The Bitter Southerner: Great Website


There are many good online websites, but The Bitter Southerner is a big cut above all the rest. The site has a literary slant and down-home naturalness with a big tip of the hat to the cultural past and the cutting edge present. It pays tribute to the legacy, creativity and energy of the southern US. For the site, go here.

To go right to some good stories go here. Here’s a taste from a current photography essay: Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and a fan backstage.


Hello To The Beginning of Time

BIGBANG-master675What did Van Gogh know and how did he know it? This is the latest picture (sort of) of the beginning of the universe, taken of a patch of sky showing the temperature and polarization of cosmic microwaves from the end of the Big Bang, as reflected by dust swirling in the magnetic field of the Milky Way. The story from The New York Times is here. (Credit European Space Agency)

East Texas Backwoods Churches

Part of a series of pictures I took of backwoods churches in East Texas. More are posted in the Galleria de Vista.

Kyoto: Walking One Step at a Time

91tBYwzKLjL._SL1500_“Mountains walking is just like humans walking. Do not doubt mountains walking even though it does not look like human walking.” ­­– Dogen, Jan. 19, 1200, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

Where else better to take a thoughtful walk than in Kyoto, home to so many worthies who have graced its streets and paths. Ted Taylor and Michael Lambe have put together a paean to walking through Japan’s most intimate city, savouring the ancient temples and today’s artful graffiti. The anthology, Deep Kyoto Walks,  includes Pico Iyer and others, and this is one of those books that takes you to where you didn’t know you wanted to go. Sixteen writers who know Kyoto pay tribute to life in the city of “Purple Hills and Crystal Streams,” offering a testament to the art of contemplative city walking.

I had to acknowledge that I had to come to Japan in order to see that a 7-Eleven here was just as Japanese — as foreign — as any meditation hall, and no less full of wonder…” – Pico Iyer, Into the Tumult

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Rack ‘Em Up in Vientiane

A billiards hall in the Lane Xang Hotel in Vientiene, Laos. Photography by Roy Hamric

A billiards hall in the Lane Xang Hotel in Vientiane, Laos. Photograph by Roy Hamric

Let There Be A Big Bend For All

A dance in the Big Bend

A dance in the Big Bend. Photograph copyright Robert Hart

Why do I love the Big Bend in Texas? The people who live there, and the there. This photograph shows a dance held under the stars near Terlingua, on the Mexican border, the setting for most of the opening sequences of Wim Wender’s “Paris, Texas,” which I re-watched recently. Harry Dean Stanton, who was a soft, dark angel back then, and Dean Stockwell, who worked his ass off holding the film together. Wender’s? Who knows… But Sam Shepard wrote the script, which, I think, was really about his father, his lost-father, who dominates Shepard’s muse-land. For more Big Bend photographs, see Robert Hart’s website.

The Past is Always Right Here, James Newton

Marci Newton, left, me, top, James bottom, LeAnn, right.

Marcy Newton, left, me, top, James, bottom, LeAnn, right.

James Newton is a giant in my life. He kept me alive in the 80s & 90s. I saw his Facebook page for the first time this week, and he had posted two pictures of me. What does it bring back? Hot late nights, cooking steaks on an outside makeshift grill, poems, songs, spinning vinyl records, constant calibration of young, raw, natural energy. A knowledge it could never be repeated. I think of you always and forever, James, my brother.

Maybe the mid-80s my study in Arlington.

Maybe the mid-80s in my study in Arlington.

On James’ Birthday


Unwrap this, it’s for you

to take along on your search

for the perfect back beat

and still sea.

On this still-light morning

breaths draw slowly.

Sleeping bodies throughout

the house, too much drink

last night. The still cat

sits in the window sill

staring outside.

Beyond is the Great Outdoors

but what is it?

In last night’s dream

there was a man with

three hooks piercing his

chest, bound and hanging

on a swaying rope.

Is he you and me?

Now comes the first morning sound.

A bird feeling the Sun

on its tongue on another

moment of birth.




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