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Wkipedia tells us that David Jude Heyworth Law, born in 1972, was first-middle-named after both the Jude of the “Hey Jude” of the Beatles and the Jude of the JUDE THE OBSCURE of Thomas Hardy. Jude Law, as we have come to know him, makes a good match for this mixture.

And he has been paired with some fine actors, among them Matt Dsmon, Haley Joel Osment, the junior Robert Downey, and, as illustrated above, Tom Hanks, who is at once off-camera nd camera-captured in this endame scene from ROAD TO PERDITION. (I added the “smile” word balloon to resonate with the cover of the classic BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel.) Law plays an evil hit man who double-dips by sellimg photos of his victims to the press. He is chillingly mundane, and great, in this role, one of many weird roles he has had for which he was a perfect match.

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My friend Clottee Hammons has been fearlessly battling racism forever. This June 24 she will host the 20th annual Emancipation Marathon, wherein “volunteers read out loud from historic and contemporary literature about American Chattel Slavery.” She has also posted extensive historical accounts on her Facebook page.

She is a modern Daniel, surrounded by carnivorous lions, interacting with steadfastness and enormous courage. Just recently she faced down a woman about leaving children alone in a car. Here in the Valley of the Sun, that is downright criminal. Neglected children have died from such heat. Clottee is the champion and protector of such children. She hashtagged her post of the incident “DontLetTheGreyHairFoolYou.” Damn good advice!!

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I have just returned from Manuel’s, a restaurant and cantina in easy walking distance, after a hugely entertaining discussion with a man who hired me to illustrate his poetry, and was magnaminous enough to permit me to use the images he got from me though he owns them outright.

His name is Bernard Schober. The Valley poetry scene knows him as The Klute. He is so interested in sharks and their place in the Universe that he goes to see them in Fiji and other habitats, caging himself when necessary. His enthusiasm about these unique creatures lights him up–when the talk turned to Guitar Sharks and the way their teeth form an amazing pattern, he almost fell over himself getting an image on his smartphone and showing me.

Good for him. He is spreading truth about these much-maligned creatures in his poetry. The illustration that heads this post concerns an Israeli shark whose white-topped dorsal fin is remindful of a yarmulke. His poem put to rest the vile canard that the shark was deliberately placed in Egyptian waters by Israel to wreak havoc. The illustration makes a lot more sense with the poem than without it. That’s the delight of collaboration.

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In his poem “The Hunt” he compares the hunt for prey with the hunt for a mate among the black tip sharks.

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Another poem explores Commensalism, the biological arrangement between creatures of different species for mutual benefit. Great Whites get along win-winningly with three such creatures.

Bernard and I talked also about more poems to illustrate up the road. He’s also thinking of a children’s book. I hope we do more of this stuff, and soon!

 

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SHARKS: Poet and shark enthusiast Bernard Schober, whose nom de guerre is The Klute, has in the last five weeks commissioned me to illustrate four poems of his. I put the finishing touches on the last of them yesterday, and tomorrow I’ll hand over the originals and be handed payment of two kinds. I’m quite grateful for the work, and tickled that I got to be Ralph Steadman to his Hunter S. Thompson. (Not that I have exclusive Steadmanship; he has other Steadmans on call, including our superhero friend Russ “Speed Cameron” Kazmierczak.) I worked really hard on these drawings, and a big motivator was a wish to match the quality of the poetry.

SHANKS: “Shank’s Mare” is another way of saying “on foot.” I now own a Fitbit, a device that records and stores my steps per day along with other biometrics.

THANKS: My daughter Kate gave me an early Father’s Day gift in the form of an all-day pass to ComiCon Phoenix on Sunday, the 30th of May. The cake for that icing was that she and I got a lot of quality time together, including eats and a DVD afterward. She is great comic-convention, meal and movie company, and my gratitude to her for that special day continues.

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HANKS: I now own the DVD of ROAD TO PERDITION, and this morning watched it, freezing the frame now and then to sketch the principals, including Tom Hanks, who got first billing. I am warming up for my next post. Please stay tuned!

We are well into the days of 100-plus degrees Fahrenheit, here in the Valley of the Sun. Consequently, after I walk home the half mile or so from the bus stop after a workday of being on my feet from early morning to midafternoon, my usual action upon arriving home is to get down to my underthings and fall down on the mattress on my bedroom floor. More often than not there will be fitful napping.

Another consequence, I hope a temporary one, is a falling-off of creative production. This is the first blog post in several days.

The images presented in this post reflect these consequences, and the frustration on not having my creative engine on the high idle I like. But the second image hints that the pendulum may be on the upswing.

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This is “Indecisiveness.” There is a manifold panel of unwritten possibilities that impedes vision and action.

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This is “Ownership.” The figure on the right may be the owner, or the figure on the left may be owning a dysfunctional scenario, or the dwellinglike structure in the middle may be imposing its insensate ownership on its occupants–or the artist may be owning up to something in his murky past. The drawing began with the middle structure, using a carpenter’s pencil that enabled checkerboarding in single strokes.

I know a goddess. That sounds presumptuous or delusional, I know. But there is a goddess in human form who walks the portion of the earth known as the Valley of the Sun, and it has been my honor to spend some time with her.

Her hegemony in the pantheon of personifications is Pattern. Of the more than 37,000 images in her smartphone, never mind her thumbdrives and computers, many of them reveal something mortals such as myself usually miss. Some day, if you are lucky, you will visit a museum to see the latest collection of astonishing images she has compiled. I will not deprive you of the “shock of the new” thrill you will get by posting any of what she has done here.

Many people can say that they have had a sonnet written about them. She has had at least two, done today, and the day is far from over. Here is the non-acrostic one:

Pattern Goddess

A Goddess strolls the earth in human form.
Her bailiwick is Pattern—its discernment,
Appropriateness, shift, free flow or storm;
Disorder’s secret orderly internment.

A lizard’s swept his tailtip through the dust.
The goddess reconstructs the “crime” (it’s not
A crime at all: he’s doing what he must)
And wishes Brother Lizard all he’d sought.

Awareness of her Earthly limitations
Enhances her awareness of the lunar
And its ellipsoid mood-shift imitations,
For Mood is Pattern too, and she’ll attune her

Sensorium to guide her through each strait, sure
To hone her stewardship of Unforced Nature.

Those last two words–“Unforced Nature”–well describe her interaction with the environment. She visits but does not impose beyond the level of rubbing a leaflet to get its scent, as she did on a hiking venture I asked her to include me in, so that I could see through her eyes. We did two hikes that day, and between hikes I did a two-minute drawing of her hand. Later she disclosed that while she liked ladybugs, “it is the cute & curious jumping spider that really calls my name.” So I finished the drawing, with either fakery or “artistry” depending on who you talk to, and included a hand-evoking jumping spider:

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There is also her hand, holding an alginate CAST of her hand, in the circle on the life-modeled hand. Such is her influence that I am more aware of the pattern inherent in motif.

Here is the second, acrostic sonnet:

pattern goddess

paved parking lots have rendered her agog
piled branches give her thrill and chill and zing
a shadow stripéd path’s a travelog
and cracks evoke the dynasty of Ming. o
to be a light-ensorcelled see-er, led
through labyrinths of fractals on a strand
then dot-connect, dispelling woe and dread
the message clarifies and takes a hand
eureka! (“I have found it!”) word or phrase
epiphanatic—it’s the Great Because.
regardful of the Moon, she marks her days
refractively—reflecting what she does.
new wisdom of her making aids our Gnosis.
no wonder she’s attained Apotheosis.

And here is my portrait of her, based on a photo I took of her at dusk during a subsequent outing:

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Somehow, almost against my will, a cat snuck into the drawing. (Sylvia does cohabit with three cats. I haven’t met them.) The Moon over the cat’s ear is easy to understand, though. Sylvia keeps track of moonrises and moonsets, and occasionally informs her friends of ideal viewing times.

I do not Live Each Day As If It Were My Last. As mentioned before, I’d be a weeping mess, shrieking that I didn’t want to die, if I did. But every visit with Sylvia, I treat as if it were my last. A, you never know; B, you just don’t take a Goddess for granted, Friends. 🙂