“Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined.”
–Chris Marker (1921-2012)

Chris Marker has died, and while I realize that most people probably have no idea who he is, seeing his film Sans Soleil in graduate school had a profound effect on my ideas of what film can be; in this case a unique amalgamation of documentary, abstract travel narrative, and poetic rumination on the nature of time.

Or not, you be the judge…

(There was a YouTube link to the full film here, but it has since been taken down, so you’ll have to go rent it or something.)


It is dirty
does it look dirty
that’s what you think of in the city.

does it just seem dirty
that’s what you think of in the city
you don’t refuse to breathe do you

someone comes along with a very bad character
he seems attractive. is he really. yes. very.
he’s attractive as his character is bad. is it. yes.

that’s what you think of in the city
run your finger along your no-moss mind
that’s not a thought that’s soot

and you take a lot of dirt off someone
is the character less bad. no. it improves constantly
you don’t refuse to breathe do you

–Frank O’Hara


what went wrong?

Returned to NYC this week after spending about two remarkable weeks visiting family and friends in Ohio, most of whom I hadn’t seen in far too long and probably won’t see again for far too long, and now that I’m back in NYC I’m missing them more than I did before my trip.  This is how it goes, though, and I think it’s what Salinger was on about with the last line of Catcher in the Rye: “Don’t ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody.”  While J.D. may have been able to follow that advice, I am not, and I’m here to tell you that it’s true.

Where does the time go, and why does it go so fast?  I understand that the limited time I had on my trip is, in part, what made it special, but I would have happily traded a bit of special for a bit more time.

The last weekend of my trip was my twentieth high school reunion, which (as one would expect) was an interesting and somewhat surreal experience.  I knew that I’d taken a different path than most of my classmates did in the twenty years since we graduated, but I didn’t realize how different.  Almost everyone was married with two (or three) kids and living in some part of Ohio –– usually within fifteen miles of our hometown.  While I didn’t find myself jealous of their lives, I was somewhat jealous of the seeming ease with which they had transitioned into adulthood, and at times I found myself feeling like a kid amongst grown-ups.  On the other hand, when I told people what I’d been doing for the last twenty years, and that I didn’t have a wife or any kids, nobody said: “Oh, Jef –– what went wrong?”

Anyway, here are some photographs of the stuff that happened before the reunion…