photo by Zalman Berkowitz
photo by Zalman Berkowitz

details like a scrap of paper

at a bus stop looking

closely a fortune cookie no cookie

“you are talented with your hands” thanks

the Gift and the Practice that

comes with it reminder:

talent alone won’t save us because Vigilance

and cookies are so delicious to my mind

sometimes Even talented

hands miss messages

like scraps of paper

through fingertips crunch

of sugar egg flour fortunes from

strangers we make marks always

before outcomes like

my heart now and the light

downtown sun rays golden filtered through silver clouds ground damp and cold cozy inside.

I wonder if the sun knows what

sunlight looks like to my eyes now

like gifts from strangers I am found reflecting

of course not, that’s impossible

like walking or breathing or life based on Carbon

smile thankful

there are muscles in the face that if you squeeze them right

they make you happy

how cool is that!


Mother at the Gallery [context]

Link to Mother in the Gallery [context].

Macaroni Necklace  (thoughts of my momma.)

When I was younger, after I introduced myself, I would have to explain how to say my name and what it means. I’m a smart-ass sometimes and this question maybe grew tiresome, or game-worthy, or poetic depending on which lens I view it from. It is strangely perfect, that my name is ZALMAN, that my mother’s name, Alma (which means ‘soul’ in Spanish) connects the first and last letters of my name. It is fitting, also, that my name translates to “man of peace” and that my mother is the soul within my name. But this is not about me.

My mother, Alma was a free spirit, and loved the desert. Momma was a righteous, direct and vocal critic of the human social condition. Inspired by plants and birds, enlivened by free-flowing waters and the natural rhythms of our shared world. She organized and fed groups around social issues, a defender of peace, labor and human rights and natural beauty. Alma was a passionate, nurturing cook, an early vegetarian (this is before the popularity of Veggie Burgers), and a definite Foodie- always tasting things and exploring foods.

I grew up an Only Child with a Single Mom, eating cookies (I love cookies) at Cruise Missile protests and peace marches. Full-Moon parties and Solar Potlucks, naked hikes in Sabino Canyon… Passover Seders were often written from the perspective of the feminine aspect of the Deity (Shetichnaya instead of Adonai). There was an Orange on the Seder Plate. This was home to my childhood. It was heady and intellectual, artistic and rukus, righteous and real, human.

At the time, it may have seemed contrary to what the popular culture was doing (I loved my swatch, my thrift-shop polo shirt, my Alpha-Numeric pager, my first portable CD player…). I was lucky, my childhood was filled with love and passionate ideas, and loads of authentic, creative and cantankerous characters passing through.

My mother passed last October (cancer). I was fortunate to be there, by her side with friends and family for the last ten days as she transitioned. If you have been through it, you know it is indescribable. Of all my wishes, my utmost is more time with her. As a secondary, I will settle for being a good hearted representative in my community, like my momma was. I am thankful for the time we did have, I am profoundly blessed to have received so much love.

Thanks Mom!

Here is a link to her memorial, a celebration of her life:

Fresh Paint “luminous beings…” Zalman Berkowitz

“luminous beings…” 18×24 acrylic on panel 2012 Zalman Berkowitz

Fresh Paint!

ah, I love this time, when the passed months’ paintings start rolling out.

So, the images/icons/ideas of Bruce Lee, and then O’ Sensei led me on to Yoda.

What is it about us, about our humanity that tells and re-tells the same stories? Maybe it is because it is our Collective story, our light and dark, challenges/obstacles and how we negotiate change that is of the most concern to us. We are each working through our individual explorations in life, and yet there are some themes we can relate too. That for me is the purpose of myth, of symbol: to create commonality of expression, to build consensus around our senses. You know, to find comfort in the fact that we are not the only One in this Human race. Hey, I was here, I Felt This Way. Makes some sense of this purposive journey towards Death and other inevitable changes.

whew. That was deep.

Link to the zG yoda post here

It’s a beautiful day in Seattle. I trust that Beauty finds you where you Be as well.



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