Hot Tea

She gave Me a potion, so I drank it.

I spent the waning hours of the night wandering the streets of Downtown, noticing things–mildly disoriented, mildly curious. I was approached by 2 hookers (on separate occasions), a drug dealer, and later Pepe who asked for a lighter, but I don’t smoke. I asked him where I could meet a beautiful woman, jokingly, and he told Me about his cousin’s friend, Concepción, who was also a hooker. I just wanted to be touched, but I only had $39.82 in My bank account, and I hadn’t paid My electrical bill yet.

I noticed a sexy girl walk inside a 7-Eleven, so I went inside to accidentally bump into her. We were both waiting in line, and I saw that she was leaving behind a faint trace of beach sand. I asked her if she had gone to the beach, but she looked at Me in a peculiar fashion. She was holding a Four Loko and a banana; and I, a stale hot dog. It was one of those kind of nights.

Color/Flare Study: Roll #1, Frame #25.

These early rolls of film (2010-2011) would lay the foundation to my understanding of controlled lens flare, and manipulation of colors while shooting. Although my creative process is inherently grounded in serendipity, over the years I've honed my secret technique. It's this constant struggle between wild unpredictability and controlled precision, failure and reward, that keeps me pushing myself in my craft, and keeps me humble.

Each one of my portraits has so many variables: double exposure, reflections, flares, colors, that can throw off the composition so easily, and because of this, I've come to the realization that each successful frame is truly a gift from an enigmatic wellspring that I don't fully comprehend, but try to tap into.

White Knuckles

I approached her in the cloister, and asked her what she was doing.

"Holding onto Spring for dear life," she replied.

"I see. And what of the funeral processional that will ensue in its wake? Will you hold onto that as well?" I inquired.

She looked up at Me, then back down, easing her grip as the words found resonance, until finally she let go–relieving the tension in her knuckles, neck and shoulder muscles, and mind.

It was Springtime–life abloom–yet Death lay dormant in its peak.


Note to Self

Social media is optimized to extract nervous energy from you, not productive output.

Likes and follows are vanity metrics myopic people use to guage their inflated sense of relevance and importance. The only number that will prevail over time are the dedicated hours you've poured into your craft, with love.

In a world that fetishizes "more", cultivate a minimalistic mindset that discards the extraneous–all the things that distract your attention and focus from delving deep, because a life of depth is a self-actualized one.

 Withdraw from the mindless buzz, and continue to refine your inner world in solitude.

Your legacy will be remembered by all the meaningful work you've left behind that nourish and enrich the soul, so learn to say "no" to all the things that, in the end, don't matter.

Cerasus Mortem for the Children

It had been weeks since I had left My shadow lair, so I accepted Mama San's invitation.

As we ate our pork belly underneath the coolness and blush of My favorite Sakura, a domestic species of killing tree known among the botanic forensics community as Cerasus Mortem, I noticed a murky figure a few feet away.

Apparently, the local neighborhood children had erected a life-sized mud man, whom they incorporated into their afternoon rabble-rousing. After wiping the grease from My pencil mustache, I stood up and approached it to admire the peculiar resemblance it shared with My distant uncle Santos.

Nearing its presence, a funereal realization entombed itself in My throat. The unmistakeable stink of charred flesh was everywhere, and its ashen remains served as a cremated mud putty for the children.

A Residuum of Otitis Externa

I laid there, with My head to the side, as he suctioned the moisture out of the offending ear. He was using a foreign instrument, and a knowledgable hand.

There were times when he simply needed to prod areas inside that suffered from tenderness, and when he did so I would grimace with an innocuous fear.

During the benign procedure, I couldn't help but to wonder if she cared about My moist ear as much as the people in those rooms whose purpose in life it was to care about moist ears.

Because if your lover doesn't care about the moisture in your ear, then in due time they will cease to care for the rest of you.

Red Opulence of a Present Mind

Amongst the crowd I was addressing, there was a young skeptic who attempted to rattle the clarity and focus of the message. She heckled, "And what of the color red Dragon Master? Can there ever be enough in our lives?"

Sensing that My light was beclouded by her shade, I approached from a different angle:


You who possess the profound beauty of a red rose prick up ears to hear the message of a decaying man.

It is incredibly thrilling to wake up each morning with something inside you that is using your body to kill itself, and ending the day alive and victorious in spite of it.

But you do not have to be on the brink of mortality to immerse yourself in life. For your undeniable allure and attraction is cherished by the senses, cherishing the present moment. And that is all you can really glorify: the present moment.

So keep those seductive lips red–red with passion, red with vitality, red with life. For there can never be enough red in your life, and your pulse will thank you for it."

Having recognized the message as truth, the young girl became My disciple from that day forth.

A Polychromatic Epiphany

And when asked about the notion of duality, The Dragon Master spoke thus:

It may appear so, for the human animal seeks reprieve from the labyrinth and fog of life. But verily, I say unto you, duality is but a mere mirage.

The world is not comprised of a black or white binary, but of a spectrum of greyness. And what makes life worth living is the manifestation of vivid colors that saturate the white light.

It is so.