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It was their business to put them into the ground to hide them cleverly

American planes full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames.

We do not grow absolutely

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. Anaïs Nin

....but most of all he liked to listen to stories of real life

....but most of all he liked to listen to stories of real life. He smiled gleefully as he listened to such stories, putting in words and asking questions, all aiming at bringing out clearly the moral beauty of the action of which he was told. Attachments, friendships, love, as Pierre understood them, Karataev had none, but he loved and lived on affectionate terms with every creature with whom he was thrown in life, and especially so with mankind- not with anyone in particular, but with whoever that he happened to come across. His life, as he looked at it, had no meaning as a separate entity.

What is the world magic that nudges me to take notice of this peculiar tree on this perfect night?

I’m not great at making plans into photographic realities. Something always seems to alter the course. Sometimes even the trail itself becomes faint, or comes to an abrupt end, stranding me in NowWhatville. Many have been the times I’ve journeyed long distances to places that seemed promising on paper, only to discover that my timing was off, or the weather got weird, or some small but crucial detail was overlooked, and I’m found face to face with yet another failure. The clearer my intentions were, the bigger the letdown befell. Then somewhere in my thirties, I adopted a new attitude.


About joseph

Baltimore City

Joseph graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1983, and has since been based in Baltimore, 3 miles from his birthplace. Joseph has shown his work in many local venues, as well as at Denise Bibro Gallery, the Woodward Gallery, and the Edward Carter Gallery in NYC. Joseph was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards in 2007, 2009, and 2012, and is a 2007 Black Spider Award Nominee and his photographs are found in the following collections: The Lancaster Museum of... more

Lately What Preys On My Thoughts

  • Maybe there were things I saw as ugly that other people thought were beautiful

    I daydreamed a lot about the sycamore tree, too, which at first I thought was because I was feeling melancholy. But then I remembered how my mother had called the sycamore a testimony to endurance. It had survived being damaged as a sapling. It had grown. Other people thought it was ugly, but I never had. Maybe it was all in how you looked at it. Maybe there were things I saw as ugly that other people thought were beautiful. Wendelin Van Draanen
  • there is no Leader; there is no Guru; there is no Master, no Savior

    Here is a fundamental question: is life simply a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture for centuries, from ancient times to present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he never seems to find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in other ways. What we are trying to do, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind. Not simply to accept things as they are, nor revolt against them.
  • they taught was that no one was ridiculous or bad or disgusting

    I think about my education sometimes. I went to the University of Chicago for awhile after the Second World War. I was a student in the Department of Anthropology. At that time they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still. Another thing they taught was that no one was ridiculous or bad or disgusting. Shortly before my father died, he said to me, ‘You know – you never wrote a story with a villain in it.’ I told him that was one of the things I learned in college after the war. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five
  • take up some god damn space

    ....we live in a society of “can’ts” and “shouldn’ts” and “sorrys” rather than “fuck yeses” and “hell yas” and “fuck NOs” all I have to say to women is this one simple thing take up some god damn space you’re amazing perfection the Rolls Royce of the world women everywhere you’re worth it without Maybelline telling you so you deserve to linger when you’re ordering coffee you’re allowed to take a breath before you make everyone’s day take an hour to decide what you want to wear take a lifetime to choose a mate you’re allowed to stutter in yoga class if it’s pushin
  • only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it

    We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us. We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world - to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it. And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear.
  • No one can know in advance how and where the night will come

    We don't need to retire to a cloister or the desert for years on end to experience a true dark night; we don't even have to be pursuing any particular "spiritual" path. Raising a challenging child, or caring for a failing parent for years on end, is at least as purgative as donning robes and shaving one's head; to endure a mediocre work situation for the sake of the paycheck demands at least as much in the way of daily surrender as do years of pristine silence in a monastery.
  • Piety is a discipline of the will through respect

    Piety is a discipline of the will through respect. It admits the right to exist of things larger than the ego, of things different from the ego. Richard M. Weaver Ideas Have Consequences
  • I remember wondering, to be always together, yet forever apart?

    Dusk is such an illusion. The sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are, there cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel, I remember wondering, to be always together, yet forever apart? Nicholas Sparks
  • face the challenge of change

    One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • It's a still life watercolor Of a now-late afternoon

    It's a still life watercolor Of a now-late afternoon As the sun shines through the curtained lace And shadows wash the room And we sit and drink our coffee Couched in our indifference, like shells upon the shore You can hear the ocean roar In the dangling conversation And the superficial sighs The borders of our lives And you read your Emily Dickinson And I my Robert Frost And we note our place with book markers That measure what we've lost Like a poem poorly written We are verses out of rhythm Couplets out of rhyme In syncopated time And the dangled conversation A

Lately What Preys II

  • The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair

    When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen Out of Solitude: Three Meditations
  • disappeared into nothingness

    There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life.
  • everything tries to be round

    You may have noticed that everything the Native American does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were.
  • my greatest fears have been realized

    Thousands of people who have had their lives dramatically altered by sexual violence have reached out to share their own experiences with me and have thanked me for coming forward…At the same time, my greatest fears have been realized—and the reality has been far worse than what I expected. My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats. I have been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable. These messages, while far fewer than the expressions of support, have been terrifying to receive and have rocked me to my core. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
  • where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy

    Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.
  • Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes

    Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in "happiness" have formulated something they call the "Law of Attraction." It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on.
  • What does a dragon in its shell look like?

    You figure out one side of it - the human side, say - and the eternal side goes into shadow. Or vice versa. It's like the old saw: What does a dragon in its shell look like? Well no one can ever tell, for as soon as you break the shell to see, the dragon is no longer in its shell. The real disaster of this inquiry is that it is in the very nature of evil to be secret. Gregory Maguire Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
  • promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred

    "'Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred.” Pooh thought for a little. “How old shall I be then?' “Ninety-nine.” Pooh nodded. 'I promise'" A.A. Milne
  • the open space inviting me to leap out of the personal into the embrace of the nonhuman world

    I told the students that they were at an age when they might begin to choose the places that would sustain them the rest of their lives, that places were much more reliable than human beings, and often much longer-lasting, and I asked each of them where they felt at home.
  • Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are...

    When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return.

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