On this street there are 17,000 rocks, and in every rock there are 17000 rocks. There are innumerable dove’s feathers, and the wool of several sheep. In this town there are more dreams than there are in entire counties in Kansas. There is a lady with expensive boots and a man with no shoes.
THE AUTHOR reclines, in lifeguarding shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt, easing herself back against the wall by the bed. She is incessantly critical of the architecture of her home, but beautifies it as much as possible by managing the light quality: keeping the harsh fluorescent lights off, and shrouding the lamp with a ruby-red silk. The street is persistently orange- traces of sodium vapor light. The light is omnipresent and soothingly cinematic.
The church here in Soho is a radiant blue castle. Look through the oculeye. The sun's rays are cooled and diffused by the depth of blue in the glass, and the rose pattern dapples the stone floor with a shimmering gold kaleidoscope of light. The darkness is deeply, ultimately dark, but the lightness is gently light, as if brushed on with a feather. Memento moris hover in the shadows, and prayer candles remind me of the quotidian nature of people's loves and fear:
please let Aunt Sarah know that I wish we hadn’t fought
please forgive Luke and
Tonight I’m longing for the companionship of my former landlord. He was wise: an Ivy League lawyer and activist who lived through both the Summer of Love and the Vietnam War- not to much every other political and cultural tremor that came after that initial shock. He had impeccable comportment, and would speak to me at length on any subject ranging from the lineup of the Supreme Court, to popular movies, to traffic law, to vegan muffin recipes— I remember not the narrative, but the tone, of his accounts of Manhattan, of political rallies for candidates long before my time. He would offer guidance and affirmation for my present journey, and profound advice at times. Why are you trying to find a man, you are too young and independent for that. Don’t hang around with schlepps. Go the the museums. See everything while you are young.
When I was 20, Brian and I used to talk more about fame- what it’s like, whether or not I was ready for it. Let me make you famous, he would say. How are you gonna do that, I say. You know, take you to some things, give people something to talk about. Not yet, I would say. Not till I’m an artist in my own right. What’s it like? You never forget when it happens, he says. One day you wake up and the whole world knows who you are.
The aesthetic here hasn’t developed yet. It needs to be bluer, clearer, more material. Rougher, smoother, and clearer. More reflective. I think a small candle holder will improve the situation. And a piece of twine. Consumerism is not an overarching aesthetic solution, but sometimes purchasing objects can help create the sculptural ambiance necessary to humanize an air-conditioned wooden box. I have a wildness and fear of houses. It's a mood that comes on, and when it comes you just can't go back indoors. Anything but that, please. Don't make me. So, sometimes I try to make it feel slightly more habitable and less horrifying with a candle.
Sylvia is a beautiful woman- gold-brown hair like sable and a round, pumpkin-y face that’s radiant with joy and a little bit of greasiness. She’s mellow and patient, and takes on more responsibility than her share.
I feel like I would be more into blogging except that like 90% of any lucid prose writing is likely to offend someone, and if there’s some type of revolution, I just imagine being locked in a bastille situation weaving funerary wreaths, in lifelong condemnation for not joining whichever nutjob dogmatic army has taken over the nation-state. Honestly, I’m sort of like, 'Zuckerberg for President', because at least he believes in giving individuals the right to expression and has created a radically democratic platform for dialogue.
A blue flame shimmers, quivers, rises, to torch the coffee pot. Deep brown espresso bubbles from the metal stem within, as the seed of an idea instigates, by virtue of a long chain of events (like a Rube Goldberg machine), an end in action. In this case the end to the chain of mechanical events is Caffeine, an herbal stimulant that gives rise to the blossoming action of the day. Good morning.
The courtyard is steep, bleek, and depopulated. 4 floors down, a miniscule square of concrete enclosed by 4 flat, gray brick walls shimmers with a patina of mold-green: some hint of biomass, that clings to its substrate, as perhaps a colony on Mars would desperately sustain itself by leeching out the barest hint of sustenance from what landscape it has.
I met a DJ / Producer today and hope to meet up with him again. He has elan and panache without being a peacock, or so it seems to me.
T. is boyish and effeminate with Romanesque golden curls and the sculpted figure to match. When I walked in, he was wearing a knit tennis-y polo- black, with two white pinstripes at the collar and a preppy insignia. T. actually knows a guy who has a writing credit on one of the new =W= songs. We’ve got chemistry, he says. It’s true; we flew at each other like voracious birds and stayed intertwined from a few minutes after I walked in the door until the morning. He’s been in the rave / party scene long enough that we share a millennial language, despite the fact that he’s a few years my senior. The way he talks about things feels friendly and familiar, and he uses consent language that feels practiced but not awkward. He rattles off a few stories about European tour in a way that does, indeed, impress me. He also works at a hedge fund as a mathematician. I met my boss in the party scene though, he says. “It’s like didn’t I see you like covered in rainbow dust last weekend at the [?] party?”
I straddle his back, nude except for a cheetah-print ribbon around my neck, my knees sinking into the futon. So like, what do you do? I press, while massaging his trapezius muscles in long, slow circles, and scratching my fingernails down his ribs. I find algorithms to detect algorithms with unusual selling patterns, is the answer we eventually arrive at. And then I bet against them to restore the equilibrium of that trend and our hedge fund keeps the profit on the sales.
So basically, he’s detecting market-manipulating robots that buy one stock and sell another to create false trends, or who are generating false marketing content to artificially raise or drop prices on a given stock- usually content that is detected by other trend-prediction robots who trawl the internet to collect market predictions.
(I catch a glimpse of myself in his well-positioned wall mirror and note that the cheetah ribbon was a foxy move. It’s nice to have something you can keep on all night so you’re not full-monochrome, like a statue).
So he’s kind of a stock-market vigilante who gets to keep a cut of the winnings they make from watch-dogging. His ability to speak clearly about complex concepts is attractive, and the detail-oriented mathematical process feels related to his DJ skills.
I used to be one of those people that generates vapid content for the internet robots, I say. I wrote SEO-optimized content whose basic function was degrading the English language for the sake of pandering to the meet the quantitative linguistic standards of the Google robots. It paid well, I say. Which is true; it was my livelihood. It paid for my solo travels around the globe, as well as my furniture investments and several warm sweaters. It also paid for the adoption and vaccinations for a beautiful pug-spaniel puppy named Franz (after Liszt), a Zenith Allegro, LOTS of coffee, and for my buying blueberries at the bodega and washing my clothes regularly.
Yeah, it’s fucked, we eventually arrive at, and settle into the rhythm of a mix by Black Coffee and Golden Stallion that emanates from his Mac computer. He has a Pendleton National Parks collection wool blanket (the Grand Canyon edition wool, I note), clean sheets and pillows, and immaculate hardwood floors. I take a gulp of champagne out of a mason jar, marvel at the fact that he is heterosexual, and fall asleep in one of his many identical pairs of Calvins. I note that I assess my surroundings on these ‘dates’ like a cat burglar: I quickly analyze the safety of my environment, note potential exit routes in case of emergency, and quantify the quantitative and qualitative value of of every material object the boy owns, with a scrupulous attention paid to the circumstantial and emotional factors that led to his present circumstances and surroundings. Conclusion: he’s nice, very successful, and a self-made man.
In dawn light he is just as lovable, but I have a crusty AM vibe and am irritable that I can’t find my ring. I don’t say so, but it’s from Topanga, a lapis lazuli stone set in sterling, and I don’t want to leave the apartment without it. I quietly rip apart the bedsheets about 7 times while T. brushes his teeth and gets dressed. He is comfortable in his body and walks around absolutely full naked, with a 90 degree boner like a glowing knob. It’s unsettling (like I said, it’s nice to have something you can keep on all night so you’re not full-monochrome, like a statue). Talking feels like work, and the air of enthusiasm I had last night has been superseded by my immediate emotional, aesthetic, and material needs. I squint at the brilliantly radiant morning-windows. The cool cast of the light implies that my walk home will be ice-cold frigid, and my newly-unstructured schedule since the music video wrapped means that I will spend a portion of the morning grappling with existential questions alone and drinking coffee, hoping that it stokes a fire of creative genius and work ethic in my heart- a Marxist-leaning analysis and approach to the artist’s morning.
I decide to be conversational and start asking questions again, like where he works, do you take the subway. He takes the subway unless it’s summer, when he bikes sometimes. In the winter, he Soul Cycles and does Spin classes. I grin and ask what the difference is between stationary biking and Spin class. More iPads, yuppies, and electronic music, he says. Every Spin studio a gimmick, but I go for it, he says. I smile and collect my things, kiss him quickly and slip out the door.
Tinder is like writing blogs; it’s a series of concise, businesslike exchanges that build to a simple turn (to use a poet’s term), without culminating into a relationship with forward volition. There is no teleological progression of interaction, only discrete exchanges- which is why it is the preferred postmodern form for romance. I don’t like, love it, but the people can be great and it really seems like the only option.
at the sky hotel
I bought a pleather miniskirt at the H&M in anticipation of a ballet check I still haven’t received. However, I did parlay that miniskirt into one hell of a night at the sky hotel.
We had a late conference of painters at the studios, which sprawled out into a protracted indexing of various obscure texts we should examine, ancient manuscripts stored in this-and-such a dusty library archive, this-and-such a collector who has Bob Dylan’s paintings… it was a vapid, Pinteresty register of on-trend things to look at. I interjected repeatedly, attempting to bring the dialogue back down to the politically charged planet earth we exist in, or at the very least have a discussion between the actual artists here, in this room, instead of living in the archive of Past Cool, to no, I’m talking zero, avail. So I crossed my legs quietly and counted the seconds until I could leave.
I caught a train to the sky hotel, where the atmosphere is always *champagne*- not literally popping champagne, but the atmosphere of *champagne*. International travelers strip off wool coats as they pass through the revolving door, and a Christmas-flocked leopard in a floor-to-ceiling diorama adds a surreal note to the ambiance. I procure a jack-and-diet-coke at the bar and lounge back into a chaise, peeling off my own parka and assessing the situation.
Two svelte women with over-straightened long black hair and “smoky eyes” get loose across the aisle, their knees rolling in slow circles over bulky stilettos whose silhouette encases the ankle- a cage for the feet, on stilts. A short, muscular man in a knit sweater with elbow pads dances clownishly in the aisle, easing over toward the women with an eager look on his face. His companions hang back, cooler, sipping liquor. One carries a red gym back. The short man catches my eye as I stretch my legs out and recline on the couch, then, thinking better of it, I head over to talk to him.
Cool elbow-pads, I gesture, and make a comical safety-city-type gesture with my arms. I dance toward him like we are glamorous sumo wrestlers, knocking elbows. He is quiet, and I realize his English is not good. He teases me with a few silly hand gestures and calls over his friends. He is Italian, explains a bearded man with a thick Gaelic accent. Ah, I see, I thank the man. It turns out they are soccer coaches- all 8 of them— here from Europe to teach at an academy. I am pretty jazzed on the situation and quickly ingratiate myself to the party with some flirtatious chatter. It turns out that they ALSO want to party at the Lightning Room tonight, but, unlike me, they have actually paid cover charge and have a table waiting. So, we gather their soccer things and go. I finish my whiskey and pair up with the overeager Italian, relying on the Irishman for translation. (The Glasheens are from Cork, you know). The DJ set is pretty cool, live mixes with a lot of The Weeknd and other chillwave hip-hop stuff, and I start dancing. The guys are kind of shy, except for the Italian who is *very* handsy; since we have a language barrier, ‘the physical’ was really the only realm in which had the capability of expression, which soon became exasperating. Another quieter guy, very strong and mellow was from Amsterdam. You know the Rijksakademie I say? My friend is there, he’s a very brilliant scholar and artist. Yes, the boy says, of course I know it. Amsterdam- (I gesture sucking on a doobie)- yes, he says, laughing. I pinch the edge of his shirt a little and walk away. Ended up dancing some more. Two finance bros from Texas- UT Austin- latched onto me a bit and were silly and quite fun... I twist away and go back to the soccer coaches, ended up on the Amsterdam man's lap ...
reserving the right to wander in a surveillance state / who is running this
As I have noted repeatedly, humankind is a glass labyrinth in motion.
I’d like to add that it is overseen and regulated by a variety of fools, many of whom have unlimited access to the shockingly powerful tools of war that are the fruits of late-stage capitalization, the quantifiable wealth of the globe, unlimited wells of credit, Russian hookers (not that there’s anything super wrong with that per se), American hookers (not that there’s anything super wrong with that per se), guns, drugs, alcohol, drugs, who are under the influence of raging hormones, greed, wills to power, delusions, Oedipal complexes, Napoleon complexes, high-profile divorces, difficult home lives, mental and physical health problems, inaccurate media, and flawed philosophies, and physical and mental stress.
But you know, at least, ideally they would have empathy, and the ability to feel and react correctly toward Good, which is what separates humanity from the fucked, calculating materialism of an algorithmical construction that only works for the bettement of itself or the blind pursuit of wealth or a pre-assigned task...
Because humankind is also overseen and regulated by algorithms and robots.
Humankind has always been ruled by characters with quirks, personalities, and flaws. However, it’s important to track qualities that could be written off as neuroticism to insure that they are not actually the expression of underlying, deep-seated evil and lack of genuine investment in the betterment of hunankind.
Quantitative assessments of value in aesthetics are Problematic
Kitschy apprehension of Beauty
Inability to value authenticity
Inability to express personal taste that is individuated from market value
The architecture of the Tower.
The gold monolith looms over the avenue. It is faceless and reflective- a gold shell that repels, with glee. It is the antithesis of Beauty, in its insensitivity and lack of emotional involvement with the space that it occupies. It is an expression of sheer force- but not of the force of the mechanized subway, whose power has forward volition, whose power is translated and multiplied by its use by The People- but of power that is private, and masturbatory. It is the power to pee in a gold urinal.
It’s the unchecked narcissistic expression of an ego maniac whose behavior that seems to parallel that of the most evil dictators in the history of humankind. [ however, I think it’s important that writers check their language and not be accusatory in ways that are not provably accurate].
Working toward the disarmament of North Korea is good.
Censoring language is very, very bad.
Arrived feeling dry- crusted and tired.
The priest wore a sash embroidered with a conch. The arcs of the shell were graphic and carefully delineated.
Unto the death of baptism the child is lowered, then raised again into the light of God.
The child falls and rises again. He is plunged into the water and brought forth anew.
The priest is jolly and takes on his role within the community with lightness. He calls forth children to assist with tasks such as holding the prayer book, gently but insistently instilling the message that you have to participate to be a part of this community, that each person is a profoundly crucial facet of the community. Even shy or nervous children eventually cave and take on their small duty with a bashful grin.
My brother accepts rituals with reverence and humility. He greatly respects authority without being blind to the philosophical underpinnings of the systems that he exists within, and he works toward the betterment of his world with Zenlike patience. He is kind, brave, and shoulders responsibility with dignity.
What is the name of your child, the priest asks. My brother holds the boy up toward the priest and the community.
He speaks the boy's name clearly.
And what do you ask of God’s church for this child?
To be baptized.
We cross the child’s forehead. We opted against full immersion. You have to get a white swim diaper, and all the ones we found were printed with like, Finding Nemo or puppies. (laughs). I too, would prefer to dunk my little toe into the cold waters and be quickly withdrawn, than to take a full dive into the pool.
The priest holds an iridescent oyster shell, lined in radiant whorls. The exterior is warty and rough, and the form fits perfectly into his palm. He scoops out shellfuls of water from the pool and lets it stream over the boy’s forehead, back into the water.
I gaze at the ball lights hanging from the ceiling and think, there should be more disco balls in churches.
The relationship with the divine is both a mirror, and a soft, radiant diffusion, that illuminates the space around its point of refraction.
The rose window is a crystal eye, veiled.
To sink into the depths, the child closes his eyes.
Rising up, he opens them anew.
The men of Tinder San Diego deserve a gold medal for Best of USA. like damn boys, way to go. 10 out of 10 for handsome, hunky, and enthusiastic- like a pina colada for this thirsty traveler! New York men are more of a ‘whiskey neat’ type of experience. LA is like a sad cup of wine, that you’ve had too many times before.
Nighttime is a heterotopia that makes daytime tolerable, and I pass through the daytime mechanically, longing for its deep, warm dark cloak to simultaneously enfold me and liberate me. I wander the boardwalks by the La Jolla cliffs and watch the flaming orb of the sun descend into the ocean. The green flash, James used to say, flipping his skateboard up and running his fingers through his hair- flashing a smile before turning to run down the street like James Dean, jumping up onto his skate to cruise down a hill, despite the fact that he already had a couple of false teeth from falls. I wonder at his waspy mother, ensconced in this upper-class shangri-la of Huntington beach, and think that their family has perhaps elevated and celebrated the mystery of this celestial phenomena, as a small point of magic and mystery within their highly controlled lives. The green flash is the Huntington Beach urban legend, and it’s the type of cultural granule that James- quixotic and always with unfulfilled desires for freedom from his position in society- would latch onto as a source of both self-characterization and hope. He would say I was like a little slice of pink ginger. Rather than analyze that, I'll leave it for you to ponder.
Once I gave James a pair of Moleskin notebooks with photographs of a famous hot air ballooning disaster affixed to the covers. I think we were more of a crash than a flash- or maybe a flash in the pan. A flash that crashed. A flash that crashed and went down in a blaze of flames.
Tonight, like always, there is no green flash, because I don’t think it exists. I pick up small blue shells along the sand, and drop them. The La Jolla cliffs tilt and sink, centuries of sedimentation and fossilization now comically askance as they descend back into the sand. I’m wearing a skin-tight shirt which is rare for me; I get some glances on the way home, and a skateboarder asks me out for later. We swap phone numbers on the boardwalk, but I already have a date so it’s not likely we’ll meet up.
Put on a lace miniskirt from Goodwill with an olive-green silk shirt from H&M and some fake pearls. I tied a house-key around my neck on a scrap of tie-dyed silk, and added a cheetah scarf. I get to the beach club and regret momentarily making plans ahead of time. I like the freedom of walking into the club with my swag on 10 and getting loose, without caring whether or not my fire is going to intimidate whoever my date turns out to be. However, my date fortunately turned out to be awesome. Dan was a 6’ 2” Persian boy with a very bright, direct gaze and radiant smile, who seemed pretty intent on ceaselessly flattering me throughout the course of the evening, which I was aware of the excesses of but receptive to.
I thought, maybe that’s why some people are so happy, is that after work they go home to people who never tire of telling them how totally awesome they are.
I once shared a studio building with a very thick-set dark-haired girl who wore her hair in tight pigtails and wore short, quirky floral dresses that showed off her kneecaps and kitten heels. Her studio-mate was a socially adept young man who made very little art, but wore a full-body white jumpsuit, like a house painter. He would bring large quantities of coconuts to the warehouse and lop the tops off of them with a knife, to drink the juice. There seemed to be no teleological purpose to this elaborate and endless coconut-water production process, other than “style”. Regardless, that was what he did.
Once I was eating carrots-with-peanut-butter (budget dinner) with wine in the kitchenette, when the girl came through, her lips painted ruby red and her hair in pigtails. Her kitten heels clacked against the dusty warehouse floor as she crossed the room to get a frozen burrito of the freezer. She microwaved it on a plate and removed it to take back to her studio, but as she walked away, she dropped the burrito on the floor. She bent over her heels to scrape the frozen burrito back onto the plate nervously, and as she stood up we made eye contact as she continued to eat it. I said nothing, and we never spoke again.
Another time, I was working in my studio, and the girl was on the phone, either with her mother or one of the girls from her gaggle of her friends. overheard;“[shockingly inadmirable statement]”; laughs airily.
I mention her, because I think, maybe some people have received such an endless supply of affirmation from their mother, or someone, that they think the world will love them unconditionally.
Many of the older girls in the scene would ask me for huge favors that they would not repay, or borrow my tools and time without financial recompense. Once I was selling some wooden 2x4”s. My roommate had asked me to buy them so that we could construct a room for me within out loft space, but then (after I paid for the wood), he decided he didn’t want to do it. Because I did not have the tools or ability to do so, I was left with too much wood, no room, and a major waste of money. I decided to sell them. This girl Kelly said she would take them. I hadn’t realized that she didn’t intend to pay, but by the time she was there to pick them up it seemed just as well to send her off with them, to at least get them out of my life. I guess she thought that her company was so valuable she didn’t need to show me ordinary courtesy, or that I was so interested in her friendship that I was down to do huge favors for her, neither of which is true.
Regardless, I am thankful every day to have escaped that wasteland.
Dan and I posted up by the DJ, who was playing a remix of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, followed up by some Miley Cyrus (Party in the USA). Mostly we danced. One boy had some pretty good break-dancing moves, and my mood was pretty lit so we were getting some good dancing in. Went to about three more clubs- mostly I was into the dancing, more than drinking or talking. The so cal sunshine soaks into its people and gives the scene a warm, mellow ambiance that feels welcoming. Dan has self-assurance and is at ease with himself, neither clawing at the world for validation or sitting back and waiting for it to reward him. He’s angst-free and positive, capable of enjoying another person without being jealous or controlling. Overall, last night was lit.
A+HRRA award summer 2023
The Summer 2023 Arts + Human Rights Research Award will be open to submissions this summer (approx. 14:51 UTC June 21 2023 - 06:50 UTC September 23rd 2023). The topic of the Summer 2023 A+HRRA is AI, Computer Logic, and Human Rights.
th_Eroses, an arts publication www.theroses.xyz, is awarding $100 for a work of artistic / literary research that addresses or concerns human rights in conjunction with this season's topic, AI, Computer Logic, and Human Rights. The term 'research' here is intended to indicate the process of creation, exploration, and discovery, rather than the compiling of archival facts and/or materials, although the compiling of archival facts and/or materials may be a part of the process of exploration and discovery, or a part of the process of shaping the path or direction of discovery. This is intended to be an open-ended premise, to support the range of work that may occur in artists' and writers' unique processes.
From the UN:
"What Are Human Rights? Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination."
Successful submissions may, but are not required to, focus on investigative, process-based exploration and material discovery. Successful submissions may couple rigorous (or subjective) analysis with documentation of investigative, process-based exploration and discovery. Submissions do not need to be factual; forms of literary fiction, subjective expression, abstraction, choreography, and/or non-narrative presentations will be considered as well. Submissions in all languages and media are welcomed.
The goal of this award is to amplify artistic voices that inquisitively and critically approach the pressing issues of our time, to create a habitat where a unique form of creative journalism can thrive, and to provide th_Eroses readers with artistic / literary insights into key issues.
Please note: If your work is submitted and selected for the award, you consent to the publication of your submitted work by th_Eroses now and in the future. Not all submissions will win the award; there may be one submission chosen, or multiple submissions, or none of the submissions. Selected submissions will receive an email of acceptance and next steps.
Please submit work to email@example.com with "Entry: Arts + Human Rights Research Award" in the subject line.