Thanksgiving Guilt

The days — likely the months — leading up to Thanksgiving 2020 have left a hazy tarnish on my ability to be present for my family and friends.

It started, of course, with the economic uncertainty, political instability, and alienating nature of COVID-19. But it is bigger than that, more insidious, and ultimately more profound.

The rich got richer without doing much of anything, the poor kept fighting at great expense, and the world never stopped its dizzying spin. All this while 1.4 million people across the world died and left a dolorous wake in their leaving.

Please consider: The death of 1.4 million people is, by its very nature, an abstract and impenetrable number of individual lives gone forever and an exponential number of living grief.

Everyone who survives bears a scar. Every witness who remains watches from the silver shadows of their own guilt.

While I have much to be thankful for, I can’t stop making pictures that tell this terrible story writ large on quotidian society.

And I feel ashamed of its toothsome moral: There is a dark and resolute solace in this pathological estrangement from the brothers and sisters who survive here alongside me.

Hackensack Rally to Stop Police Brutality and Racist Violence #blacklivesmatter

All photos copyright Joe Gerace, 2020 (please email for usage permission)


Hundreds gathered on a sweltering June afternoon in Hackensack, NJ, to call for an end to police brutality against people of color in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

Organizers provided a platform for members of the crowd to step up to the microphone and share their thoughts. Many of those who spoke stressed the need for swift and definitive change to race relations in America, and the importance of community, solidarity, and voting — in local, state, and federal elections.

The peaceful rally convened from noon to 1 p.m. on Ward and State streets in Downtown Hackensack before protesters marched south toward the Bergen County Courthouse.

Uniformed Hackensack police officers blocked traffic to allow protesters to rally and march freely.

The death of Floyd sparked rallies and protests across the country and a handful of protests occurred in New Jersey over the past several days.

Monteverde Vecchio (excerpt)

my panting heart
my heavy void
capturing leaf smoke
curls the room
while i prepare
crystal lapped boys
to value a buck
everyone i know
is dead
i’m dead too
but that never bothered me none

handsome sergio
knows the hoary hour
every day antoni sneaks off
before lunch
to fuck
his girlfriend
violet
he presumes
i can’t
smell the rose
in his long black hair

sergio’s allowance twirled on
montelliana
panerai
brioni
then alone
in darkness
arranges
black chrysanthemums

Architectural Digest (Martha Rosler)

"The contemplation of things as they are, without substitution or imposture, without error or confusion, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention." Francis Bacon
McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, April 2020

“The contemplation of things as they are, without substitution or imposture, without error or confusion, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention.” Francis Bacon

a preponderance of glimmer

flutters from north to south

diamonds sewn into family photos

as though around the collarbone

anything goes in time five cut pears

scintillate sword to sword with shopworn verbs

a sea battle takes place

may i describe the room? cactus

flower haphazards beside something unripe 

a bowl of collapsing gravity for example the ship 

is our second home the minimalist masterpiece

crawls in the mirror with her small

white daughters gorgeous hardware well

paid ten great american painters

forgotten their brilliant nonces

advertise the always profitable

transgressive breasts in ibiza

no one could prevent

house beat mingles

with big capital one vibes and donald

judd atelier a table of logical laws on

a chair of metaphysical necessities 

in chalk harbors sandy 

short shorts granite hardware i said existence 

and the nature of god the superflower 

causal for profit and pleasure

in a foxhole high above chelsea

as it rushes through an elongated

coruscate electrified discharge field

blitzed with images of the italian

sense of beauty this exists: a short list 

of things a poet names lost

therefore it is futile to consult a doctor

or an arms dealer