What Will You Say?

I have been shooting wrong for the whole majority of this time; it took me just one trip with the well informed to tell me that.  I should have known, I shouldn’t have shot from the hip, wasting film and time combined.  Honestly, I have learnt my lesson, just hand me that last roll of black and white film and I’ll get your shot, the one that we both dream of on long hazy afternoons.  The body laying silently, awaiting a brief exposure with your eyes focused on mine, the twin cradles of hips and shoulders turned towards me and only to me.  As if in a dream the thin rivulets of your flesh cascade gently against the cold leather couch.

On developing I can see the flames licking the border of the shot, the deep blacks and greys helping to create shadow against the brilliant white of immovability.  The mistaken shot turns into something more, an image captured that I had not originally cared to note.

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

The Tale of the Old Man and the Maid

He stumbled into the room, roughly grasping the top of the chair by his well-worn desk and cursing each former lover in his moist and ailing breath, fell into a sorry heap upon the bed, too tired to pull off his boots and too saddened by the decline in his quality of life to remove his glasses.  Nothing, save the frothing fury of the tropical sea rising up and laying salty claim to all the beaches in the land, could save the loss of face that he had endured that day.  For in front of his red-headed daughter, who was buxom, proud and ready to marry the young military captain that had so captured her heart and stained it so openly on his own uniformed arm, he had been stripped of all power, humiliated and whipped like a cowering dog chained to a post in the yard.

The cause of his mistreatment was the maid, who had so blithely started that fateful day as gormless as she had entered this life, the daughter of a whore who had given her up at the first opportunity.  That is not to say that she, the maid, was unaware of the power that her accusation would bring to her master, as she knew from her dilapidated upbringing that the raw power of sexual lust could do strange things to a man’s heart.  It was a memory passed down in blood from her estranged mother, the one who would die empty-handed clutching helplessly at the passing shoes of the sons and daughters of her customers.  It was an ignoble end to a life lived in the shadows, but one that her daughter would not share with her mother, or so she had thought.

Instead she would carry around with her a glowing heart filled at the memories of a holiday romance, a fling that had lit a thousand nights of self-fueled passion spread across the decades following the now hazy memories of a lifetime ago.  These were the glimpses into her past that brought her body and mind onto the edge of so fantastic an experience that she temporarily blinded herself each and every time she accessed them.  Although her current life lacked little in the way of attention from the opposite sex, keeping as she had the plump and youthful looks of her mother, the willingness to partake in the tasting of the flesh was strictly divorced from the cannibalization of her own memories.  In short, it was these that she feasted on instead of the current attention that she attracted and returned to again and again in the silence of the night.

Time passed silently, the moon forever chasing the sun as the weeks leaped into months and the seasons dictated the passing of the years.  By chance work had found her employed as a maid for an owner of a large tract of land, which included numerous rented apartments and holiday villas for tourists that visited this small Caribbean nation alongside the owner’s main housing complex, hidden in a corner behind a curving perimeter wall.  The owner coveted his private life and communicated with both his retinue and his staff by way of paper notes, dotted across the working surfaces of a life he had little known intimately but instead managed from afar.  The practice worked as if by magic though, the newer members of staff at first baffled by the notes left in green ink each morning, documenting the previous day’s stock figures, both incoming and outgoing, and dictating the actions of the next.  The older staff however were well used to this method and blithely accepted whatever the writer of the note wanted, trusting as they did the path ahead as an apparition of the successful path behind.

The persistent rumours of the sightings of the owner were frequent among the staff, with wild recollections of a golden-haired Lothario prowling the grounds at night or that he was actually a hunchback man who had been seen howling at the moon in rage and despair.  Lucinda, the young slip of a girl who worked in the granary, had once caught a slender grey-haired gentlemen helping himself to the kitchen stores but he had pranced off into the night before she had a chance to shout his name.  No sightings were confirmed although that did not stop the rumours being mulled over and created late into the night by the staff at the end of their long shifts; instead the owner preferred always to communicate by his spidery flowing script rather than by sight and sound.

The maid had seen his notes and was taken by the veracity of the green ink on the faded, golden papers.  The twirls of the P’s and the L’s satisfied some small section of her stomach, pleasingly looped as they were.  In time she started to collect a number of the notes once the older ones had been discarded, their actions carried out by the ever observant and trusting staff.  It was late one springs night, in her provided for one bed-roomed cleaners cottage, that the maid noticed the odd word or phrase that silently rung a long-dormant bell within her memory.

Surely the owner could not be the very flame that had burnt for eternity within her chest, ever since that fleeting coastal romance?  She gathered up the dozen or so notes spread across the duvet and held them close to her tight chest, breathing in the vapors of the ink as her pupils dilated and the clothes fell from her body of their own volition.  When she woke she noted the cold sweat of her body, the notes plastered on the inside of her thigh, on top of her belly and her breasts, a love intent on the recreation of the physical and the spiritual.  She knew then that the owner was indeed her former lover.

Some days later a note went up on the main noticeboard: ‘To wit: My Daughter to Marry the Captain, Two Days Hence – Staff Welcome’.

The owner’s daughter was most unlike her father in that she was well-known in the community, haughty but well-known.  Little did she communicate directly with the staff, she was instead seen and not heard.  Two days until the wedding!  Some of the staff, the kitchen women and the mucker outers especially, expressed surprise that they were invited to view the proceedings, but all were excited by the prospect of finally seeing with their own eyes the owner of the land.  Much was made of the brevity of the note in comparison to the usual notes but none could argue that the next 48 hours were to pass in a state of increasing frenzy and intrigue.

Today was the day that she was going to proclaim that this stored fountain of love was directly transferable to the object of her affections, the owner.  In her fevered night-long dreams she could foresee a double marriage taking place, father and daughter pleased and pressed into unions of love, her simple maid’s status raised to the title of owner’s wife!  Oh, what pleasure awaited them both!  Dressing in her finest clothes and smartening up her shoes, she went to join the rest of the workers gathered outside in the courtyard, ready to proceed to the wedding venue – an outdoor folly that took into its expansive view the bay and the mountains in the background and the luscious greens in the foreground.

The crowd waited with bated breath as the procession of the captain and his bride, and assembled groomsmen and bride’s maids of honor, sorted themselves within the folly.  A minute or two later the owner strode into view, each booted foot planted with firm resolution, his tight thin-lipped mouth curled up into the slightest imitation of a sneer, framed by golden-greying hair.  A complete hush fell over the crowd of workers and some swore they could see green ink stains on his fingertips, a visual clue that this was who they suspected that he was.

It was at this moment that the maid, her breasts almost bursting out of her tight white top, lunged forward, one foot unsteadily following the other as a faint scream of ecstasy escaped her lips and the faint light of terror entered the owner’s eyes.

‘Matías!  Matías!  My love, it is me, Natalia!’

It was later recalled it was at this moment that the owner’s heart sunk fully into the very bowels of his body.

What for her had been an unforgettable romance by the sea, had been instead for him a desultory sink in status, one that he had revelled in at the time for its feeling of desperation but had since been forced into the very back of his mind.  Instead, and ever since that long weekend spent entwined in both the arms and breasts of Natalia, he had made love to women only on par with his social standing, determined to remove the grit that he had felt instilled itself in him from sinking so low that one time.

In short, there could be no worse time for his past to haunt the owner then at the very moment he chose to show himself for the first time to his staff at his daughter’s wedding.

His eyes sunk into their sockets, and continued to join his heart, whilst his cheeks became maroon curtains of the richest silk.

He ran and he did not look back as Natalia stumbled onto her knees and tried clasping onto his fleeing heels, just as her mother had once done in the street where she lay dying …

Photograph by the author using a Pentax S1a and Lomography Lady Grey film. If reproduced please credit as appropriate.

Blue is the Dream

Blue is the colour of my dreams, the inside and the outside worlds tilting but never quite fully falling over.  The flutter of the leaves in the wind and the beauty of the sky’s colours urged me to look up, to embrace the vast emptiness of existence.  No comfort was found, history meaning nothing to the future, but no comfort was needed.  It wasn’t that life is on a constant knife-edge of imbalance, when is it not?, but the fact that I could embrace the now, the cold comfort of the wind and the cawing of the birds as my own.  Distinctly my own, this moment and nothing more.  That nothing, or rather no moment, truly mattered or matters in the great cosmic life course of universal matter.  We were born and we will die, from whence we began we will return.

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Photograph by the author using a Pentax Super ME camera and Lomography Lady Grey film, coloured using generic software. Please attribute if used elsewhere.

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.

Variations on a Thought

I am having trouble conveying the feelings that I am having, the fact that I want to write, to keep writing, but cannot quite formulate exactly what I want to say.  At the moment I am finding a deep release through music, either through live gigs or listening to albums as I drive across the northern landscape of the country I inhabit.  Often, on a morning when I wake, I play the album in the CD player and wash myself in the tones of whoever is playing.  It is a sweet relief.  There is an immediate sense of  feeling, of a placement on a particular chord or orchestral swell, that rush of recognition that can only come with time when reading the words of others.  Yet I feel there is a deep kindred between these two methods of communication, two of the most important for me.  Yes, of course we talk, we can express our desires, worries, love and anger through talking, we gesture too, we can laugh or howl with derision, but there is something in the beauty of the written word, in the musical note, that is lacking from the babble that vocalizes forth from the mouths of both myself and of others.  What does this say about me?  I am not quite sure I want to know, that maybe I value the thoughts and beliefs of others, but worry about giving a voice to my own?  Perhaps.

This isn’t the piece or the time to give voice to such ill thought out ideas or half formed theories.  I want to keep writing, I want you to keep reading, I want us both to keep being creative, to tap into that font of magic that cannot be commercialized, crunched down to size for productivity measures or customer service satisfaction.  I feel in limbo, between the world of what is expected of us all as individuals, in a market where we have to pull our weight to feed our commercial gain, compared to a more utopian paradise where the value of a person is not placed on their output, or their labor.  It is ridiculous to think of such thoughts, ridiculous to think that I am free to think such thoughts, to moan about a life well lived.  But I do, we all do, no matter our position, social standing or inherent bias built into us.  We are all individuals and we are all a collective.  Together we love, destroy and displace.

I am having trouble writing.  I am staring at the computer screen each and every day. It is, I realize with a disgusted shudder, a proxy for human interaction, for skin on skin.  Yet still I come back for more, in the vain and vapid belief that this is a life well lived, that this is life itself.  Humans need the company of the animals and plants, of the soil itself, to know that we do not share this planet alone amongst our kind.  We are but one of many and I feel that this is forgotten more and more.  Ignorance is bliss until the world collapses around ourselves, and we are left choking on the markers of productivity.

Death has become a familiar friend as of late, in this last year of my life.  This may be the last year of my life, I hope it is not but we never quite know what is around the corner.  Surely we should grab it, if we believe it is so?  Yet still, I lie in bed an extra hour, to soak in the sonic variations and textural tones of the current album spinning in my CD player. Content to know that, for the time being, this is where I belong.  My limbs relax, my eyes flutter and close, finally my breathing shallows.  It is a mere shadow of true sexual ecstasy, but it is close.

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.

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

The Mirror Is Gonna Steal Your Soul

It was late at night and I was driving home from work, driving smoothly over the flyover that was lit up like a tarmaced roller coaster in the dark.  The road was clear and empty, the air was cold, and the stars shone brightly above.  In short, it was beautiful.  For the first time since I had started driving I understood what the freedom of the road meant.  It was just me and the machine, cocooned in a nest of startling music.  I was listening to Sonic Youth’s 1995 album Washing Machine and I had the last song on the album playing on the CD player, a 19 minute magnum opus titled The Diamond Sea.  It was getting deeper and deeper into the trance like guitar work of Lee, Kim and Thurston, where I could hear the undercurrents of the bass notes, the swirling effects of the chorus shimmer, and the delay of the treble notes slowly build and build.  The feedback mounted and at times almost over-powered the car itself.  I was lost in a revere of beauty that these musicians has sucked me into.

Then suddenly, and without warning, those few lead guitar notes hit, penetrating the noise jam and instantly heralding a new direction in the song.  It almost knocked me sideways in my seat.  The guitar scratching started in earnest, and the incessant dissonant roar of the feedback curled in and over itself.  It was beautiful.  A wake up call.

Recently I’ve been re-reading chapters of Michael Azerrad‘s Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, a delightful and eye-opening book documenting and discussing the impact of the underground scene in America, which has lead me to re-discover some of my favourite bands and helped uncover new ones mentioned only briefly in passing in the body of the text itself (such as Glenn Branca).  I also recently ordered a copy of Azerrad’s 1993 book ‘Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana‘, and I am currently holding a copy of Kim Gordon’s recently released autobiography, ‘Girl In A Band‘.  Suffice to say I am looking forward to rediscovering both of those bands, their influences and their backgrounds.  In short I am looking forward to learning something deeper about both the music and the musicians behind the music.

If you need me I’ll be found curled up on the bed listening to, and reading about, some of the most important bands to me.

The Sky is Blue, The Grass is Green

The vertical limbs of the small trees are waving peacefully to the deep grey clouds that are slowly ambling across the sky.  The seagulls are racing one by one, climbing higher on the drafts of air that rage across the invisible sky, barely having to flap their great wings to keep pace with each other.  I am sat by the white hot coals of a small dying fire, kept warm on one side as my other side rests against the cool of a leather chair.  Next to me, resting on the floor as I do, are a few books nearly finished.  One straddles the comprehension of what photography means to Barthes, the other straddles the world of the rebel by Camus.  I am content doing nothing, being no-one.  All pressure has eased.

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If the photograph is used elsewhere, please credit as appropriate.

Profound Bullsh*t

Snippets of Profound Bullshit:

After an operation the best course of action for a swift recovery is to eat good food.

Affer an operation the worst course of action for a swift recovery is to eat hospital food.

Like every other human being he thought too much about the past and worried too much about the future.

No matter how fast you run you cannot outrun life itself.

A warm room in the begining and a cold grave at the end, life inbetween is just a waiting room.

Your next punch is always the hardest.

 

Electric

I’ll pleasure pain as pain is pleasured, only by my hand alone can I bring the misery that the thousands seek!

D calm down, please take a moment to reflect on what you are saying.

Fuck you and your medicine, your magic stick is nothing but a staff of false promises, you blaspheme even as you breath!

Do not spit on me D, please! Get off that table and come and sit by my side you errant child, let me listen to your troubles – let me smooth your ruffled hair.

I’ll stamp and I’ll cry as much as I feel I should, your words hold no meaning to me!  Only the dragon that can be tamed will calm me, and we both know they do not exist!

What…what are you on about?  Take a minute to breath in deeply, let that breath invigorate your body and calm that vibrant mind of yours!  Please, for heavens sake, do you not know I run a place of peace and tranquility?  You are ruining that not just for yourself but also for the others around you, for your nearest and dearest.  Your mother and father seek the beautiful son that they once knew, they hold your love in their garden of peace.

Oh please, hold your pity in wild abandon you insufferable dog, do my parents know how much you are paid by the hour?  It’s bullshit and you know it!  There is naught so fine nor fair as you ripping people off, stealing their life savings by pretending to bring families together, families that should stay long apart and grow anew if you ask my opinion!

I am NOT asking your opinion!  You will listen to me and to me only D, you have one last chance before I call for help.  You know what will happen when I call for help, there is no coming back from that – it is a black mark on your record, one that will deny you jobs, stable employment, benefits and care.  I do not take that decision lightly but please do not push me.

Ha, a curse on you and your profession!  You think you hold such sanctions above my head, er as I sit in your office?  Please,  hold back your vanities and delusions of power.  I know MY rights, I know my place.

Well, if you think that is so then please I will let you go and it will not rupture my heart so.  Begone you foul wicked person, take your jest elsewhere, to a place where it can affect man nor woman,  where the cold dry walls are your only audience.