Goodnight moon

Late at night. Alone again… unless you count the quiet whistle of snoring Ri as company.  The kids went to bed hours ago. Ya only returned once to declare he could not sleep.

I’ve edited my pictures and saved them (though renaming files is harder with the stick of keys after Ri’s accidental coffee dumping incident yesterday).

I’ve scrolled through the nonsense of Facebook and found nothing of merit to hold attention. It’s incredible how much time is wasted on that site. You can’t live through the social network.

Our room is dark. The silence deafening. And he remains downstairs. The television sounds foreign – is it a movie watching him as he sleeps on the couch? Is it yet another season of XBOX football? A new mission on some role play game?

We used to spend these hours before bed together. Even if immersed in separate tasks, the proximity was welcome, soothing.  That connection wanes with the increasingly more common distance.

I could call him. But the phone’s probably dead. I could tip toe downstairs, snuggle close, coax him to our room. But Ri would probably take over the bed.  To put her in her room is futile. She stays only temporarily,  and returns irate, weary.

So I will call an end to this day. Plug up my phone. Close my eyes. And dream about success that right now seems to be sliding out of my grasp.

Tomorrow things have to improve.

Splat [make up playtime]

According to my teenage students, if something is done well, it’s on fleek.

And this Avant Garde make up (Inspired by Glam and Gore on YouTube )is pretty much on point. Yes, my bathroom now has “glitter herpes” from the metallic powders,  but someday it won’t show symptoms of my current makeup obsession.


Worth it. So very worth it.

Ri rising

She lays there, across my bed as though it were hers. Arm above her head, other one tucked under her chin. Legs bent, as though she were racing.  Lips pursed, a tiny break between them.

The rhythmic intact of breathe, an occasional rumbling huff, keeps away the quiet. She stretches periodically,  feeling around for contact.  Balling up a fist, she rubs her eyes, then rolls onto her side.

She speaks: “No. Where are you?” With eyes still closed. Just part of her dream, I suppose.

When she wakes, she’ll decline using her potty (but will gladly fetch a diaper from downstairs ).  She’ll help pick her outfit and determine her hat – or helmet – for the day.
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The clarity of her words won’t hamper her insistence to be understood. Hands gesture as she talks in garbled language I try in vain to follow. If important,  she’ll repeat, selecting another way to communicate. Or, she’ll grab my finger into her hand, pulling me as she says, “Come on,” and leads me to her chosen destination.

Villanelle #1

Sentenced to enternal strife.
Forever seems so long to be trussed
when miserable and bickering. How is this life?

Once vowed to be your wife
and in you misplaced my trust.
Marriage: a sentence to eternal strife.

Our love, we’d thought was lasting; rife.
now, it’s tarnished. metallic covenant has rust
Miserable. Bickering. How – tell me – is this life?

Arguments unceasing, I question remaining the wife.
Rethinking commitment: release is a must
from this sentence of eternal strife.

Your betrayal cuts like a knife
truth becomes lies. Your words I cannot trust.
I’m miserable. We’re bickering. How is this life?

No longer can we share this life.
Untie our binds that once were trussed.
Sentenced to eternal strife.
Miserable bickering… how is this life?


She holds her tears, does not complain
as you treat her with disdain
neglecting her to pursue your whims
careful, soon what’s left of love will dim

once before, you cherished her
showed her daily how much she was valued
each display of tenderness secured
now, like old photo albums, you’ve come unglued

pictures – the visual record of the past
scatter across the floor
depicting the love that is no more
happiness did not forever last

[the poetry unit has begun again… today: the quatrain]

Setting up the shoot

It dawned on me that I rarely – if ever – have shown the preparations for my planned and plotted concept shoots.

In my head, I get this picture of what I’d like to accomplish – of how my finished editorial will look. And then I spend countless hours searching for inexpensive wardrobe pieces and props. I think about how I can craft things, adapt things, borrow things to make my project into something real.

I tend to stay away from other photographers’ work, as I never want inspiration to appear as copying. And though I know concepts have been done (and done, again), I don’t want to emulate another artist’s style. I want to create my own.

So this “graffiti shoot” has been months in the works. It started with an instagram shot – the guy in it was surrounded in street art. Colorful, ecclectic. It reminded me of the NY Train Art coffee table book I’d had as a kid. I just knew I had to shoot in that spot.

I spent a lot of time on AliExpress, a hit-or-miss website collaborative of
Chinese-based wholesalers who offer their goods for pennies on the dollar. That is, if they actually deliver the items.

For Rico, Ya, and Chi, I chose harem pants – the ones tantamount to Hammer pants of yesteryear. Splatter paint in neon? Why, yes. And basic black for the teen. For my youngest man, I found some eccentric bibbed pants with contrast pockets – perfect for stashing in. Jay proved a little more difficult. He’d shot up a size and it seems that 10 is just not a size anyone readily stocks online (for cheap). So, I went classic baggy jeans and over-sized neon tee.

For baby girl, I wanted something quirky – bubble shorts and suspenders. I found something on my go-to site, but decided to have a custom creation made especially for her.

I had to accessorize: chunky chains, headphones (a modern touch), and for the girls, bright sneakers and boots.

Now, I’ve shot the five over two days in B’more and I can’t show a single image online… the collection is up for publication consideration and until I get ::ahem:: rejected or, better, printed, I can’t even sneak a peek to anyone. AGONY.

Let’s just say the results are amazing. You’ll have to trust me.

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