Surveillance Sonnet #73

Published today on The Science Creative Quarterly


Oils on 80 x 100 cm stretched canvas.

“Surveillance Sonnet #73

Light comes in many colors: ROYGBIV, above, below, between.
Cables bring light across borders, so we’re closer than we’ve ever been.
Optical fiber cables carry light with digital information.
That info contains the phone, Net, and TV of a nation.

That time of history thou mayst indeed behold
In which kings and soldiers take back their hold
On riches such as bouncing light
Carrying the world’s internal might.

And other countries’ security services too—
They break the telecoms light up with a prism
To spy on me and you.

Sometimes they bend the wire instead.
Light escapes either way. Due process is dead.


Letters to No One

Letters to No One

Oils on 40 x 50 cm stretched canvas.

The last song in my planned set of 12 new Berlin-era songs: music, lyrics. When I moved here in November to focus on my art in what seemed to be the best European city for a young artist today—cheap(ish) food and housing, lots of other artists and intellectuals, everything you could possibly want going on most nights of the week, above all the feeling of freedom (and the safety to act on it)—I found I couldn’t sing my old songs. So I figured I would write new ones, and that would solve the problem. Most of my favorite albums have about 12 songs, so I settled on that number. I’ve written more, but these are the ones I could see learning to performance level and playing in the park.

But what I have now is not really 12 songs. It’s more like 12 draft vocal tracks of the sketches of a dozen new songs. In theory now I can listen to the 12 while I paint, sing to the drafts to learn them better without thinking too much, and play around with accompaniment on my Midi keyboard until it sounds right. In practice now probably I will just go “Oh, right—I’m not a musician! Haha! Other people are really good at this, have trained for 20+ years by the time they’re my age, and I just sort-of sing quietly to myself sometimes when I’m sure no one can hear!”

And refocus yet again on painting beautiful new art to sell, because my art is worth something.