Dreaming in the Winter

Taking turns to sleep, taking turns to keep watch.  I wonder what my life could have been like if I changed just one of a thousand choices.  Would I still be alive?  Would I be living in a different country?  Would I still be as thankful as I am now for what I have got, or would I be hungry for more, oh so much more.

Taking turns to keep watch, taking turns to sleep.  Does she know just what I’ve done for her, even as I keep scanning the horizon, searching for the ever present threat of a life in the balance.  Would he still be dead?  Would I still be living in this country?  I’ll keep my watch, I’ll keep my silence.


Photograph by the author using a Pentax Super ME camera and Lomography Lady Grey film. If used elsewhere please credit as appropriate.

The Spider

I remember as if it were yesterday, the thick legs creeping slowly around the side of the cobwebbed decorated bag with all the inevitability of death itself.  I howled, even as I jerked the bag onto the surface of the bed and I could see for the first time that this large spider was aged, weary of life.

It had none of the vitality of its younger form; it didn’t embody the free spirit of jazz scuttling here and there, enticed by the possibility of finding a mate.  It was stately, as if to query who would dare to wake it from its slumber in the bag I had so little used and within which it had made its final home.

I crushed it quickly and fully, the circular body being beaten flat with the legs retracting close to its lifeless form.  I covered the body with a cup, afraid to see the results of my own actions.

In my dreams it haunts me still.

Moving On

“Just put the spade down please and come back inside, we can sort out the hole tomorrow.”

Her voice sounded tired, jaded even, as though she had seen this behaviour a thousand times before and just wanted this particular charade to be over with.  Which, in truth, she did.  She had her boyfriend to meet, holidays to ponder over.

“No, you know I want to do this, I want to bury myself, just for a bit!  I have to know what physical death feels like, where we lie in the ground for eternity.  Besides mam said you can’t interfere with me anymore ’cause of Dr Johnson’s orders!”

There was a faint hint of glee in the upswing of that last word.

It was true, the quack had said that James must ride out his emotions that, given the situation wasn’t life threatening, he should be able to act out what he said he wanted to do.

At this point I had given up and I could hear their continuing conversation drifting up from the back garden through the open window.  I’d retired to my room to drink in the solace of it, the place where I had lived for nearly 25 years before finally moving myself on.

I had known for a while that I needed to leave, that James’s dramas could take care of themselves and that he was as alright as he was ever was going to be.  It had struck mam and dad particularly hard that one, knowing that he’d need care, not constant but enough to keep them on their toes.  I’d done my part of course, I’d helped around the house, kept him company as I searched for a job, but we had agreed that I needed to move cities to find chance of work in my area.  This city wasn’t dying but it wasn’t exactly going through a boom cycle either.  There was a comfortable constant turn over of both jobs and people, so that the faces and policies in the local administration changed enough but not too fast to upset the local citizens.

“I’m doing it! I’m pouring the soil over myself!”

I peeped over to the edge of the open window and saw that James was indeed lying supine in his homemade burial, carefully pushing the clumps of soil over his lower half.  He seemed content, happy even.  His body was slowly being reclaimed by the cold earth of home.

He wasn’t overly fond of the insects and arachnids that made the soils and grasses their homes, but he’d put up with them if they wriggled and scuttled away from his thrashing actions.  Worms in particular fascinated him though, the flesh coloured tube of life dancing on his palm before he chucked them clean away, free to carry on their tunneling lifestyle.

It wouldn’t last long of course, he’d come to his senses and wriggle himself free of the pitifully small amount of soil that he’d managed to cover himself in and come screaming back into the house, tearing his body this way and that.

Surburbia Kills

I was the first born.  Before the the mountains had rose from the sea, before the clouds hung in the sky, I came first.  My brother was the tree, who provided me with its fruit.  Animal was my brother too, feared and respected, watched and observed.

The second born saw what I, the first born, had and craved it for himself.  The mountain rose with his anger, as did the clouds.  The water started to foam and has not stopped since.

No longer do we treat my first born brothers with the respect that we once gave one another.  Now we herd them, both for their meat and for their fruit, until we have destroyed utterly the life that we had always lived.

I used to hold the sacred mud in my hand, and I could feel the fertility in its wet embrace.  Now I weep as the mud has become sodden with black earth blood, leeching the ground and contaminating the green grasses and wild animals.

We herd the land now too, parceling it off into smaller divisions that breed anger and jealously, war and hate.  No longer do we eat facing each other, we eat alone.

Our music, once shared, has now become a singular pursuit in the contours of our identity.

I weep for myself.  I weep for suburbia.


Photography by the author, if reproduced please credit as appropriate.

The Ocean

The rock of the land meets the cold waters of the ocean.  Grass sits silent on top of the coastline, drinking in the golden sunlight.  The cliffs in the background are out of focus, the sharpness of the waves breaking on the jagged rocks has been lost.  Clarity has been forsaken for impressionism.  Broad brushstrokes paint the solid bedrock of the picture, where it is the little details that matter and not the great hulking monolith that the scene captures.  The foreground mimics the background.  There is no meaning imbued in the photograph, no central image to focus the eye, nor no human actor to engage the viewer.  There is nothing but the silence and the stillness of the scene, of the grass that will never grow taller, of the sand that will never be blown away by invisible winds.

This is a landscape in miniature, where a thousand footprints have already been left and a thousand more wait to be made.


If reproduced, please credit the author of this blog as the photographer.

Abstract Photo #1

Not a photograph I intended to take, but a happy mistake discovered once the film was processed.  I think I see a person walking away into a land of shadow, where nothing, and no decision, is clear cut.  Shot with the Pentax s1a camera and black and white kodak film.

CNV00023If reproduced please credit.

Forgetting Is Harder Than Remembering

To all the things I haven’t done, will never do, have done or are yet to come…

Holding a loved one close as they fall asleep in a shared bed, waking up and kissing excitedly in the rush of a brand new day, walking up the highest hill in the lake district, eating a roast chicken in a car park with a friend whilst the gulls scream overhead, dance in the rain, swim in a lake as the thunder roars in the distance and the clouds gather and turn to the darkest deepest gray, walk down the aisle without metal inside my body, excavate a human body knowing that the last humans to see them were the people that buried the person, watch a person die, eat all of the salad, enjoy the sizzling sun kiss the horizon and bid the waking world goodbye, walk into the sea and swim amongst the fish, enjoy the full thrust and passion of sex, cuddle afterwards in the warm glow of two worn out bodies, taste the freshest made bread and watch as the butter melts, laugh with my nana and her best friend in the shed that they converted to a boudoir so they could smoke in peace, welcome my grandad and grandma to my hospital bed and watch with delight as they unload a heap of food out onto the waiting hospital table spilling chocolate whip warm mince potato carrots and coke, to watch the attractive form of older female nurses and wish they could kiss me good night, watch as the next muse takes off her clothes and I start to paint, to make love to a person who is older than yourself, curse the night away in a howl of desperation and pain, to ask your own mother and father to end your life as misery results from broken bones and misaligned broken stones, sitting in a graveyard reading my books and thinking thoughts,  wanting to break out of a family mentality and escape the country I was born into, flying out into the eastern bloc,  anticipation mixing with nervousness, being so happy to be away from every person you have ever known as to be stumbling over your own words, to be thankful that your friends have never changed, to be annoyed that your friends have never changed, to awake in a foreign land, feeling the rush of anesthetic as it rolls up into your arm as your blood takes it to the major organs and you start to drift off, to take a train and relive a passion, to just be happy with a finished painting, to cover and destroy and remake art, taking that perfect photograph, to being unplugged from social media and the internet, to take pictures of naked body parts in public, to bring your partner to orgasm in lush green grass and startling blue skies of the natural world, to be kissed again and again for the pure of joy of it, to reading a classic book and to get bored by it, to read a book and for it to move your world, to drive and to be driven, sleeping in and feeling the warmth of a person you love next to you, kissing the golden sands of land and drinking the lush liquid of the sea, to being selfish, to smoking the first joint of the night, taking the first pill, to not remembering when you last had sex, to want to visit all the corners of the globe, kiss every women in the world, to love yourself, and  to be thankful to be alive in this brash rude beautiful world…

UP Photography

I have the great pleasure in introducing and highlighting the wonderful photographic work done by Ulises J. Pastran.  He runs the website UP Photography, and a Facebook group, and has dabbled in photography since 2010.  The following examples are just a few of his works, but they help to capture the essence of his skills as a photographer, whether they are landscape, nature or portrait shots.

Perhaps, for me, one of his most interesting shots is this one below, of the entrance hall in the Natural History Museum.  Whilst capturing the flow of the visitors to this wonderful public museum, we can see that the time lapsed photography has highlighted the fast flowing lives of humans as they flow throughout the hall, who in turn are juxtaposed against the impressive monolith of the Diplodocus dinosaur in the foreground, standing still against all time.  Touchingly, the shot has also captured a resting mother with her two children in the bottom right hand corner.

A time lapsed photograph of the entrance hall in the  Natural History Museum in London (all rights reserved).

A time lapsed photograph of the entrance hall in the Natural History Museum in London (all rights reserved).

A recent Masters graduate from the University of Sheffield, Ulises hails originally from the Central American country of  Nicaragua, but is currently living in the United Kingdom.  After having met him whilst also studying in Sheffield at the same time, I have to say I have rarely met a person more full of life than Ulises.  He is influenced first and foremost by his mother, who was deeply interested in photography as a way of capturing the world, although never owning a decent camera led to constraints on her efforts.  Ulises is propelled for his passion for photography by the inherent beauty of natural world, “I try to capture nature in my shots, because I think people rarely take the time to appreciate how beautiful the simplest things can be”.

'A bit of my inspiration comes from wanting to make mom proud,  most of the time I just do it because it calms me down' (all rights reserved).

“A bit of my inspiration comes from wanting to make mom proud, most of the time I just do it because it calms me down” (all rights reserved).

His photography also helps capture the vibrancy of life, whilst often taking a contemplative perspective, as found in the sublime photograph below.  This photograph highlights the wonderfully intertwining colour’s of the sky, with the  beautifully positioned clouds helping to give depth to the picture. I personally look forward to more examples of this man’s art, so keep an eye on the website for future updates.

A view from 30,000 feet up, from UP Photography (all rights reserved).

A view from 30,000 feet up, from UP Photography (all rights reserved).

Ulyses is always seeking inspiration so catch his most recent shots in the sources below, because, as I hope this post has demonstrated, you never know quite what next he is going to capture with his camera- be it an act of nature, a staggered photo scene, or a clutch of portrait shots that ooze emotion and feeling.

Further sources of UP Photography: