Thursday, May 24, 2007

Imprisoned (To Risk Being Free)

Imprisoned (To Risk Being Free)
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

I thought I'd dig out some verse from the archives to compliment this spontaneous cut-out creation.

The guy in the photo magazine looks like he is in prison to me. In addition to possibly being incarcerated, he is imprisoned within a photo within a photo. Much like I once felt, often how I eventually feel, within the confines of relationships. Hence, the following poem.


I Always Knew That
(Loving Outside the Prism)

it’s 2006 march 28th
i’m sitting in a corner on the 6 train to 68th Street
it’s another evening out
i always knew i liked
being out and alone like an ostracized patriarch
i don’t like
associating being out and free with being ousted and homeless.

i always knew that i loved the city
can someone who doesn’t live in the city love it
i only work in the city
it merely must be infatuation.

and to think how i’ve loved train tracks all this time
whether straight and silent in the station
rats skirting in and out of sideline holes
or whether stretched out and sinking into the suburban horizon
i know people are divided by which side of the tracks they live on
i know the sibilant, pacifying sound of passing freight trains usher ed through the night
i know of the transient wanderlust they inspire
i know of ballast fights, handfuls thrown by prepubescent boys, establishing their territory much like Neanderthals threw dolostone two hundred thousand years before them
and how boys will continue to likewise assert themselves for thousands of years to come.

i always knew i loved the sound of the metropolis in motion
clamoring and clunking like taxis streaming over manholes at midnight
the weight of parenting aching my back
stuck in my matrimonial prism, i wrote volumes to lament my durance
there i heard the voice of destiny
not from the white light, but from the piebald other side
she’s beating me with the rules again
i always knew i loved the freedom to think
and often wondered and imagined what it was like outside the prism
liberating thoughts flourishing in gardens of death made me wander

in between gravestones
i catch my breath and then dive in again
spending the currency of life as it ought to be spent, living
loving in fearless abandon of why and when, of reason
of high-minded morals, the laurels of those who do not live

i knew i loved women
bare breasts fondled during daydreams
wafts of serotonin overcome me as we approach Grand Central Station,
42nd Street, New York, New York
“I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
these vagabond shoes
are longing to stray
and make a brand new start of it
New York, New York…”
where, in mid-august 1990 i walked twenty blocks in tight-toed black cowboy boots
from the Olympus bus stop to the 23rd Street hostel, carrying a week’s worth of luggage
little did I know that one should travel lightly

although i always knew i loved to travel
metros, airplanes, automobiles.
Feyza’s in the backseat of the bus headed to Boston, Mass
Massachusetts spelled out of course
both of us bleary-eyed but smiling,
happy to be traveling together again
the heavy noise of fractured lives left behind fade with the steady roar
a rrrrrur of wheels turning, burning rubber slowly on the road
i have never known anyone so intimately in my life
i’ve yet to get mugged in the city, i am 38 and
i’ve yet to be victim to any crime.
recently, i’ve lost a number of things, thinking
they might have been stolen
alas, its my memory that’s cheating me, stealing life as I go.
my unusually bad memory may be to blame, but it also is the catalyst of extraordinary creativity
i’ve written this somewhere, somehow, before
lamenting, justifying, accepting my self
i often forget
so maybe i really never wrote it.
maybe i read it before i could remember
as an eight-year old boy chucking rocks at the wayward boys
asserting themselves from the other side of the tracks.
milkweed grew out of the limestone that lined those tracks,
sprouting feral between parallel lines of shiny steel and the ten foot fence,
black, yellow and pearl striped caterpillars nestled there,
restlessly feeding on sticky white cream, writhing so it seemed, eager to leave
their prisons of skin, dreaming of being monarchs, knowing they always loved to fly
free, gleefully, faithfully fulfilling their destinies as rulers of the sky.
it is hard not to be happy when i think of them, reminiscing, missing the idyll idleness
of eight;
remembering all the flesh of purple figs I ate, almost smelling the redolence of backyard citrus fruit trees; feeling the California sunshine that nourished them and me.

under windswept palm trees i kissed Feyza.
the sea breeze touched her hair, I could taste candied coconut upon the tip of her tongue
i wanted to touch her breasts all day long
i swirled her around, alone, in the moonlit pool instead
i was 38 then, it felt as if I were 13 again.
i always knew i loved her
she’s the one who sent me letters from the other side.

i sent her cutouts of blue butterflies in return
and books of notes inspired by stories noting the tropical woes of them
i always knew i loved butterflies
Nabakov loved them too.

i have many questions for lepidopterists
how many colors of them are there
do monarchs color the eucalyptus, the cypress and the pine - orange
how many can nest in a single tree, how many trees do you need to rest a weary migration
into their arrested states of winter sleep
in sixth grade i saw photos of them in National Geographic, millions amassed into branches
overlooking the summery seas of México and Monterey
i’ve always wanted to see them, rest myself underneath their huddled shadows
soothed by tiny breaths, an occasional fluttering like a somnolent human shuttering, limbs shaking into slumber
seeing these pictures i always knew i loved butterflies.

59th Street, Lexington Avenue flashed past, a blur of white letters blending in with the never-ending plaque of advertisements
subliminal dots of public service poetry spot the passing whir of platform color
i always knew i loved poetry

people paint themselves in pixels inside my camera
some laughing, a few, one or two making funny noises, most silently
withering, weathering the grind of diurnal tedium, dumb routine, numbing obligation
in California people smile while riding buses, not much of a need to go underground
i always knew i loved people
including the grumpy ones
they give the City its character

i always knew i loved thinking about what they’re thinking
believing i knew
believing that reading minds was a mindless game
because what i knew was already too much
maybe i don’t know that much
maybe i do

i always knew i liked eating
feeding Feyza while she feeds me
cous cous, hummus, bites of cheese
evil truffles and chocolate-easy temptations
revelations of meant to be in each and every morsel
communal yearning churning thoughts of fate
even when i’m not hungry
i’m hungry now. it is hard not to be hungry
when i know i’m going to see her. thinking of her always generates yearning
amorous desire firing up every want a man could have
i yearn to get off this train.

the train screeches to a stop and an alluring voice resounds over the intercom
“68th Street/Hunter College”
knowledge can be a beautiful thing
especially when you know you’re about to see her.
i always knew i loved beautiful things
i always knew i loved knowing
i always knew that someday i would be released from my prism
to know and experience and feel and love all that i always loved.

i always knew that.

April 10, 2006

Afflatus: Things I Didn't Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet

Friday, May 18, 2007

Just A Little More Wonderful

Just A Little More Wonderful
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Just A Little More Wonderful

Every once in a while I learn something new, something simple, yet valuable enough that it makes life just a little more wonderful.

Today, I learned that you shouldn’t hold tulips upside-down—“They’re really delicate” said an elderly woman who was standing in line next to me at the market this afternoon, after she had kindly pointed out that the petals were falling to the floor.

Last night, I learned how drunk bosses of friends can eagerly extol the appropriate hows and wherefores of men on the prowl, while simultaneously teaching by example, via an up-close and rather personal demonstration of her own primal hunger.

However, the greatest lesson I’ve learned of late is something that I have indulged in repeatedly since my realization—grapefruit is extremely sensuous.

For almost forty years I had found grapefruit to be sour, bitter and otherwise unpalatable.

However, my flatmate, the estimable Dr. Lorenzo, loves grapefruit and is an impressionably good eater overall. Being half-Swiss and half-Ecuadorian, he daily demonstrates the well-being, healthy lifestyle and culinary finesse that sophisticated Latin American-Europeans are known for.

Subsequently, some of his good habits have rubbed off on me. Albeit, I’ve long included a lot of fruit in my diet, I now eat a lot more. Moreover, I also recently gave grapefruit another chance since it is a staple of the good doctor’s diet and he often has offered it to me in turn. I tried it and found it tolerable enough to continue trying without immediately reconfirming my prior preference to forgo it forevermore.

However, at one point, on a whim, I began peeling off the translucent skin of each wedge, and by eating the pulp separately from the membrane I realized that the bitter taste is contained within this gossamer layer almost entirely. The pulp itself is otherwise addictingly-sweet, with just a hint of bitterness to give it that distinct savor and certain allure.

What is more bewitching however is the sultry pink hue and sensuously-gratifying texture of the naked pockets of pulp—just peel a ruby red, strip off the membrane and then scoop out the ambrosia with your fingers and you’ll readily understand what I mean.

The slow, provocative process and the subsequent rapturous sensation together act as an incontestable aphrodisiac. Admittedly, I almost feel foolish giving this epicurean secret away and that I would be arguably be better off keeping this sensual code of appeal all to myself.

Oh well, I guess its too late now.

I’ll console myself with the notion that perhaps by imparting such erotic esoterica I have made life just a little more wonderful for someone else as well.


Other appealing musings:

Please Have One

Vive L'Orange!

Orange Tears

The Orange Skirt and Her Entourage

What is Most Appealing

Her Orange Shoes

Appealing To Her

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Time For Me

More Time For Me
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

More Time For Me

I need a woman
who doesn’t have time for me.
One who’s as taciturn as she is
elusive, far away and aloof;
often, especially, when
she’s near me.

I need a woman
who’s utterly indifferent—
she tells me,

This woman of mine
should be inclined to
whatever, to see me whenever,
wouldn’t care if she saw me
tomorrow or two weeks from now.

Yes, somehow I need to find
a girl who often wears her i-Pod
or answers her cell phone
or text-messages others
whenever were together, alone.

Oh, and of course, she must
always chew gum—
while were talking,
while were eating,
and when were in bed;
God, how I love that!

What a wonderful feeling—
for the desire to be with someone
just doesn’t get any stronger
when that special someone
is not with you.

It’s a special sort of loneliness
you know, to feel all alone
when you’re with someone
who is obviously not (with you).

Of course, I try not to care;
I dare not express emotion
either way, either. I keep busy—
I work, aspire, entertain a bevy of
others, other endeavors
who keep me preoccupied.

Alas, as nonchalant as I feign,
as distant as I remain,
and as cold as I may act—
it is all just that, an act;
a farce of stoicism,
a comic one-man show,
a ribald play of staunch solitude
and self-effacing, so-called

Yes, I can fake it too,
pretending that I often forget you
even though that would be like
forgetting who I am.

Yes, I need a (wo)man
who doesn’t have time for me,
because, of course,
I want more time for me;
if only, because I need to feel
more alone.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Beautiful Blur (restlessly,tirelessly in bed)

A Beautiful Blur (restlessly,tirelessly in bed)
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

A Beautiful Blur
(restlessly, tirelessly in bed)

Meetings have been a bit of a blur all morning;
I breathe, then yawn; breathe then yawn—
yawn, yawn, yawn.

I was up all night long, debauchery is to blame—
a late-night visitor; some coffee, a little whiskey, some wine;
wafts of green smoke billowing through streams of photons
projecting giant photos across the room;
the wile of curious fingers wondering, a lurid mind wandering,
the vigor of youth, the pursuit of truth,
a delightful search for the divine.

It’s a shame I had to wakeup this morning;
otherwise, I was inclined to sleep in instead.
Shame I had to go to work (again),
for how I would have loved
to have lingered
in bed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yearning to be Inspired (Lots and Lots of Sex)

Yearning to be Inspired
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Lots and Lots of Sex

It would be nice to be inspired again.

It would be nice to be inspired to write about something other than love or lust, desire, sex, masturbation, romance, amorous yearning, loss, that certain feeling, passion, sex, relational bliss, coupled happiness, sex.

Alas, if I may paraphrase Sam Cooke:

I don’t know much about hiss-tory.
I don't know much bi-o-logy
I don't know much about science book
I don't know much about the French I took

But I do know a thing or two about love, and what a wonderful world it can be when we love, when we desire, romance, yearn, lust, lose and find again—and have lots and lots of sex in turn.

Yes, it would be nice to be inspired again.


Read more essays, stories, musings, poems and prose like this at Literary Central!.

Click HERE if you would like to receive e-mail updates whenever new lorenzodom photos are published.

Please Note: With new limits on contacts, I cannot add fellow flickr members as contacts unless they make me a contact first. So please add me! because I would be honored to add you to my contact list.

Also! since we are preparing to publish 25 Lessons soon, my publisher and I would greatly appreciate any new testimonials to my work, which we will be using to promote the book. Thanks ahead of time to those friends who willing to help out!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Luxury of Living (Living is a Luxury)</

The Luxury of Living
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The Luxury of Living (Living is a Luxury)

This morning, as I was walking to work, I came upon this behemoth of a building that is being put up on 29th Street. The signs that span across the construction site boast "55 Stories of Luxurious Living."

The irony is that I used to live there—there where there used to be a two-story building with a small apartment above the sacristy, the room where priests dress and prepare the Eucharist for mass.

In the spring of 2005 I moved in for three months and lived in virtual isolation during my first marital separation. The experience was life changing and the primary reason why photography became one of my greatest passions. These three months and subsequent enlightenment, also serve as the basis for my forthcoming book, 25 Lessons , to be published in July by Cyan Books.

Hence, when I came upon this monumental structure gleaming against the deep blue spring sky this morning I couldn't help but pause and reflect upon my stay there exactly two years ago. The fact that I lived in solitude and more frugally than I had ever lived before, was an amusing contrast to what “Sky House” would soon be offering—139 luxury condominium residencies.

The greatest irony for me though was that I actually came to understand the luxury of living in and of itself via these three hermetic months. It was an incredibly beautiful and enriching experience, which I would not trade for all the wealth in the world.


My editor Stephanie and I worked on the book for a few hours last night, so I am getting very excited as we approach the publication date.

Considering the experience of this morning, I would like to share some of my experience from that special time two years ago. Hence, what follows is the tentative text from the preface of 25 Lessons.

Preface, 25 Lessons

In the spring of 2005 my wife and I agreed to separate. It must have been a sign of some significance because for once we agreed on something. We had gone through years of discord, until finally, she asked me to move out.

It was either this or a divorce, and I wasn't ready to accept the latter. But I had nowhere to go. For the first few days I called all the hostels and cheap hotels I could find in New York City, but to no avail. It would just be too expensive to stay anywhere; there was a mortgage and lots of bills to pay. And since my wife stayed at home with our two children and worked part-time on the weekends, we were, for all intensive purposes, a one-income household. In other words, we couldn't afford for me to move out.

Instead, she agreed to let me sleep in the basement of our family home, until I found somewhere to go. It was an uncomfortable alternative, but at least I wasn't homeless.

Out of shame and a stubborn streak of independence, I did not tell anyone that we were separated. Neither family nor friends were aware of my situation. As days passed into weeks, I started to feel more and more alone. I decided that I would seek help and talk to someone, someone who might be understanding and non-judgmental, forgiving perhaps, someone who might ultimately point me in the right direction.

Having grown up Catholic, one of my first thoughts was to go see a priest. They were good, guiding, and spiritually redeeming counselors.

So on one cool spring morning, I walked into a little sanctuary called the Church of the Transfiguration, which was three blocks from my office, and took a seat in one of the back pews to listen to the presiding priest give a sermon. I had passed the church every day on my way to work for the last six years and had long felt the urge to attend one of their spring lunchtime concerts; but I always found myself eating lunch at my desk instead.

The church itself had been around for over 150 years, and for most of its history had served as a refuge for those in need. Its basement served as a safe haven for runaway slaves escaping via the Underground Railway. And during the Civil War, the founder of the church, Dr. George Hendric Houghton, took in African-Americans threatened by enraged immigrants participating in the Draft Riots of 1863, despite warnings from the police that they could not ensure his safety.

In 1870, a gentleman by the name of Joseph Jefferson sought a sanctuary to hold the funeral of his dear friend George Holland, a thespian. Rejected everywhere, Jefferson was near despair when he was led to the Church of the Transfiguration around the corner. Jefferson then responded by exclaiming, "God Bless the Little Church Around the Corner!"

The moniker has stuck for the last 137 years. And ever since, the theater community has frequently viewed the church as their own. In 1923, an actor's guild was formed at the little church, and the partnership between those of the cloth and those of the stage eventually succeeded in turning the church into an historical landmark in 1973.

In this serene place, listening to the priest finish up his sermon, I distilled my emotions and let them spill out. By the time I had a chance to speak with him, I was all choked up and had to excuse myself a few times. I could barely say what I had rehearsed repeatedly while waiting.

In those few moments --- that seemed like an hour --- I was demurely able to make a request for a meeting. He asked that I return at noon.

Seven minutes before noon: I get up from my desk and walk up the block and around the corner. I enter in by the red iron gate, through the small garden, past a spray of pink blossoms, and into the quiet church office where the receptionist asks me to wait in a little room for Father Harry.

When he came in a few minutes later, Father Harry smiled and kindly asked me how he might be of service. I began sheepishly, but soon a deluge of sorrow poured out, and I broke down and wept, just like a man who had been thrown out of his home and had kept it all inside for weeks. Father Harry listened attentively. At one point, he placed his hand atop mine, and I immediately felt a certain peace, perhaps the comfort of God, overcome me.

It didn't matter that I had renounced my faith more than 20 years earlier, as a student at a college prep run by the Jesuit Order. I did, however, continue to believe in some part of what I had been taught through Sunday mass and my saintly mother; I believed strongly in the Christian principles of love, forgiveness, altruism, tolerance, and acceptance, especially in the purest sense as they were originally laid out as allegories in the gospels that recounted important moments in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.

After telling Father Harry about my idea of finding a shelter or social service center where I might be able to volunteer, in exchange for a little space on a floor to sleep on and a small hook to hang my suit, he paused and then said, "We actually need a little help here ourselves. And we have an empty apartment where you might be able to stay."

At that moment I couldn't help but feel a bubbling of renewed faith. Father Harry's act of kindness reconnected me to that important spirituality, one that I had nurtured for so long as an easy-going college student in California, but that I had progressively lost hold of over the years.

For I could see in Father Harry's eyes that he believed in me, without any doubt in his heart. That moment made an everlasting impression upon me, one that inspired me to continue looking forward toward making the best out of my situation.

Keeping to his promise, Father Harry informed me two weeks later that the little church indeed had a place for me to stay if I was willing to help around the house (of God). We agreed that I could occupy the studio apartment right above the sacristy, the small room where the sacred ritual vessels and vestments are stored and where the priests get dressed and prepare for mass.

The tacit agreement was that I could stay at least until June, when the apartment would be razed to make way for a 50 story residential tower.

Thus, I found myself living in a little church in the middle of Manhattan, in virtual isolation, for three months. During that tumultuous time, I had a chance to reexamine my life. I expected to catch up on all those books I had been meaning to read, to go to the gym, to meditate on what had happened in my marriage.

What I didn't expect was that I would end up going out every night into the city to take photos, tapping into a well of pent-up creative passion that would change my life. I never expected that viewing the world anew through the lens of the camera would prove to be an incredible journey, reminding me of some important lessons, lessons that I had forgotten somewhere along the way.

Ironically, I had given up on traditional film photography long ago, when, during my first trip to New York City in 1989, I ruined the first 35mm I ever bought by accidentally placing my oily lunch in the same tote bag. Thank God the digital revolution came along to reignite my passion, because my rediscovery of photography helped me to rediscover life itself.


Read more essays, stories, musings, poems and prose like this at Literary Central!.

Click HERE if you would like to receive e-mail updates whenever new lorenzodom photos are published.

Please Note: Since flickr instituted its limits on contacts, I have not been able to add fellow flickr members as contacts unless they make me a contact first. Hence, please add me! if we are not already contacts, because I would be honored to add you to my contact list.

Also! Since we are preparing to publish 25 Lessons soon, my publisher and I would greatly appreciate any new testimonials to my work, which we will be using to promote the book. Thanks ahead of time to those friends who willing to help out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Lover

The Lover
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

last night

I was your lover last night—
I am no longer afraid,
I no longer wonder What if?

I was your lover last night—
when the bed creaked in mid-pique,
as your head hung over the side.

I was your lover last night—
as The Lover played upon the wall,
as you echoed through the halls of ecstasy.

I was your lover last night—
it was my first virtual orgy,
it was my first I’m all into you, too.

I was your lover last night—
and I am grateful, I am happy;
and albeit I naturally pine for more,
I know pangs cannot be heard
in a space where no one is listening.

I was your lover last night—
despite the daunting beginning,
despite the haunting of one lonely soul.

I was your lover last night—
thank you for staying;
it was nice to see your sleepy eyes
before you had to go.

I was your lover last night—
and you were mine.
Yes, and you were mine.