Monday, December 13, 2010

Everyday In the Vines

Ca arrive.
Aujourd'hui c'etait le tour de la femme du vigneron.
11:55 CET.
Moi, je passait le après-midi dans le vigne seule.


It happens.
Today it was the vignerons wifes turn.
11:55 am CET.
I spent the afternoon in the vigne alone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Round and Round We Go

It’s time for the taille.

I’m in the vines again snipping and stripping at migrant wages. Like the taxi, which I’ve left behind for nostalgia to consume, the vines have the endless, repetitive, back and forth that draws me in. I am drawn to constant motion that goes nowhere. It allows me look around, inside and out.

It can get scary, like boots caked with icy mud. Cold wind all day long making you beg for the end of the shift. Or it can get beautiful, like a thin sliver of moon starting to shine in a newly night blue sky as the workday ends. Often it’s a mix of the two and I’m free to choose which side I glance towards. That’s when the choice of regard becomes critical.

The souche and my thoughts.
There’s a digression that goes on. A weaning away of the wasted distractions that suck energy for wild and unproductive growth. That’s what we are doing in the vines, getting the growth into the position that leads to a healthy, productive direction.

What can I say, it’s taille time again. It’s all I do. Wake, work, sleep. And perhaps something in between that is saturated with the thought of waking, working and when I can get to sleep.

But I digress, I wanted to tell you what I saw the other morning. It’s one of those moments that doesn’t lead in a productive direction because it already is in itself perfect. It needs nothing. It leads nowhere. It just is. It is direct, without distraction.

I am doing the taille. Cutting the vines back. The vines are carried on 3 horizontal lines of metal wire that are strung along the 100 yard rows on 10 metal poles. We cut the growth back to the vine stump which runs along the lowest wire.

It is December 7th. 8:30 am. Latitude 43.6291. 1° centigrade. In other words, it is cold and the sun is just rising. I am standing in the mud and the myth of southern france. I am starting my day of work. It will end when this same sun sets at 5:15 pm. But that is the end and this is just the beginning.

At this moment (that moment now), all along the now empty wires of the rows we have cut yesterday are drops of water. Each in perfect suspension and lined up one against the other along the wires. Frozen solid in their ‘drop’ form, they are back lit by the just rising sun and are gleaming. Thousands of drops of frozen water lined up like gleaming jewels row upon row just to the horizon.

For a moment I think of nothing else. Stunned by the perfection of the cold muddy world I am in.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


For a perfect day of autumn.

Wash the last traces of blood from the carpet which lied at the foot of the stairs. Your sisters final resting place. Or starting line.

Family washing in on flowing waves of sadness.

Loss of losing

A perfect crescent moon falling.
behind the hill.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chicago Time.

Subject: what else
Date: October 5, 2010 21:53:46 CEST
To: you
Confirmation # : AF7681 - Voyageur

Another last favor. i am coming into town (hence 'what else') in november.
i want to stay with you for a week.

Be in town, but moving around. one fashion or another.
clearly becoming imperative.
need shaking up. 50 years.

if the gig is dying, crazy to still be trying.
but gotta keep it moving.
couldn't not come, how can i let it stop.
soon we could be dead. perhaps there are other ways to keep it happening.
that's what i want to see.
i'll get the pictures, bring the projects
i am coming incognito - my papers will say 'cabdriver' - though i am coming simply as another bon homme.
i'd love to land with you.


lora lu

maybe more...

time is shrinking.
i need you condensed.

nov 4-dec 7.



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hey look up!

As if the endless land-based cameras weren't enough... a 'breaking' story in todays news.

" An MQ-9 Predator B, [a.k.a. Reaper] an Unmaned Aircraft System, at a ceremony to celebrate the authorization from the FAA to use the aircraft to patrol the Texas-Mexico land border, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, in Corpus Christi, Texas."

It seems to be news of a breaking nature, at least if you look at the date.

Missing from the headlines, or even the story -

The United States Homeland Security initially ordered one Reaper for border patrol duty, (referred to as MQ-9 CBP-101). It began operations 4 October 2005, but on 25 April 2006, this aircraft crashed in the Arizona desert.

A second Reaper, called "CBP-104", was delivered in September 2006, and commenced limited border protection operations on 18 October 2006.

There is no mention either of Project CHLOE - a research and development program of the Department of Homeland Security which (according to the DHS) has three objectives.

The third objective is to integrate unmanned planes into the air traffic control system and other law enforcement agencies for overall situational awareness. Security at any price you say?

price per plane: 10.5 million with sensors... or... four aircraft, four ground stations and five years of maintenance support, all valued at US$330 million.

But don't worry about spending your money just for someone to watch over others from above, there is sure to be one COMING SOON TO YOUR TOWN!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Patience (with a big stick) is a (profitable) Virtue.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur in history.

AFTER more than 20 years EXXON (now Exxon/Mobil) is still working the EXXON VALDEZ oil spill in Alaska. Not on the beaches (that's work for old mother nature) but in the Courtrooms - where the real profits are made.

In the [Exxon Valdez oil spill] case of Baker v. Exxon, an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages. The punitive damages amount was equal to a single year's profit by Exxon at that time.

(Big headlines everywhere announced/cheered the decision against greedy big oil)

Exxon appealed the ruling, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the original judge, Russel Holland, to reduce the punitive damages.
On December 6, 2002, the judge announced that he had reduced the damages to $4 billion.

(well that's still a lot of money)

Exxon appealed again
Judge Holland increased the punitive damages to $4.5 billion, plus interest.

(see justice works, it's fair)

After more appeals, and oral arguments heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on January 27, 2006, the damages award was cut to $2.5 billion on December 22, 2006.

(now justice is really working)

Exxon appealed again.
On May 23, 2007, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Exxon/Mobil's request for a third hearing and let stand its ruling that Exxon owes $2.5 billion in punitive damages.

(justice knows when it's got it right)

Exxon then appealed to the Supreme Court,
On February 27, 2008, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 90 minutes.
The Supreme Court vacated the $2.5 billion award remanding the case back to a lower court,

Exxon's actions were deemed "worse than negligent but less than malicious." The judgment limits punitive damages to the compensatory damages, which for this case were calculated as $507.5 million.

(Big justice takes time, and patience)

Exxon's official position is that punitive damages greater than $25 million are not justified because the spill resulted from an accident, and because Exxon spent an estimated $2 billion cleaning up the spill and a further $1 billion to settle related civil and criminal charges.

for a bit more of the devil in the (unheralded) details:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Should I stay or Should I go. Now

Hank was on the edge and he saw nowhere to go. Just at his back, the grey clouds were hanging right on top of the mountain, on the other side of the hallow. One little change in pressure and they would be right over him. Already, standing in full hot sunshine, the wind would gust and bring rain. It came in fine, almost imperceptible mists. It brought back memories of a summer terrace in a five star hotel where he had never been.

Which way to go. There were endless rows that needed tending. He went along the rows, bent down and tore away the ‘gourmands’ that sucked the plants force and returned nothing but fatigue. Each souche seem to thank him but always there was the next demanding. His body was breaking. His back was tanned.

Hank was on the edge and he saw nowhere to go. He stood up, the water that had gathered with the sweat rolled down his back. He felt the mist blow in and it cooled his face and chest. He had nothing but the back of his hand to wipe his face. He wondered where Veronica was now.
He looked up and saw an arch in the sky. It was banded in intense color. It was an intimate little thing stretching from the side of one hill to the next. Hank could see the rainbow touching ground in a the woods on the far side of the colline. The trees were illuminated in bright colors. Encasing this spectacle was another, much grander, far reaching, and vaguer hued, rainbow that was must have been evident at great distances.

Hank felt the edge, and suddenly decided to stop looking for somewhere to go. It dawned on him that it would be best to just stay where he was. He took one more look at the trees that the rainbow had dressed in psychedelic color, took a deep breathe and bent back down into the rows.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

Dissection, deception. I smoke, I drink, I smoke again. I wanted to get at the core of the matter, now that I've gotten there, I just want to sleep. It all sounds pathetic when you break it down, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s better than living a folly.

We sell our dreams so cheaply only because our dreams are so cheap. I want this, I want that. I want my cake and to eat it too. The oil is flowing into the gulf, our food, our beaches, are full of the shit, but still we want our cars. What's happening, let’s break it down, I’m begging you, even if it becomes to clear to handle.

We’re crazy now, let’s go all the way. Really, if you think about it, how much worse can it get. The raucous sleep of the insane seems more sane than the concept of a soundless sleep. Or am I supposed to believe that I am still a baby, or even worse, that babies sleep a peaceful sleep.

Yes, sleep. Let’s hide away in the land of dreams where things happen to us and we relinquish all control. Tonight I cut apart a heart and found only flaccid muscle.

Drink drink drink, sleep will come. It’s just another glass away. I’ll sleep like a baby. But if you look at the data who wants that. The truth is, that more than 70 percent of infants and toddlers have a Baby Sleeping pattern problem, at least according to the National Sleep Foundation. I have a sleeping pattern problem too, I thought I could dissect the cause and cure it. In the end I realized that I’m still a baby - I just want my needs met.

It’s amusing the constructs of us big babies. Self actualization is just one example. Sure, in theory it sounds so right. Pretty words, even from un-pretty faces, always sound so nice. The actions that follow, at least after the love fest that leaves our ears ringing is over, always seems a little bit more raw. Words, and their promise, never live up to their potential. But never mind, just sleep, tomorrow is another day.

I woke up at 4:16 with a slimy feeling and slimy grey skies. The remorse and questioning of a hebrew. My sleeping pattern was off, I just couldn’t forget. At 6:20 I smoked my first cigarette. Today I said, I will find out the truth, in reality it was the first thing I desired and the last thing I wanted. You see I am human too, a baby in an old mans body. The only difference is when I want to cry I can’t. I always remember the funny side of our folly. It’s not drama we live but comedy, no matter how tragic the outcome appears.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Really, I want to believe, but how do I remove the stains of the freshly dissected heart laying in my bed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Love Note to Texas.

My beautiful brother with whom one time, along with my father in heaven measured 100 straight lines to map the winding banks of a flowing river, is counting birds today in Texas. It's a 24 hour day for bragging rights of the beak geeks. Me, I was sitting in a garden in France eating and drinking on a beautiful day looking at the sky and each bird that passed. I was staring at the sky for it's population of birds that all wore his face.

He's an imitation texan, like I'm an imitation frenchman. I was happy to pass the day with him. It was him who activated the little palm tree that stood behind me while I sat there sitting in the sun after the coffee with a small glass of Mirabel in hand. With each breeze, it literally kept me turning my head with it's noise of a flock of birds taking flight. I got excited with the thought 'oh - goldmine' and laughed with his joy in a victory of a senseless and pure competition.

C'etait tres bon, texas inhabiting the south of france.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a nocens somnium

- it’s starting again, he said.

She said nothing for a long moment, then walked away. She stopped in the doorway and turned back looking at him. Her mouth made a small clicking sound that let him know that inside her rigid body there was motion - it was her tongue breaking free from the roof of her mouth, she was about to say something.

- I want you to be as miserable as I am.

It had started again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French Lesson - m/s 3. Indefinant, Negative pronouns, or, Lot's wife.

Negative pronouns negate, refuse, or cast doubt
on the existence of the noun that they replace.

It’s an awful position to be in, he said,
the constant negating.
-It’s all people see in you.
It’s the unending plombe gray cloud that accompanies you - toujours les plaints.

Personne ne me connaît ici.
No one knows me here.
(PERSONNE/nobody is the subject)

Je ne vends aucun des livres.
I'm not selling any of the books.
(AUCUN/none is the direct object)

Elle ne pense à rien.
She's not thinking about anything.
(RIEN/nothing is the indirect object)

It comes from everywhere. It wears humans down, the lead filled skies, always heavy and threatening.

But whatever-
If you can’t change the weather, you just have to get out of it.
It even seems senseless to say fuck you. Negative pronouns like, she, must already know what people think.

But still - nobody, none, nothing...
For a noun, even a pronoun like, him,
it makes a dis-engaging atmo-sphere.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Selah - ms/2

The rain had been constant. They were both hurrying to finish clearing the field.
-They are reeking havoc.
-Yes, yes that’s true, but look at them.
He cocked his head upwards, it shook slightly.
- Look what we can do.
In the distance, like four spinning points on a compass, a group of jets traced a great circle 2000 feet above the ground. In the distance they were pure grace, and their sound was simply power.

Henri glanced down at his boots, they were caked with mud. He shifted his regard, Paul’s were worse. As he looked back up, each point of the compass spun out of the circle taking a straight line. One would be over them in the time it took to bend back down into their work.
- we’ve got to hurry

High in the sky, a finger exerted an infinitesimal force. The roar of the jets rendered each screaming round silent as it sped earthward at 3500 miles per hour. Each unknowing, on it’s own individual trajectory.

Paul bent down. Henri paused, raising his hands as the plane sped over them. He could see the helmeted pilot turn his head briefly, and he was gone. Henri quickly turned and stooped back down to work. He saw Paul's boots were still muddy. It was a moment later Henri realized his fate. The rest of Paul was strewn about the field.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

smack - ms/1

He turned to her.
“is it true”.
She looked at him.
The long silence that ensued ended with the small cracking sound of tension breaking. The saliva sticking to the roof of her mouth broke free from her tongue with a sharp click that signaled the end of his ignorance. She began to form a word. He had a sharp twisting sensation in his belly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fields and Streets

The vacation is over. It was a good time.
It started over there and ended here.

I drove ten thousand miles on chicago city streets, now I ready to attack ten thousand souche on the Larzac rise. In the meantime, among other delicious things, I’ve eaten carne asada and fois gras both made with grandmother hands. I’ve woken on snowy days and hot mornings. I haven’t been out of sight of friends or family or other loving beings for 16 straight days. The good times are wearing me down.

I like waking up to find my dream has finally changed, consequently I’m happy to be going back into the vines. I’ve forgotten, or at least misplaced for the moment, the fact that the vines are brutal. Like a party that doesn’t end, they wear you down until you are broken with fatigue, and longing the finish. But that’s at the end of the dream, and tomorrow is just the beginning.

Early morning sunrises with the view to the sea on the rise to Larzac Plateau. The sky and it’s weather in myriad flowing patterns. The order and potential of freshly tailled fields. Lunchtime naps in a car warmed with the sun. Yes it’s all good in the beginning.

Happy new year.