Tag Archives: photography

A STROLL IN THE FRENCH QUARTER


IMG_3477

a stroll in the french quarter

the air becomes almost solid here

feels like you can cut it with a knife

it’s all thick sweat dripping slow and heavy

the clouds hang low and the city lights up the sky

trying to portray a forced happiness

fueled by hurricanes and grenades in plastic cups

but if you look down and not away

you’ll see where the weight of this almost solid air

fell those too exhausted from the race

lying on the streets of the quarter

shell-shocked by the empty failure of it all

watching the bourbon run out into the street

eye lids weighed down by moisture in the atmosphere

fading to black as the air solidifies around the dream

– vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1zM

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All Spit And Piss In The Wind


with enough time you too will be forgotten by vagabond ©
with enough time you will be forgotten by vagabond ©

all spit and piss in the wind
(for earth day)

in the race to destroy the planet
the human race will destroy itself
it’s a race we win by losing
mama nature will be fine

we posture hubris that we’re powerful enough to defy her
but it’s all spit and piss in the wind
we may do some heavy damage
but we’ll suffer more than she will

after we’re gone
after we’ve killed ourselves
for black numbers on white profits sheets
after we’ve squandered the riches
she’ll take her time and heal herself

we worship too much at the
altar of technology  and engineering
and place too much faith in the now
thinking this is permanence

i know this because
fragile weeds
crack through concrete sidewalks

moss thrives
on top of and in between
cobblestones in your streets

vines crawl across mortar and brick
and wind their way up
the sides of walls and into window sills

the air oxidizes around
the steel girders of bridges
allowing rust to get under the paint to peel it

roofs cave in
from the accumulated number
and weight of snow flakes

building foundations sink
in ground erosion
from the saturation of rain drops

and skyscrapers must be engineered to
give in the wind
or be taken by it

because we didn’t know how to live
on the earth
we’ll spend eternity
beneath it

all this time your pride led you to believe
that it would all endure
with enough time you too will be forgotten

and it makes me sad to think
i won’t be around to see the silence
or to  hear the grass grow
over your cities

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-eL

SUICIDE SELFIE’S


Go Fuck Your Suicide Selfie series with two-fingered gun to the temple – i have the power to kill myself with myself by myself…

suicide selfie’s

i got new glasses
i can see clearly now
that the blur is gone
i can see what needs to be done
two fingers to the head
pressed up against the temple
i have the ability
to pull the trigger
but do i have the courage
click
from one moment to the next
i’m something different now

– vagabond ©

Props to Adál Maldonado for the concept and the inspiration…
For more Go Fuck Your Selfie’s go here virtually…

Or go here really

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1vA

I GOT PEOPLE IN ME


Last week i had the honor and pleasure of doing both a film interview and photo shoot with Amina Baraka in NewArk New Jersey. If her name sounds familiar it may be because she is the widow of Amiri Baraka and the mother of the mayor of NewArk Ras Baraka. What you probably aren’t familiar with is that she is a poet in her own right and she has a new collection of poems coming out soon on 2Leaf Press who are turning out an amazing roster of writers who have been ignored by the publishing world for far too long. Original Nuyorican poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Shirley Bradley Leflore of the Black Arts movement and Abiodun Oyewole of the incredibly influential Last Poets, just to name a few of the older poets who made an impact and continue to shape how we see the world, all have books out on 2Leaf Press.

And that’s the reason i was out in NewArk doing a film shoot and photo shoot. Amina was talking about her new book of poetry Blues In All Hues due out soon. When i got to her home in she was sitting in a room listening to John Coltrane and Billie Holiday. i took a few shots of her as she meditated to ‘Trane and Holiday.

Jeff “AK” my DP set up the new Red Epic we are shooting with i took Amina outside on the stoop of her home in NewArk and shot these portraits of her. A few of these will be used as press photos for her book. i don’t pose my subjects when i shoot. i put them in a place and try to get them to relax and we shoot the shit as i shoot the pix. i try to keep it relaxed and informal. Joking around brings genuine smiles and laughter but i like to leave room for spaces of silence and contemplation and seriousness.

As i shot her i kept seeing so many people in her face and in the way she moved and in the way she carried herself. She look like my  grandmother, my mother, who are from Puerto Rico, and she moved and carried herself in ways that reminded me of my other grandmother born in Panama to Irish and Scottish parents, raised in Nicaragua and settled in Jamaica. i told Amina this and she said ‘I got people in me’. That phrase really struck me, ‘I got people in me’ and Amina told me that it came a song by Abbey Lincoln. She told me of her Native American roots intertwined with her African roots and i think you can clearly see the people in her in these photos…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1rq

2013 On The Books


Papoleto Take One by vagabond
Papoleto Take One by vagabond

At the end of 2012 i was shooting a documentary on original Nuyorican Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez. His book Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry had just been published by 2Leaf Press and after speaking with the publisher Gabrielle David i offered to take some of the footage i shot and cut it into a book video to promote the book.

i liked what 2Leaf Press was doing and i wanted to help them in any way that i could, so i started doing book videos for their other authors. The book videos led to photo shoots and book covers. A lot of great things are on the horizon for 2Leaf Press. i also did some book covers for a few other friends who were publishing books. So this the work that i did for 2013 that’s on the books…

THE FIRE BEGAN ON THE FIRE ESCAPE

TONY MEDINA IS BROKE

AFRO-ARTIFACTS OF A LAST PO’RICAN

LAST POET ABIODUN OYEWOLE

This series of images were taken the night that Nelson Mandela died. i was shooting the book video for Last Poet Abiodun Oyewole’s new book to be published by 2Leaf Press The Branches Of The Tree Of Life. As we were shooting the video on 125th Street in front of the Apollo word came down that Nelson Mandela has passed away.

NOT4PROPHET

This gallery is of the work graphics i did for Last Of The Po’Ricans Y Otros Afro-artifacts a book Not4Prophet and i collaborated on published by 2Leaf Press. The graphics are based on his poems. i also designed a logo for 2Leaf Press for their Nuyorican World Series of books they will be publishing in the future. Last Of The Po’Ricans Y Otros Afro-artifacts is the first book to utilize the logo…

SAMUEL DIAZ

These photographs are publicity photos i took of Nuyorican Poet Samuel Diaz who has a book of poems coming out this year from 2Leaf Press. These were taken while i was shooting the book video in the Bronx where Sam has lived for the past 40 years. The title of his book is Our Nuyorican Thing. Keep your ear to the street for it.

TONY MEDINA

A series of photos from the book video i produced and directed for poet Tony Medina’s latest offering Broke Baroque published by 2Leaf Press.

BOOK COVERS

These are book covers i designed this year… The first book cover i shot and designed i was for former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war Dylcia Pagan. Her book Guided By Love comes out next year and is published by 2Leaf Press. The next book cover i shot and designed was for Last Poet Abiodun Oyewole’s new book Branches Of The Tree Of Life which is also due out next year. Scars/Stars is for poet Walidah Imarisha which recently sold out at Powell’s bookstore (the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi) in Portland Oregon. The collaborative book with poems by Not4Prophet and graphics i did Last Of The Po’Ricans Y Otros Afro-artifacts is a design i did based on a still image from the book video shot by Jeff “AK”. Roots Reality & Rhyme is a cover i did for poet Turiya Autry whose book will be out this month…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1fH

No Refunds


No Refunds by vagabond ©
No Refunds by vagabond ©

no refunds

in a few hours it’ll all be over
the drunks will be sleeping
their artificial happiness off
and the emptiness will return
to their lives
i could be in the movies
i could be sleeping through it
i refuse to feel otherwise
about this
there are no refunds
on how i feel
and no exchanges
of something fake
for an illusion
backed by an unreality
the only thing i’m sure of
is this feeling that
the abyss is naked
and yawning
on new years day
as evidenced
in the confetti streamers
lying in the gutter freezing
on 45th st and broadway
as the sun rises
to cast a shadow upon
the rest of the year

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1gj

By The Numbers


Mya by vagabond ©
Mya by vagabond ©

By The Numbers
(for Mya on her 12th birthday)

She’s born 12/24/2001
Her 1st 4 years she’s beaten and kept locked in an apartment
For 6 months she’s in foster care
At 4 1/2 we meet and she comes home with us
At 5 she got a fatty tumor
At 5 1/2 she got breast cancer
Her 1st surgery takes out both tumors at once

At 6 she got pancreatitis
3 days in the hospital with no food or water and just an IV
At 7 1/2 she’s gets a best friend
At 8 she gets pancreatitis a 2nd time
3 days later she can eat white rice and boiled chicken
At 8 1/2 she got a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg
Removing the tumor takes 2 surgeries
Then she does 6 chemo treatments over 18 weeks

At 9 1/2 she gets a seizure while playing in the yard
Her 3rd cancer is a brain tumor
Doc gives her 2 to 6 months to live
She’s on phenobarbital and hydroxurea 2x a day
At 11 her 2nd MRI says she’s officially beat the brain tumor
But the soft tissue sarcoma on her leg comes back a 2nd time
It’s removed in the 4th surgery of her life
She goes back on oral chemo for 6 months
It’s the 4th time she’s told cancer “to bring it’s ‘A’ game”

Her 4 legs give out due to arthritis and age
She’s picked up from slips and falls 4, 5, sometimes 6 times a day
She needs help climbing the 13 steep steps upstairs at night
She hesitates for 30 seconds before i carry her down in the morning
1 day a week we get cold laser treatments to reduce swelling in her joints

At 12 it’s easier to die
But not as much fun as going for 45 minute walks
Or 10 minutes of playing ball in the yard
Followed by the 2 to 3 hour naps afterward
Sleeping on the couch knowing it’s 1 day at a time
Dreaming of running as she kicks her feet 36 times
Knowing it’s a numbers game getting to lucky 13

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1fB