Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flashback to Helen, GA: the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant.

Helen is a strange, picturesque town of German design in the Georgia foothills.  The Chattahoochee river like the Rhine bisects the town, pushing a Bavarian-styled Huddle House against tubing outfitters and Rhineland package stores.  Beyond this charming/cheesy tourist vacuum, at the other end of things, is a restaurant/inn called the Hofbrauhaus.  It is here that we ate.
Bar staccato and smoke are the opening impressions of the Hofbrauhaus. A tight-wound staircase ascends from the atrium to the guest rooms, with the restaurant opening straight ahead.  A brooding, wooden interior muffles the proprietress’s greeting, who studies us behind a large registrar book.  She chews the German language with my family as she leads us to our table.  The dining room feels like a hunting lodge, the scenic Chattahoochee river pushing down the mountain in the surrounding windows.
The menu is in German coupled with quipy English translations, and there is much schnitzel and braten and schwein, with some chicken dishes and a local trout.  We opened with pommes frites and found, well, french fries, not much different than those in your freezer, served with Heinz ketchup. Next was a camembert appetizer, arriving in a large foil-wrap with toasts. The rinded, creamy cheese was warm beneath carrots, haricot verts, carmalized onions, apple slices and nuts.  Easily trumping the pommes frites, the baked cheese was a beautiful opener.
My entree was the sauerbraten, a beef round roast served in a brown gravy of buttery beef-consumme, thick with the nuttiness of rue.  A raspberry jam, as juxtaposed as Helen GA herself, puddled in the gravy with two generous potato dumplings. A plate of red cabbage sauerkraut glinted a fermented beet-sweetness to complement the meat. My dish felt authentic, felt like a working-class German meal on that thick, ceramic, farm-buffet plate.
My wife enjoyed her pork tenderloin, and her spaetzles had a wonderful toothy texture that absorbed well the mushroom gravy.  My father-in-law got the jager schnitzel, which he enjoyed while reflecting on his years in Germany.  He and my wife clinked great goblets of heffeweisen beer.  My mother-in-law had some anemic chicken breast, easily the least appealing dish on our table.  A butter-wine gravy tinted the chicken, but there was not much she seemed to enjoy on the dish.  Nor was she impressed with her schorle, a reisling spritzed with soda water.
Dessert, however, was scrumptious.  We shared a cold highball of thick vanilla ice cream layered with raspberries.  The apple strudel was charmed with a conservative sweetness, a delicate balance of smooth cream against firm apples. The coffee was as dark and aromatic as the dining room. 
Service was briefly apologetic to my mother-in-law over the schorle before bringing more seltzer water.  Mixing a light drink is anti-intuitive, unnatural to a restaurateur, especially at the prices Hofbrauhaus charges.  The proprietress lapped our table twice, giving a history of Helen. Unfortunately the spiel was in German and thus lost on me, but I preferred listening to the crackly, trebled recordings of Wagner, Beethoven’s ninth, and German drinking songs.
Overall, the restaurant presented decent, hearty food.  But it served German peasant fare at the prices of refined food.  In fact, the whole town seems to snarl at tourists while simultaneously greeting them, mocking the passer-bys with high prices on anything from parking to food. Economic panthers. The kicker, and the ultimate downturn of events, was that our server included a gratuity on the check, failing to disclose this information.  I found that gesture to be a direct deception, and I read other complaints about this very thing. If you find yourself in Helen Ga, Hofbrauhaus is probably the best option for a German meal, but be prepared to pay more than you should, and watch for an included gratuity.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow-tide and such, December wrap-up.

December 23. Arctic Monkeys, a great band, and a name conjuring an image worthy of today's winter weather, my run through it. Thoughts on the Gator Run 50k exude an excitement approaching inspiration, the wild energy harnessed by furtive preparations. Research on endurance nutrition introduces new foods, synthetic-type non-foods including gels and chews, and "super-foods" such as quinoa (and, perhaps, fig newtons?), while daily running reinforces mental fortitude and physical durability, work and work.  Solitary self-studies reflect of the nuances of posture, generate private mantras against pain management and towards the continuing (basic, rudimentary) leg-labors of miles, the muscle-boils of intrepid determination.   I make lists of reasons why I should finish a 50k, hoping they will be there when I am struggling in my own private hell.  Much of the real preparation is accepting that 31 miles is ticked off one mile at a time, and there is no magic chariot, neither genetic nor chemical nor Zen/Tao mindfulness, that will push me through the six 5.2 mile loops other than my own body and will.

Meanwhile, a simple 7 miler has become something of an ordeal through a bout of illness, and maybe a touch of Christmas lethargia. Despite the drag of mind and body, the miles accumulate, against the viral laryngitis and bronchitis cursing the first half of my week, in fact sending me to the Medac on Tuesday morning. Against the delirium of holidays, the anxieties of Being, the punishments of Life, the curse of melancholy and false inspirations and dry paint brushes and impatient two-year olds and lost thoughts and vapid ambitions and the settling of debris into something called Existence, the miles accumulate. A goal of running 31 miles is the soul-glue at this moment, at this juncture, coupled with the pleasure of the Christmas season with my family.  But the work remains the steady metronome of routine I crave.

December 26th. A literary mania has moshed through my home, leaving a storm of books. (Sometimes reading is the best medicine against writer’s block.) A funny read is Sh*t My Dad Says. Dostoevsky’s Notes continue, interrupted by a Christmas gift, John L. Parker’s Once A Runner. . . . A graphic novel, DareDevil Noir, was my fun read for the past week. I would especially recommend Sh*t.  Lastly, a book on Rodin commands study and awe, the maddest 3-d artist since Michelangelo, and his polished marble torsos are contrasted against his vicious ink-slung figure drawings.

And now a run, or rather, the documenting of one.

The snow fell through my morning’s 8 miler, fell in fact from the coffee pot's first stirrings at 7am, two cups before I entered the window's surreal theater of dizzying ice-crystals and snow flakes, before those snowflakes shocked eyelids and tongue, before the melodic beat of sleet on wind-jacket, before the softened jam of soggy shoes. In rare moments of good running, I could have counted the many snowflakes on my eyelids in their tiny coldness, my legs running but my mind searching out the meditative silence in the muffled, dazzling air.   The snow was wonderful, the clean air was invigorating. Snow is a rare delight on the Eastern coast, but the run remained, as has been the case recently, more of a wading-push of legs, a thick-blooded trudge, Roadside puddles soaked my shoes and socks within a mile, forcing me onto asphalt, my legs protesting with dread through the concussions.  Quietly I traversed the neighborhoods into the deserted Ogden Park. But a snow-run was a pleasant mind-drift, at least in the middle four miles and certainly afterwards,  fixing a quesodilla for my son who ate voraciously for the first time in a couple of days. I watched him eat, watched him wipe buttery fingers on his shirt between bites of quesodilla, and I sipped French Roast coffee with extra sugar and cream while snacking on a peppermint-chocolate pretzel. Pandora radio played some early punk and the clatter of typing becomes a percussive accompaniment and the rest is delicious, luscious, lush, and my world refocuses.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Winter Solstice howl or hymn.

Deccember 21st. Winter Solstice of 2010. The longest night of the year, the darkest night of the year (sounds like a Lord Byron line.)

The previous three weeks of running have been solid, even with unusually cold conditions on the coast. But as life does, a series of good runs becomes viral laryngitis and bronchitis, becomes the first shift of the year missed due to sickness, becomes ennui and gluttony and then sweet easy hours. Dr. Sparr declared that Sunday’s fourteen miler, kicking into the windy cold coast and back into sun-dry air, wore my body down, that two or three days out of the running cycle could be a good idea, that running was a love of his before two knee-replacements, and that he missed it. But seeing my wariness, he amended his advice to trying a slow, short run, keeping careful attentions to my body’s response, eventually submitting a reluctant “You’ll know.” But knowing he spent much more money on an education than me, I moved on to other interests, a thing easy to do as I’ve been reclaiming my mania recently, my attentions pushing me to an easy zealousness for damn near anything. First, I convinced my wife to let me join her on her day off. Our indulgences began with a delicious meal at Flaming Amy’s where I applied my theory of spice-hot food aiding the body’s immune system. I then accompanied her to the mall, falling into the Christmas frenzy, spraying Yves Saint Laurent and Dior on small white cards and sniffing coffee beans between studying fashions she may enjoy and suits I could wear, casually and everyday-refined. Everything smelled woody, like dry wood, moth’s wings, the powder of moth’s wings. Fragrances which were normally oiled or sweet like heated cedar permeated old hair; cotton smelled of a beery hay; handmade wallets were distorted through my olfactory disarray from musk and leather to something else entirely, like a sulfuric match kissing off. Wandering through myriad ties and dress shirts, I thought of getting my two suits dry-cleaned. Cell phones rang in spontaneous cacophony. Pretzels baffled me with a certain admiration of invention. Gift sets stacked like a marvel of architecture. It was then a good friend suddenly appeared, said hello, a moment of recognition, and I was immediately There, acutely aware of my presence at the mall, and self-conscious, a mottled wreck. My hair was heavy with the oil of uneasy sleep, the fevercloud of my body’s expulsions towards wellness; eyes were heavy and brooding, pthalo shades of dehydration beneath; my lungs were busy pulling air through the filaments of space remaining in my nose, and my voice sounded like a phonograph recording of Custard’s last stand. So the Mall adventure ended with me feeling sick and dirty, delirious.

Home was warm and the sunset was flooding rich cadmium spectrums against the cotton-wad sky, and winter’s first night was swelling from the East. Winter had come as official as a calender. As official as Dr. Sparr’s prognosis.  Sweeps of raw red slashed windswept clouds as purple drapes fell in the background, deepening to bone-black and carbon-black, flecks of silver, settling ash.

In the night is the luxury to be sick. One succumbs to sputtering coughs, heavy head mulling in fog, the red-burn of fevered eyes, the labored reel of breath and wheeze and ember throat. The one work shift I’ve missed would be concluding, and the associated guilt is released. Now is when can one rest while reading essays on Pollock’s works on paper, reconsider de Kooning’s Sag Harbor or Clam Diggers, dig into Olson’s study of Twombly, revisit Hoffstadter’s Godel Escher and Bach. Hell, Sillitoe is back out on the coffee table, along with a Dare Devil graphic novel and my image/text journal. Rauschenberg combines flash fast through mind’s gallery. Shostokovich beats the shit out of a cello. A private kaleidoscope of Image. The prime internal gallery of memory. Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Schnabel, Tworkov, Courbet, Gotti, Carravaggio, Basqiaut, Beuys, Ghenti, McCarthy. . . . ad infinitum. Kirkegaard, Cantor, Wallace, Miller, Cioran, Melville, Ferlinghetti. . . . the Winter night allows, glorifies the loss of boundary, the fraying of edge, the dynamic bleeding of element into element, disparate emergence, the crossover or matrix of separate Idea and Idea, a mutation or splicing of things. A fusion in pursuit of the synergy of seasonal associations, such as an entire history of visual art. . . mind you, to elucidate, this is not a Smithsonian or a Louvre, this is not a cultural memory of Art but a private museum, a place of singular Muse, a solipsist gallery Wittgenstein or Foucault would get. A madness of Winter’s paleness. It is a stream-of-consciousness addressing the personal retrospect of image-encounters. A Proustian Collection.

A run on December 16th.

Folks Café was the first stop of my run. A three-count pour of sugar with a splash of cream readied the robust Sumatran before I stashed it in the truck, slinging my hoodie on top of keys, raisins, a cliffbar, my work apron, and a long-sleeve shirt. I stared down Princess Street with a certain nostalgia, I once lived here, ghosts of lovers and dope fiends and their counterpart peddlers, the laundry spot, desolate nocturnes pacing home from bars broke, Schoenberg or Schnittke or Dvorak in the head, the cycle of those days. Essays on entropy or the unfinished Michelangelo sculptures, the late slave series, addled dereliction and hymns, the Stab-n-Grab. . . . I turned the other direction to march then slowstride then jog, shaking out the heft of legs, letting ankles loosen, knees bend into the kick, Coca-Cola warehouse and Ninth and Princess, next a right and the park at Fifth and Chestnut and the run worked from Downtown to Greenfield Park and back up Front Street to Water Street. Ultimately it was a ten mile journey and one of my most effortless runs. The Sumatran was still hot when I returned cold, and Beastie Boys Check Your Head got me home.

Monday, December 13, 2010

And now for something completely different- JumpinGoat Coffee.

JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters and Shop, Helen, Georgia, December 2010.
The serpentine mountain road that takes you through Nacoochee Valley into Helen Georgia does not warn you of the coming mountain cabins, cascading down the road as the Chattahoochee river flows behind (and sometimes beneath) them. Worn-paint walls struggle against winter and age, and hand-painted signs claim their wares. These rustic shopsteads avoid the final, fatal slide into the river, offering interesting wares, including the goods of a stone-wheel mill, glass arts, local pottery, and the JumpinGoat Coffee Shop.

The coffee shop is separate from the roastery, located above on the mountain, but the smell of dark coffee is a thick, aromatic tincture pushing against the vapors of winter. Inside the provincial cabin, the oiled pine planks groan beneath numerous bags of flavored and roasted coffees, neatly bulging out of wooden baskets. The attendant poured samples, including a chocolate coffee so rich and delicious, I thought they had coated the cup in mocha syrup. The JumpinGoat signature blend had interesting flavor notes, was energized and layered, smooth as the wooden floors. For my afternoon cup I chose the Nicaraguan Arabica, and man alive was this a cup of java! Hearty, deep, nutty, with some smoked-wood notes, I felt like I was drinking the essence of the place. A touch of cream and sugar extracted more flavor notes, and I felt a few cravings to go run the mountain. The sumatran looked superb, like a bean of polished onyx, but there was none brewed on that particular day.

If you are in the vicinity, the sign-laden JumpinGoat Coffee and the neighboring stone-wheel mill (fresh-ground grits with molasses!!) are excellent reasons to drive to Helen, Ga. By the time you reach the Nacoochee Valley, you will be ready for a hot cup of coffee, the perfect fuel for running trails or roaming shops.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blue Clay Mountain Bike Park, Ramones, French Roast.

it's a chilly week in wilmington which may explain the emptiness of the blue clay mountain bike park the past two days. i encountered one lady with her two dogs, and that was the whole of my human contact over two consecutive days while running the 6m loop. the coolness and the solitude suits me, makes for a perfect run. smooth, fast sections of packed earth twist through the wooded land, building into brief-but-ferocious intervals of sharp inclines/declines, then break down into bulging roots and partially-exposed stones. wooden planks form bouncy boardwalks and five-or-six bridges are engineered across creek cuts. x-slope works the strength of ankles on the hilly sections, and the many bike jumps and switchbacks keep the quads burning. the trails earn their "advanced" labels, especially for a runner, but this is still the coast so terrain determines the difficulty as opposed to the roughly 65' of elevation gains.

this trail is broken intervals of technical or speed, a sortof speed chess of legturn & mind, otherwise you’ll find yourself ground down face-first.  a moderate speed with frequent shifts of leg-gears, an involuntary fartlek run, suits my trail experience & aptitude.  (speed is not my talent.)  the scenery dissolves into a rapid foot-dance, with certain passages keeping your eyes glued to the next 10' of trail. sun-dappling and shade, pine needles and leaves, all serve to distort the perception of approaching terrain, the effect intensified by increased mileage/pace. nascent growth encloses the trail, a mixture of hardwood and evergreen- which includes young long-leaf pines.  squirrels scurrying across leaves in the quiet of the woods assume gigantic proportion-- robin birds sound like they might be thirty pounds when flittering out of a creek bank.  several of the seven dwarfs hang out on trees (trust me, this isn't another "creative visualization."). the loops range in distance from 1.6 m to 3m to 6m to any combination thereof, and are easily interchanged.

my first introduction was three years ago when i scouted the trails after registering for the first run for ray 10k. a week before the race, i followed my scribbled map to the blue clay trails, and immediately fell into the spirit of running in the woods.  blue clay was born of the efforts of a local mountain biking organization, Sir-Bikes-A-Lot and SORBA, who started (and still maintain) the trail while pushing for its endorsement as an official county park. the park is well-marked and well-groomed, with a map at the trail head.

while i enjoyed having the trail to myself, i imagine its an unusual luxury. if you head out to blue clay trails, be mindful of the space and others around. a runner can stop and step aside ten times easier than a biker, so remain alert and respectful. there is no water, but there is a chemical toilet and parking is plentiful (and free).

Monday, December 6, 2010

lung distance logs ii. georgia blue ridge.

november 29th 2010. clarkesville georgia. chattahoochee forest national park, panther creek trail.  lung distance logs ii. Knee is healthy and the mountains are in my window.

I barely had time to find the beastie boys cd and drink a half-cup of coffee on the nine minute drive to the trailhead of panther creek trail. the route was well-marked, making a trailhead in the middle of nat’l forest georgia easy to find. Three dollars for a parking permit, a stop at the rustic but private facilities, and across the highway, i began the run and pushed into the depth of forest which is the chattahoochee forest. just wonderful.

Panther creek trail is a ~7 mile out-and-back run on mostly packed red clay with plenty of ankle-grappling, foot-contorting rocks knotted with gnarled roots and varying x-slope, grinding the legs at every click. The trail follows the panther creek, making harsh cuts through the woods, climbing juts of stone and jaggedrock cliffs, crossing the water four times (twice on rock and twice on foot bridges) and then pushing up burley root-steps and limestone slopes to eventually bomb into a flat area at the base of the panther creek falls. The trail has some fast sections, but mostly it is technical and makes for a pleasurable pace to absorb the many smells, images, and the interesting landscapes.

across seven miles, my footfalls were flat a total of one mile, maybe, and the rest was rock-kicks, root-juts, contortionist ankles and leg tweaks. iron and wine was in my head (from great heights, the slow release) when I relaxed from focusing on the ten feet of trail before me. thick with autumn smells, the morning was a cool 41 degrees with spritely air in the nose. . . . occasional animal smells provoked a higher attentiveness, but never a visual on any animal, neither bear nor bobcat nor panther nor dogs. . . a few birds flitted along, and I remember thinking they seemed very small. The trail was entirely void of human beings, adding another dimension of appreciation for this trail. . .

December 2nd. Tallulah falls state park, ga. I quickly filed my paperwork for a backcountry permit at the state park offices, paid a five dollar parking fee, (parking is free at ga state parks on wednesdays, the one day I didn’t run) mixed a watery g2 mixture and started the stoneplace trail. The trail is a 10 mile out-and-back route that cuts through the mountains surrounding tallulah gorge & falls, emptying out into a lake at the bottom of a strange mountain cradle. The trail is entirely primitive, with softball-sized and larger rocks ALL across the trail. I mostly followed the narrow path in the middle of the trail, cut by the torrential rains of Wednesday, a single-track rough the heavy layers of leaves and exposing the rocks and roots.

At about mile two, I’d found a gravel road (via a wrong turn-- blaze markings are sparse on stoneplace trail), venturing into a strange community of stacked multiplexes. Sliding down the valley’s slopes like archaic condominiums were six or seven “residences” composed of trailers and wooden structures, a hunting cabin with a cooking shelter ten feet to the left, and one smoking chimney of an unknown structure– maybe a still. Truck campers were roughly balanced on wheel barrow boxes, and two old pop-top campers butted against rustic wooden shacks. Rebel flags hung high beside rusted drums, and one unseen dog barked. An old chevrolet, a 70's sedan, was stuffed with fake flowers across the front seat and the back seat, probably in the trunk too. I knew hunting lands bordered the trail, and while I was wearing orange and yellow attire, I didn’t want to risk totally losing the trail. So I backtracked and found a blaze and kicked it back up the red clay. (While I don’t want to sound like a stereotyping asshole, the film Deliverance was filmed here, and I was totally alone and a touch nervous for a minute. That is confessional and non-PC, so take it as you will.)
The beauty of stoneplace trail is well-preserved, is ungroomed and natural, but it is not postcard vistas. The smells are of red clay, decaying leaves (molasses and distant smoke), wisps of pine, wet stone, and fermenting cedar. It is rough mountain growth with massive trees decaying in the spot where they fell years ago. Steep descents allow a creek to babble up here and there, but there are few water features except at the turn-around point. There, a lake sleeps, tranquil and dark, fed by a few small creeks webbing in. An unpaved road snakes in from the west, blue-n-gray gravel, steep, gouged by sliding car tires. The lake is a recreational center I suppose, unremarkable but for the juxtapose of a lake cradled by mountains. The run back was acrobatic and fun, with fairly visible blazes on trees, and one open-face wooden shelter for camping. The trail strikes me as a very masculine energy, a powerful space to force one's self through.  Moments of joyful work accompanied me, and this was another wholly solo run.

December 3rd. Panther creek trail remix. Wednesday's massive rains eroded and resculpted much of the trail, also causing slippery crossings on limestone faces. But I was confident in my feet and legs, loose, if a bit tired initially, and had a a tight run. One terrifying image haunted the first mile, a strange tyler-durden-splice of a figure in wet black trenchcoat, an older male face, deep dark eyes, classic horror face staring down the trail as I ascended the ledge. I swallowed my heart, stopped (entirely baffled), breathed again and resumed the run through the apparition’s vapor. Strange. 

The bulk of the run, the middle section, was the same as before, but with a more heightened sense of terrain variations.  Nuanced dips where water pushed around rock and root brought concave spoons of mud, loose ropes of hemlock root grabbed for toeboxes, and at least two more fallen trees crossed the trail.  The smells were primal. The water was rushing and loud as water can be.  It was a wholesome experience. 

Towards the finish, I found some deep (but not huge) paw tracks, with claws, directly under the 441 bridge at around ½ mile point. I smelled nothing, but six miles into the run and nearly done, my pace was certainly boosted.

this trail is cleansing and focusing. pay the three dollar parking fee and run yr fucking heart out. The good work puts you in a state of glowing ecstacy. And its unpopulated status (on my two trips) makes a superior experience. It is not a long run, but it is aerobic and quick-footed as well as quick-minded, and leaves you energized and lucid, the reason for it all.

December 5th. mud and muck and miles. A cold wind seemed to face-off against me every step of a ten mile run, home again, Sunday, and thick in the post-vacation decompression. Weaving through the traffic of three major wilmington/ wb churches as they let out, I craved the mud and smells of the georgia foothills. Someone honked and yelled from a while tahoe. Mayfaire mobs collected at intersections like alligators waiting for a parade of chickens. I was back home. I bowed my head and kept running.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

dead bird in laundry room, gator trail 2011, live birds push into sky.

november 14th.    bird carcass in the laundry room, spray of fallen feathers. proud cat purrs.

i am preparing my entry form for the Gator Trail 50k, the closest ultra to my hometown at about an hour's drive west. . . last referenced here, i’ve wanted to do this race for two years; so 2011 is the year of the commitment regardless of my current patellafemoral pain. thirty-one miles ought to prove a solid physical challenge and a base for a significant emotional journey, with the reprieves being the location and the small race charm. . . check 'M' for shirt size and gender, sign the liability clause and the check, stamp and drop.  Done.

November 17th, 2010. Schubert’s string quintet in C. Ferocious, rabid, erotic.  schubert, dead at 32 years of age from syphillis & alcoholism.  the guts of decay and chaos remains the soul.

nov. 23rd. Three and one-half miles with no grand happening, with a minimum of tightness in left knee. New shoes felt good, a little fluffy in the sole and stiff in the kick, but thats expected in their newness. . . stayed in neighborhood for the run, seeing one marvelous bird formation, hundreds of birds, congregating in treetops and exploding out into spontaneous flight and spiraling back into trees, then launching in silhouetted chirp-cloud towards the south.  i wonder if their sound waves influence their formation waves. . . . a fractal type function? A marvelous sight, the cool ballet of birds in punk screeches. followed by french roast, brahms string sextet, a brief essay-effort and then work-grind.

(run for ray trail half-marathon packet is signed and sent. run for ray 2010's write-up is posted here, and then the brutal follow-up blogpost of scarred & scabby nipples. )

Friday, November 12, 2010

the naked and the raw-- running narratives continue.

I. The day’s frenzy. . . . snarls of time versus goals.  (into the delirium. . .
November 9th, Tuesday, a six mile loop at wrightsville beach, port city chop house through summer rest trail ‘round loop and back, a recovery run of moderate effort, with only six folks encountered along the way. The beach was serene and vast and easy.
II. November 11th, Thursday. . . I need a miracle everyday.
USS Gravely (i think) entering Cape Fear River by CB State Park

eight miles churned on mix of sand and compacted bike trail and unbusy road down at wrightsville beach. Much of the run focused on the troops humping afghanistan mountains with packs of leadweight and their endurance on fields of combat (internal, external), and just how little of my own potential I touch on. I am not military, nor have I ever been, and in fact rarely considered it as an option for myself, but somehow I have a deep compassion & admiration for those men and women who have done it, are doing it, and will do it. . . . brutal brave existence.

garcia was also in mind in long meditative stretches, I need a miracle everyday, and that sums up the wholesome truth of it all.

III.  Running narrative continues. . . . november 12 2010.

Ernest Shackleton: “We had reached the Naked Soul of Man.”

carolina beach state park for a run of around six miles, and then some photographs before pcj at myrtle grove, grabbing a blueberry bran muffin with medium organic coffee and headed back home to hang with my dog. Out in the park i followed campground trail from the welcome center to the main trail and after a mile or so climbed the “rare coastal mountain” called sugarloaf dune, then descended along the sandy-spine of root steps and steep slides down where I promptly lost the trail (which was detoured/ closed I would later learn upon encountering a utility horse and big orange detour sign at a trail intersection) and followed the shoreline of the cape fear mouth, thinking of madelbrot/madelbrot number sets as I admired the natural patterns of coastal grasses as melodic wave tracings, fallen trees decaying in interesting forms, amorphic and surreal, the crag oaks with pale green moss deforming contours like scales, the push of color of an isolated butterfly against the estuary fall-grays of the landscape. . . . the swift swoop of birds and the lap of wake against brack and branch. . . . smells of pine resin and salt-wet wood permeate. . . . uprooted trees lay with strange primal maps in their woven root structures, and birding decks overlook long fields where coarse grass taptap each other with dry percussive sweeps of a cold wind, and then finally back into thick sand (terribly inefficient footing, trudging, even in my salomon trail shoes) tightening into pine needled path and then the marina where I turned round to follow sugarloaf back to the car and grab a warm shirt (of organic cotton, purchased at take a hike gear store in black mountain with proceeds going to maintain the Appalachian Trail, a very cool gift from my wife), drop wet socks and shoes and get it down in language.  
Numbers=> 33m/ 53m/ 1133m

Monday, November 8, 2010

take the time to enjoy the thing; halloween to battleship half marathon-

November 1 2010 11h18am.   total for October was pushed out by a good long run y’day, halloween sunday, a twelve mile run of about 1h40mins. . . . ran from home through ogden park (and the hispanic soccer playoffs) to construction roads and trails and huge sand berms and lakes and large geese migrating just overhead, their strange languages of flight-form and squawking and laughing, I alone and enormous paw prints in wet sand keep me alert and somewhat wary and the run pushes up high-voltage trails, long straight swatches of ankle-twisting brashness and quick-touch toe-runs and eventually back into ogden park and home. the numbers are: 150 miles for October, 1081 miles for the year.
November 5, 1h29pm. Our other laptop, on which all of our documents/ photos/ music & general cross-referencing library of personal data is collapsing due to some hardware failure (error hex 50), so I am on a loaner. . . . updates are few and far between and the original documents are binary pulses, static, on a harddrive currently unusable. . . . so lets start from scratch.
this weekend is the battleship half marathon in downtown ilm. still uncertain of my participation, i know i can do better than last year, and that fact continues to intrigue me, to pull me in against the monetary resistance, almost as much as crossing the bridges in their strange, grate-teeth-on-soles splendor.
recent reading includes, still, dfw’s collection of short stories entitled “oblivion” as well as the short stories of chekhov, babel, and a bit of dostoevsky. The short story format revisited– the powerbars of literary feasts. . . . wonder why mccarthy doesnt put shorts out? should re-read some d. eggers. . .

November 6th. Eight miles of ramblin’ runnin’ at carolina beach state park, sand and pineneedled trails, wet and puddled leaf-mosaics bordered by black swamp swirling with pine oils; nasty currents of carbon and burnt steel cutting against yachts in icw, sugarloaf like the finest, white flour crunching beneath my salomons on sharp/quick ascents. A perfect midmorning run. Quiet and solitary, with only three other folks on the trails, and topping sugarloaf three times as i followed the trail which wraps the park while inter-weaving the run with various spontaneous trails. A good meditation, coastal brack and brine and cypress and luscious smells of autumn, good god-time in birdland and shed wet cold shirt for drywarm sweater and drove towards home, stopping for a blueberry bran muffin and hot columbian coffee. Work and work.
Saturday November 9th– i have registered for the half marathon, becoming the 1293rd person to do so with a cutoff of 1300. Destiny is mine.
November 8th.  the day after the 2010 Battleship Half Marathon.
Monday morning and my legs are tender with ropey tendons screaming the slightest movement, shoulders push against abdomen muscles like tired rowers in rough churn, mind reels the race-tape through as kyote chases a soccer ball and mahler’s third symphony belts out horns and string, heralding autumn’s first coastal frost. Now, recovery from the 2010 battleship half-marathon begins in earnest. the 13.1 miles y’day opened cold and collected, passing with a few strange (and by strange, I mean psychotic?) Moments, a homemade lunch of seered tuna and black bean tacos, then i worked my Sunday night shift to exhale, crashing into eight hours of royalty-worthy sleep. chasing kyote around the house will be my recovery run today. . . . but y’day’s half marathon was smooth and overall very good, with a coldcold morning tightening the veins in bare legs until the effort of the first incline heated and loosened and the legs began milling out the miles. . . . it all started behind the hilton of downtown wilmington, boarding the river taxi. My goal was around 1h40m, but the trip across the cape fear pushed a new goal. Some asshole harassed the first mate on the river ferry across from downtown to the battleship park (and yes, it was a rough ride and it did take four efforts to dock, but we were safe and ontime and the guy was just a dick. . . his brandnew minimalist nikes, his compression shorts and fuel belts and two garbage bags wrapped around more compression/ tech gear, garmin watches and heart monitors and this guy could've been a navy seal on a mission but besides that: my wife and twenty month old were cold and patient on the bench with a cape fear wind whipping the deck, so this guy was just an overtestosteroned chump who was marring my morning) and so my Mark was quickly exiting the river taxi with a haughty look to the first mate (who was holding the gate wide-eyed and embarrassed), and ky and kas and I got off and squared away and I was jogging to the start where the countdown was already underway. Hopping the dayglo orange tape, I found folks with attentive expressions and we began walk-trotting as an airhorn blew, pulling the runners out like a ribbon dance as the field expanded and a trot became a jog became a slalom became a run up the first bridge.

Ill skip the meat of the run but for a few choice cuts: at around mile 8 things got weird. The mind-voice began something like this:
“Ahh shit, a heavy, bonkey feeling in legs and chest. . . 13 miles. . . i'm done running, just done with it, i’ll never run again, this is ridiculous, 13 miles. . . every week I run this. . . runners drugs. . . need some music, a song in my head, fast and fast. . . easy skanking, easy skanking- skanking it slow. . . last year: gogol bordello; I felt good, lifting my head, felt strong and ran harder, arms in air, pumping. . . a burst. . . no ipod now, simplify and run. . . . enjoy the thing, the act of now. . . don’t bonk, could use some music. . . am i hitting a wall? Slow down, stomach breath. . . gatorade at next station, calories and electrolytes. . . what the hell are salt tabs?  compression man in sight, a belt full of hammer gels, drafting offa some cat. . . simplify to the run, no gum, no gels, breath. . . where did my pacifier go? (I chew my tongue for a second before realizing this is not a rational consideration.) Well that was abstract. maybe I’ll go to the comic store tomorrow.”  during this fugue i also projected several false recognitions on random faces.  i saw a friend mailyn walking on the path, and i saw a good running buddy jimmy coming the opposite direction, and, well, in short, these were false moments.   things chilled at an aide station and someone yelled “looking strong 1992" (my race number) and I felt better, felt human, and proceeded to pour a gatorade down my jaw and shirt and chased that with a water, shot a snot rocket, and pushed the final five miles. . . . (eventually compression man finished twenty meters before me.  for the record, i did pass him before my left shoe came untied.)

picked up some fresh tuna filet and seered it with black beans and fresh salsa and had lunch with kas and ky before a few restful minutes of football and then dressed for work.  good food and be-here-now runs are the Art recently.   that and a few sketches of punkass foot slogger. . . .
numbers=> 13m for the week/ 32m for the month/ 1113m for the year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Could you be Loved?

October 12th & a fall run of ~8 miles. the run was good, solid, but i cannot stop thinking of my meal at the Laughing Seed Café in Asheville. phenomenal. they grow many of their resources on a three acre plot just a long run’s distance from the downtown restaurant, and (get this): the chef maintains the crops and the kitchen, pushing the menu towards seasonal alterations. excellent food from good people; what more could you want?

October 14th exertion and immersion was the mantra du jour. . . . first quarter moon. 8 miles at northeast library to coast (ran some sand) around the loop and back (via summer rest trail).  an interesting part was running on a side road when a road biker with red highlights on his leather coat passed me with great speed, and when I looked over, there was naught but a fall darkened branch with red leaves hanging. . . . superb “creative visualization.”
October 15th   i added a mile to y’days route by parking down by lumina station, by NoFo/ Grand Union Pub. this route allows you to avoid crossing military cutoff or eastwood, and thus saves much anxiety and unnecessary danger. the run was good and autumn, and I thought about being a good person, how to better myself and my empathy and compassion. how to expand my loving-kindness? the ways are far too numerous to explore in language here, but to act from deeper within, where things are naturally kind and generous and open.

the jangle of language, the jarring of body, clash of body and language-mind pushing pace across thrashing umber leaves. . . the pillage of squirrels, their scurry across sun-streaks, citrus on payne’s gray, black branches waving into cold wind. landscapes clear and energized, lucid, become turner-swirled watercolors and the fragrance of autumn fills lungs and mind, body, the sweet tumble of oak leaves and pine needles, the vast quiet stretches of beach and sand and still morning where vacationers packed, paid meters, left. old creaking bass boat putts easy out intracoastal waterway beneath bridge and my body sways on swift pace to soft ungrimacing breath and the miles roll peaceful and mind becomes earth, quiet, humble and working like water.

tuesday 1h09pm October 19th Could you be Loved?

I was greeted by a synchronicity today, following my meditation during the run the other day of how to better myself as a human being, personally and spiritually. the radio was on as I drove to town for an errand and the run, and 98.7 surf had a “way-back track” from 1980, which turned out to be marley’s “could you be loved?” so I appreciated the vibe marley set, and wore my ipod for motivation’s sake as the first miles kicked off.
a little over nine miles fit the bill for a run on this perfect day: temps are upper 70’s with little humidity, clean air with good sunlight and a quiet route from brooklyn arts district through CFCC campus to the boardwalk and confederate park and the greenfield lake trail and back up the nesbitt court area (fortunately they are demolishing the blighted buildings) to complete the loop back by the rear entrance of acme arts. . . during the run, my ipod, on shuffle mode, caught marley’s “could you be loved?” not just once, but twice. . . . twice? so I just continued enjoying the kicks though my left hamstring was tight and thus working my right quads awkwardly. . . I pushed the few hills in downtown and crossed third and stretched out a few minutes and drove home. it was there I searched through cds, seeking out some dead somewhere, and instead found marley’s uprising, which unwittingly contained “could you be loved?” strange indeed.
sometimes the universe elucidates the spiritual values and goals one should reach towards. if only I could find a rainbow gathering somewhere in the region—I could handle a weekend of drumming and chanting and living simple for a few days.

Monday, October 11, 2010


october the first 2010. 10h53 am and a friday following a deluge of rain all week—historic amounts of rain in Wilmington. the gray clouds and paled landscape slow time, allowing memories to sift through busy body-shuffles of daily demands. autumn and rain push a personal history through a heavy body.

today opened with an eight miler through ogden park, jumping the many puddles along the way, watching the leaf blowers work the tennis courts dry, dogs splashing alongside owners, each very pleased to be outside. the run was cool, the first time I’ve felt cool in many months, and the wind pushed chills outta arms and ears. then a warm shower followed by some dead and Columbian coffee and now for some drawing.

October third.

I work at a restaurant downtown, and this past weekend was Riverfest, which brings the full spectrum of Wilmington area folks out and about. Sunday evening brought a guest carrying a small dog, a pomeranian or chihuahua, blanketed up to its neck through our front door. "May I help you?" I asked. "Yes. I am going upstairs to the sofa lounge and this dog is a disability assistance dog and she has papers," she said. "May I see the papers?" I asked, finding the whole thing strange and questionable and being responsible, in part, for upholding certain laws inside of the restaurant. "I can show you the papers, and I am not trying to be difficult, but I am a lawyer and you should know that you can be sued for requesting the papers, according to the American Disability Act. All I have to do is say this is an assistance dog and that will satisfy it legally."

She showed me the papers.

So her threat/ caustic reproach got me thinking. . . Most assistance dogs have a tag and a visible vest or harness indicating their status. So my question is: If someone states their dog is a disability assistance dog, and there is no evidence beyond that verbal declaration, do I not have the right to request further documentation? As I work in a public space I should know these things. and I looked it up to discover she is absolutely right. In fact, one does not even require carrying the documentation for the dog. the animal is differentiated from being a “pet” by the designation “assistance animal.” the harnesses are not required, nor can one legally deny service to the individual and their companion animal unless the dog barks or threatens another guest. that is not applicable, however, to the individual; they have the full right to bark and bite at all around.


Sunday, I awoke at 6am for a cup of coffee before a local race. the run the river 8k seemed just the type of organized run I wanted, a nice road race covering the three bridges and some of downtown along the cape fear. so I ate a clifbar and a banana and headed out with shoes in hand so I wouldn’t wake ky and kas. when I got there, the sun was still pushing through clouds, and the temperature was a crisp 60 degrees. nice. I held the thirty dollar fee in hand, but ran a few warm up laps to see what my body was feeling. chatter from other runners told me that they were not running the bridges, that the course had been changed. a bit of a bummer. . . so the course was my old stomping grounds, my old daily run. with that knowledge i just couldn’t justify a thirty dollar timing chip wrapped around my laces. so to the car I went, stashing my cash beneath the seat with my keys and cell phone—7h31am. locked the door—and a ten mile run took me down the river, through recently flooded front street, across and around Greenfield park, back up fifth then fourth then third then water street and back around front street and the riverfest setup crowds. the final two miles were rainy, and the rain was cold and increasing in intensity until I finished shirtless and cold with my nipples raw and unamused. I fit right in with the riverfest workers smoking while flipping sausages and pushing tarps across trailers to push out the rain.

October fifth. Agony of da’ feet

a nine mile run today, tuesday, with the feet burning on soles and arches, toes feeling stretched out in faster pacing. . . . but a good run, quiet and thoughtful, passing the colors starting to fall from the dogwoods, maples, and the assorted oaks. . . one image made a strong impression: was a leaf, faded and degraded and twisted, mirroring the fading boneless bird decaying beside. . . how they referenced each other, mirrored in a gruesome way, as a strange visual poem. brown of torn tired leaf, brown of bone-webbed bird.

to run in autumn; wild geese push necks southward.

October the seventh, thursday. eight miles, a route not done in a while, from the northeast library to the coast, to shell isle and back up through summer rest trail towards the completion of the oblong loop.

Fernando Castro Pacheco amazing Mexican art.

October 11 2010.
mountain excursion passing through Asheboro and the state zoo and then black mountain/ montreat area. . . a superb night & meal at the laughing seed in asheville put the family’s mind at ease for a few days. running trails throughout montreat, new parks and accordians in Asheville, and the downtown rowdies of Asheboro punctuated the weekend, making for a some terrific scenery on all potential interpretations. more to come. . . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

floods, simple updates & an essay in italics.

sept 27th 2010.  bach’s cello suites. rain of astounding force battered Wilmington for 12 hours straight, all through the evening and night until dawn this morning. the day remains grayed, misty, soft. languid.

evening has fallen—nighttime with the black clouds (red and orange on television maps). this is the perfect night for a french press coffee with lots of sugar and some cream and a madura cigar and a seat on the porch. . . . read some old kerouac or miller for kicks and just veg out. a hemingway short story. . . the smoke and the read. ahhhh. but how will the nine miler in the morn feel after a forty minute smoke? and how enjoyable will it really be, once smoke is burning eyes and awkward fit in mouth and just sitting outside in the dark fighting mosquitoes and smoking up money I could use for a new comic or a pair of calve compression sleeves. . . a romantic impulse quickly waning into a self denying monologue.  the internal preacher. 

looking for runs, I found a very welcome addition to 2011’s roster: the run for ray event website is now up and official. it is a marvelous knee grinding, chest scorching, mind-pumping, vision blurring, scenic run that you should drive/ fly/ hitchhike/ trebuchet to get to. . . . seriously.

tuesday. sumatran coffee. kent williams.  seven miles downtown from nam’s home through greenfield park (no dog chases), through front street and some flooding across flat areas. . . no gators. a good run though it started slow and forceful, fitful. pushed through two miles to arrive at a comfortable state, somewhere around an 8 minute mile, and maintained that with some marley. geese are starting to pass through in migration.

September 28th 2010. wednesday. kyote and I watch the rain, for three solid days now it has rained, and the total is approaching now, maybe exceeding, two feet. . . we are considering getting out of the house for a minute, finding something interesting at the library, maybe running by a comic book store or townhouse art supply. . . . tomorrow is a tropical depression watch or warning and the whole of the southeastern nc is in flash flood warnings. meanwhile beethoven’s piano trios (performed by the beaux arts trio) trickles adagio from the studio, and tubes of paint line up by the palette and consider images to come. drawings fill various cheap sketchbooks, free association, automatic drawings mainly with minimum references in mind during the act. but a figure normally emerges. bodies dominate my visual repertoire, the narrative form like a visual biography, touchable kissable music.
essay for bodyfalls show last year:


falling dancer, posing nude.
bodyfalls: a selection of paintings by jay edge.
Caprice Bistro
june ’09.

new images painted on pre-existing images. often the figures are inverted and frequently falling. disoriented. free fall: free. I work with the figure because I love the human experience—my own and others—and a body is the ultimate testimony of one’s history. the body may be a visual chorus of the soul’s song. . . . or the body can be a defiance of the soul perhaps. . . . anyway, the paintings: a recycling and a refreshing of the canvases as now I am a father, husband, artist, man and struggling in an evermore complex fugue of layers. . . . often the pre-existing images are swallowed & lost in new layers—a history of the surface which is process-oriented (personal), rather than visually declared. while obscured, the evidence is subtly presented in underlying brush textures, rhythms of the current composition, and other idea/ image references. these paintings, as all works and persons, are fugues.

it is a human need & instinct to document, preserve and study history (personal history but not excluding collective history). this is often an anonymous and private experience, an unshared meditation. that anonymity, that silence behind the Now. . . . that your path is entirely unknown to others but for its obscure yield of experience-derived knowledge, that your entire life culminates into instincts unconscious dynamics abstract associations consequences and various manifestations. . . . that our scope of existence could lack a depth of history to most we encounter is such a flattening fact of reality. most of us see scars and cars when we see others. . . the private, idiosyncratic and often tragic paths we have each walked but rarely shared.

to bear witness is somehow foreign and absorbed. tedious.

ultimately the current work is derived from a personal transition of declaring—confessing, absolving, redeeming-- my past. a need to preserve. the residual images are artifacts, subjects of an excavation. . . . traces of nostalgia struggling against the daily surrendering to the complex weave of my Life. a turning away. . . the transformation of solipsist Self.


sometimes referencing dance, grace, classic figurative posing, the figures are meant to be as much visual rhythms or visual mass, body bulk. they are not intended to be narrative, but rather moments: culminating nexus of a life. they are a response to the emotional tides of being a father, husband, man, artist. they are often hurried and overworked, then simplified, painted over, repainted. . . . collage has been used to cover large areas, introducing a mass media reference but also serving the functional (newspaper is cheaper than paint).
my creative process is built on study and work. there is much thought as well as action in these paintings (actionable thought). observation of a painting until a solution emerges, which is then executed, often rapidly, from pre-worked studies. frequently, intrepid painting uncovers the solution, an active labor of paint and canvas and image-reference. the idea: research, exhaust, react/ respond. requiem and renaissance; discover and recover. additive and subtractive methods of image creation/ unraveling build interesting textures, documenting the process of image-construction. evidence of early drawings, early paintings, struggles all remain visible and starkly present. evidence to reduce ego while working, to maintain honest searching and identification with a form or pigment.


aesthetic inspirations include rome, nyc, vast numbers of painters and musicians, and finally Wilmington itself. . . . the cracked roads and parking lots, the multitude of parking decks, the gravity of bricks that is downtown wilmington’s architecture, the abstraction of aging and gravity. dilapidation versus renaissance, a process of reclaiming. . . . broken bottles, broken windows, multicolored parking tickets, farmers market. . . . runs down chestnut or princess or fifth or the boardwalk. abandoned storefronts, thrashed up cobblestone, the mires of water street, buildings held upright by jaundice plywood with scrawled cartoons, graffiti in chemical toilets. . . .

also—the dominance of red is related to the idea that red is the first recognizable color of a child’s perception. large areas of color are also meant to stimulate my four month old son, who spends many mornings and afternoons in the studio beside me.

I hope you enjoy the paintings, and thank you for your interest.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

autumn reflections, dried leaves, running man. . . .

September 8th.

Hallucidity, my chapbook of poems some fifteen years ago. coinciding with my show in salisbury nc, 1995, entitled nudes and other epiphanies. jim moon, kerry smith. bruce & jackie at fine frame gallery. la cava restaurant. long walks on church street, to work and back. brunches at sweet meadow café. lost alleys of salisbury nights. (strange nostalgic reflections)

shostakovich by morn, minutemen by afternoon. creeley, pynchon.

September 22

mornings at the methadone clinic. . . . smoking a camel, absorbing the bbc’s final news just before npr at 6am, driving through inky Wilmington dock street, cape fear churning far behind, chewing the bones of the previous night, chewing the glass bottles and dope bags, emptied purses, tennis shoes, a coffee cup. . . at 5h30am, metro treatment center opened and the line was already twisting across 16th by the white front breakfast house. the medicine was due, and the pasty eyes and runny noses and achy bodies waited and looked around nervously for the perpetually late nurse. smoke settled blue and green in fluorescent street light, lungs and air equally heavy from cigarettes burning behind hooded shadows of faces.

no methadone now, just miles. 10 miles actually, at wb on old familiar summer rest loop ‘round north side/ shell island. in doing so, I have now surpassed 900 miles for the year. having missed nearly two months of running due to injury, I am happy with my runs. I still enjoy the act of the run, the aesthetic of personal movement, the bliss of thrusting oneself through life and World. language and legs. image and imago. torture of the happy marathon monks. the joy of pushing through sun and grass and smells of heated pine needles and musical interludes and the other runners passing and random passages of poetry or derrida or delirium, a love supreme. runners high.

autumn begins at 11h03pm. a glorious thing, though we are still pushing 90 degrees in afternoon sun. . . . speaking of heat, seems like just y’day I was writing this out. . . and now darren mulvenna and I open our show tomorrow evening at caprice bistro. seems like just yesterday i was struggling and sweating, writing this.

meanwhile, I am the focus of an interview published in wilmington’s local culture mag, the Encore. shea carver did a wonderful job on this piece. the magazine and  the article can be found at here. ms. carver crafted an excellent article outta my mind-mash, and I am grateful for her work.

kyote ruminating on a large drawing

sept 24 11h24am.

associative poetics, fourth-dimensional poetics. chaim soutine. ten mile run on tuesday. three mile run y’day morning, then painted all day.

8 mile run to celebrate opening last night, which went well and swiftly. ipod was on shuffle and while I lost the left ear plug to sweat, the right played anything from soul coughing to bach’s art of fugue to gogol bordello to (finish with) rage against the machine. sun is more late summer in heat and intensity than early autumn, but a breeze kept the edge off of the heat.

was thinking about the abstract references of work. how within a work, verbal or visual, internal references (pop culture, personal association, narrative inference, etc). . . . art becomes a melding point, a synergized thing. ephemeral and clay as flesh. barthes, derrida, d.f. wallace, or any dadaist would be proud. . .

sept 26th 2h17pm.  ten miles across ogden and king’s grant. a strong run, storms bulging across horizon, but only building from the humid morning. a little cooler. pine needles and orange-brown leaves fade from drought. runs smell like damp hardwood.
show pieces

1. red doppelganger 600

2. wild red dancers 450

3. falling dancers doppelganger (diptych) 600

4. two nudes, gray 600

5. fuerza bruta (burnt orange & gray) 600

6. cadmium orange nudes 600

7. blue mountains, pieta 350

8. inverted male nude

9. compound drawing 300

10. compound drawing (diptych) 250

to finish with, a vide of an exciting show kas and i saw off-broadway a few years ago: fuerza bruta.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

sharpened knife, smoking french press, jesus and some dead.

transcendence.  end of august. echoes of my mothers comment, sometime back in 1995, after a particularly rough drugrun: “sometimes we must just start over with what we have left.” a strange comment to keep close to awareness, to keep in mind, for some 16 years now. but I do. alchemy of necessity and loss.

leaf-frog. hallucinations abound when you are tired, hot, running too hard, and trying to provoke them. this is not something I encourage, only something I do. sometimes. running is not hallucinogenic, but it sure as hell becomes a cycle, like a drug cycle. . . and solid effort can blur the mind. . . . and so the leaf-frogs are a fine indicator of a good run—its when a frog scuttles across the way, with little hops, only to turn into a leaf upon closer inspection.   wonder if marathon monks encounter these things? 
speaking of the hallucinatory nature of things. . . . fire on the mountain, 1977, jerry and the gang.

august 30 2010. is this the final day of august?

beef bourguignon on the stove top, though I ain’t sure its gonna work. . . . . recently reading much on bourdain and marco pierre white.  dvorak on the onkyo, sixth string quartet, with a French press and a crusted baguette. yesterday brought a solid run of nine miles, following a one mile warm-up walk and pleasure-stroll with my wife and kyote.

September 7th 2010. tuesday post-labor day monday.

six mile run. seven miles y’day. American landscape that is my body. song of myself. parallels of ab ex generation and the blog generation. . . the ME-moir and the nature of the solipsism of America, of identity, of community, of enclosed, label-dominated bodies that are, together and individually, America. human bodies tagged by consumerist assembly line machine. work becomes work becomes worker.

watched a good film y’day: Greenberg. imposed a cold self-consciousness however.

15 days until show. . . . . work progresses in manic episodes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

work and work and non-august august.

faux-tigue or true overtraining?
here I am in august, burnt out on the burnt end of running routes and busy season at my job and less sleep than when I was strung out and anyway—runs are not feeling good. it is hot as hell. the effort required in a six mile circuit is nearly heroic. the mind will not still for long periods of time. the legs are heavy and angry and even undisciplined- awkward- in gait. strange. . . . so the runs are strained and ugly and fish-flopping funky.

work and work—new paintings by darren mulvenna and jay edge (c'est moi). opening on thursday, september 25th, with the premiere fourth friday reception following on September 26th. . . . here are some sneak-peaks (of my recent work), landscape-nudes, inverted dopplegangers, et cetera. . . .  the doppelgangers have continued for several years now, as have the landscape-nudes, and their visual vocabulary is fresh and reinvigorated: i am truly excited about them!   flesh soil paint.  three prominent elements of my creative cycle. we shall see what darren has up his talented sleeve.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

figures, fugues, fuego, Fugueres.

august 10.  late summer, runs, similar to rimbaudian withdrawals (saisons a l'enfer).  celine thrusts of point/ counterpoint and fragment-language, foucault or schoenberg spindrift through fogmind.  jerks and kicks. figures and fugues and thought-drifts, pushing against the wall. sputters of motion, spastic passing of ocean's vague horizon;  suspended breath and mild hallucinations against asphalt of road which boils up through soles, ankles, shins, knees.  the asphalt ocean i run on. . . . figures and fugues meld towards a conjunction of meaning.  hallucination or inspiration?  just too fucking hot.

august 13th. the 8am air was already swampy. but by the end of the six mile run, the scorching sun would boil the feathers offa the wings of this bird. just another dante-launch of leg-language.  (run as poetry:  a personal happening.) 
and on canvas:  paint against two dancers, inksplash figures emerging, cadmium red light. 

the longdistancelungs—how the diaphragm builds and expands across the miles. . . . but to breathe in the swampy Carolina summer at ~7mph requires gills. . . .

berryville. . . (the fugue of the mountains. take a profile/ elevation map and place on a set of sheet music and play. or have 4 by 4 play it.) a wonderful experience full of sun   skeet-shooting  a few miles  good food and homegrown music.  daily route was (according to 7.7 miles, a beautiful run from the farm by locke mill to watermelon park, a campground smelling of warm tortillas, hot dogs, and drunk campfires and back. 

the crisped confit days of august in the south. . . . atmospheric perspective swallows the horizons of trees, gray mist with swatches of blurred browngreen. visual sewage, mind sewage. heat burns body outta soul and flightless, heavy-winged albatrosses emerge where eyes once burned. burned out and burned out.  ready for autumn cooldown. some fugazi for the day, but not the first photo posted below. . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

french roast and fugazi. . .

mahler’s 150th birthday. the brutal brushes, the pushing-and-pulling colors, the sounds of knife scraping canvas, a female arabesque becomes a pennsylvania hill grided into mosaic farms, charcoal grinding her black dry-oil against the tweed of cotton, the pushing of titanium white into burntbone black, gray pasting form into fields of kinetic line. landscape and figure mingle and enmesh, a biomorphic dance, fugazi launching vocals and rampant rifts, then bach cello suites (rostropovich) and kyote sleeps as basho breathes.

the pleasure of work. the pleasure of the run. the pleasure of Being, Whole. (van gogh’s delirium?)

august fifth twenty-ten. caprice bistro for dinner.

my wife and I haven’t had a dinner date since our anniversary, and before that it was sometime around our wedding two+ years ago. so a date was due—and enjoy a date we did.

the hostess warmly received us, offering the window table on their banquette as we arrived. it was 6pm and we enjoyed a marvelous living theater of the street outside, watching downtowners walking dogs, moving from desk to bar, jogging, or riding the horse-drawn carriage for a tour (probably the finest window in downtown wilmington). my wife was beautiful and happy, reviewing the menu and sipping a mohito, freshly muddled mint wafting across the table. our lively waiter explained the specials, cracked a coupl’a jokes, and we ordered the first course: spinach salad and curried mussels. mussels are something of a culinary religion in the bistro menu, and man does Caprice nail them! yellow curry pushed and pulled the mussels like a spirited dance partner, allowing the mussels their own flavors, then enhancing them. the spinach salad was good, the fresh leaves like crisped butter pushing lightly bitter notes against a very good Roquefort cheese and sweetened walnuts.

for the entrée, my wife had the plat du jour—lapin au moutarde. the rabbit was perfectly prepared, and a hint of smoky pork-salt extracted the nuanced flavors of the meat. the mustard notes were pleasantly subtle, infused with a buttery white wine. the sauce coated a fresh fettucine, perfectly al dente and flavorful in itself.
i had the bistro steak. pomme frites arrived with the teres major steak, seasoned and grilled and served with a bordelaise reduction. pink and tender on the inside while nicely charred on the outside, the beef was amazing. the baked, herbed tomato and sauteed carrots were also delicious, that innate sweetness working the meat's earthier elements.

dessert was a simple, traditional faire (by choice)—my wife ordered the crème brulee, vanilla, with the crisp skin of the caramelized sugar cracking nicely beneath the spoon. my choice was also delicious, (though I caught some jokes for the simplicity of my dessert palette)the eternal "dame blanche." while vanilla ice cream is timeless and not very exciting, add the chef’s belgian chocolate and freshly whipped cream (amazing!) and voila—a beautiful dessert. a cup of dark coffee, procured from a regional coffee roaster, poured dark and deep to make the meal a fine success.

while my palette may be less advanced in some selections, the fundamentals of cooking are well-represented and are, infact, feted at caprice bistro. even a basic selection, whether beef or vanilla ice cream or coffee, becomes a multilayered, intricate flavor-map of culinary traditions of the French bistro.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

mingus and miles and soon, mountains.

august 2. vision quest. the word just sort of slapped me upside the head, sipping coffee and sketching. every act is a sort of vision quest, is a form of prayer, is an act of faith. a run is a mini-vision quest, every conversation is a process of finding those contours of forms of self in the internal, infinite dark of Being. . . . hopi hopping with song and foot-schlogging.

y'days run was a solid run against thunder and rain; love running in the rain.  graphic novel idea:  diary of a punk-ass schlogger.

august 3rd--> ran a mixed-surface 10k, starting on the bike trail that cuts alongside the sidewalk merging onto lumina road to shell island and crossed the bird-sanctuary trail to the beach; paused against the clear horizon, then bent into the shore with burning calves and tight achilles and some beauties bathing in early-day sun and then the heat hit, so i slowed down to a moderate pace, eyeing the next water fountain. . . . enjoyed the sound of shoes compressing sand and the voices of children against waves and the general feel-good vibe of august beaches. run was good but heat invaded my endurance and a good pace to a slower form of trudging work. . . . silence on ride home, then mingus and cool shower and preparations for virginia hills this weekend.

some drawings below as studies for upcoming paintings, but photos may or may not capture the energy of upcoming work. . . . inverted, frenetic, disoriented. . . mad, mad & mingus.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

july in review, the tragic clark lyons, an exhibit of paintings approaching. . . .

julliet 26 2010. 9h21am. the bastille day bum.  i will write about this man further, but for now will introduce him as the aged man who, after yelling "i am the rainman," passed out on the front stoop of our downtown restaurant on bastille day, just as we expected our first guests for the very busy evening. . . a terminal alcoholic, rotting of sour mash, cigarettes, and decay, he slept in spurts, yelling at traffic and horses and the cape fear.  he wore a fatigue jacket with military patches, a pair of swimming trunks that were riding low on his midsection, and a pair of fine wire-rim glasses around which fell red shocks of hair. anyway—he is now dead, having drowned in greenfield lake (where I run twice a week). he decided to “go take a bath” in the lake. clark lyons.  by the grace of god there go i. . . . why our paths crossed strikes me as something to mine for meaning.  here is a story from the local news source. 

Instinct. Intuition. collective unconscious; the delirium of sleeplessness, of information overload, of self-ridicule and inelegant thought. flaccid half-sentences, fragments of awareness, splintered mindfulness. . . schubert’s piano sonata, opus 120. I think of rainy winter days in Wilmington. comforting, comfortable thoughts, vision. black oak cove road in candler nc. intuition should lead into paths of mind—delirium is insight without orientation: savor the ridiculous until it becomes graceful.

thursday july 29. ran 7m this morning and nearly lost a calf muscle to a black (what appeared to be a) pit bull on one of the narrow sand-gravel alleys downtown near the park. . . . behind the trucking company hq, near greenfield & 5th, i heard dogs barking, nothing unusual, and then heard the rhythmic tell-tale chi-chunk of running paws and turned around to see that dog coming right at me. . . . he wasn't slowing, so i didn't slow. then he was at me, and i jumped and yelled (at who? i dunno) 'AYH!" and the dog just stopped. no teeth. shocked. looking at me, he lunged, lazily or half-heartedly, and i turned around--'not supposed to look into an aggressive dog's eyes'—jogged into a run, continued running and the dog turned & went back home. next came, strangely, the quietest moment of the whole run. . . . a god moment for sure. and a fair run but my quads are very tired and my endurance lacks as my breath isn't strong in the wet air. . . what appeared to be dark clouds in distance was actually atmospheric perspective darkening the horizon, and it was hot and steaming.
fine storms now pound and beat, one hears stravinsky or webern, and the tomatoes and peppers will be very happy for this rain. the orchestra of nature drifts into silence.

saturday july 31 2010.   my shoes are being washed. once white, they are now a gruesome dark mud of sweat and soil. and they smell like a summer dog, running wild through fields of fetid ash, lion meat flossing canine-teeth. anyway. . . . end of the month and time for the numbers.
704 miles in 2010. 24 miles for the week (short run today, again due to stomach). 101 miles for the month. not great but satisfactory for an injury-recovery month. next week, trails in berryville va.

show at caprice bistro in 45 days. opening mid-september, the larger paintings begin. rendered as wet-drawings, Pennsylvania landscapes and frenetic dancers dominate the work. I am looking forward to the final results, but savor the abstracts of the process of painting, the medium’s joy and experience of itself.

still cannot believe I have my calf muscle. the dog incident haunts me as a weeping statue might. . . . a personal miracle, probably.

Friday, July 23, 2010

the various levels of endurance in any given day.

the endurance of the day. there is always endurance. whether running through fever fires, insomnia fires, july fires, or family fires, one finds the heat of Life bearing down. . . the fires of the blacksmith, fires of struggle, fires of destruction, fires of a phoenix wings.

reflections on the texts of foucault, hoffstadter, schoenberg, pound, d.f. wallace, naipaul. . . . days on the bus riding to coffee & bookstore. winter coats and gray rain in roadside trenches, coffee steaming in gloved hands, paint-spattered, mindful and bodyless. bus rides with the cross-cut culture of ilm, smells and sounds and characters. material poverty bore creative prosperity.   physical ease yields mind complacency.  the city bus is a symbol of creative craving, of passion, of redemption.

still life from run today: the snake—laying in road with full body uncoiled, fat and fed, muscled body like rolled copper with rusting cream drops. perfect design, tattoos. head is illusion, Escher-style, milky copper merges crimsoned into black asphault. . . . flat head, dead head, copperhead. . . by my next lap the copper bulk is removed by feasting hawks and squirrels.
(cautious footsteps on mexican walkways.  the abundance of mexican iguanas, camouflaged against sand and stone.)

tuesday july 20th, 11h39am. seven miles downtown. heat and busybusy mind. finished sillitoe’s saturday night and sunday morning. energized language captures vividly the life of english working-class, factory-town characters—told via close third-person narrative with Arthur as main character. the book is a rewarding read. now “the loneliness of the long distance runner,” and am halfway through it. love the character, his lack of resentment, his arrogance, and his messy emotionalism. i recall clockwork orange for some reason. . . . thin connection, but theories of treatment for criminal reformation are presented in both texts through unrepentant antiheros.

kyote has his first soccer ball—a mitre size 3. already a brilliant dribbler, he is working towards a midfielder or even a striker position.

itinerary: in a few weeks, a trip to berryville va for some running and camping and friends and family. . . . triple lakes trail marathon in october. battleship half marathon in november. in november, if possible, i will try to head to georgia for a weekend prior to thanksgiving, do some running with the in-laws near stone mountain.

thursday july 21st. seven-point-five morning-miles with sunheatsun bearing down and rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto on the way home from downtown with a stumped, bent twig of an elderly lady nearly causing me to wreck. her husband sat in the passenger seat behind dark glasses staring blankly, possibly dead, but entirely trusting of his wife’s driving. little does he know. . . . upon returning home, strip salt-starched shorts and cut a thick, chilled watermelon slice. a moment of ecstacy, of quietude.

gonna add it up: 21m/ 71 m/ 677 m.

a few quiet moments in the run. . . . the heavy roots of swamp-trees pour into the green water. a caiman americain drifted on the surface amongst the slow gear-legs of the turtles, their shells swaying with algae like long hair sifting the water. a nice run of still mind; sometimes its ten miles before the mind relents and is serene and quiet. . . . . the ride home gradually crescendos into busy, scampering mind, driving Market street and cursing between vicious clangs and lugubrious adagios of rach’s third (van cliburn on the keys?). frustration-anger is sometimes the worst pollutant of my existence.

sweetened Sumatran coffee with the big B’s on the onkyo: beethoven, beastie boys, bob marley, bluegrass.

friday. four mile run at the summer rest loop and wb park. HOT and Humid: some walking along the way. . . reflected that it is not the numbers, the gadgets, the suffering, the ego, or even the completion of the run that counts. it is the process, the journey—the narrative-- of the run, the experience of motion and body and mind-colors in muscle movement, the burning of legs which is breath ignited, the body-brine frothing in shoes, the poetry of space, the alignment of prayer and Act. . . . to avoid the Deadspace—the mindless passage from point A to point B—and to be present and awake within the act. that is the whole deal. brine bakes on shoulders to dusty brown.