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photo of Mark Mathew Braunstein
Photo of Mark Mathew Braunstein in 1980

♦ PROfane PROfile PROlogue ♦  



IF he lives that long, he will die too soon. Until that inevitable end, as he believes neither in afterlife nor aftershave, Braunstein aspires to spend the rest of his life as a very hairy and very healthy corpse. That should suffice as his life's story, a short story. But now there's no stopping him.

Mark Mathew Braunstein's writer rap sheet includes six books, one praised by the Washington Post as “remarkably intelligent.” The diverse topics of his books and more than a hundred ephemeral articles in glossy magazines include art, literature, holistic health, vegan vegetarianism, wildlife conservation, mobility disability, indoor gardening, cannabis culture, and drug law reform. His reader rap sheet includes the nearly entire oeuvres of way too many dead white males such as Melville and Thoreau, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Rilke and Kafka, Blake and Beckett, Plato and Epictetus, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, and his guru and mentor and doctor Seuss, to name some whose rhymes and rants he somehow survived while neither going crazy nor growing wise. 
Painting himself into a corner as an abstract artist, he did time as an inmate in the penal colony of Manhattan until he made his prison break and bartered his brush for a pen. For the next quarter of a century, he was on the lam at a hideout in a wildlife refuge in Connecticut where as an ape man who does not smell like a predator the deer did not flee him, where chickadees perched upon him, and where nocturnal wildlife parked themselves on his driveway. That nocturnal species of youthful female hominids engaged in mating rituals with random older males. The females inspired Braunstein to write a field guide about them, titled Good Girls on Bad Drugs. Having completed that book about streetwalking, he is now writing a book about walking.
As a paraplegic since 1990 and a Bad Boy on Good Drugs, his use of cannabis is medicinal for below the waist and recreational above. Despite many opportunities during his field research into the urban drug scene, not even once has he imbibed in heroin or opioids or meth or crack or coke. He has never drunk Classic Coke or Coors or Starbucks, but in pursuit of enlightenment he has fasted on only water many times and many days. While he has neither attained enlightenment nor seen god, he someday may look into the future and see you reading this.

Do his photos present the picture of health? Though a writer adept at photography, he did not photoshop any of the portraits to make himself look slimmer or younger. So you be the judge about his picture of health. If you think he looks 10 years younger than his age, then try to imagine that his mother told him that even at the age of 9 he looked 10 years younger than his age. During his search for eternal youth, he has written books and articles with the intent to save the world, though now he is content to save his breathe. He was a Cub SProut who grew up into a Boy SProut and wilderness backpacker, backwoods mountain biker, near-marathon runner, and more-than-mile swimmer. But now that he is a Man SProut, he is permanently crippled by a sports injury, and probably pickled by nearby nuke plant radioactivity, to which might be attributed others' misshapen bodies and his misconceived thoughts. While family, friends, and lovers shape our thoughts and our lives, his also were influenced by his wild animal neighbors, and by the writings of Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat, and Edward Abbey, especially Abbey's Fool's Progress and Desert Solitaire, both which he has cried over and read twice over, the second times chapter-by-chapter backwards, because according to Kierkegaard, Life is Lived Forwards but Understood Backwards.

In deference to and defense of Mother Earth, he has never wanted to father a child, nor has he ever fathered an unwanted child. And though he likes cats and dogs, he can't bring himself to bring home dead animals from the slaughterhouse to feed to live ones in the doghouse. Calves and lambs and kids and piglets are cuddly animals too, which is why since age 15 he has not eaten them, nor since age 19 drank the milk their mothers intended for them. He wonders what people mean when they espouse their love for animals, yet they love them also for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also he does not consume white sugar or take pharmaceutical drugs or drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, but he does unabashedly and legally smoke or vape cannabis, only once every other day, because if more often he does not enjoy the high, proving he is merely human. Being human, and so certainly not a god, he believes in all of the gods, but none of the religions, especially not Western religions, whose pages of history are stained with the blood of infidels and animals.


Born a Judeo-Buddhist atheist, he now is an eco-pagan pantheist. He is not religious but, if he were religious, he would be a Carthusian or Zen monk, except for his being incurably and heretically heterosexual, and except for his being more zany than holy. As a former island resident of the nuthouse called Manhattan, same as most of its residents he, too, was a nutcase, until he outgrew his ego-driven ambition to earn a livelihood as a painter, for which his only regret is not having renounced art sooner. As primary collector of his own art and primary caretaker of his own health, he has lived his entire life without a tranquilizing tv, metastasizing microwave, alarming alarm clock, or handcuffing wristwatch. He has never shopped at Walmart nor on eBay, but has browsed the stalls of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. He has never set foot 15 miles away in nearby Foxwoods Casino, but has hiked the faraway Grand Canyon from rim to river to rim, a journey of 1000 steps that began with 999 steps, that being the unemployed subtitle of his next book, a book about walking, whose working title is A Walk on the Wild Side.

police take notice:

• aliases include: 

• M M Braunstein

• Mark Braunstein 

• Mark M. Braunstein

• Mark Matthew Braunstein

• Matthew Mark Braunstein


For a more conventional profile, consult my Wikipedia 2016 biography, for which I had absolutely no responsibility or input. After its inclusion, the little elves working past midnight solicited me for revisions, but I declined, else I would feel as though I were contributing to my own obituary. If I live that long, I will die too soon, so this may be that obit.

photo of Mark Braunstein
photo of Mark Mathew Braunstein
photo of Mark Braunstein
bowing before the RISD Museum Buddha, 2015
& sitting in Van Gogh's bedroom,
on the right:
as an aspiring NYC painter, 
posed on a rooftop across the
street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visible in the
background to the left, 1978

at age 70 in 2021

photo of Mark Mathew Braunstein in 2021

 the Master Gardener of autoflowering cannabis,
in August 2021, months in advance of when licensed Medical Marijuana patients in his state could begin legal home cultivation, but who was waiting?

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