July Past and Present in Tennessee

Blackberry Hillside

Blackberry Hillside

Memory hangs thick as kudzu in summer

Green fields

Holston river

Sultry nights

a park bench on a golf course

Partings in the wee hours

Broken hammock

Hound dog


total concept charades

a bowl of sordid chocolate mousse

honeysuckle stars above

Open space

but held in this humidity

a handful of friends

soon to be scattered




Posted in Photos

Seeing Green

I just finished teaching a documentary studies class at Pierce College here in Washington. I am ready for some serious summertime escapism, now that I’m done with the academic quarter. I left my students with one of my favorite images from my own graduate studies, most of which are fading all too rapidly:

Stan Brakhage (1933-2003), experimental filmmaker, asks us to imagine the act of seeing before we have access to language. He envisions a baby crawling across a field of grass. How many shades of green can the baby see, before he knows the word, “green”? The idea is that before we come to recognize the shades in our crayola crayon box – forest green, yellow green, fern and granny smith apple… there is an infinite sea of green. Language limits us. Brakhage hoped that filmmakers would use the medium to break open our vision and find new ways of seeing.

I find this hard to describe to my students, especially after seeing – last week-end – the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, in IMAX 3D. It was a feast of visual pleasures, but also an assault on the senses. I’m not sure that’s what Stan Brakhage had in mind. With their smartphones, tablets, earbuds and tweets – my students are bombarded with images: stills, movement, words and ads filling up multiple screens. And yet they were patient, for the most part, with the documentaries that we screened in class. They came up with cool ideas for their own imagined film proposals. I am inspired by their desire to dive a bit deeper than the superficial screens.


Spider, Wolf Creek, OR

Spider, Wolf Creek, OR

Puyallup River, Tacoma, WA

Puyallup River, Tacoma, WA

Golden Given Rd E, Tacoma, WA

Golden Given Rd E, Tacoma, WA

Andrew's pine tree, Tacoma, WA

Andrew’s pine tree, Tacoma, WA

Capitol Hill mural, Seattle, WA

Capitol Hill mural, Seattle, WA

green mosaic

green mosaic


Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands, Port of Tacoma, WA

Earnest, Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands

Earnest, Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands

Posted in Gallery, Photos

Springtime on McKinley Avenue

This is the time of year when – if you blink – you miss McKinley Avenue in East Tacoma turning to gold. Never mind that East Tacoma has the highest percentage of low-income residents in the city of Tacoma; never mind that I’ve seen two neighborhood coffee shops fail in the same location, that are now replaced with a medical marijuana clinic. Never mind that the neighborhood bars far outnumber the neighborhood programs needed in this area.

At the beginning of April, the blossoming cherry trees planted along McKinley Avenue explode and make my morning and afternoon commutes glorious beyond belief. Here are some pictures – in case you blinked.

For additional information on the McKinley / Eastside neighborhood, visit http://postdefiance.com/mckinley-neighborhood/ . If you have stories about McKinley Avenue and the Eastside, please share them here. I would love to better know my neighbors and the history of this area.

McKinley Hall

Blue Wall


Brass Lantern


Plaza Guerrero Plaza Guerrero 2 - 1024Plaza Guerrero 2

Church Blossoms

Teal Cadillac

Trio in Blue


Posted in Gallery, Photos


Posted in Gallery, Photos