Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"A Shitty Way To Go"

(Me, Alone in the Tub, As My Whole Family Watches, 198-something)

I can't remember a lot of my childhood, and things before twelve seem vague and far away. Only bits and pieces come to me, like a desert with only a few trees large enough to make a mark on the land when viewing from bird's eye. Usually photographs this old allude me, seeing a smaller and younger version of myself, somewhere I don't remember with smaller and younger versions of my siblings, and younger and dated versions of my folks. Not with this photograph, at first I was really confused when I saw the reflection in the mirror, my entire family, my sisters laughing their heads off. My father is wearing some funky shorts with that nineteen-eighty's splashed paint effect, a flash illuminating from his head like the poster for John Carpenter's The Thing. My mother who is the family documentarian is off on the sidelines, coaching my father in composition, she was able to convey him well enough the photograph is perfectly composed. The question of why I was abandoned, why is there this separation between me and my family, why am I alone, left there, in cooling water, being laughed at. The adult in me sees something that hasn't changed; I always felt that way, alone, in cooling waters, naked and alone, with an expression on my face between confused and contemplative, a face I still make that confuses people as they remark, "What's with that strange look you gave me just now." Perhaps that is the reason why I remember it so well, that it was the moment I realized I will never escape this, this loneliness, I am bosum-buddied with it in a three-way with fate. My whole family lies ahead of me, but they aren't there, in the same room as me, no they are in a parallel world, separate from where I am. I am in Phaedrus' glass sarcophagus, seeing my family from behind glass, being able to see their faces, as they look on to me, I try to talk to them, to tell them how I feel but they can't hear me, the glass separates our realities, they can only look at me, see in my face that I am frightened, not ready for this life, that I am too young, too inexperienced for my heart to break, to be mended, broken, and to be alone. All goes dark, I am sitting alone, the water has cooled so much that it makes me shiver, the water feels like blood, but not mine, it is someone else's blood, I start feeling faint, the air is thick and sticky like a swamp. Soooo cold. Soooo alone. (as white mist appears from my breath)
Now I remember what was going on in that photograph, I remember I once pooped in the jacuzzi (my father had turned our standard tub into a jacuzzi with jets), and that my poop just orbited my entire family, around and around pushed along by the jets. I remembered how we all took baths together, and I was allowed two toys to play with. At some point my family jumped out of the tub without me, they all looked at me and laughed, I was so cute, I just pooped the tub and I was cute, who couldn't love that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome To Earth

(My Father as a Monument by the Sea, and Fan-Submitted Image of Me Photographing My Father, 2011)

Something comes along. It pulls at the roots until what was once foundation is ripped, teared, and shivered (forever). Of course there will be blood, the roots were veins and the veins carried blood throughout the body. Everything is a mess, this something just came out from nowhere, batoutofhell-like, and when it left it left a grand ruin. Of course we're all standing around, handsinpockets-like, wondering how to clean it all up, to restart, and to find normal again. The way of wicked passes, one must fall, and peace will return.

There was a great meteor shower the day you were born, did you know that? Those who weren't sitting in the waiting room went outside, it was dark, Uncle Bobby took his telescope out of trunk of his car, and we all sat around looking at the stars, the ones that were shooting. One by one they all fell, and soon enough they came showering, by the word, by gully, it was something to see! Everyone was silent, everything was still, we all stood where we stood, adam apples poking out as our necks bent our heads all the way back. Wow was the general feeling, dumbfounded and whoa whoa wow. I couldn't remember ever seeing something that spectacular. The closest I ever got to seeing that shower was the time my mother took me to this bat cave somewhere in Northeastern New Mexico. We arrived at the scene just before dark, there were about twenty others, wearing flannel and fleece, warm looking couples, gray in their hair, lawn chairs spread, all was quiet then too. The pine trees in that region weren't tall, but old, and strong, they produced seeds the native kids would harvest every year. Through the pines, the chatter of a million bats sung, it was a dark-dark blue when they first appeared, like an evil cloud, a school of fish in pattern, as they pierced the early evening sky. All around, swallowed whole, they came one by one then by the thousands, their number uncountable but someone was counting. The meteor shower was just that, but with small balls of light falling, burning up, disappearing, no sound, just the faint breath behind our tongues.
Auntie Barb came out to tell us you were born. Bobby broke down his telescope as we headed towards the light of the hospital. Something magical filled our hearts, it seemed like a perfect moment, a baby girl being born during a meteor shower, memories long-forgotten coming back, everything felt warm, and it was, it was July in the Sonoran desert, we were all in shorts and t-shirts, smiles and something sweet, nothing for words, just something that came along.
Eyes still closed, the florescent glow sagging to yellowish green, Ruth holding you, sweat drying on her face, us all standing around like you were a campfire. Inside a fire burned, it kept us all warm, a warmth against the coldness, -a coldness that one can carry even on the hottest and sunniest of days. At the sight of you, all slimy, confused, gentle, soft, lovely, it was absent, the cold, replaced by something else, something warm, something forgiving, something that seemed to give us hope. It was in everyone's eyes, I speak for them all, on behalf of a mutual feeling, and when the lights went out in the hospital there was a brief moment of silence, in the dark, and I swear I could hear the hissing of space rocks burning up in the atmosphere above.
The lights came back on only a few seconds later, the darkness was soon forgotten and we were welcomed by your newborn face again, never losing that warmth.
Tearing through the planes, all turns to crumble, crumble turns into bramble, apple crumble, and oh-my-my-apple pie. All delight, fallen, broken up, eaten alive, the yum going around like the sound of thunder in our stomaches. I'm hungry. I really am.

The End.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Odor

Chih-Han from New Odor, a lovely blog on contemporary photography, did a little interview involving my work, my dreams, and my likes. Learn about the weird dreams I've been having (if you haven't gotten enough from what's written on this blog), and the books I've been reading. I read. Books. Click here for the interview.

Friday, October 21, 2011


(Beach Baby, 2011)

I call to you, Stargazer. The sky opens, what was once day in blue and white is now black, the air is being sucked out and lost in the cosmos and the little dots of white that float aimlessly in the darkness are burning balls of nuclear fusion. I sit back in my lawn chair smoking a pipe I found in a box of my grandfather's things and just say to myself, yes yes yes... I put my Ray Bans on, I smile, and take puffs of mary until I am completely numb.
A comedian once said that out of any other death, no matter how unique and bizarre it was, dying of the apocalypse would outshine any death. You'd arrive in the afterlife, a celebrity, "Hey, that's John, he died from the Apocalypse", the man eaten by a shark would say.
I often wonder what I'd do if I were to face something so brilliant so fearful it made no sense and yet it made all the sense in the world. I wonder what the end of the world would look like, then I wonder how I would feel about all of it. Inside me I'd want to capture that moment, remember it forever, it was one of those photographic moments that speak for the crazy world we live in, it would have to be captured and shared as a mark of history. But there would be no history afterwards, everything will be gone. I really hope the animals and plants can go on, just take us, humans, in whatever blast of furious energy that sends us all to our deaths. But let this planet keep going, let us go the way of the Dinosaur, may our bones serve us as vague reminders of our existence, may it take generations after generations to put the pieces together. May there be movies about whatever intelligent beings that come after us interest us, such as Twenty-First Century Park, The Humans (a spin-off of the 90s Television show, The Dinosaurs), The Land Before Time-Time, and then go as far as to name basketball teams after us. The list goes on, we will be remembered but remembered for all the wrong reasons. All our mistakes will be buried. All of our greatest achievements gone. Beethoven, Space Exploration, The Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, The Internet, The Computer, Classical Rock, Dancing, Michael Jackson, all forgotten. Somewhere in the future they will discover an iron-clad instruction of how to do the Thriller dance, all is not lost.
The moment it actually does happen, that flash of light, like lightning, silence as the sky starts to burn, then moments later the sound of explosions, and everything going to shit. Everyone's head is looking up at the sky, some are crying, some are lost in thought, some running with their children (running where, we're all fucked). I'd use those last moments to think about the life I lived, what it all means now that it has a definitive ending, perhaps then it will all make sense, perhaps then we can all truly appreciate what limited time we had on this little big now fiery rock.
When I think about my childhood I think how amazing I was at Legos, not to brag but I was honestly the best out of anyone I knew. While I was watching my friends put their yellow bricks mindlessly in their already blue and red wall I made functional vehicles in uniformed color schemes, in perfect symmetry, and they wouldn't fall apart. I would take a kit box, build the model from the image, and then deconstruct it and improve upon a previous idea. I thrived for perfect in my construction, there was an idea in my head that must be achieved or else it was nothing, it fell short, it was nothing until it reached that high. My very nature was defined in Legos, I thrived to achieve what my mind saw. Over the next couple of decades I'd come to learn the meaning of this practice, why it was so important to convey something inside of me in an external medium, which has been many of things, and now that the world is coming to an end, at least for my species, I could contemplate if it ever reached what I had in mind. I wonder if anyone has ever successfully conveyed that, that sort of reversed transfusion. And then, did it ever really matter, once it is a medium it loses something, it is given form, it is given a body, it is its own, it is no longer yours, just like a child is not it's mothers, but it's own. It becomes an episode of How We Say Goodbye as we watched our creations become their own, you as the proud parent, the medium as the offspring going off into the world, it learns to crawl, then fall, then walk, and then run, it survives on its own, becomes greater, becomes worse, it learns heartbreak, it learns love, it goes on to impregnate others, and as a result parts of it get broken down and reassembled with parts of another, and form something new. The idea is born, and then it is born (again) in new form, and the jolly Elton John sings on something from the Lion King Soundtrack. It all goes on, the idea, influence, and the creation.
In the end, the real end, when all that matters matters not, we are given a new purpose and that purpose to give our bodies up, to fall, to be blown away, and to turn to dust, our bodies become something else, our spirits, I'm not entirely sure what happens to them, but the idea of us floats on, lingering underneath the ashes of what once was. When the Earth is bald, stripped of humanity, and the landscape returns to nature again, time has happened, something has happened, it made take years before this brief and crazy history of us is recovered, in bits and pieces, sometimes more wrong than true, we continue to live on, like the dinosaur that lives within us, we will live on in animals, as they learn to trust the world again, not fearing a hunter's bullet, a fisherman's hook, Rambo's knife.
Up in the stars they watch on, as one episode ends another begins, or they grow bored and surf the channels of the Universe for something more interesting. AND SO IT WAS, IT WAS, IT WAS, IT WAS, WAS, WAS, NO LONGER, BUT NEVER SAY NEVER, JUST STOPS, FOR HOW LONG, I'M NOT TOO SURE, BUT IT STOPS, AND IT BECOMES SOMETHING THAT WAS, IT WAS, IT WAS.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hot Shot

Qian Ma wrote some really insightful words about my word for a submission I did for Hot Shots, a photo-based competition for a shot at a group show at Jen Bekman's gallery, with the potential of cash prize and future exhibitions in her space. You can read the article here. As for the words themselves, they reach deeper than my smallish artist statement, and make me happy to hear that visually my thoughts are being understood for exactly what I intended them to speak for.

Let's Give Them Something (to talk about)(ver.1)

(Untitled, from We Soon Be Nigh!, 2011)

Sitting across from a complete stranger I stare into his diverted eyes, he's reading something. He looks up and sees me, I am an attractive young woman, I have very beautiful eyes, and he smiles, I don't smile back, and my eyes continue to stare, looking for something. Eventually I divert my eyes, off to the scene behind him. He didn't have it. Have it. The room grows cold, people leave and people come and the hours pass unannounced. It is going to rain today, the air is cold, stiff, and almost completely dead. It is a feeling that stirs in my head, that I need to get out of here, but I don't leave, I go nowhere, for there is nowhere to go, I am neither here nor there. The room itself fades away and I am left alone. All is quiet, the book in my hands fades into a new reality, I make my escape and I am gone, so gone that I am dust, dust that is so fine that if it wasn't for the occasional sparkle in the dark it would seem not to exist. Just. Like. Meeeee.

(fade out)

When I return to my body it is no longer mine. I walk, my feet which aren't mine touch the ground differently, the bareness of flesh against the hardwood has a different slickness to it, I could be pushed and I would fall. In the mirror I see a face, my mind tells me it is mine, but I know it isn't, something else tells me so, something hidden and ambiguous, it is my heart. I point and probe my face for minutes, trying to return it to normal, normal whatever that is. Normal never happens. I put on clothes that aren't mine but are, I play a role that isn't mine, and I leave the apartment I woke up in. Down the street it is spring, it is in the flowers, it is in everyone's hair, a small white dog comes up to my leg, it seems to know the leg I move to walk more than me. My feet seem to walk for themselves, where I am going I don't know, I move with the flow, hiding amongst strangers.
"How's it going?" says a young woman, her eyes shaded by sunglasses.
"Oh, you know, pretty good."
"Come here."
"Here." The young woman points to her chest, she starts unbuttoning her brightly colored blouse, then when she peels that off she starts to undo her bra. Her breast sit there in front of me, I look at her face then back to her nipples, feeling like if I look long enough some form of answer will appear in their shape. Her hand grabs mine, they are cold and dry, and she places it over her left breast, it is not cold and dry. I try to say something but she shushes me before I could complete a word. She closes her eyes, opens her mouth slightly, taking a breath in, I follow suit, closing my eyes, taking a breath through my mouth, and focus on my hand within her hand lying on her soft left breast. In the veins of my hands I feel a pulse, at first it feels violent like an erupting volcano, it kicks my hand, it turns into a sort of pain only a heart can produce, I am being kicked, my eyes still closed, I am falling deeper and deeper into a darkness. The pulse continues, the connection between my body and mind grow in distance, I no longer feel my palm, the pulse is all that is.
A voice in my mind starts to speak, it is not my voice for I still have my own voice as I think, as I realized this voice is not mine.
Do you feel me. Are you apart of me. Are we one. Are you there. Are you afraid. Come with me. Follow me. Don't look back. Just come. Bummm-puh Bummmmm-puh,..Bummmmpuh-baaaaah-bump. Follow me.

My body no longer feels surrounded by my person, I am freed of it, I float, without levitating, I roam without leaving, I am one but now two, I carry the voice inside of me, the darkness echoes the pulse, and I am two, three, four, diversion, cells multiplying, becoming two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, etcetera, etcetera.
And soon even the pulse of the heart disappears like the constant of chatter that fades to deep thought. The feeling of my hand that isn't my hand is gone, and I reach a new level of loneliness.
The woman that was before me, the nude one, falls to the ground, I look down at her, her face is in stock, I don't know how to feel, I feel an impulse to feel sad for her, but there is no sadness to feel, just a voice that tells me I should, but I am not. I reach my hand down only to fall myself. There is something in the air, something on the ground, something that is making everything fall apart. I lie next to her for what feels like eternity, I look at her the same way I looked at the man yesterday, when I was more myself, and in her eyes I search. Is she, I wait for a feeling, a gut feeling telling me yes, without a doubt, she is a clone. I look at her, something tells me something but I can barely hear it, my heart is being pushed down my throat by my thoughts. Like Galileo, I have discovered something profound and yet far away.
I cannot feel like you human, your flesh is not right to my soul, my body is too large too clumsy, your feelings are not mine, your life is not mine, you may fall, you may cry and I may cry back, only because I am confused, I don't know what you want me to do, I feel void when I am here, I feel lost in thought, not as much as heart. It is gone...
The voice within me called me out, put me in my place, my face which was never my face looked like mine. I looked at my body, it wasn't mine a minute ago but now it is mine. And as the rolling stone raced down the hill, the mountain, the peak, the erupting volcano, I realized this life is mine, very much mine, the only one of mine, and the only one I'll ever get. One step into the future, dragging my hide leg from the past, telling it, it is time to leave now, come-come-now.
Outside it is a city I am familiar with, I have lived here for five years now. In any moment now it will transform into a place I am vaguely familiar with, the landscape will be a distant memory, one in which could be from my distant past or embedded within me from someone else, all-in-all, uncertainty covers the land. My hair will turn from black to blond, my heart will oscillate from there before me to once there behind me. I care or care not, I see and see not, for the person inside of me is shifting, I am losing grip of who I am, the only notion with foundation is the only notion that is challenged the most. I slip away, I turn into her, I call up her friends that are strangers to me, I lie to them with my eyes, my uncanny resemblance to their friend, snickering at the fact I am getting away with it, without a doubt without a thought in their minds I am not who they think I am and yet there is no mistake, I am who they think I am. We decide to go to the movies, we see a film, we talk, we head to the bar, we drink.
"Hey, Charlotte, remember that time you fell so hard you fractured your hip?", says Charlie with a face I mistaken for a goofy expression but really is just his dumb face.
I think hard, what would Charlotte think, how would she feel,
"I try not to think about that, when it rains I still feel it."
"Sorry to bring it up."
"That's ok, what is done is..."
"Done. Yes, buried."
"Yes, buried, alive."
"Why alive, it didn't die before it was laid to rest?"
"Did you at least say goodbye?"
"Why not."
"I was done with it as soon as it stopped hurting."
"Besides, pain is all the same, it hurts, it reminds you that your body doesn't like falling, neither should you, so you should try not to fall so much."
"And. What, there's nothing more, nothing less, we fall, we get back up, we continue whatever it is we were doing before that, avoiding making that same mistake twice."
"And so goes life."
"Exactly. Now enough about my hip, my fall, I want to let that movie soak up inside of me for a while."
"Wasn't it good?"
"It was, but I'm not sure yet."
"Sure of what?"
"What kind of good it was to me, I mean, somethings take time to comprehend, you need to experience a bit of life with it inside of you, and then when you have some good examples you can compare your life with a story you saw, you read, you heard."
"You lost me."
"Forget about it, are we going to dance or what?"
"YES!" says the entire group unanimously.
We're all walking down the street, it is a Saturday night and the feeling is alright when I stop, leaving them to carry on a few steps before they realize they're missing one.
"I hope you've been practicing those dances moves because this time there will be no curfew to save you from the Lord of Dance." I gave one of my menacing smiles but it didn't translate as devious as in my other body, the one in which was truly mine.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gist, Jest, Geist, Christ

("Aliens are beautiful," 2011)

The grand and late mister of the cornflakes fell to his knees saying, "Yi-yi yi-yi", over and over until no one can hear what they were thinking, just "yi-yi" in the air, in their minds. Everyone fell to their knees shortly after he did. It made people cry for some strange reason, the words were insignificant, it was how he delivered them, how it made so much sense at the time and yet now, in retrospect, it is completely and utterly nonsense. When you talk to people that were there, the ones who do talk (most being quiet about the whole thing, giving you the impression that people think they're nuts), they say it was something that formed a plane beneath their feet, that before them was an infinite horizon, the plane was black the sky was as well, a faint red glow grew in the distance, that was him, his words were the rumble of that plane, their foundation was being touched, rocked, and turned upside down. That's the gist of it. Always the black sky with the black ground, the faint red glow. Some decided to leave one element out, or describe in great detail of how the sky black was a different black. Is there a difference in black? If we all see colors differently, how can we see the lack of them differently, there's nothing there, black is the neutral, it represents the void, space, darkness, and the unknown. But this person who saw blackness different, he came up to me during the interview, grabbed my hands, his hands were like sand paper, unusually cold, but not moist, they felt like my father's hands, but less worked. With my hands inside of his he then felt comfortable with telling me how this black wasn't like any other black, it swirled without swirls, it moved like an explosion traveling through a viscous fluid, slowly turning, spiraling and twisting in a pattern that exist in nature, it was forming and deforming to the laws of nature itself. To spite how scaring the sight sounded, it did not scare the sandpaper hand man, if anything, he said, "It felt comforting. Somewhere in all of that I felt like the day I was born, one world ended, my whole universe and all I knew and thought existed disappeared in an instant and was replaced by pure white light which was then was replaced by objects and people slowly fading in from the brilliance." I stared into his eyes, he didn't once blink, his words stuck with me, and I felt my ass start to numb. Later when I reviewed the tapes I noticed that I sat there, frozen for twenty minutes, the crew didn't want to interrupt the scene so they just sat or stood in whatever position they were in, the boom operator's arm started to shake, but kept the mic out of frame.
Years have passed since that interview, I have gone on to do mediocre stories since, all dim and meaningless in comparison, and as a result I have grown bored, cold, and almost lifeless. A connection with another human being, a certain connection, a certain human being goes a long way, so far of a way that it pushes you up into a plateau region when you are still able to communicate with the sea level below, and those snobs in the mountains, but there is still a distance between you and them. Once in a while my eyes do this thing to me, they zoom into to someones face, and it's the worst when I'm doing an interview with someone, especially if it's the first time they're meeting me and we are a little awkward with each other. I think it's some sort of tunnel vision, it feels like I'm high, but I hadn't taken any drugs, my eyes just zoom in to their faces, my eyes feel lazy, endlessly staring, and when I get this sensation I am absolutely lost in it, staring into their faces. The room fades away, and it's just their big ole face in front of me, around me, all of what I see, my words as I give the occasional response to their words is never effected by this phenomena, and for the most part it is a secret I have against them, that my eyes may be a respectable distance from them, but in actuality they are closely orbiting the surface of their face. If I may say one more thing on the subject before changing the topic, it first started in 99', when I was interviewing this group of men who had claimed they were abducted by aliens. Each gave their account of the clearest detail, and not once did I feel a lie was being spoken, I believe them like I believe an old man telling me he remembers a time without television, when photographs did not have color, and that it was harder back then, whenever then was then.
In the summer of 02' I was sent on assignment in Nebraska, not far from the house of Mister Cornflakes, I decided to venture up to his place. He had passed away a few years prior but I was curious who was living there, if he had any family, or if some young couple were now living in his house. I looked up his surname in the yellow pages, and found one Cornflakes in there, gave it a ring, and after the fifth ring an old lady picked up.
I asked if it was Mrs. Cornflakes, she corrected me and told me she was, Miss Cornflakes, that they hadn't married but she certainly and legally changed her name. I asked if she would be as kind as to exchange a few words in person about her late partner and she agreed. It was a Sunday afternoon, without a cloud in the sky, the sound of chainsaw echoed down the streets, it was late summer. When my rental crept up to her driveway, Miss Cornflakes came out to greet me, as if she had been waiting the night before and in the morning after. I grabbed my notebook, a recorder, and exchanged my sunglasses for my regular glasses and greeted her with a smile, a handshake, and a pleased-to-finally-meet-you, giving her the impression I had been interested in The Cornflakes for a while now. She took me around the back, telling me she doesn't let anyone in through front door, not since her partner had died. We walked through the garden, a beautiful one at that, and I could tell it was something she worked hard at keeping it as beautiful as it was, and that it was the best time of year to see it (I felt privileged to see it in this state). We entered the back door, the interior was completely naturally lit, looking dim at first, a touch of gloom but I passed it off as just the lingering feeling of entering a house of a widow. She made tea, and we sat at the kitchen table. I asked her when Mister Cornflakes had passed away, she said a two years ago, in a cold winter, and that she was actually talking to him at the time he suddenly stopped living. She wasn't sad, nor in stock with his sudden death, it just felt natural, it was natural, to die, and to die without some sort of unusual cause. She told me she kept talking to him before she decided to call an ambulance, and when they took him away, she returned to the chair she was sitting at, and continued to talk to a now (then) absent Mister Cornflakes. She had been doing that ever since. She says it helps her avoid the loneliness of having something and not having something anymore. She may have lost her partner's responses, but she hasn't lost his presence.
On one wall in the living room there is a large collection of images of Christ in various sizes, frames, both catholic and protestant depictions. I pulled a camera out of my breast pocket and photographed the wall as Miss Cornflakes filled the kennel for more tea, she was in her own world at the moment. In the corner of my eye I saw the table where we were sitting, and there in my seat was a figure, white glow, and when I turned around I saw a table, empty, with Miss Cornflakes putting teabags into a teapot. We continued our conversation, and eventually it led us to the significance of the Yi-Yi. She grew quiet, as if lost in thought, and after a few minutes I looked at my watch, not as a sign of impatience but to make sure I make it to the airport in time. Time was running out, and it was on my mind for the remainder of my visit. She eventually broke the silence with a call, a cry, something animal-like, the words were, "Yi-yi". As if it opened some portal within me, the words were just words, a key to a door to another world, necessary but functioned only to summon something much greater. I started to stare at Miss Cornflakes aging face, white with small folds, pleasant but lost, and her slowly disappearing nose, and though I was looking at her, I wasn't. My mental vision was all black. Two black parallels, one red glow in-between, I was racing towards the glow, as if I had been waiting a long time for it. To spite my velocity, I felt nowhere closer to the glow, it seemed to continue forever, and to keep its distance. Yi-yi...yi-yi. Over and over, calling me, what did it want from me, why me, who was me, the sandpaper hand man's words came to mind as I looked to the ground as I looked to the sky, there was that black, that black like no other black, that was formless and black but faintly changed, melting within itself, in a slow explosion, and yet its surface remained solid and unchanged. The rest is indescribable, something I only knew from an experience of having my hands in another man's hands, and hearing him make sound with his mouth, being in his house, and his story. Now this was my own story, I was experiencing it with my own body, I was there. And somewhere in all of that I thought I have to remember this, as if I'd forget something this significant as insignificant as it was. I wanted to be able to come back to this place, this dream-like place one day and escape whatever reality I was living to be lost. When I returned to Miss Cornflakes dining room I was on my knees. I felt embarrassed and she smiled at me from her chair. I apologized and thanked her for her time. She was happy to have company she told me. I was happy to be that company I replied.
A photograph of wall of Christ sits at my desk at the office, on the back of the print I wrote the words, "Yi-yi", there is something sad about those words, as magical as they are, written there, on the back of that print, they are powerless and without magic. Grim reminders, they fall short of something breathtaking, and even maddening. The memory of that moment they represent has reclined far back into my mind, as I watch it from a great distance now, seeing a shade of myself that has died and been replaced by many generations of me.
I scroll through my Rolodex and find Miss Cornflakes address and decide to write her a letter. I started writing it, but stopped, and it has been left unfinished at my desk, covered in papers and cards, and will probably never be completed, sent, and received. I close my eyes and try to put the pieces back together, I sigh as I fail to recreate a moment that has passed. Yi-yi where have you gone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Worth A Thousand Words (932 words)(not including the intro and outro)

(Quiet, static popping, the record starts off slow, but promises to build up.)

I can talk to photos. I can make someone up in my mind and hold both sides of the conversation pretty well. I think I've been doing this my whole life, as if I lived on an abandoned island, that I was a lonely boy when I was a boy and a lonely man when I was a man. And perhaps for the most part that is true, but isn't the truth, the whole thing, from all angles and that can truly be a fair representation of one's character. No, it is quite far from that.
I can hear a voice through video or audio recordings I had forgotten I had (I don't really make much of the two). When I hear the voice it brings me back, perhaps more than photographs since it changes before me, not in a silent way that occurs in the mind like a photograph, but kinetically, with a life of its own. I think of Stone Tape, how crystals in the ground record energy signals given off by humans, mostly during grand tragic moments of their lives, and once they die, those energy signals continue, in a perfect loop, over and over until the energy in those crystals dissipate. I can be interacted with, the voice calls me, the face, in movement, an uninterested expression turns to a smile then looks away, hair flying in the wind, I hear myself say, "Take off your shirt". The video ends, and it starts from the beginning again. I let this play over and over, taking in each nuance, trying to find something I didn't see from the last viewing. I hear a voice, it is familiar but distant.
As much as I want to interact, I want to place myself in that scene, and say, "Take off your shirt", with my voice now, I can't. Ultimately, this amateur footage of a vacation can only bring me to close, before I start to feel supremely disappointed. Only memories. A stack of photographs sit collecting dust on my desk, I know each and every one of them, could play the moment before and after each image, and though they illustrate a week quite well photographically, there is something that is supremely missing, missing in a way that beckons emptiness, loss, like the interior of an abandoned house that represents a family (that once lived there). All they represent is something missing, something not within the photograph, that is perhaps hidden behind the photographic surface and before the paper backing of chromogenic print.
The space between forms a natural vacuum, keeping things in as much as it keeps things within. If one were to enter into this realm it would be like entering the cosmos, a space endless void would unfold before you, it would be tiring to look to where a horizon would normally be. Here is where time is infinite, yes, infinite, it continues before the surface of the photograph, it exists beyond the photograph, and it is there as a byproduct of the photograph, that the photograph captured this endless space vacuum when the shutter opened and stole it, storing it on a light sensitive surface. Later it would go through a chemical bath of bleach and fixes, changing the very property of the light-sensitive emulsion, and rendering it blind and mute, no longer able to change (fixed). Each grain reflects and represents the reality that was placed before it. And each neighboring grain to it gives it a place, a portion, and scale. Together in a matrix they form a flat surface of reality, and with each moment passing, the reality is falling apart, being replaced by grain by grain by the past. The reality eventually seeps from the surface grain and enters the void, what is left behind is a graveyard of dead stars, hence the appearance of the cosmos. Far off is the present, it is the only thing that travels faster than the speed of light, bending time/space around it. It moves so fast that humans struggle to comprehend it. Like a darting bird that flies passed the peripheral it is a blur at most, but even then we are able to conduct it was a bird, and even the color, in this case, black, but the present doesn't move as slow as a darting black bird, it moves so fast that once in a great great great while we are able to catch a phantom of it.
The owner of the voice, the same owner of the image in the photograph comes to me in a dream, I wake up alone, and reach towards a photograph on the ground of my bed. I whisper something to it, and put it on my window sill and examine it for a while. I imagine it coming alive, like the video I watched the night before, on loop, for twenty-odd times incision. But of course the person in the photograph doesn't move, the prop shark's jaws do not close down on her face, they do not rip her head apart, and she doesn't smile back, or looks worried, or blinks, or even breathes, she is dead, not in this reality, but in the reality of the photograph. Grain by grain that moment happened, each one of those grains perfectly represent a reality of the present that has passed, and is now lost, floating in a void, in a dead cosmos, and the real person is somewhere off, living, alive, breathing, blinking, un-looped, un captured, changing, sleeping, waking up, talking, eating, running, walking, looking at photographs, looking deep and long, and is thinking, what is she thinking...

(The record comes to a peaceful end, the piano repeats its last bars endlessly, each time it is questioning itself, has it become something better, each repetition means something, without each one it is not complete. The needle reaches a treshold and signals to a specific motor to lift the needle above the moving black surface and for the arm to return to the rest. Once the arm and the needle fall to the rest the turning table stops with only a brief moment of still-movement (it doesn't last nearly as long as belt-driven turntable, it just ends in an satisfying instant)).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


(Untitled, 2011)

Skating on the thinnest ice imaginable I didn't care nor did I realize what I'd do if I were to fall into the chilly waters below. I remember watching Man vs. Wild, with Bear Grills jumping into ice cold water, he was testing out his body under the cold shock, and he swam for a while, and couldn't really imagine that being useful for survival. I remember taking a trip up to Northbay once, and a friend of mine decided to jump into the water, completely naked, it was early December, snow everywhere, not the type of weather to be naked nor getting into any water, but there he was, first his toes, then his legs, hand still cupping his boys and then splash. He made all types of sounds, sounds I hadn't heard from him before, he was suffering, he let out more man grunts and we both watched from above as he struggled to submerge himself. Later he told me that seconds to us, watching him from above felt like minutes, hours even, was it that cold that time itself froze in those waters. Perhaps to something not used to it. When I think of time now, not skating on thin ice, but just waiting, sitting, reading, writing, living my life, waiting, how used to it am I, for time itself seems to have slowed down, unbearably so. Waiting, waiting for something.
I stopped skating, took off my skates, and walked back to camp. There I was frozen, waiting for the fire to grow large enough to throw my entire body on to, that sounded like paradise right about then. I rolled up a joint and occurred my time spacing out, watching the fire dance before me, thinking of all types of things. Out here, alone, it felt nice, at first when I was being dropped off, the radio on in the truck, the driver speaking, made the sudden drop out from civilization feel awfully isolating when he finally left me. Now that feeling was replaced with peace, time slowed down, but bearable. The pink of the sky, the blue of the snow around, the simplicity of land and sky, unobstructed, endlessly, I could die somewhere here I thought, but death would not come to me for a while, I don't think I earned it yet. After the last puffs of pot left my lungs I was beginning to feel all good inside. The fire was perfect, perfectly warming me up, and my tent, lined with mounts of fur, and inside was cozy as hell. To have a woman out here, right here, right now would be fantastic, I pictured me telling her things like, "Looks like we're going to have to warm each other up." I'd shoot her off some hungry looking eyes and she'd give me some i.r.f. eyes and we'd just go at it, surrounded by fur, animals! We could live happily out there, there was a fair amount to eat if you knew how to go about doing it. I had a hatchet, a rifle, a pipe, a hook, some line, a knife, a will, an iron will, and I had a lady to impress. Coming home with a deer or a line of rabbits on my shoulder, a proper beard on my face, with some flannel over my chest, a beanie, and eyes that pierced the soul. All types of images conjured up and before I realized it I was hungry, high, and getting sleepy.

When I woke it must have been sometime around three or four o'clock in the morning, a person was sitting by my fire outside my tent. He looked endlessly into the fire. I watched him for a while, not sure if it was real or not. Eventually I'd get some heavy clothes on and exit the tent. Approaching him he did not move one bit, just kept on looking at that dancing fire. I sat beside him and pulled a blanket over him, he was only wearing a business suit, and yet wasn't trembling at all. A faint, "thankyou", came out of him, I wasn't sure if it was some bird flying above or if he was actually addressing me. His hair was slicked back, it was gelled and I couldn't tell if it was frozen or just stuck like that. He looked about his mid-twenties, and when I asked him what he was doing all the way out here, why he wasn't wearing something warm he just said, "uh...uh...uhhhhh. bah-bah-bammmm".
"In english, please."
"Iwas. Iwasjustsenthere."
"Sent here, but who?"
"You must be mistaken, I came out here on my own merit, no one telling me to come freeze my ass off."
"Fine. By who sent the both of us out here."
"The wave?"
Silence fell over the both of us, I could tell he wasn't one for words, and I didn't feel like talking to someone who made no sense. I liked him more when he was just staring into that fire, not talking, not making any sense but not making any nonsense either. I thought about how I got here, I decided to come out here, I planned this trip for weeks, and finally got the time to get out here. I was happy to leave, I was really getting sick of the city, the life, I needed a break. No one sent me here. At least directly. But I felt something stirred up in me, something loosen, and it was itching to be picked at, but something told me not to. It glowed a bright white, almost blinding, it was eclipsed by something blocking it, a door, it called to me, to be opened, but I was afraid. Let's just say that light is the truth, and perhaps somewhere deep down inside of me knew exactly what was waiting for me. I knew I was running away from something, but never did I realize I was being sent somewhere, by something, that isn't here, that is there, waiting for me back home, and that same thing was the thing that drove that guido-looking fella out here too. I just thanked the stars I wasn't sent here without notice, he looked like he was in some club downtown when all of a sudden this thing sent him hurling in the tundra. He was still looking deep into that fire, his eyes marked some great sign of despair, he was lost.
"Hey, what's your name, kid?"
"Greg. Gregthegent."
"The gent, huh. I'm Survivorman."
No response. I thought he'd be taken by surprise like most people who discover who I am, but he wasn't with us anymore. Off on planet Greg the Gent, I was orbiting him at most, watching him, without him noticing me. I cleared out some of the camera equipment from the tent, mustered up some form of blanket and pillow and invited Greg in. Waving my hand in invitation he followed, hunched over with that blanket still over him, for the first time ever Greg started to look cold. His hand brushed my arm, and I realized he was frozen to the touch. When Greg was inside, I closed the tent, I threw my sleeping bag over him and made him look like a fur/fabric burrito mix with his head poking out. I knew if he didn't get warm soon he'd probably die before rescue could come around. I started to shiver when he started to cry, or rather, when tears rolled themselves out of his eye sockets. I wasn't sure if he was in pain or was just sad, either way I gave the kid a hug, a bear hug. Sometimes its the touch of another human being to make you feel like you're not alone for a moment. My arm grew wet with tears, and I felt something inside me again. That glowing light again. Blinding as ever. That door pulsed, the light seemed to be brighter than before. I couldn't look away. I wanted to douse it with water, pour it out like a campfire not needed anymore, but there wasn't enough water in the world to exhaust this light. Only one way about it. I touched the door, it was flesh-like and woody at the same time, some sort of hybrid texture, I moved my fingers across it looking for a handle, and when they reached one it burned to the touch. I didn't care, I had been branded before, there is a way to ignore the pain of being burned, and I pulled back with one mighty swing. Light flooded everything, and was no longer just inside of me but encompassing the entire tent, then outside of the tent, and the fire, and the frozen ground that the fire and tent lied on, and then everything, white, bright, glow.
Somewhere in all that I was still holding Greg, crying myself, or rather tears rolling themselves out of my eye sockets, and I knew right then and there that I was sent here the same as Greg, not knowing why, nor where we were exactly. The only difference between us is that I was pretty prepared.
Morning came, and I made us both some coffee and sausages. Greg seemed to be back to whatever his regular self was. He fist pumped to get his arms back into gear, and if he could leg pump he would've done that too, but instead he just stretched out. We both looked on and watched the sunrise.
"Isn't it something, Greg the Gent?"
Kinda made it worth it, whatever drove us out here, whatever and wherever we left wasn't this, it wasn't peaceful, tranquil, endless, majestic, mysterious, timeless, enchanting, and and and...