Self Portrait - Winter, 2004

Self Portrait - Winter, 2004, originally uploaded by levari.


why "All That Jazz" is one of my favorite movies...

Joe Gideon to his first wife:

"If I die, I'm sorry for all the things I did to ya..."

A pause, and then, turning to his Fiancee:

"And if I don't die, I'm sorry for all the things I'm gonna do to you..."

-Bob Fosse "All That Jazz"


Mazzi - February, 2004

Mazzi - February, 2004, originally uploaded by levari.


Staring at the one

Waiting for you
On a street corner
In the middle
Of that forever

Her pacing
In place:

The white sun dress,

The looking in every direction,

The infinite hands and fingers,

The chin pointing this way and that,

The blinking eyes peeking out
beneath the hat,

The tightened, exposed toes,

And her endless peering
Through the forever moving

You think
To immediatly cross the street,

To Go to Her;

But then...
You stop.

For a moment
You just stand
And stare
At that moment

Recording the
Almost impossibility
Of that other being
On the corner
Across the street.

And you watch her
Still so young,

Though she will
Not believe
In this
For herself

So your memory
Will remember
for you both,

Just as
One day
You alone will love
The two of you
For you both.

And not one
To be found
On this afternoon,

And she
With no idea
You are there,

That moment


Her head

Through the
Throng of
Human bodies

She sees you
The first time


No matter what happens
You will not forget this.

New York - 9/7/06


reck·on·ing [rek-uh-ning] – noun: an appraisal or judgment.

is technique--

if it doesn't
kill you

Los Angeles - 2/21/07

Me Mees (Finally) - Winter, 2003

Me Mees (Finally) - Winter, 2003, originally uploaded by levari.


Map of The Apartment - 12/04

Map of The Apartment - 12/04, originally uploaded by levari.


Spring, 2005

First Page- Spring, 2005, originally uploaded by levari.

A Primate's Last Sigh

Playground of pleasure
you can never remember visiting 

yet uncovered
against considerable will
and inconsiderate willingness.

Receipts from guest house camouflage
and trails of bedrooms' lingering perfume 
openly and defiantly recite the lettering 
for you.

Of all the things you have known and mostly not
the all but silent taste of forgotten generations 
pleases you most,

but, somehow, the echo finds its way
to crawl in,
to inflict.

Language is seductive
and so deceitful
for it no longer sketches with blood
but has bowed to the mercy salesman of electronic ink, 
held together by dried up,
school boy paste.

Of all the things you have known and mostly not,
of all the places you have journeyed
and never gone,

simple dishonesty


Like the banished child staring through the fence.

Like caressing night staring through the window.

Like sleepless dawn staring through the clock.

Like the sounds of rain without the sounds of them--

Whoever they once were.
Whoever they might now be.

 5/06 - Los Angeles


Tree of Life - 9/20/98

Tree of Life - 9/20/98, originally uploaded by levari.

I never dreamt
I would dream
of trees
until I lived in
New York City.


He said it was different
When we were

He asked me
If I remembered
When everybody
Used to hang out
With everybody,
No questions asked.

He used words like:


I didn't have the heart
To tell him
It had nothing
To do with
His words.

I didn't have the heart
To tell him
It was all just
Another cruelly
Weeding out
Life gives us,

And time
Was just
The medium
For the world's logic
To play in:

Simple Darwinian logic
Was constantly
Being exorcized
In this desert.

I didn't have the heart
To tell him
That this was always
How it was,
Even when we
Were young,

We just get
more oblivious to the game
As we get older.

I didn't have the heart
To tell him
There really was
No romance
To any of his memories...

I just didn't have the heart
State the obvious
Any longer,
At least not over
The phone,

So I listened
And told him


That perhaps
I would see him
For lunch

In the next
Couple days.

Los Angeles - 4/1/06


Corners Are Territory To Die For In July - Echo Park, August, 2003

Lovers and Lions

Staring through the window
at the people eating dinner
in the restaurant
at the end of the dock
the Pacific


We studied the
the cream papered


posted in the window
on the front door
as if it was written
in some secret language
we would never


We imagined
what we would order,

then imagined
ordering more,
trying to top each

You laughed,
for a moment,
imagining us fat,

we were so skinny

and wondering
if it's harder
to make love.

we walked down
the empty dock
listening to
the sea lions

all of them
belching, screaming, farting
as they
called to one another.

I told you I thought they
were claiming their territory,
their lovers,
their children,
their food.

You nodded,
"maybe, maybe not,"

as we
smelled the
chemistry of
salt, barnacles,
rotted wood
and flesh.

We stared down
into that black water
trying to
to make out the
individual forms
of the lions'
bodies piled up
one on top
of each other.

you'd point
and one
of the lions
would jerk,
and roll off
with a splash

as if you willed

We were silent out there.
There was no moon,

just the ocean,
the wind,
the lights of the restaurant,
the lions
and us.

We turned to walk back
to the hotel;

you looking down,
me straight ahead--

and both of us
trying to ignore
the emptied windows
of all the tourist shops
that had closed
for winter.

Los Angeles- 3/6/06


After Matisse's Piano Lesson - Summer, 2003

Us And Them

We can no longer pay
for our naivete.

All the things you miss
never shattered,
do not exist.

The mind of another,
the body of the other...

What wisdom
is there for us

who are bad at love
but good at lust?

Los Angeles - 2/10/07


Tina, Maya

Tina Modotti, Maya Deren, originally uploaded by levari.


You: In Language


Who once was the unending object
With the infinite number of 
Sides, angles, and intersections

Reflecting the
Shattered figure 
Only we

The greatest gift:


Who could always go about 
The business of your life
In spite of...

The greatest trick:


Who could always stare back
At yourself 
While peering forward.


Who who could so easily
And grow


Who, for us,
Was always that
Lingering message
In perfectly confident,
Yet somehow
Unchanging lines.

...and the tighter he held on
To your secret language,

The more
He anticipated
Your touch,

The more he dreamt
of your voice,

The faster


Away into the days
of your unborn children.

In the end,
I imagine,
He attempted 
To curl himself
Into the womb
Of your 


I cannot claim
to know


But sometimes

The empty playground
The street
For the Children
To return
It to
Life Again,

I think 
I have an idea
Of all
The details 



 Los Angeles - 8/18/05



Drought, originally uploaded by levari.

Last Words

In the shower this morning, after making my flight reservations, I had this thought...

On my way back to my family's home to see my brother's first child, my niece/nephew, whatever the Hell the sucker's going to be, my plane is suddenly going down in a way that I know we're not getting out of...

So the first thing I think upon finally accepting my fate:

"Shit, I have my laptop with me! My whole artistic legacy is going down in this plane!'

The next thing I do is call my brother on the credit card phone (what can I say, in moments like this you splurge) and leave this message on his voice mail (because, let's face it, there's no way he's picking up.)

"Hey, I just wanted you to know I had a great time, so don't be sad. I had my ups, my downs, but I think I did it right and the way I wanted to, and what else can you ask for? Yeah, I'm shitting my pants here, and I'm sure I will be to the end, and I know it's not like me to be this optimistic, but I think that everything is going to be okay when I hit the other side.

"I love you, and Mom and Dad and your wife and your new kid that I'm never going to meet, Michael Jordan, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Marlon Brando (especially in Last Tango In Paris,) Henry Miller, the paintings of Nicholas De Stael, the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization (God damn me for it!) and just, well everybody.

Oh yeah, by the way, and most importantly, when they print my obituary, do not, I repeat, do not let them say that I was a screenwriter!"

L.A. - 2/6/07


my world

my world, originally uploaded by levari.

Korea Town, L.A. - 4/06


Why do you love clothes
and not rooms?

I notice how
you never travel with your rooms,
you never take them with you,

you only leave them

maybe return

I notice how
your rooms rarely remain
the same,

even if you only leave for
just a few moments.

I wonder:

is it the stillness
you cannot understand
nor accept,

the stillness that is maddening,

the stillness of your rooms
that are filled with the stillness
of you;

your clothes on the floor,

the chairs and tables
you chose -

or chose

the plants on the sill,

the paintings
leanings against


things, things,

unmoving, undead

things, things

living in your room;

trapped in drawers,
locked in closets,
hidden so carelessly
beneath the bed;


that hide your name
while exposing
your face.

For once, just once,
when you leave,
don't lock the door behind you,

just see what happens next.

Will you do that for me,

Los Angeles - 1/24/07



I'm 3,000 miles away
slicing apples
in the kitchen
for the children
in the dining room.

Slicing them,
then placing them
in the bowl,
one by one,
just as I was
told to do.

I lose my attention,
break the routine,
and can only
stand and watch
as the very tip
of the blade
clean through
the skin
of my thumb.

I watch the blood
to seep out,
crimson pool
on the
formica countertop,

then feel
the quick unbinding
of the freshly
serrated flesh.

Drop the knife,
lift my hand,
suck the thumb
like a newborn

tasting the
of myself.

without warning,
you come to me,

your face,
your body...

You come to me,

and I allow myself
to realize
for the first time,

though I heard
the news
years ago,

that you are gone

for forever

It happened
in a flash
as short
and meaningless
as this.

A moment later
one of the boys walks in.

He stares at me
sucking on my thumb,
lost in my
of you.

"What are you doin',"
he asks.

Seeing him
staring, waiting...

"I need a band aid,"

I tell him,
my lips
dripping red.

"Do you know where
she keeps
the band

He smiles,
screams, "Yes!"

And runs out,

just like
I once

Los Angeles - 3/9/06


Human Stratego

She addresses his questions
with all the passion of
answering fan mail.

This heat that will not stop,
and the fans
spinning backwards.

Time is studying its toes,
sitting on the edge of
my (father's) nose.

Across the street
the children have
closed the school
and decided to take
the summer
to consider their options.

Each person I pass has
their head bent to the sidewalk
and their knees pointed
towards the sky.

Everyone searches
for corrupted water

I have yet
to admit once
to any
of these accusations


I'm thinking
it might be time
to change
my tactics.

Korea Town, Los Angeles - 6/8/06

She Dreams

She Dreams, originally uploaded by levari.


Touch, originally uploaded by levari.

All That Was Not

Just as before,
as always,
he still sleeps

how she used
to massage
his hands
and feet on
wasted Sunday

Too hot to go out:


all the toxins out

from the boiled
and charred
night skin.

Then there were
her toes that
did the work of

you both

to the unforgiving,
laughing earth
and its unpolished

He, lost,
imagined a world
where men
fought wars
over poverty...

At night
he stayed up
while she slept
so fast,

trying to understand
too much

then, worse,

put words to
his false conclusions
based on bad

there are two
red field notebooks


in boxes down below
to prove these years of
futility did happen.

But there is nothing,
not one
phrase or word,
in them
about how
the ghosts
of that converted,
once glorious
warned him

again and again

that this
was his biggest mistake
of all...

He never
quite listened,

just continued
to write
but the details

as the days
and nights
passed into

the unwritten.

Los Angeles - 2/2/07


A Usable Sickness

I have been sick for the last week, and so I've been using part of the time to re-create The Night Book after "The Great Fire of 06'."

For those that don't know, it seems that in a fit of sickness, and yes, madness, unfortunately there is no other word for it, I threw out a year's worth of poems, essays and personal notes. I wish I could say this was the first time that I have perpetrated such a catastrophe upon myself...I can't say how many notebooks I've lost over the years due to carelessness and/or stupidity such as this. I don't know whether I've lost them subconsciously, intentionally or simply out of some morbid curiousity. I lost my college thesis three times before I finished it, so let's just say I've drawn my own conclusions.

Fortunately for me, and if only for posterity's sake, I have a few paper copies of the orinal work, and some notebooks with the original ideas for the lost work, so, in my spare time, I've been trying to re-write these pages. I don't know if, in the end, it matters; I don't know if anyone cares except for me, but I do know that this is the first time I have ever attempted to re-claim that which has been lost, and, in doing so, to actually admit that I care enough about my need to express to make the effort to share these souvenirs of my residence on earth ("residencia en la tierra." - Neruda)

To be honest, I am as unsure of why I must write now as I was at the beginning of my journey some fifteen years ago. I wish I had a clever answer to this question, but as much as I have searched both in my selves and out in the world, I simply don't. I'd like to think, though, even if my tune is often not beautiful or decorative, but dark, shadowy and, yes, quite ugly, that these words have been an attempt at my own natural singing voice, like that of the Bluebirds, Robins and Cardinals I watched play in the branches of the trees in the backyard of my family home when I was child. I'd like to think that those birds taught me, if only just a little bit, how to sing naturally, and with the spirit of my own life.

And why do the birds sing?

Because it is the way they announce their life to the world,
because it is the way they become part of the world,
because it is the way they lure friends and seduce mates,
and, most importantly,
because they can.


Sketch of Table

table 12:23:06-1:7:07(2), originally uploaded by levari.

La Boheme

There's a blue bird on the window sill
trying to decide if he should come in
or stay out.

While I have
my own
to this question,

the blue bird
seems more than a little

So for the last eight minutes
we've just been sitting here
staring at each other,

it's moving back and forth on the sill
occasionally ruffling his feathers
and staring at me
sitting in this chair
as he

(I assume he's a "he"
for no other reason
than only a male
can ever be this indecisive
about such simple matters)

tries to make up
his mind.

Occasionally he
looks like he's going
to step forward
into the actual
of this old
of no hope,
but way too much

Just then,
he stops,
shakes out his feathers,
and moves a few steps
left, then a few steps right,
once again.

I have to be honest,
I don't really care if
he comes in or stays out.

I have to be honest,
I have no romantic notions
about the possibilities
of the relationship
this bird and I
are forming
or not forming
this afternoon,

which is a refreshing
this realism
on my part,


everyone who steps
through the door

is screaming a reason,
or pushing a philosophy,
or crying a name for God,
or just pleading with me
to accept
the final, grand answer
to the be all, end all
of the world;

then they announce their crashing on the couch for the week.

Its been going on and on like this
for months now.

One leaves,
another comes
as if everyone is having these
apocalyptic visions,
though no one wants to admit to them,
but they're going to have them here,
right here
in this house
with me.

I walk in.

I walk out.

I go about my business.

I pay for my movies
in change.

And always there's another

with the same expression,

'Where am I going?
Where have I been?"

I go straight to my room,
try to think of something to write,

to do,

then stare at the landlord
as she waters
the lawn
and wonders
what is the purpose
of these people
living in her house.

there's a blue bird on my
window sill this afternoon.

It's quiet in this house,
because everyone's asleep.

The bird stares at me,
ruffles his feathers,
and then,


makes his decision
for both of us.

Los Angeles - 4/3/01