July 3, 2020
June 11, 2020
I'm no good with anger.
I rage, to be sure.
But I look away.
To have always done so.
Now I'm forced to glare.
To rage against the machine.
To stare at its hypocrisy
And my complacency,
To know even this rage,
Is kept safely within,
As the people scream past my window.
But I see you.
You beautiful faces,
A shimmering sea of unique,
Raging for the light,
Giving all of us hope,
That if we stare it down,
No more looking away,
And see what must be done,
Finally do that hard work,
Topple the systems and symbols,
That fuel this hate,
Then rage too shall pass.
May 18, 2020
Since Mother's Day, I've been drawing and redrawing the above image. I was initially trying to think of a card to create for my most fierce and loving of mothers — as I've done mama-duck-and-duckling and mama-bear-and-cub cards in the past. In trying to dream up a new mother/baby animal image, I first and foremost recalled the incredible display of mothering I witnessed a few weeks back in the Dolphin Reef movie on Disney+ (which is about so much more than dolphins).
In particular, there's a scene where a mama humpback whale and her calf are attacked by a pod of orcas in the open ocean. To stave off the assailants from eating her calf, Mama throws her baby on her back as she battles multiple attackers, all while crying out across the depths of the ocean for help.
Eventually help comes, as her new boyfriend/champion leads a pod of male humpbacks to her side, and the orcas are forcefully compelled to swim away. And both mama and calf live to tell the tale, with Disney's storytelling help, no less.
In a way, it reminds me of that time in 7th grade when my mom tore Chad's mom, Brett's mom, and Todd's mom a new one when they tried to pin the hot tub party/spin-the-bottle game on me. I mean, sure it was my idea, but it happened at Brett's house, so wtf? Well, those ladies had no response.
Point being, don't mess with moms! Especially not mine, nor any humpback calves'.
May 5, 2020
April 20, 2020
April 9, 2020
No, we'll just skip it this year I guess, and look forward to going over to our lovely, generous friends Kerri and John's place, like we always do, as was this year's initial plan; indeed, the matzoh ball soup above was meant to be the evite art for the affair.
Yes, our friends put on quite the fiesta... for a seder. We say a few prayers, tell old stories, and celebrate life with a ton of delicious food and amazing wines — at least four glasses worth, as the good book commands.
Really though, without friends and family, the story's kind of stale, and its lessons seem pretty damn harsh. And the prayers are all nebulously connected to this God character I don't have a great relationship with at the moment. Okay, it was fading long ago, but still, my gentile wife and I didn't make last night in quarantine any different than the rest.
Today, instead of feeling hungover and desperately in need of leavened greasy bread, I just viscerally feel that lack of different, as though something fundamentally the same is missing. Without those times to look forward to, without loved ones to surround ourselves with and recount the stories that got us around the table in the first place... well, it almost makes me lose my appetite.
But we Jews know a thing or two about maintaining an appetite, and surviving plagues, as the Passover story reminds us. Thank God, as of this writing, my friends and family are still eating. Still drinking. Still sending and receiving love.
I know that not everyone can say the same, so I'll do my best to remain grateful, and realize I'm not exactly skipping any meals in isolation. That with distance, our bond shall grow stronger. And hopefully, if God and COVID-19 should see fit, we'll all celebrate together again next year, in Jerusalem, no doubt.
April 1, 2020
March 22, 2020
Look closely, and you can see the feint makings of a heartline on that there wolf above, howling away at the cycles of the moon.
I'd forgotten all about the decorative lines adorning the Zuni fetishes that populated every corner of my mom's Southwestern art gallery, and thus our home; until my nephew and buddy both told me that the wolf is their favorite animal, when I prodded for birthday drawing inspiration.
So I drew this guy, and as I started blowing him out in post, it just dawned on me: he may not be a fetish per se, but he definitely need's that arrow.
Though I could surprisingly remember what the inlaid line was called, the heartline, I couldn't even vaguely recall why it adorned the Native American stone-carved animal amulets that I loved so much. I just knew it was important, particularly to the Zuni tribe.
So I googled... heartline fetish, and found this at Antique American Indian Art, llc, a gallery that's apparently been around for some 50 years:
"This arrow is called a lifeline or heartline. It begins at the mouth where breath gives life and points to the soul (spirit) where faith and inner strength preside."
Cool, right? They also have a simple yet deep primer on Zuni fetish carvings in general:
"A fetish is an object believed to have magical powers. Fetishes may be of any form or material, however, a fetish has one paramount purpose: to assist man against any real or potential problems. The problems can be those of the mind, body, or universe."
Which could pertain to times like these, when our bodies and the universe are seemingly at odds, which is certainly messing with our minds.
I suppose we could all use a magical assist right now. So if you're reading this, I'd like to offer up the virtual fetish above as a gift to you. I hope he helps you to remember where your faith and inner strength preside, and to keep any real or potential problems at bay, at least for the duration of a smile.