xix. Steven Chodoriwsky

T h i s   c o n t r i b u t i o n   t o   t h e   s e r i e s 

c o m e s   o n l y   i n   t h e   f o r m   o f   a   t e x t


C r e a t i v e   M a r k u p   L a n g u a g e


Say at the corner of m street and m avenue. A yield

sign painted
                                                                                                      sign painted over
in yellow first so it blended in to look like a blank, then tagged over
in black CML (or LVL), in other words no longer NOT A THROUGH

a through


STREET. Now it’s CML or some such, which could

be read
                                                                                                      be read as nine hun-
dred fifty, or—alternately more recently—Creative Markup Language. 
Suits a sign. At the very end of the north part of m street BEWARE OF

beware of


DOG up against the 101, or CI. The sour grey air

acts tough
                                                                                                      acts tough and shouts
rain but no clouds in the sky. A swing set spots astroturf. A presbyterian
beer can, then something soft to punt, but just don’t look down, keep

down keep


Walking. A block on it’s a glance at the nearest thing to

the sea
                                                                                                      the sea other
than the sea. Too far away say to judge the upholstery, or make
the plot seem more real with clearer marks, or too far on to assign

to assign


Names to shapes or traits to drivers. Here see an

old book
                                                                                                      old book shelf
in a hall with three paperbacks, an old road guide, and a bible. 
Near here see a man run his dog off leash, scold him when he

when he


Sniffs out a pizza box, and sneeze NAME in a

caustic way
                                                                                                      caustic way that
cinches then twists me, and both ankles collapse. We’re in the
purview of a cul de sac. Here see a cat at a stray coffee cup off a

off a


Curb cut, all the while a new palm hangs low and

saws shadows
                                                                                                      saws shadows
into earth



C u l   d e   s a c


Like you're approaching a cliff but not. And not since

it’s high
                                                                                                      it's high and
you're not. Not since although beyond you, over the not-cliff, there's
movement but it's not tides at you it's a side to side thing. Not side to

side to


Side arbitrarily but left to right precisely, precisely like

reading or
                                                                                                      reading, or just
like reading in this language you’re reading. And not since it's all
tarred. It's not since if it were, the cliff would face the canted face you

face you


Face, but it doesn't, you face it, canted. Not since though

it’s steep
                                                                                                      it's steep, it's
one way down if you're at the top, and if you're not, the climbing
up's tough. It’s no belvedere. Not since it comes in waves but it’s

but it’s


Not the waves of moons you know, these come in droves

not waves
                                                                                                      not waves, 
these phases are fickle, prone to revving, pedals on gas revving,
on tracks, primed to swerve, at other times prone to nod off and

off and


Off and crawl down, slowest snarl. Not since there's

no vista
                                                                                                      no vista
beyond there is only the cambered line, adjusting for vision
and for the snarl, a whir’s fraction




T h e r e   i s   a   t i n y   r a m p   l e a d i n g   u p
t o   t h e   p l i n t h   o f   r i s k


With the end of the work, even if the work is comparatively

small comes
                                                                                                      small, comes a
weighted lull. Cars and cars skim down the slight decline completely
without bump, without blemish at least from this curb, cropped like a

like a


Proscenium by two bluff-propped houses. Do they predate

the freeway
                                                                                                      the freeway is
a question. Bumps do exist, below, in hard relief, as with grains of
sand propelling shuffleboard stone. A spider of imaginary bent lights

bent lights


Upon my arm. I think, taxonomy? armbound? It is just

actually a
                                                                                                      “actually” a solo
hair, attached to an arm in a solo breeze, Not much license to skulk the
cul de sac. Dogs needing walks otherwise are. Smokers are. Decor is

decor is


Out early, foregrounding pillows of soft asphalt, just

poured a
                                                                                                      poured, a cooling
cake. See how cones in groups receive a comical respect in the face of
footsteps. Differences between potted plants. I still feel sketch. I’m

sketch I’m


Walking here. Worth what much. How would you like

the night
                                                                                                      the night to play out? 
It was a great season, a winning season, a very good season, and the freeway
sign glows: Melrose, Normandie, Vermont, with arrows. If you’re heading

you’re heading


West the exits are very bountiful. I’m facing

south and
                                                                                                      south and weeds, a wall
retaining earth, tarmac, steel, light, flesh. How many times can I write
I can’t write this before xxxxx I don’t presume to build on this phrase, to

phrase to


Belabor it, to construct some progress out of an

undoing or
                                                                                                      undoing or a landing
out of an undoing. Here see tomorrow’s recycling. Will I edit this, will
I be richer? I forego the ramp. On the street a box of apples. Forego the

forego the




T h e r e   i s   a   t i n y   r a m p   l e a d i n g   u p
t o   t h e   p l i n t h   o f   r i s k


At the show a hollowed wall obstructs an entrance, you

look inside
                                                                                                      look inside to
see photographs of an outside, another state, and one of them is of a
street sign that reads END. A second hollowed wall frames another

frames another


Entrance. The artist returns, when the work is over,

to tell
                                                                                                      to tell a waiting
watching crowd, THE END. Forego the ramp. Are you physically tired
here. And despite the long way around you continue to be here. You

here you


Appear to measure the shapes of your attempts against

the shapes
                                                                                                      the shapes
of the attempts of others. And keep thinking that resistance is in
the spine, and how that meant. And to jettison values, harvest

values harvest


Others, that too. And moreover to read words at

face value
                                                                                                      face value, too. 
Over there, there is a tiny ramp leading up to the plinth of risk. 
Along it when they carry the soft side against their bodies and

bodies and


Faces because it feels reasonable and right

and good
                                                                                                      and good, and the
hard mirrored side away from them reflecting faintly surroundings
but unable to see surroundings or other reflections, too. When a

when a


Crowd is a fickle, loses interest crowd. When

the workers
                                                                                                      the workers have jobs
and keep working. When most lose interest in the deeds and workers
keep working. When the sign says END it means end and they mean

we mean


End. When they keep on until the artist says THE END. 

the work
                                                                                                      The work is not
hard but it’s odd and it’s right there in the foreground but as far as the
crowd seems concerned it (the work) fades into furniture and the like

the like


But the workers keep working the workers keep

working the
                                                                                                      working the workers
keep working the




(   )


What it is is it’s a typical combination of being

obstruction and
                                                                                                      obstruction and
causing obstruction. It’s pretty much flush when blocked, and
can’t be seen by x-ray. If we’ve got a problem and we’ve caught

we’ve caught


Something that we understand, we could charge less

but still
                                                                                                      but still
absolutely more than typical cases. I mean I realize I should have
brought the problem sooner but I just wasn’t expecting it today, it

today it


Costs xxxxx bucks while underway and we received

one of
                                                                                                      one of the
forms of insurance for altogether different problems and it gets
harder getting older. So I’m just making sure all the issues we

issues we


Have to deal once and for all with are all one at

a time
                                                                                                      a time as we
focus on organizing because you know it’s kind of a big




S t o n e h e n g e


Come upon a pile of rocks and be moved. Bored

or amped
                                                                                                      or amped are two
given options for words from T9. City—just say it—ingest it. A
mealy consistency. Emboldened or emblandened, go about your

about your


Business. Chalk sign says chef special. In a trance of

the last
                                                                                                      the last third
of The Goaltender’s Anxiety. Don’t look up, focus on the screen
input and output. Beyond which richer sandstone or slate. Beyond

slate beyond


Which mud trace. Beyond which chase light taking a

one third
permissible on the left in the intersection. In the left hand 48
cans of prescription cat food, left shoulder slung, and with the

with the


I type a contribution that only comes in the form of

a text
                                                                                                      a text.
Catch an edge of offmark grout, or a grass blade aloft, or an
afterimage of a flashing hand telling a walker that will never

will never


Never come to not cross and I think with some

shiny conceit
                                                                                                      shiny conceit
I am courting fuller work. Everything here is a Center For, 
everything here is Immediate Care, is No Turns, is Wigs, or is

or is


Fast Repair and I think with some errant lift, here

is the
                                                                                                      is the crust of
a larger pie. When the traces of all of this turn to stonehenges,
I feel light and right. When that student for his design strategy
design strategy


I Took Stonehenge Outta The Picture the thing

is we
                                                                                                      is, we’re all
always taking stonehenge out, with each step, scrape, burn,
dodge, doze. Types of alterations. Thing is, beware the itch of

itch of


A do-over. Had my head down and all at once a

sign flying
                                                                                                      sign flying above
it hit me. You and I are gonna break even. You and I are gonna
break even! But say you meet no milestones popping up off the

off the


Arrow straight road over the asphalt and through

the weeds
                                                                                                      the weeds but
rather say an accounting of smaller rocks say with less formal
attributes, themselves unique but also rubble, say formed from

formed from


Erosion or explosion or drift say at at the mercy

of elements
                                                                                                      of elements, 
compared to upright herms, say for lighthouses a promontory
cementing a course, say for other impediments impeding still

impeding still


Other impediments


Steven Chodoriwsky is an artist and designer based in Los Angeles. He was a research fellow at Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, and Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, and holds degrees from Tokyo Institute of Technology and University of Waterloo. He teaches architecture and landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona.