Max Valentine

The 99th Monkey


MaxSketch    Junt

portals exist everywhere/ channels of energy/ dichotomy built up inside of us/ a hazy realm


bouncing back and forth/ dancing/ and maybe it’s not ready yet but/ pulling forth


shades of reality/ inside there was nothing but unconditional love



if you are not realizing the light in this, it needs refinement

FlowerHead    sketchbooks

for art is not a leisure, it is a puzzle

Sketchesontickets     pagesketch

the separation of outside from inside/ where these things exist/ inside to out/ we have the power to use or lay dormant


you can’t be selfish if you know your self


 so far deep  I remain lifted

constantly momentarily forgotten

I am the 99th monkey

I am the straw that breaks the camel’s back

Titular a Writer

In the dark with half a face bold from whiskey in dim lighting, a man, whom I was surprised spoke English in these smoke-glazed Colombian surroundings, I told him I was a writer. A title, a label, new, a fresh definition of this voice that once lay quietly private, so pompous a name but I wanted it, known, and perhaps titular, but the word rolled off my tongue like sweet and his eyes justified its saying. When asked what kind of writer I am I never know how to reply; not an essayist or novelist or fiction connoisseur, not technical nor journalistic. I suppose poetic lends its liberation to what I do, but I fucking hate limericks and  I can’t stand structure, rhyming makes me nauseous and I could go with free verse, prose poetry, conceptualism, but it sounds so fucking conceited and sometimes I vaguely say “I write about life” and that’s enough for some people. I go with poetry this time and he asks me to recite a poem. In my drunken haze I roil at the request and light another cigarette, the flame a beacon in a consuming darkness that was threatening to linger until morning. I don’t know how to explain myself and trip over several ways to say no and end with “Let’s take a shot. You can look at my blog later.” Poetry, my poetry, ugh – no, my words, are not necessarily those meant to be spoken aloud, in fact many times are better left not. I liken them to parasites, to sickness, something expelled. When a piece hits the page, hits the computer screen, as soon as it has left my mind and traveled out through the tips of my fingers, it is no longer my responsibility – it is not my responsibility to care for, to memorize, to maintain, to obsess over, to control as it works its way into the world; most times I’ve forgotten the words as soon as they’ve been released from the grip of my brain. These words, even the ones I’m putting down right now, they are something belonging not to me but to an other, perhaps something to be absorbed and manipulated for meaning, or maybe not, sometimes these words are just better set free to explore than burrowing inside of me, eating acid-like away at my conscience as it attempts to comprehend their supposed importance. Sometimes when I am sitting at home, alone, and interacting with my self, I say “I am a writer” and it sounds to me like “I have cancer”. Not in the sense that I seek victimization in mortality, but that I feel as though this state of being is slowly consuming my life in irreparable ways that separate me from normality; these words as some sort of separate entity commanding space inside of a shell that simply seeks to exist for fun; sometimes even purposely directing its host away from content – as in happiness, simplicity in existence. I cannot explain this to the man in the dark in the bar with his literary degree and skepticism, mind swimming in alcohol and the exhaustion of 4am. I cannot tell him that this last shot is an escape from those words, from all words, from inquiry and obsession, that all I want is to forget about my brain and focus on my body and its corporeal ability to glean pleasure from life. That I’d been dreaming about the primitiveness of us, the archetypal us, naked since I’d born lust in my life. I can’t tell him this because my tongue is thick and my throat dry and I am tired and on the edge of lethargy, and the image of another man, a man who controls a good portion of the words that dangle at my fingertips, remains imperiously forged in the fore-center of even my drunkest mind. So I take another sip of whiskey and fall out of conversation.


I’ve said many times that art is about getting personal, so personal that we can no longer deny the individuality and meeting place of shared emotion  possible within humanity. Well, this is about to get personal.

I’ve spent a lot of my life hating myself.

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I’ve told myself I was ugly. I’ve been embarrassed of my very core self. I’ve obsessed over my own assumed stupidity.

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I’ve manipulated. I’ve lied. I’ve used other people to make me feel better about myself. I’ve purposely caused harm to myself and others in an attempt to rectify my own feelings about my self worth.

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 I’ve blamed myself for the misery of others. I’ve taken responsibility for the suffering of the world. I’ve martyred myself in my own mind over external situations that have little to do with me.

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 I’ve been selfish. I’ve been self absorbed. I’ve treated others as if their individuality were a by-product of my existence.

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I’ve shut myself off from others for fear that they will discover what a terrible human being I am, or how stupid I am, or how boring I am, or how unimpressive I am. I have hidden myself from others for fear that they will discover how ugly I am, how insecure I am, how uncreative I am, how selfish I am.

But also…

I have loved genuinely and openly. I have bared my soul for somebody who needed the tenderness and empathy. I have forgotten about myself in the midst of another’s problems. I have looked in the mirror and found myself beautiful. I have used the warmth of my body to show somebody I love how much they were worth.  I have written a piece of art that I found breathtaking and important. I have cared so much that it was painful. I have been passionate and devoted; enchanted and amorous. I have loved greatly and fully.

I am human. I have many flaws. I am learning how to love them.

This is me.

And these are my confessions.

- Jaime Dyna La Mondain




I like you in the morning
before you’re really even awake
when the crust still lies at the corner of your eyes
and your hair is sticking up in funny directions

sometimes I pretend to still be sleeping
so I can be around you longer
lay next to you while you read your email
and wish I were brave enough for morning sex

but for some reason I always have somewhere to be



(photo copyright of Eric Eich – find more photography by him here.)

Journey to the Holy Land: Coffee in Quindío

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My lovely hostel. I suggest all travelers coming through Quindío stay here, the cafe downstairs is the coolest hangout spot in town. It’s called Casa Quimbaya Backpacker’s Hostel. The owner, Diana, is a cool chick worth getting to know.

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Expedición Cafe is a must-stop if you’re travelling through Armenia and you love coffee. The owner is friendly and knowledgeable and pours a fantastic shot of espresso. They also run weekly cuppings open to the public.

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Night of the Living Bread: The Dough Rises


Are you a fan of independent films? Then help make this humorous thriller with a message a reality. You could be a partner in this amazingly creative project with the change from your pocket (transferred online).  The creators are a group of quirky artists based out of Olympia, WA, where they’ve been dreaming up this project for a long time. Set in a real life bakery in Olympia, the Blue Heron Bakery, this film seeks to horrify you akin to the simple fear inherent in any Hitchcock film, and at the same time form collective thought around the validity of GMO production in today’s society. Ms. La Mondain has contributed what she can to the project, now she asks you to do the same. Support small artists, support community, support dreams. Enjoy the spoils of being part of a highly creative project based on your level of commitment – a private link to the finished film, a compilation CD of music produced by the employees of Blue Heron Bakery, a DVD with illustrated cover of the finished film, a full size movie poster, producer status in the credits and a pound of GMO-free granola prepared by the filmmakers at Blue Heron Bakery. This is what community is about, guys; coming together to support each other. Click here to be a part of it.



unwilling participants


scratch scratch and
scratching skin flaking
blood lines separated by the
crack of a fingernail
mound poisoned skin swelling
veined translucent air
vibrating tiny oil slicks of life
reminder that no space is ever
truly yours
cycle is
my blood moving from here
to there for
by cargo
mingling with in with out in
consistency in transit
powerful Powerless
as a specie choosing
it is not your choice to be removed


Tonight I am craving the representative you. The you that diverged from you the moment my footsteps disappeared in the snow. It was an idealistic you with worn thread ties to reality.

Tonight I am craving the ephemeral you. The you I never found necessary but fixed, or rather faceted, as an attachment to some description of existence I’ve lived to death.

Tonight I am craving the reality of you. Quickening heartbeats, unfocused eyes, lidded, and your gravel voice saying something else stupid, or rather, purposefully oversimplified.