Saturday, November 22, 2008

in the mist

Gorillas are endangered. They may soon disappear. One of our closest relatives among animals, gorillas are highly intelligent, social and gentle. They eat leaves, roots, berries, bark and fruit. The mountain gorilla lives in the thick foliage and mountain mists of upland Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Koko the gorilla, a lowland gorilla born in captivity, learned sign language and communicated readily and fluently with her human companions. She had a pet kitten she named "All Ball" and was heartbroken by All Ball's premature death. Koko shared human's propensity for prejudice among other things. She was fascinated with photographs of other apes, but if shown a picture of a monkey, was as likely or not to sign "dirty stink monkey!". Koko has an IQ measured as being just slightly less than that of the average human. She has a vocabulary of over 1000 words. She is the first non-human animal to be known to specifically request medical care, when she had a bad toothache.

There is a wealth of information about Koko including a particularly interesting documentary film called Koko: a Talking Gorilla. There is much fiction and fact written on gorillas of all kinds. If you're interested, you might want to start here.

The photograph above is an imaginary scene. It comes, unfortunately, not from real life but from hope and respect. The photo of the gorilla in the picture is taken from one I made of a gorilla in the Toronto zoo. The rest of the image is a construct from other of my photographs.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Afternoon at the Fish Market

"The fish is talking!" screamed Nivelo,
Not knowing now what to do with the knife.
Rosen says today "Ah, enough already about the fish",
But then, right then, he dropped the phone and ran to see
And saw the carp, already lifted out of the ice-box
And seconds away from the rubber-hammered end of all time,
Speaking clearly, in Hebrew:
"Tzaruch shemirah. Hasof bah."
Get it together, kids, this is it.
Pray. Repair and pray, the end is here.

Zalmen didn't agree that it had happened at all,
But Nivelo had slid down the wall onto the slimy floor
From the horrible might of a carp speaking so plainly
And, admittedly, Nivelo did not speak Hebrew at all
By all reports, but Rosen did, and anyway a talking fish is a talking fish,
And the spirit of God is not something small.

Cory Kilgannon of the New York Times reported in March 2003 that
"The fish flopped off the counter and back into the carp box
And was butchered by Nivelo and sold."

So. That's some kind of news.
Now we know at least that Nivelo and Rosen and Zalmen
And God
Aren't sure.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Pleasure of Your Company

She sat by the window
She still wore the gown
Composed and prepared
She gazed outward and down

Her guests only spiders
She never shed tears
As she sat by the window
For forty-five years

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


two with the hands
three with the gesture out to God
four moonsquabble

deep cool night

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When Worlds Collide

When worlds collide
Out in the universe,
Atoms smash
And the music made
Goes on forever.

When worlds collide
Down here, the atoms come
Together in a dream
And hope the music can
Go on
And on.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


You learn early

That when your eye
Accustoms to
The dark,
A sudden light
Piercing bright.

Why is it that
When the light inside
Is shining there
We here
Safe and dark
Can't see?