Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Home and Away" / art and writing

As part of "Home and Away," my collaboration with the Peralta Hacienda Historical Museum in Oakland, I have been writing and making art about incarceration, history, and our community. Stay tuned for more images from the exhibit and from our community workshops.

Did you know that there are Yelp reviews 

of California's prisons and jails? 

Here are some excerpts.


    One Star

Not exactly sure how to rate a prison. I am not an inmate.

I was visiting a long-time friend who is serving a life sentence.

Dress code: no yoga pants, underwire bras, no sleeveless shirts or cleavage, no open-toe shoes. 

Do not wear orange, green, colors of inmates’ and guards’ uniforms.

There are vending machines. You can even take a picture with inmate.

The inmate cannot touch money so please be advised.

We had a great visit. I’ll definitely go back.

Can’t EVEN believe there are jail Yelp reviews!!!!

Even a moron can predict what people are gonna say!!!!

Are there any 5 stars jails in existence????



I have an auntie that has spent almost 16 years in this place to date LOL

Have been writing her and she calls me from time to time thru out her time

There is always a lock down in there for the smallest thing

We have been cut off of some phone calls bc of whatever going on

From what I know about the place, it's just a big joke!

There are more addicts in there then on the streets bc drugs are constantly brought in by guards

A lot of them are jeopardizing their job constantly bc they get romantically involved with inmates

The place is a big cess pool of constant drama!

The place needs a revamp


In the cell there was myself, three Mexican girls who got lost leaving Modesto (???), a couple of black girls, and a couple of white girls.

A white girl asked to get switched to another cell because of the "shenanigans."

"I'm with all these shenanigans! Can you put me with only White people?”


She then took all of the toilet paper to make a blanket for herself.

What fun, peeling layers from her every time I needed to pee . . .



Added one star for the arts and crafts program. I like macaroni pictures. What of it?


Protective custody inmates are mainly gang drop outs, chomo's (child molesters/sex crimes), celebrities, people with high profile cases and LGBT status

These inmates wear red jail clothing

LGBT and sex crimes are housed with each other. People with mental disabilities and disorders unfortunately end up here too.

These people get the shit end of the stick I'd say.

I have been to Santa Rita more than three times and I have always witnessed deputies mocking and disrespecting mental individuals on several occasions.

Mental inmates that are violent wear a distinctive jail suit consisting of green and white stripes and are always shackled with handcuffs and waist restraints.

Whether your stay is overnight or extended, this place is for no person in their right mind.

Leaving can be bittersweet because you will find yourself making at least an acquaintance or two just by having them teach you the ropes.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Language, Like" on view at the Dock in County Leitrim, Ireland, until the end of October 2014

Beautiful time in Ireland these last few weeks installing my series "Dark White" with curator Alice Lyons, artist Helen Horgan, and all the staff at the Dock. Thank you to the U.S. Embassy in Dublin for supporting my contribution to this exhibit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

HERE'S  a listing for fall 2014 arts  events in Ireland, including an announcement of my show, DARK WHITE, at The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon in County Leitrim. Very much looking forward to the opening there on September 5, 2014 when I'll meet the other artists in the show and give a reading from my book THE PUBLIC GARDEN: POEMS AND HISTORY and newer work, perhaps including "Pearl Paint," an essay selected by Dermot Healy for the just-published FISH anthology.

St. George's Terrace
Carrick on Shannon
Co. Leitrim

071 96 50828

Monday, August 4, 2014

Excited about the chance to collaborate with the Peralta Hacienda in East Oakland on our "Home and Away" project. Thank you, Creative Work Fund!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Pain and sympathy"


   William Kentridge

     on the ethics of writing and art

     about the pain of others


     certain doubts of William Kentridge

     (a documentary)

 ("a piece of paper flying through the landscape")

Friday, December 13, 2013


A few years ago a friend read THE PUBLIC GARDENS and suggested I look into Pattie McCarthy's work.

I read MARYBONES and loved it; here's my review at Jacket2.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stan Mir's Review of THE PUBLIC GARDENS

Stan Mir's insightful review of THE PUBLIC GARDENS is online at Jacket2.

I like the way he takes into account my entire working life (as what my daughter used to call "a booker"), not just my identity as the author of my own book. 

Also nice: he refers to an interview I did with Kate Greenstreet, one of my favorite poets, in 2010, before I'd found a publisher for THE PUBLIC GARDENS.