MY FIST IS A BOOK OF ETHICS Now Available At Needles & Pens, Modern Times Bookstore & Another Adventure

Ryan McGinley, “Night Sky (Pine)” 2010

Yesterday I took another walk/ day trip to The Mission in San Francisco, this time by myself, and here is what happened:

I stumbled across Aldea Ninos, where I picked up a copy of a book called “The Fox and The Hare,” a Russian folk tale retold by Vladimir Dal and illustrated by Francesca Yarbusova, illustrator and wife of acclaimed animator Yuri Norstein. The illustrations, I learned, are the- extremely vibrant and engaging- “sketches” for Norstein’s 1975 animated film of the story. Rovakada Publishing, based out of San Francisco, has published two other books that feature Yarbusova’s illustrations, one of which follows the same format- sketches for the narrative of her husband’s acclaimed work of the same title, “Hedgehog in the Fog,” and a poem by Korney Chukofsky called “Mishmash… about a funny mix-up that happened among the animals.”

The Hero of “The Fox and The Hare” is a Rooster, of course.

Next I stopped at Needles and Pens where I intended, and subsequently succeeded in, selling five copies of my collection of poems, MY FIST IS A BOOK OF ETHICS. I also managed to pick up a copy of MONO.KULTURE #27(Spring 2011), which features the work of famed photographer Ryan McGinley. I was particularly taken by the proliferation of nakednesses and colors, best exemplified by the photograph below, but was disappointed by the short review at the beginning of the zine, wherein I learned that the “division” between “art and commerce,” which McGinley is apparently exceedingly adept at traversing, is “antiquated.” In an apparent allusion to something along the lines of an enlightened postmodern nihilism, MONO.KULTURE was not willing, or able, to level any sort of critique against their inadvertent claim that there is no difference between a piece of art and a Levi’s advertisement. And wherein I don’t think I am personally under any illusions about anything like the revolutionary potential of art- indeed, I find it interesting that the fine art object has become the capitalist object par excellence- it was still a bit of a downer to find any and all road bumps removed in the consideration itself. And to top it off, they brought home their lack of critique with a good old fashioned grammatical faux pas: “… anything goes in a world where boundaries are blurring and the world is becoming increasingly intertwined,” which totally ignores the fact that the verb intertwined applies only to situations of two or more things.


Afterwards I took my first walk down 24th Street, where I took my time doing the usual tourist-mural routine.  I was particularly taken by two pieces, a couple of blocks apart, that I was pleased to find were products of the same artist, Laura Campos. Be sure to surf the hashtag #lauracampos on the linked-to-Instagram photo below to find more of her work.

Finally, I stopped by Modern Times Bookstore Collective, a San Francisco landmark. It was my first time visiting, and I had a wonderful time checking out both their poetry and criticism sections, each of which carried a wide range of really crucial texts, from Mahmoud Darwish to Dante in the former, Susan Sontag to Fredric Jameson in the latter.  Also on display was a mountain of essential Black literature: Cornel West, James Baldwin, Assata Shakur and others. I highly recommend going, and keeping track of their busy schedule for all sorts of events of persuasions literary, political and both.

photo 2
Detail, “Spiritual Connection,” by Laura Campos, 24th & Treat, The Mission, SF

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