Building a sustainable future.
Managing social relationships.
Recognizing resources needed.
Keeping the power-hungry at bay.
Creativity in design and urban form.
CRISP DRESS CODE.
Access to help for drug abusers.
Access to entertainment. No more those that got get and those that don't got don't get.
How to connect the people that know how to take advantage of others with the people that know how to take care of others so that they can locate and provide help.
How to make communities thrive and work hard.
Reducing lobbyist. Taking all of the goody bags, selling the contents and raising money for the poor and hungry.
Peaceful encounters between police and citizen population. Police shootings do not just frightened the people that do wicked who are already on a crash course for disaster. They frighten every day people. How to make broken windows work for everyone. How to give access to statistics on all things without relying on a stupid phone,
The built environment and the social good.
What is the urban form of the 21st Century.
How to learn from the wealthiest 1 percent of the population and how to tap into their monetary resources. Giving tax cuts to the middle class who live so badly striving to keep up with others.
On July 29th, 2015, Margarita Arroyo and I tied the knot becoming husband and wife accompanied by our wonderful Julian at Chapel of the Flowers in sunny Las Vegas. Big journeys sometimes begin with tiny steps: a small compliment can lead to an unbreakable vow. Life can be so strange as one day you’re babbling to somebody about being alone and the next day you’re taking wedding photos with tender kisses and whispering lifetime vows of love and devotion. My love affair with Maggie can be described as a kaleidoscope – an ever-evolving mix of colorful and intricate pieces that become lovelier as the pieces are moved around. On our first date, we dined and talked for 4 hours and we apparently wanted that date to last the rest of our lives. We want to share with you all this momentous occasion and thank you for all of your support along the way. We will be planning an intimate celebration amongst family and close friends in the near future.
The following is my first short story for a collection of short stories I'm experimenting with called "Chauffeurs and Puppies". I want it to be an acrimonious look at the bourgeoisie, America, suburbs, race, housing, war and all these other complicated issues. Mainly, I need something to write about it in the mornings with my coffee and I don't have the time to do research for my anthropological and urban planning interests. Poems are fun but I want to do some more creative writing type stuff too. So here it is: "The Cold Mansion Yard".
The police uttered her name with a sharp, rapping rhythm. She heard him and it left her unnerved, thinking of all the things that she had to do for the day. There was homework and her bed in the morning. Her parents heaped orders on her seven-year old shoulders. Now, the police are looking for someone, something and here is the cop standing above her with a severe look. "Yes, sir, my name is Zelda", she said.
Zelda was a daughter of a dignitary and a Law Professor whom also owned various small businesses. They lived together in the cold mansion. Zelda ran through the hallways and trampled over the servants' poor feet-servants with feet numb from walking. Whenever their parents saw something mysterious and off-putting they called the police - or so it seemed to their neighbors. They lived in a world which was both fearful of them and one they feared to their cores - a frightful and fearsome world. Zelda's parents would fire an employee with scant notice paid to their livelihood and humanity. These people they fired, they thought, could go broke and be out in the cold because they had their families and friends - their enablers. Zelda had no idea of all the pain that their parents caused in the lives of many children. Businesses, cash flow and busy people were poetry to Zelda's parents. They owned a couple of Fast Food joints, various clothing boutiques, a car wash while holding their academic positions at Lockhart University. They caused havoc with all of their icy ways.
The cold mansion is where these sloppy, pretentious people slept at night waiting for hope - for Zelda to rescue them from their soulless lives. They clawed all over the world in search of money. They really wanted something that they could never find - peace. They prayed for the cold mansion. They prayed for warmth by their fireplace.
Zelda had her friends from next door - boisterous, pushy kids who made her smile. They laughed and clamored for each other like seals mouthing at cold, dead fish. They ran around with arms wide open gathering the joy of living with fingers spread apart. They jumped up and down with their two feet busting the grass. Zelda's parents looked on disapprovingly, nodding menacingly.
One day, a cat died in their yard. They called the police and shrieked over the phone emptying out their pathetic lungs. They usually only yell in people's dumbfounded faces. Today, a cat died in their yard and their little empire would crumble. They sat in their patio deck and discussed their exit strategy. Zelda would of course have to become an orphan. She was much too spoiled in the cold mansion. They looked at each other and thirty years of marriage crumbled. "There is a dead cat in the yard!" Police were dispatched in full riot gear. These were of course very important people. They didn't find their suicide plots to be ridiculous. They studied stories of kings who died and their whole courts were killed in return in order to join the sorry king in the afterlife. The cat died and their world was thus challenged by the mystical powers of the afterlife.
They started by burning their bedroom and cutting up their cards after they spent millions on lottery tickets and Costco. They walked around their pool and began slashing and slicing at their arms and limbs with a bloody, sharpened kitchen knife. The dead cat sat there in the yard exposing to the world the crass comfort that Zelda's parents enjoyed. The cat meant that they were soulless killers throwing away their employees like trash to the wind. These were men and women fired for minor infractions. One person clocked in two minutes late. One person forgot to clock out for lunch. One person called in sick and didn't look like he was coughing all night. One person forgot to smile really wide. This of course was justifiable to Zelda's parents because these men and women had very poor attitudes and complained about the buses they took to work and home. These people lost their incomes and livelihoods because Zelda's parents were coldblooded and demanded perfection out of their staff.
Today, Zelda's parents slashed their limbs until they bled to death after spending all of their fortune on idiot things. They bled by the pool because a cat ended up dead in their yard. Never mind that cats were hit by cars everyday. Never mind that there were many cats in the neighborhood and cats got sick too. Never mind all of these things that would rationally explain why there was a dead cat in the cold mansion yard. The cat was dead and this meant death to Zelda's cold parents. Zelda's parents slashed themselves into non-existence because a cat ended up dying too close to their homes. This was a portent of doom for them in their cold mansion yard.
The following are poems I wrote while waiting for work at Starbucks in Commerce. I was inspired by a lot of sobering realities. Lincoln's Place Mat is about the sobering reality of this great country where the haves and have-nots battle for space.
San Julian and a Sleeping Bag
Wishing to hold hands in
the warm sleeping bag
Tucked in, spiteful, bitter winter.
He sleeps by a buzzing roar
by a buzzing road
by all the buzz of Downtown L.A.
If we could just walk away we would
Just walk away forever
And never utter whisper for a home.
Just running away until all
Thoughts cave in, thoughts depraved
Thoughts turn into shakes
Craving for smack
Digging for a snack
While the moneyed gawk and shoo
Away the penniless from their play zoo.
Another moment to find his
Palace in a sleeping bag.
Sleeping on San Julian Street.
Bobby talked in a scattered drone
Bobby talked 'til the birds flew
Away from his desperate pleas
To have someone to speak to
Bobby washes his arms , poker-faced.
Bobby pushes his luck
With a screwdriver tucked
In his back pocket.
The police hate Bobby's talk
They beat the quiet out of him.
What if we took your keys
And watched your drunken
Stupor take you to Fifth Street?
Would you yell "Greetings!"
"My keys have escaped me!"???!!??
Kid's gold and start-ups and technology
Make you better than me?
4s and 5s and girls graded
By kid's gold for your souls-
Your naked body is a ten
With 100s of 100s of thousands at hand, at reach with click, safe penthouse.
Gentrified, petrified, chicken stand, stand in the
Rain of someone's smashed-up storm.
Kid's gold for a cell phone
Call to the money market army
"Better stop sleeping around the money!"
With mud-clotted boots
That Tent City is an eyesore
And this kid has loans to pay
While anything is at play.
The police will protect this kid's gold
While a person dies at 50 in the cold
Dumped by the devil's play police
And Bratton gets another hell
To nurture, to nurture, to protect
To clean-up with no morals but lots of money
To say, "Who cares? My daddy charges a few hundred an hour or more!"
Bratton always makes rich families feel safe
While the police boot-stamp crush
A young person's dream
To sleep peacefully in the streets.
Kid's gold for a coffee
And small talk and
A lustful tuck and brush-up to
A beauty, a ballerina
Of provincial youth. Being tucked in
A loft, cozy bed, cuz father said:
"Daddy's little girl will have doors opened"
To push out families already broken
For a pile of Kid's gold.
One day they took you away
Far from the rest of us
Running in place
Running for death
Running for life
One day you left our world.
Today Mandela is dead.
Where will we go today?
Can we lose our soul?
Buried in prison for 27 years
For voicing a world
That was not separate.
Oh, where do all the forgotten
Children run, run, run?
One day, we lost our giant
And we're left to piece
Together shards of glass
For the violent buildings
Crashing to the ground
Years of prison system impulse
Throw 'em to silence.
Mandela spoke and
Piled on plate healing words.
One day, the wicked
Will pay! Will pay!
We've lost our voice, today.
We've lost our reason
We've lost the past
We've lost our future
Our children, our faith
We've lost count
We've lost all!
Nelson Mandela has left us today.
This poem was written today and will be included in my collection of poems entitled "Lincoln's Place Mat". This is in dedication to Paul Walker who died this past weekend. I was never a fan but his story from what I gather is pretty compelling. I was interested in the irony of his death speeding away from a charity event.
I'm working on three personal projects right now: Operation Noon (Planning Phase for Homeless Shelter with ancillary for-profits and non-profits, mixed-use, walkable urban design), The Disciplined City (an Urban Planning text book outlining my ideas on urban design, planning and construction), and Lincoln's Place Mat (a collection of poems). I'm pretty much thinking of everything because I want to make this world beautiful again.
Everyone goes to the movies
Fast and furiously
To sit down and imbibe
All the good crashes
For you to see.
Paul Walker dead at 40.
And so he rides on
Until a tiny speck becomes
A spinning wheel
For a hand-out or a meal.
Will we be a box-office
Smash to tree?
Life is so quick: reality.
This is a draft for my book proposal. I will work on my first Urban Planning text entitled "The Disciplined City". These are all working ideas as I maintain my blog. I want my blog to be an incredible rough draft of all these ideas and impressions that I have. I want to become unfiltered and pour all of my ideas on page because otherwise I believe I'm stagnating. I began reading Kevin Lynch's seminal text "The Image of the City "and I began to unpack my mind. Here goes, "The Disciplined City".
The City is as much a riddle and idea as it is a holding place for structures, businesses and residences. The City can be an eyesore or it can be exalting but the constant motion of the urban propelled by ordinary people elevates the City into poetry - a poetry of everyday life. I drive through street corridors and bypass the Freeways of Southern California many times because I feel like I'm a part of the urban experience of living.
The City is disciplined at all times - it is the expression of the social structure frozen in the reactions and sentiments of city-dwellers. There is an innocence to the urban even if the streets are the launching place to a world of undisciplined, inequity, seedy areas attracting shady people. The Disciplined City is everyone behaving or else becoming subject to ridicule and derision. The Disciplined City is a beautiful entity that swings people forward and backward through the channels linking home, work and places of consumption and leisure.
The legible is the sanctions posted for the world to see and guide them into a disciplined whole*. The City manages the person's culture and the social order. As I define them, the City can be seen in all places - in small towns, in the country side. The moment that more than one individual comes together, a City-like entity is formed. The actions that the individual chooses is filtered through the eyes of another person. When inequity is consumed between multiple individuals, a new order is formed and new sanctions take hold - a new understanding is born. The Disciplined City allows for individuals to come together and separate from their small units of interaction and social consumption. My career hinges on tying the socio-cultural with the physical.
The Disciplined City is the City as if observing fasting rituals. Everyone suspends their everyday practices for the moment it takes to go from one situation/structure to another one. Most accomplish this without attracting notice. Some do not follow the strictures of discipline imposed by the Disciplined City which gathers the attention of others. Police interact with the public and regulate the actions of the undisciplined. The City is a place where many come together and when many people come together a multitude of undisciplined persons also arrive to the Disciplined City.
There is music frozen forever for us to ponder. The more structure - palatial, ordinary, relatively benign, commercial, provincial, plain - the more meaning is found in living. One of the purposes of life is to build meaningful relationships with others. The Disciplined City is the structure forming through our lives and adding meaning to everyday interactions. Structures follow two sets of specifications - the engineered dynamics that build and press these structures into place and the social dimensions of living in a world defined by Public Works. If Public Works did not exist, humanity would cease to exist.
*One passage in Kevin Lynch's classic text "The Image of the City" stands out to me: "Despite a few remaining puzzles, it now seems unlikely that there is any mystic 'instinct' of way-finding. Rather there is a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment. This organization is fundamental to the efficiency and to the very survival of free-moving life" (Lynch, 1960: 3). This does have a connection to the Disciplined City as I see it.
The Lonely Leaf
The last tear drop
Puddle like pool
Of snow, of snow
The magic of one
Makes new with
She makes me whole
Counting trees with
Hands on everything
Hands on anything
Hands on watch hands
So we can be back
Arm in arm
Quietly drifting asleep
She's my everything
Picking me up off
The ground like
A sole, lonely leaf.
I love my bird
She sings personal
Lullabies at night
She rocks me to sleep
With her hypnotic
She makes me bow
With little dances
I love her as she
Boots her way through.
Just another day that I miss
Her, all day. I'm her
Lonely leaf scattered by wind.
She planned it all along grasping every scheme
Maggie, with her hands on my every sense and dream.
I'm waiting at L.A. Union Station for Metro
Like a bus will take me to the planning row -
All of this squawking about roads and ugly cities
Millions of hands grabbing for love and it's me she fancies
I will take my worries home but she's waiting
To love me, to love me! As if our wit is debating
The extent of our fate - we hold hands and wait
For these moments - many tensions give way to checkmate
And to the millions of flowers - I say, it's well within reason...
Our first date was like a long-lost "whatever happened to you?"
And then it became known with a shrug and let's see
What these moments do to us growing sad and blue.
I will carry all of these flowers for maybe a century
If that's what it will take to come close to calculus -
That measure of heartbeats piled upon heartbeats.
One day I will take each and every flower away to focus
On her perfect smile and giggling chatter that greets
Me like the anger I feel that I spent 33 years away
From her, from the love of my life, the answer to "why" today
And to the million of flowers - I say, it's well within reason.
This piece is offered to you mostly unedited and unfinished. I want to do a piece on all of the Cities that have formed an impression on me in some way or another. Right now, time is crucial and I unfortunately have to make time to write which is a reality I am happy with. This blog is an outlet for me and a platform for me. One day, I will be able to get paid for my writing but that day seems forever away.
The quiet sunrise takes me home. I was running and running away from the storm of living. I miss Palm Desert in the great open morning. I miss the sense of cool, quiet air while I sit and think about tomorrows. Here I am today and every move I had ever contemplated as an eighteen-year old in Palm Desert has worked out in some odd way. These moves have worked but never how I imagined they would. I feel like Palm Desert has always been my battleground. I play chess with Palm Desert. The City has always felt at once like the coldest punishment and a quiet, brilliant escape. Palm Desert is where I graduated from High School and where I began my college education. Palm Desert is where I discovered new love and new friendships. Palm Desert is also where I discovered that I would always be fighting myself. I hope everyday that Palm Desert does not reveal my secret: I became ill, I was a wild child, I am still fighting it.
Palm Desert's population grows and diminishes as the weather heats up. The City is located near the center of the Coachella Valley bordered by Rancho Mirage to the west and Indian Wells and La Quinta to the east. In 1993, I moved with my mother, sister, and brother to Silver Spur Park located south of the Palm Desert Mall on Highway 74 next to Big Horn Country Club. Big Horn to me is still shrouded in mystery although I lived nine years by its footsteps. I never was able to penetrate its guarded, heavy walls. In my mind, it barely existed. It existed to me as a place where moneyed elderly played Golf, wasted their retirement days, and locked their doors from me.
Silver Spur Park is a quiet community of mobile home parks designed for elderly people and housing many. As a fourteen-year old boy beginning to experience dating for the first time, this place did not present many prospects. Our home was a two-story mobile home and our roof patio overlooked the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It was also the place that I discovered smoking at seventeen. Cigarettes were especially nice at 5 in the morning when the sun would peak from the sky and the mountains in the horizon stood majestically. My brother and I shared the upstairs bedroom. My stuff lined one side and my brother's stuff the other side. I loved Hip Hop, Graffiti and Sports and he loved Art, Comic Books and Punk Rock and our bedroom walls would represent our passions. We spent as much time as we could every summer inside the community swimming pool. This was instrumental for us to survive the blazing heat. My mom had the master bedroom where my father would crash once a week when he had a day off from his work in Los Angeles. My sister had her own room which was very small. Life slowed down in this big mobile home and I enjoyed the break from hectic Los Angeles and the east San Fernando Valley.
I will always see the appeal of Palm Desert although I never felt welcomed as a young man. I discovered this part of my personality. I'm a social butterfly at times and I'm a closed-off anti-social lug at others. Palm Desert made me want to break away from humanity because I didn't fit in. I started High School as a sophomore although I was only fourteen. I moved from Arleta, California where I had established a hardcore group of friends whom I never wanted to leave. Here I was in Palm Desert and the kids did not speak the same language of "cool". To me, "cool" was Rap, raves, tagging and big, flowing baggy pants. To them, I was an anomaly from L.A. I decided at fourteen that I would never have anything to speak of value to these kids with nice cars and different life stories. I went to Palm Desert High School taking that long, treacherous ride on the school bus. I came home and my mom was utterly bored and disinterested with our new home. My sister and brother were better able to adapt socially making friends everyday. I'm very shy and quiet but warm up and show my personality as I get to know somebody. I spent the first month or so sitting quietly in a corner eating my little pizza and drinking my little chocolate milk. I felt utterly alone.
One day, a boy named Bobby walked up to me and introduced himself. We became close friends from that day on. He was from Orange and was just a nice guy: funny and mellow. We formed a click of kids that were also new to the Palm Desert area: there was Christian from Fresno, Ruben from Brawley, Dave from Upland and a few other kids we met from the area. It was nice to have a place to hang out on Fridays as we would look for things to do in the small desert. We watched movies and played my friend's brilliant RPG game that our friend Christian created out of possibly shear boredom. It was brilliant and we were pretty much not popular.
One day, my sister met a boy from Pacoima named Robert and I broke away from my new friends. Robert was an interesting story and I hung with him because he reminded me of home. We liked similar music and he knew a bunch of people. I met my first girlfriend through him. She was a beautiful girl named Carol who was pretty mean. Through Robert, I met a kid named Ray who liked baggy clothes and was the funniest kid I had ever met. He loved to write graffiti so we became fast friends. I decided at this point that I wanted to take up graffiti writing again as I had decided to retire when I was thirteen. I started a crew, "No Limits" and that was all she wrote. I never felt lonely again meeting one graffiti writer after another and forming long-lasting bonds in the desert from Indio to Palm Springs.