing.  It is only the tangible, visible evidence of a way of life, which, if it is not crazy, is certainly
different from the accepted way of life.  The difference lies in the ACT, in the assertion of will.”
1  Don`t break my pace!
2  If you don`t like reggae music, don`t bother me.
3  No meddling.  Worry about your own sorry-ass life.
4  Vegans are weird and pale.
5  Ask nicely.  Maybe I will help.
6  Don`t complain about noise if you live in a GIANT city.  This is New York City, assholes.  If you want quiet, live in Nebraska.
7  Conversations should be mutual; that means talking and LISTENING–not a monologue from one person who likes to hear himself talk.
8  Asian babes, hot showers and super spa massages…these are a few of my favorite things…
9  Despite my newfound enthusiasm for them, computers and cellphones; STILL IRRITATING.
10  Digging graves for myself and burning my bridges is FUN.
11  I shall no longer be referred to as Tom Brooks but rather the symbol  (Cannot be rendered here)       or LORD ZOLTAR
12  The past is gone, the present is tense, the future is unknown.
13  Every day can be a good day if you laugh a lot.
14  EVERYONE has A.D.D. nowadays…too much to do, too little time.  SENSORY OVERLOAD.
15  People who look like their dogs are funny.
16  Writing stuff like this is fun.  I should do it more often.
17  Everything with me is stream-of-consciousness-madness….
18  Fluorescent lights give me a goddamned headache.
19  Everyone should be able to laugh at themselves.  To quote Muhammed Ali, “The funniest joke of all is the truth.”
20  Everything is meant to be as it is.
21  Or is it?
22  I love the moon.
23  “I don`t smoke marijuana, I smoke HERB…”  Peter Tosh
24  “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  Plato
25  Everyone should watch less TV and communicate more.  Make YOUR LIFE a movie.
26  Everyone should read more.
27  And I don`t mean comic books.
28  Everyone should be nicer to each other.
29  All religions should be obsolete except for the universal language of LOVE.
30  Stop making bullets.  Guns are useless without them.  They are unnecessary except for the acquisition of Middle Eastern Oilfields which keep the fat cats full of chicken.
32  Oh, OK…go ahead…
33  The fundamental concept of “money” is stupid.  IT`S JUST A PIECE OF PAPER, PEOPLE!!
34  Life will always be a gift and a mystery.
35  Dictionary Word for the Day: stupefy (verb) 1.To make stupid. 2. Astonished, shellshocked.
36  “Some people never go crazy.  What truly horrible lives they must lead.”  Charles Bukowski
37  People who don`t like Mexican Food are weird and stupid.
38  Don`t EVER TELL me that you don`t like Mexican food.  You will unleash a torrent, a virtual juggernaut of words…
39  The Blue Man Group kind of scares me.
40  I mean, what the FUCK are they doing, man?
41  I am a closet birdwatcher.
42  “The educated man who is not in touch with his metaphysics is like an ass bearing a load of books.”  Mohammed the Prophet
43  Each day is a new tile in this mosaic of life.
44  “I guess I`m doing fine…”  Beck
45  Time is irrelevant because it has no beginning and no end.
46  Time is only so everything doesn`t happen at once.
47  I love the springtime.
48  Everyone should just calm the fuck down, stop worrying so much and LIVE…
49  And for Chrissakes, STOP WATCHING SO MUCH FUCKING TV!!  (I know I said this.  I don`t care.  It irks me.)
50  “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”  William Shakespeare
51  I know my paintings aren`t that good.  I love them anyway.
52  Art critics, food critics, movie critics, literary critics, CRITICS in general…are USELESS PIECES OF SHIT.  I don`t need YOU to tell ME what to think about something, SCUMBAG.
53  Every day for me is a fresh brushstroke on the canvas of my life…
“…and perhaps my words will not be lost either…”
Henry Miller
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi
“Our passions are not the unions of blind matter.”
Octavio Paz
Sometimes I like to disappear.  Get off my back.  Deal with it.
I will always be a man of contradictions–a walking paradox.  I contain all things within me.
“I love how friends may
feed your social wealth;
Do the women love enough
to breed with a man who
seeks tragedy
to proclaim how your
surface beauty distracts?”
Rambo 13:29
Freeman`s Alley graffiti
ONLY IN NEW YORK CITY, baby, will you find this level of street writing instead of illiterate Chollo scrawlings…
Me, crazy and stoopid, under Manhattan Bridge on a gloomy day in a park, singing Neil Diamond at top volume…
“SONG SUNG BLUE, EVERYBODY KNOWS ONE…”  Thunderstorms are approaching…
I understand the City
I pick up on its textures
and subtle meanings
I find the hidden mysteries…
I decipher the symbols
I see the writing on the wall
and I stop to read it
to understand what it is
saying to me
The streets are my friend
The wind in the trees
the breath of life
the song of traffic
a symphony of noise
a cacophony of voices
A desperate clamor of humanity
stuffed together on a mad island, 13X2 (miles)
criss-crossed with roads
and bridges
honeycombed with tunnels
buzzing with worker bees
and army ants
and robots and clones and drones
and madmen….
I walk endlessly
amongst them all
everything swirling around me
in a furious vortex
of raw experience
and fierce passions
and all of us,
like it or not,
are in it together…
Tonight at work, I felt like a zombie walking through a slow nightmare…
Not that I don`t appreciate fashion photography or portraits of people, but my work tends to take a different approach.  My photography
aesthetic has, for a long time now, been a vision often devoid of people, ghostly in its emptiness.  I prefer the abstract to the realist.
I prefer the fringes of society, the unvisited places, the overlooked, the feared.  I pay attention to what others ignore.  I like nature,
found in unlikely places at the edges of cities.  I like urban exploration in the strange and scary emptiness on the razor`s edge of cities,
worlds of rusting ironworks and abandoned warehouses and stray dogs and madmen.  I capture these things on film or in digital form.
Phantoms inhabit the empty streets, the forbidden valleys and dark forests filled with only silence and desolation, perhaps a grim
metaphor for a dark future in a world less populated and apocalyptic.  Time will tell, and if my photography and writings survive the test
of time, then maybe someone in the future will be able to relate on a personal level.  Or maybe they will disagree with my ideas and
visions and they will have a good laugh.  Again, who knows?  Certainly, not I, not you, nor anyone else…
Henry David Thoreau
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that ALL people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it CAN introduce the idea
that if we TRY and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
Maya Angelou
“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though EVERYTHING is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you DIDN`T DO than by the ones you did do.  So throw
off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover…”
Mark Twain
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
St. Augustine
“Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.”
Samuel Johnson
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go.  But no matter, the road is life.”
Jack Kerouac
It is now May 7th, 2005; It is 2 days before the birthday where I turn thirty-fucking-six years old.  Amazing.  Where does the time go?  It flows like sand
through a sieve, like water down the toilet, like cheese through a goose.  Time moves like a bullet train, a flash in the pan, a blinding light–intense, then gone…
there is no stopping it.  Why try?  I have been in New York City for something like 8 months now.  It is truly an amazing place and I somehow have managed
to stuff 10 years of living into this short time.  You doubt me?  You daresay I exaggerate?  WRONG.  It`s all true and then some.  When I say I do more in one
day than many people do in their whole lives, I AM NOT KIDDING.  My relentless and manic energy has found an outlet here in NYC.  My curiosity and overwhelming
enthusiasm have caused me lots of joy and pain and a lot of trouble since I arrived here.  But as always, I welcome the uncertainty and the chaos with open arms
and bright eyes.  It comes with the territory of being me.  I must take it ALL in, regardless of danger or consequences.  Nothing else matters.  I am a juggernaut of
force, a vortex of supernova light.  I cannot be stopped until the grasping pale fingers of Death come to lay claim to my abused flesh, this mortal coil, this cage of blood and bones…
Our day will come, one and all, and I vow to take it all, every minute until then, as just another FASCINATING adventure on this road of life.  Where it leads me, I haven`t the
slightest goddamned idea, nor do I care.  As I always say, the element of surprise is what makes life worth living.  And I mean it, I really do…
So now, I drift into my 36th year on Planet Earth, still orbiting around a tired sun.  The universe does not care about our pathetic mortal dilemmas.  All that really matters
is THE MOMENT–raw, unadulterated, pure emotion.  Spontaneity.  Anytime could be the last time.  Life is too short and unpredictable to let yourself sink in the mire
of pointless and irrelevant details.  I vow to live, live, LIVE!!  Always, live the BEST I can…to travel, to SEE, to dream, to create, and to leave behind a hundred thousand
harvests of the fruit of my mind and my life.  I try my best to understand but I`ve often found that it is better NOT knowing–to be perplexed, because so much of life
defies explanation and reason.  It is not an equation.  There are no formulas.  I am a white feather floating through an endless blue sky.  I am a leaf tumbling down an
empty autumn avenue.  I am the sun glittering on afternoon waters.  I am waves rolling across dark night oceans.  I am a mystery that cannot be solved.  I am a
walking paradox.  I am a rocketship ready for takeoff to the furthest ends of the cosmos…..
BLAST OFF!!!!!!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



2 thoughts on “STREET JOURNAL 37

  1. Kelly Custer

    Tom my name is Kelly I was a friend of Eric’s from Las Vegas, I came across your articles and it gave me closure on the passing of Eric. Thank you and I love reading your writing.
    Kelly Custer

    • Hello Kelly,
      What a nice thing to hear from you. The fact that my writing meant something to you with regards to our dear mutual friend, Eric O, means so much to me. It makes all the writing that I do and have done feel worth it. I loved that character. He was one of the good ones and he and I lived through many years of madness together walking the razors edge. I notice you comment on this one, but if you haven`t already, you should check out Mexico Journal. It is about our crazy journey into the deepest jungles of Mexico and there are some very fond words and goodbyes to Eric. Every time there is a full moon, I raise a beer in his memory and he lives on in my mind. Thanks again for writing and I would love to hear from you anytime. Tom

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