Friday, March 28, 2008


Today I took what people I used to know called a "mental health day". Just a bit of time off to slow down and breath a bit. When I was a wee Zed I hardly ever stopped until I was so drained I simply fell over. Age brings a certain wisdom if not endurance. It's the usual thing when I do this that I find myself towards the end of the day pacing about looking for a nameless something much as a bloodhound casts about for a scent that should be there but isn't.

This seems to be a part of the creative process for me, this restlessness. It's a spur to do something that I'll find if I only look hard enough.

I also know this defeats the purpose as art always comes unannounced and sudden. But search I do and most likely always will.

It's my nature.

Oh, but for an extended period of inner tranquility, what a blessing that would be.

Portrait of the artist as a somnambulist.

So peaceful.

Maybe tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Tres elegant no? The symbolism of a balloon as art?

wonderful concept: pretty on the outside but absolutely empty on the inside.
I'll name no names, point no fingers, largely because some of the work that sparked this was done by nice people. Really nice folks. The kind you'd love to have coffee with and shoot the shit.
Er, there may be a horrible pun in there. Sorry.
It boils down to wallpaper. I love good wallpaper. Hand blocked, warm, colorful, and utterly vacant wallpaper. Something for everybody and no one's feeling ever, ever need get involved beyond the surface. Soma eye candy. It's everywhere, made by everyone. Why there's ever perfectly acceptable "rebellious" wallpaper. Sanctioned rebellion to the popular taste.
How charming.
Yeah. to a point.
Apples and pears. What? What happened to the balloons? The wallpaper?
Keep up with the flying metaphors, they are a bugger unless you think in circles. You gotta learn to duck or you could get a cramp. Which brings me back to apples and pears.
At one point in my career, it was expected that I be an apple. At one fateful intersection, I was told to be one. I honestly tried, largely because I had what's known as a "life". Read that as a mortgage, a lovely companion, pedigree dogs, a tricked out jeep with more balls than a stockyard, and closet filled with coolasfuck cloths. You know, stuff.
Well, as hard as I tried, my essential pear-ness won out.
So I did the only sane thing a befuddled and weary pear can do: I quite.
Nowadays, In refuse to be an acceptable anything. Nicely of course. I just wander off on my own when the conversation comes around to wallpaper, balloons or apples. Rebellious or otherwise.
You see, I'd rather fly at the sun and fail miserably that hover a discreet inch or so above the ground. I'm all about an old love letter in and empty dresser in an abandoned house, a ruined fountain overgrown with weeds in some odd place that stirs the heart. I'm about trying and winning pure poetry. The kind that bleeds without shame, and rouses the mind to long forgotten dreams of something that mean something. I want to be the perfect failure. That's where art lives. I never wanted to make balloons. All surface filled with nothing but air. I stumble around in the dark looking for light and by God, I find it from time to time.
Walt Disney can kiss my ass. So can anyone else that doesn't have the stones to get fucking dirty and make Goddamn art.
I won't live in a world of posers. Even well intentioned, talented ones. I'll make my own.
And I'm just insane enough to believe that the world I make will have enough room for anyone who wants to come too.
Michael the happy pear.
My love to you all.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


My fondest wish for you all today, not just to those who call themselves Christian, but to all people of all books and all hopeful, persons lost and dreaming of better things: a day peaceful and with your dear ones. Let a tiny ripple go out from your hearts to the vastness we call God.

It is possible. Every breath you take sings like angels.


Thursday, March 20, 2008


I'm just bloody exhausted. I spent nearly a month in limbo while the studio froze solid and now I'm paying the price.

Even my teeth hurt.

I DO have a "working" blog ready to go......maybe tomorrow eh? Let this boy relax a bit ok?

Sallaam's and comfy pillows.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Word has just reached that I've missed the celebration of the birth of a splendid young man by the name of Nick Dunbar. Well, this will never do, no indeed! Not on MY blog. The very thought!


So, a very happy, if belated birthday to Master Nick. Be wise, be kind, be yourself.




Monday, March 17, 2008


It's been a big week and it's Monday. Can you appreciate this?

I've been back working on Le Book for several days now and all I can say is that I've begun to feel I'm looking through the wrong end of a telescope. Things seem to be as far away as I imagined.

It's not as drastic as all that, mind you I've a certain flair for the dramatic. Irrepressible me.

The pages are falling like leaves and igniting as the drop. Lovely to behold. It's a shame really, that what I do is so solitary and distinctly un-festive. That's where the new "Working" blog will come into play: a place for me to celebrate my isolation while I work. A bit more patience and suddenly it will bloom like poppies in the spring.

A new thing has cropped up the last few weeks that DOES concern me though. My eyesight seems to be falling a bit further back into unfocused than I'd like. Time for another loathsome eye exam. Bugger.

I have more or less figured that if I had the funds available, I could finish the book by mid July, instead of mid September. Send money.

Ah, well, worth a try eh?


“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”


Thursday, March 13, 2008


Some days.

Some days I've just had enough of this great, retarded, raving insane world.

A great flow of black bile with claws just swells from somewhere within and I want to either burn the world to cinders or die weeping in a river of tears for the beauty raped and plundered for fake golden dust.

I just hate feeling like this. It does neither me, nor anyone else any good.

But I do. Sometimes.

I'm glad I'm not God.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I finally remembered that Gandhi thing this morning. A busy, frustrating day,

that's best left to the imagination.

Here's to a better tomorrow. They sing for us all.


The Seven Blunders are:

· Wealth without work
· Pleasure without conscience
· Knowledge without character
· Commerce without morality
· Science without humanity
· Worship without sacrifice
· Politics without principle

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My other obligations are wrapped up.

I started back on the book this afternoon. After the to long hiatus, I fell into it like a pool of cool water. After I play catch-up for a few weeks, I've got an idea for a piece that might surprise a few of you.

I've got little to say right now, not even any blather.

It's still far to cold for the middle of march, and even I, who generally loves winter would like see a bit of moderation.

Oh, and there is the troubling extra few pounds one tends to gather over the winter. I'm not nearly as vain as I once was, but even for health reasons, I think a bit of discipline seems to be in order.

again. *sigh*

Oh, and I had a great bit from Gandhi saved for today, but lost it.

peacefulness anyway.


Thursday, March 6, 2008


When I was starting out in the Puma Blues days, I was really the very model of the "angry young man". I suppose it comes with the times I was raised in and the coming of age of my desire to really be an artist come hell or high water. I listened to angry music when I was in school, though like all things I burned out on it when the "art" thing got more serious and I drifted into what can only be called experimental, mostly European sounds. But by the time Puma came around, I'd drifted back into the angry thing once more. This was the Reagan Years basically. I'd been trickled down on enough to get pissed off at a lot of things.

Then, it happened again, that drifting into space music.

Ah, but these days, as the artistic restraints have been lifted once more, and probably reflecting something of the times, I've re-discovered my anger. The big difference this time being it's tempered with a deep sadness and feelings of compassion. Age has not really dampened the outrage at the senseless system that flays my heart on a daily basis, but it has brought with it a wider, more holistic understanding of the moral and ethical black hole at the center of the world we make for each other.

This song, this angry song by Bruce Cockburn was remembered this morning.

"They call it democracy"

padded with power here they come

international loan sharks backed by the guns

of market hungry military profiteers

whose word is a swamp and

whose brow is smeared with the blood of the poor

who rob life of its quality

who render rage a necessity

by turning countries into labour camps

modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

sinister cynical instrument

who makes the gun into a sacrament

--the only response to the deification of tyranny

by so-called "developed" nations'

idolatry of ideology

north south east

west kill the best and buy the rest

it's just spend a buck to make a buck

you don't really give a flying fuck

about the people in misery

IMF dirty MF

takes away everything it can get

always making certain that there's one thing left

keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

see the paid-off local bottom feeders

passing themselves off as leaders

kiss the ladies

shake hands with the fellows

and it's open for business like a cheap bordello

and they call it democracy

and they call it democracy

and they call it democracy

and they call it democracy

see the loaded eyes of the children too

trying to make the best of it the way kids do

one day you're going to rise from your habitual feast

to find yourself staring down the throat of the beast

they call the revolution

IMF dirty MF

takes away everything it can get

always making certain that there's one thing left

keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy.

I'm glad I remembered it.

It's hard to believe it was written twenty, twenty-five or more years ago.

Same as it ever was.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008


For most Afghan women the burqa is the least of their problems.
Afghanistan is just about the poorest country in the world. Only Burkina Faso and Niger sometimes get worse ratings. After nearly three decades of warfare and another of drought, millions of Afghans are without safe water or sanitation or electricity, even in the capital city. Millions are without adequate food and nutrition. Millions have access only to the most rudimentary health care, or none at all.
Diseases such as TB and polio, long eradicated in most of the world, flourish here. They hit women and children hard. One in four children dies before the age of five, mostly from preventable illnesses such as cholera and diarrhea. Half of all women of childbearing age who die do so in childbirth, giving Afghanistan one of the highest maternal death rates in the world. Average life expectancy hovers around 42 years.
Notice that we're still talking women's rights here: the fundamental economic and social rights that belong to all human beings.
There are other grim statistics. About 85% of Afghan women are illiterate. About 95% are routinely subjected to violence in the home. And the home is where most Afghan women in rural areas, and many in cities, are still customarily confined. Public space and public life belong almost exclusively to men. President Karzai heads the country while his wife, a qualified gynecologist with needed skills, stays at home.
These facts are well known. During more than five years of Western occupation, they haven't changed.
Afghan women and girls are, by custom and practice, the property of men. They may be traded and sold like any commodity. Although Afghan law sets the minimum marriageable age for girls at sixteen, girls as young as eight or nine are commonly sold into marriage. Women doctors in Kabul maternity hospitals describe terrible life-threatening "wedding night" injuries that husbands inflict on child brides. In the countryside, far from medical help, such girls die.
Under the tribal code of the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group, men customarily hand over women and girls -- surplus sisters or widows, daughters or nieces -- to other men to make amends for some offense or to pay off some indebtedness, often to a drug lord. To Pashtuns the trade-off is a means of maintaining "justice" and social harmony, but international human rights observers define what happens to the women and girls used in such "conflict resolution" as "slavery."
Given the rigid confinement of women, a surprising number try to escape. But any woman on her own outside the home is assumed to be guilty of the crime of "zina" -- engaging in sexual activity. That's why "running away" is itself a crime. One crime presupposes the other.
When she is caught, as most runaways are, she may be taken to jail for an indefinite term or returned to her husband or father or brothers who may then murder her to restore the family honor.
The same thing happens to a rape victim, force being no excuse for sexual contact -- unless she is married to the man who raped her. In that case, she can be raped as often as he likes.
In Kabul, where women and girls move about more freely, many are snatched by traffickers and sold into sexual slavery. The traffickers are seldom pursued or punished because once a girl is abducted she is as good as dead anyway, even to loving parents bound by the code of honor. The weeping mother of a kidnapped teenage girl once told me, "I pray she does not come back because my husband will have to kill her."
Many a girl kills herself. To escape beatings or sexual abuse or forced marriage. To escape prison or honor killing, if she's been seduced or raped or falsely accused. To escape life, if she's been forbidden to marry the man she would choose for herself.
Suicide also brings dishonor, so families cover it up. Only when city girls try to kill themselves by setting themselves on fire do their cases become known, for if they do not die at once, they may be taken to hospital. In 2003, scores of cases of self-immolation were reported in the city of Herat; the following year, as many were recorded in Kabul. Although such incidents are notoriously underreported, during the past year 150 cases were noted in western Afghanistan, 197 in Herat, and at least 34 in the south.
The customary codes and traditional practices that made life unbearable for these burned girls predate the Taliban, and they remain in force today, side by side with the new constitution and international documents that speak of women's rights.
Tune in a Kabul television station and you'll see evidence that Afghan women are poised at a particularly schizophrenic moment in their history. Watching televised parliamentary sessions, you'll see women who not only sit side by side with men -- a dangerous, generally forbidden proximity -- but actually rise to argue with them. Yet who can forget poor murdered Shaima, the lively, youthful presenter of a popular TV chat show for young people? Her father and brother killed her, or so men and women say approvingly, because they found her job shameful. Mullahs and public officials issue edicts from time to time condemning women on television, or television itself.

I just want to cry.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Oh yeah.

Four minutes and seventeen seconds of pure jazzclub meets dervish funk.

The only thing missing is Hugh Marsh's violin fire. But you can't always get everything.

I love it.

Mercan Dede and the Secret Tribe.



There are some changes coming here.

The first one will be content in the "bio" section. Hopefully it won't be to much of greatest thing since toast kind of thing. I feel a bit reticent about doing it at all, but I have to step back and realize that not everyone who comes here knows me. So, I suppose it's a reasonable thing to do. I've almost always felt that the work speaks far better than I do, and since this self-same work is the reason I have this place at all I'll just have to live with it. Oh, I hear the cynical sniggers now.

Trust me, I fully believe the work is special, not me. Or not, as you will, as I'm not in the business of making up peoples minds about anything. I just make up things.

The next section will be the banishing of the "eBay sales" section. It takes up space, I never sell anything from there, and frankly I'm rather tired of being low balled on the auctions my dear Fhionn runs for me. I'm going with a reputable private auction house that will treat my work better and help me get along better with the lovely folks I owe to much money to. In it's place will be a second blog solely devoted to my work, rather than my ramblings, including lots of talk about why, how and the reasons I do this stuff. Along with as many working photos as I can manage to illuminate the process of making something. Of course, right now I'll be focusing on The Fracture of the Universal Boy. I know, you all are just sick to death about hearing of it and want it now. But, the effort of doing this book without a safety net and trying to survive in the mean time, ( and i DO mean, well, "mean".) is something I'd not wish on anyone.

So, for now, that's all I can say. I am however back to work with a vengeance, having produces two new Unknown Dervish pieces, and am currently working on a piece for the local hospital, who were kind enough to waive part of a rather alarming medical bill in exchange for a small painting. Try that at Boston General sometime. There are certain perks to living in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I'll post it, maybe you'll just have to get sick and hospitalized out here to see it.


I'll be back on "the book" full time in about a week or so. Thank God I'm not on deadlines anymore is all I can say. But gosharoony I want this thing done. Soon, I hope.

After all, I've got another one at the starting gate. Anybody seen a windmill here'a bouts?



Jalaladin Rumi.