Archive for January, 2016


Valle D’Aosta, Italy © Jim Korpi

“Who wants to wake up at 4 am and milk cows when you have two degrees from a university?” An Italian friend asks over a beer.
Dairy farms throughout the north of Italy have been hiring Indians to run their milking operations. “Italians don’t want to do the work,” a dairy farmer told me. The conversation starts with the subject of immigrants, a common discussion in today’s Europe. In a country priding itself on the value of food and ingredients, there is a fading value placed on the work done by those who bring about such necessities.


Window Display, White River Junction, Vermont © Jim Korpi

“One worked or connived to obtain a stake, then worked or connived to obtain legal title to a tract of wilderness, then sold the wilderness by the acre to the hordes of immigrants, and thereby lived and died a wealthy man. Appropriately, the most successful practitioner of this craft was George Washington, who had acquired several hundred thousand acres and was reckoned by many as the wealthiest man in America.” – Forrest McDonald, The Presidency of George Washington, p. 10.


Flowers on Road, Codogno, Italy © Jim Korpi

Terrorism [ter-uh-riz-uh m] noun 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

“The aim of Rapid Dominance is to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe.” – Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, Defense Group Inc. for The National Defense University

Sixteen hours after an American plane dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which lead to the eventual deaths of nearly 130,000 people, President Truman proudly announced the achievements of the United States in employing 126,000 Americans in the creation of such technology, “What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history.”

“What if they used all those people and effort for something else? For something better?” a friend said to me recently after reading a report from the New York Times journalist William L. Laurence who flew on the second mission in the dropping of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing 60-70,000 people, and had this to say, “It is a thing of beauty to behold, this ‘gadget.’ Into its design went millions of man-hours of what is without doubt the most concentrated intellectual effort in history.”


Shattered Side-View, Codogno, Italy © Jim Korpi

“Dance like no one is watching” – Unknown

A car following too close to my rear bumper always forces me to speed up. I flip the lever at the bottom of the mirror to make this person’s impatience go away. The following car is now a refraction of itself, and this only half calms me. I return to a speed near to my pace, but I feel hounded. I pull over to the side of the road and let the car pass.




Bath Portrait © Jim Korpi

If you have not done this you have only half lived in an apartment building, half lived in a city.
Lean back into a hot tub of water. Lower your head beneath the surface so only your face is above water. Breathe.
Your breath is the first thing you hear, deep hollow echoes from the inside of your chest. What follows is another dimension.
Here you are witness to the innards of a beast, not the pulse but the digestive process.
Every sink, toilet bowl and drain of every apartment in your building becomes a receptor for the sounds of its nighttime routines.
Riders on the Storm plays from the radio of an apartment close by and mixes with children fighting in an apartment beside the street. Dinner is being served, the clinking of silverware and the sliding of chairs across tile floors.
You can return to the slow rhythm of your breath at any time. This is a Buddhist exercise in apartment living.
You are in the womb of it all, the womb of the building, the womb of the city.
The slurred murmurs of all those anonymous lives around you are beyond your understanding. You hear your heart beat. The warmth of the water that surrounds you is the amniotic fluid you floated in before entering this cold, strange world.