s m a l l P E O P L E


S E R I E S  3

swallow our souls

Swallow our souls, or what’s left of them

Eventually you’ll be given an inescapably clear view of the tomorrow you will most likely inherit. You won’t be prepared. Somehow, you won’t even have seen it coming, until hindsight reminds you that – oh yeah – there were plenty of signs. Or you’ll suddenly only imagine that there were signs, interpreting random occurrences as evidence of inevitability.

None of it will matter, though, because there you’ll be, stuck with this new damn clarity, and every other moment of your life will fall away; every inch of you will be hyper focused into a pin-point of energy directing you to step forward.

Chances are good that I’ll be next to you.

2011 marker on paper sold


sometimes we hang

Sometimes we hang ourselves

Eventually you wake up among the possessions, uncertain if your pockets are stretching out endlessly before your eyes or if you’ve simply fallen into one them, tumbling down and down with the rubbish.

2011 marker on paper sold


The overwhelming weight of nerve-endings

Gluttony became the most sought-after human attribute, and the most widely applied, eventually indistinguishable from the kind of empty fame politic that determined the fate of oceans, skies, soil and seed.

Tan bodies unite: Hollywood is a state of mind, not at all unlike the mind of the state.

2011 marker on paper sold



The undeniable presence of every possible thing

A ubiquitous object stretched across different attitudes, funneled and filtered through different perspectives, is still nothing more than a ubiquitous object.

Or: Were they mine to give, I would seat you all, not just the pregnant women and the silver foxes. Better yet, why don’t we stand together?

2011 marker on paper sold


red5 part 1 copy

In constant collision, in constant duress and elation

A judgment based less on common sense than on the appearance of manufactured social indicators for which we will pay anything to pocket; too bad skinny jeans don’t offer much storage space.

2011 marker on paper sold


inside infinitely

Inside infinitely upon ourselves and upon ourselves

I have no idea how many prisons I’ve built for myself, and the quality of the cell changes with each circumstance. I try to tell myself that the bars are nothing more than ink from the tip of a marker, but seeing is undoubtedly believing; or so I’ve been shown.

2011 marker on paper sold


despite everything

Despite everything

Explosive hearts awaiting ignition. Or just explosives.

2011 marker on paper sold


we dance

We dance

We constantly tell ourselves stories about the strangers who walk in and out of our daily lives, usually slanted toward the particular craziness of the dirty guy scribbling numbers in a worn composition book or a woman dragging around dozens of shopping bags filled with what we imagine are her worldly possessions. These are the citizens that give our commutes color.

You have always fit this bill for me, with your clothes, your hair, the vacant yet simultaneously focused gaze. It’s always been easy to classify you as the neighborhood lunatic. But then you started showing up at most of the lectures and readings I found myself attending. Maybe – I was forced to consider – I’m your neighborhood lunatic, too. Maybe you’ve written your own crackling Tom Waits lyric about what I’m building in my basement. Maybe the crazy I see on your face is your expressed and earnest intent to simply avoid me because of the fiction that I am to you. Or maybe we’re all mental and just trespassing through each other’s awareness.

2011 marker on paper sold


we plot

We plot

Your bleeding edges could be butterflies, seismographic readings of coming earthquakes, or the ebb and flow of the history of humanity. At the end of the day, a pertinent question might be: Who cares?

By the time any of it could make sense, we’ve been distracted by thousands of smash-cut edit events and viral sound bites and want nothing more than to feed ourselves and disappear until morning comes, when we get to be us all over again.

2011 marker on paper sold


we aspire

We aspirate and shudder and resonate

We aren’t yet fish, nor bees. We are not yet hollow, but we will be sounded.

2011 marker on paper sold


and we become

And we become

For fear that the narrow spyglass through which we view the world is meant solely for taking aim, we closed our eyes. Someone is always ready to step up and pull the trigger, though, always ready to remove us from the front of the line to better view the parade of useless toys.

Fortunately, we make it up as we go, pressing paths into the clay behind our eyes, engrammed impulses traveling along neurological roads. And our vocabulary for imagining expands like the universe, outward and with irrefutable heat.

2011 marker on paper sold


and we continue

And we continue

That step could either be your first or your last. And there isn’t a book you can read for direction. There’s no valve you can open to release pressure, no way to inject yourself with confidence. You’ll have to reach into your damp crate of memories and sift through for reminders of who you were so that you might better discern who you could yet be; recollect a handful of defining quotes, reclaim the comfort of that first stuffed animal or your mothers arms after scraping yourself against the brick wall that caught you when you fell off your bike, and say “yes.”

A shot of tequila wouldn’t hurt either.

2011 marker on paper sold



So incredibly fine is the sensation

What I like about hypocrisy is that you can find it anywhere you look. Close your eyes, point your finger, and spin in a circle, stopping randomly. Ten times out of nine you’ll land on a pharmaceutical disguised as something holistic, an invasive agenda pretending to be a benevolent intention. And once we’ve corrupted everything we know, we’ll heave our collective apology into the void for possibly offending anyone. Then we’ll tweet decline into a sweet little joke and tell stories about what optimism used to mean.

On the bright side: You are here tonight, and if you open to possibility and refuse to shrink, this very moment may make you new. Or just horribly embarrassed and uncomfortable.

2011 marker on paper sold


toss our hearts

Toss our hearts in the air

How we resonate with ourselves and each other, what our sounds elicit and inspire, how we sing each other, where we touch and mingle, is when we become something other. I try not to take for granted that the wall I bounce off may be more porous than myself, or more resistant. Some may open their windows to you, others their bars.

2011 marker on paper sold


sometimes we say

Sometimes we say screw it all

There is a growth hormone for the spirit that can only be found in quiet, when all of your devices are turned off, the screens gone dark, the music internalized, breath bringing you into your body, converted to chemical energy to keep you alight.

(But in the night I medicate myself with all that I’ve gathered to me; I shut off sensitivity and allow distraction. I become a machine that needs only fuel and fails to process complex data, and I plug in along with all the other machines so that we may speak to each other about channels, megabytes, virtual lives. And I’m completely bored by the whole thing.)

2011 marker on paper sold


in no particular

In no particular order

The first time you witnessed real violence, real brutality, you were just a kid being pushed down the street in a stroller. It happened like all the violence I’ve ever experienced, instantly, without warning or cue; it was just there in all our faces like a reality TV celebrity: we didn’t know why, and the memory lingers.

In fact, two sounds still bounce around the inside of your skull: the meaty dull collide of closed fist to slack jaw, and the oddly high-pitched hollow thud of a head hitting the sidewalk.

My stomach still leaps at the memory of those sounds, and I can’t help but wish you’d forget, though all evidence points to the contrary.

2011 marker on paper sold



So incredibly slowly do we unfurl

Or maybe you disagree. Maybe we move too quickly, missing everything as it passes our blurry-eyed drunkenness.

2011 duh marker on paper sold


and yet

And yet

The day our dreams were outsourced, built in other countries and sold back to us; we still sing, but we’re no hummers.

2011 marker on paper sold


top of page



S E R I E S  2

Devon and Western

Devon and Western

The present flies away and rejects all the allure of being once future. Back then it was overfull with possibility. Now it is yesterday and holds all your regret and joy and sadness like too many canned goods in a quickly ripping Dominics bag. And this seems ok.

2006 marker on paper 8×10 sold


stuck in the tunnel

Stuck in the tunnel between Washington and Lake

Loneliness is everywhere, in the middle of a crowd, on an elevator filled to capacity, sleeping on the park bench, in your own clothes. Eye contact implies actual contact and we’ll have none of it. Let us be separate, apart. Let us avoid and let us have our silence inside. Let us not reveal what we are and are not.

(And yet I feel so close to you. And I always have. And I silently say “you are beautiful” and “I love you.”)

2007 marker on paper 9×14 sold


breadline #1

breadline #1 

Need is impossible to quantify. But it is certainly visible in the shoulders, the lilt of eyelids, the corners of the mouth.

2007 marker on paper 4×6 sold


breadline #2

breadine #2

Another in line for essentials, another waiting waiting maybe not getting what he needs for himself, maybe ready to let his anger direct his next action, maybe ready to draw the knife, frustrated, to slide the blade to get what he wants; no, more than wants, needs. There is no rest. Not for the wicked, not for anyone. There is no rest for those who fight for what they need. Each day. One after the other after the other.

2007 marker on paper 9×14 sold

breadine #3

breadline #3

There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said, but most of what has been said hasn’t been heard. And why is that? Are we too busy being plugged in or lead around? Are we too afraid, apprehensive, to know? To seek? Are we going to give up and take what comes without a fight? Just accept it all? Are we?

2007 marker on paper 10×10 sold



Fullerton and the Dan Ryan

The only self-expression available on the Express Way is depression. No one reads the hand-held signs, which are probably more important than those printed in factories and pressed into the ground by government employees. These are the signs that offer directions to the inward roads, the roads less frequented, poorly paved and rarely lit.

2006 marker on paper 4×8 sold


argyle redline

Argyle redline stop

Even the wingless are gifted with the grace of flight on occasion. The fallen have come from someplace higher. At one time, vision was 20/20. The distance from those days doesn’t matter, only the closeness of the memory. And if your thoughts get cloudy, maybe it’s only because they long to be where they once were. (Maybe none of that matters though. Maybe where your feet are when you wake up is all that counts any more. Maybe there is too much talk and not enough action.) Maybe.

2007 marker on paper 4×6 sold


53 West Jackson

53 West Jackson Boulevard

People sometimes appear in the city who seem either utterly out of place or exactly as if they belong. Does this man fit better in the Canadian wilds surrounded by hunting gear and chewing noisily on home-made sausage or in an Uptown alley, raving about the price of tuna while licking his lips at passers-by?

I’m just not sure.

2007 marker on paper 8×10 sold


top of page, galleries, or just go home already