Monday, July 30, 2007

And from Morris Berman's DARK AGES AMERICA, The Final Phase of Empire:

"Being a lightweight -- or a vacuous marionette, in George Jr.'s case -- was not a liability but actually an asset; that Bush Jr. was (is) a hollow mouthpiece for a self-destructive imperial project is an arrangement that makes that project all that much easier to fulfill. That 'he's a real nowhere man' is not an obstacle for a nation sliding into chaos while it is trying to convince itself that it is in charge of the world. Indeed, it's a perfect fit."


I just found out about the British satirical artist, BANKSY (Robert Banks), from the blog where you would see a photo of Banksy's full size upholstered elephant (the elephant in the room of Empire). I recommend taking a look at some of Banksy's biting drawings:
More about Banks in the essay on

Meanwhile the titles of my entries seem to be drifting into the lefthand column of this blog -- Don't know why.


When my good friend Victor last returned from Borinquen (Puerto Rico) he brought me a medallion (upper left below) derived from one of the ancient petroglyphs of the island's original people, the Taino, who were the first of the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere to be slaughtered almost entirely by the Spanish invaders. In my obsessive way, I could not keep from playing with the image:

More from the Yosemite Exhibit


Ted Waddell:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A View of the China Basin channel


The channel doesn't curve -- Just the photographer's point of view.



U.S. Amerikans Attacking a Black Man (some years back in Boston):

I am happy that my friend Sharon Beals once again had one of her photos of the Bernal Heights coyote published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Sadly it is because of officials killing two coyotes in Golden Gate Park. Sharon's photo was attached to an article, "Coyote killing an uncalled-for reaction" by venerable "Digger" Jerry George. (Another of the old Diggers, Peter Coyote, also protested that killing). On the same day, we have a slight glimpse onto the widespread "sport" of dogfighting, and it is associated with someone involved with the one of the other violent sports, football -- another entertainment for the bloodthirsty crowd who don't care what happens to the gladiators' bodies. On the same day we get the news that a jury of Marines, who might have sentenced a fellow Marine to a dishonorable discharge and life in prison for murder, instead released him with "a bad-conduct discharge," although he kidnapped (evidently a random choice) "a middle-aged Iraqi man, who was dragged from his home, marched 1,000 yards and shot 11 times....Some of Thomas' squad members testified they decided to kill an Iraqi out of frustration with the legal system there that lets suspected insurgents roam free." The freed marine said, after his release, "This is not over for me. Not as long as two of my boys are out there." His "boys"! The camaderie of the violent who bond by torturing or shooting animals, or human beings, or love to see other men destroy themselves physically through violent sports. What sickness! We all grow up terrorized by bullies in the U.S.A. It is sad that it was not a man, but a woman cartoonist who made the connection in today's newspaper. Ann Telnaes shows the usual hooded torture victim from Abu Ghraib, wired, and standing on a pedestal, but we see a dog's paws and tails extending from under the hood and robe. The wire to electrocute the victim is held by the football player involved in the horrendous torture and killing of pit bulls. The American religion -- a thin veneer of Christianity over murder. Every year I ask myself, "Why haven't they killed me yet?" How many of us feel like coyotes for one reason or another? I believe the number who live in the Nation of Coyote outnumbers the number who live here as "citizens of the U.S.A." Beware -- official America is looking for any excuse they can find to shoot us or one of our fellow coyotes. In that mood, being gay, being politically on the left, being so many things that are not stamped with "Made in the U.S.A.," a long time ago I wrote the following verse (one of a few "two-headed"--at both ends -- I was writing at the time) :


Condemned to tumbleweed
a person out of grace,
motes in a whirlwind: the presence, Coyote,
I am my family’s nothing.

Tailored to shadow,
reduced to the last garden, beside
the head slag heap,
I worry my gums with twigs.

Wenchless, wasted, I place these feet
into my shadow’s feet, the midnight jumper,
white cotton’s mothermost skin
to wrap my baby’s bunting in

til it explodes. Rub skin away.
Spread wings upon a stem
until the goo is sucked off
by the sun. Then wave myself away.


- James McColley Eilers, copyright 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The current "Matisse as Sculptor" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is larger and better than I had expected, with parallel works of other artists throughout the Exhibit. If I can get through to their curator, this show would seem the perfect opportunity for them to exhibit one of my favorite paintings, hidden away since their move their old location on Van Ness Avenue -- a small painting of a cup by Matisse, "La Table au Cafe."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On the Embarcadero, Saturday Morning, on 14 July 2007

On an isolated pier, across from our tai chi ritual, we watched the mama seagull sitting on her nest for weeks, watched over by the father who scared away intruding seagulls. And then the eggs were hatched. And now the mother feeds her crying chicks...

A homeless man awakened from his house, a large cardboard box, scooted forward to eat the chicken someone had given him....

...only to find himself in the middle of a Falun Gong demonstration....

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Matthew Shepard Act

"AS EARLY AS THIS WEEK, we have the oppotunity to come one step closer to ensuring that what happened to Matthew will not happen to any other American. The U.S. Senate will be voting on the Matthew Shepard Act to ensure that all people regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or ability deserve to be free from violence and crimes committed because of hatred and bias. CALL AND ASK YOUR SENATOR TO SUPPORT THE MATTHEW SHEPARD ACT" even if we know that, if passed, it will be vetoed by our insane and criminal President.
I took time to "make an art piece" of the fence on which Matthew Shepard was bound for 18 hours before he was discovered. As the caption says, the fence has since been torn down. But something about the shape of it, seeming to X out someone's existence, takes on a symbolic power.

Current Yosemite Show at the Oakland Museum

These two examples don't begin to convey the breadth of the show at the Oakland Museum concentrating on photographs, enormous paintings, etc., of Yosemite,

Mural in Oakland

View of Tamalpais from a Backyard in Mill Valley

What we see when we do tai chi...


Friday, July 06, 2007

Asian Art Show Collages

Collages created from images clipped from the catalogue for the Spring Asian Arts Show at Fort Mason:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sights in San Francisco


In the coffee shop I saw the man I should have made love with 50 years ago. Every time he came into that college literature class, he looked at me with those immense dark eyes in that long head of his that suggested the head of some mythological horse creature – obviously Greek with a beauty that overwhelmed me – and his eyes drank me in every time, eyes that never blinked and whose blackness was bottomless. I was so repressed that I could only ignore his steady stares in my direction, but there was also the problem that I was with my straight friend who noticed the man’s look and teased me about it, forcing me to strongly deny any interest, and I had not begun to accept myself because I had yet to find someone who would let me know that I would still have friends if I took a male lover. With so many fears in those times, including imprisonment for being gay, I feared the boy whom I should have loved, could have loved so beautifully, beginning my gay life beautifully, instead of accidentally. And now he stood before me in the coffee shop, and now I was willing to be the lover I should have been, but now my young beautiful Greek boy looks through me as if I am a pane of ice held in front of a blue sky. Here’s that bitter lump in the throat: The ones that got away never swim back.


Hilary Clinton asked people to propose a campaign song. I am too late in submitting this (You may imagine your own blues music to accompany the words):

Blue shadows over me. Blue shadows over me.
I used to be poor and lost in shadows.
I made my way through dangerous alleys, ominous meadows.
I found the true body I am to occupy, and a sound mind,
when I found a colony of the thinking and the kind.
Living in a place that despises me,
I cursed their chains, and set myself free –
but how can I feel that way when I see the same old poverty
around me, such a vast, sad global sea. Who could feel free?
And yet I cannot weep. We turn to shell, empty and brittle.
We turn to stone in a world turning to stone, little by little.
Blue shadows over me. Blue shadows over us.

I talked to a homeless man, and I asked him his name. He said, “I like to be called Anonymous.”


As the drivers shift gears, their stuttering trucks
are metallic curtains that slide awkwardly away,
unveiling, across the street, the motionless poor,
huddled together in weathered clothes. My heart shakes
with a caged howl, and turns inward. The howl drops
a well down through me; I follow it toward the bottomless,
where I hope I will drop out into numb ignorance.
But the cold, grey poor sit on my eyeballs all the way down,
and when I look up, they have not been erased by the passing
traffic. As I wait at the bus stop, the homeless awaken;
neatly pack their gear away on neatly ordered grocery carts;
they speak quietly, assist each other in early morning rituals.

-- James McColley Eilers, copyright 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Those who remember my old series THE INTOWN TOURIST (before my hometown, financially, kicked me out), may remember a pretentious fellow I knew, Waldman the Wizard, who would hand me his latest pronouncement. Well, on this "heavenly" or "good luck" day -- 07-07-07 -- here is his latest, headed,


As scientists continue to search for one grand theory that may unify all the disparate strands of knowledge with one beautifully simple model, I cannot help but think there is something like that we could apply to political life on earth. Surely, others see the same clues in such things as the way every country is divided by its citizens into a North and a South, and how the North is generally equated with the cool and rational, while the South is characterized as emotional and erotic. What can this be but a projection of the axis of the human body, head in the North, genitals in the South, and in the middle, “the heart of the country”? This simple matter is not simple in that it reveals that individual humans collectively project the image of our self-dividing individual self on an entire landscape, and designates that in one region or another, the humans there have been trained over time to identify with one part of the human body. Why? Because individual humans see one part of their bodies as being at war with other parts. This is certainly not an image of wholeness and unity.

["Avocado Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi"]

Similarly, as indicated in Shakespeare’s great tragedy KING LEAR, national governments are projections of the dynamics in that country’s family structures, sometimes tolerant, more often dysfunctional. Now it is generally thought that Hitler was possible because the German family in the early 20th century was usually under the control of a dictatorial father. (We might look at U.S. Presidents in that light – Are most of us “the children of alcoholics” and look for an alcoholic, reformed alcoholic, or another “child of alcoholics” to lead us? What is bound to follow?)

My thesis is that, rather than be entangled so completely in the cross purposes of most political conflicts, we might always check behind that war to consider what fogs over those matters – the individual psyche and the nature of the family in a nation or on the earth in a particular period. In a world society where many, in materially prosperous nations as well as in nations with desperately poor and disenfranchised humans, are not aware that we are not “human”: Extensive education and exposure to humane influences are required, especially a final lesson that questioning and searching is the final permanent state of sanity and good citizenship – rather than influences that tell us to abandon our minds to some person or cause.
[The maze at California Pacific Medical Center]

In every country, civil war is latent or apparent. Again, this is so universal, like the North/South dichotomy, that it should be apparent that individual humans are projecting an internal civil war onto the world, millions suffering and dying because so many individual humans have never faced their own internal civil war, and prefer to deny its existence and project it on the world. Civil war becomes visible when it breaks out between two parties, but, in truth, it goes on continuously, the global "melting pot" becoming so partitioned, general, and dispersed that we fail to recognize that we are blocked and tripped up by our not recognizing that we are in a constant, subliminal state of civil war.

I know this sounds like an absurd project for ending conflict around the earth and in our own streets and homes, but just because it may take a thousand years doesn’t mean that it is not the only way to go – individual enlightenment: Some say it comes in a flash, but I suspect that, instead, it is cumulative, gaining some weight or confidence in itself as it grows: The flash of enlightenment may be on a dimmer switch that gradually grows to the state said to be enjoyed by “the Happy Few.” How many have taken even a first step in that direction without falling away into some dead end cul-de-sac of the mind?

Confucius leads the way in his famous sorites: “If you want the state to be good, you must establish order in your own family. If you want to establish order in your family, you must rectify your own heart. To rectify your own heart, you must clarify your inarticulate thoughts through self-knowledge. Once you have struggled and arrived at sincere and precise definitions in your own mind, you can stabilize your own heart. With this self-mastery accomplished, you may help your own family to set itself in order. Bringing your own house into order can bring good government to the state. And when your state is well governed, human society on planet earth is brought into balance.”

I think these are not just single steps around a circle. For it to work (and why not demand that thinking be muscular and quick in the process of humanization), every question you want to blurt out should pass through all of the chambers of the sorites, to be examined in the light of each chamber, before any expression of the question or the next step to take.

Sweetness and joy to all who attempt to become not the perfect human, but one who is reasonably well-balanced. While the project is the individual human, when our better self is glimpsed it is probably, for the most part, in our relationship to other humans.

[I cannot believe I was ever obsessive enough to create the mandallas on this entry. Below is my "quilted Irene Harmon" -- a paper collage with the young Irene and the older Irene on the beach at Drake's Bay on some 4th of July "of yesteryear":

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Yerba Buena Lovers

George W. Bush stands as if the coat hangar is still in his jacket. He is his own cardboard cutout.