Thursday, September 10, 2009

A tale for your entertainment, and other times.


There is dirt road in a strange place, and next to the road stands an old pick-up truck. It is burnt orange and battered, perhaps an old Ford. Inside there is man. He doesn’t look like the best kind of man, but honestly – who are we to judge just by looking at his hillbilly hat and ratty clothing. A cigarette dangles from his lips. They have that weird white flaky lip-dandruff on them. He is unshaven and thin.

Next to the pick-up truck is a curious pile of polystyrene ice boxes. They are piled really high, in a shaky tower. It seems impossible that the tower remains upright, yet it does. The tower moves, almost imperceptibly, with every movement of the wind.

Another car pulled up, also old and battered, more people in it. Two are women, one a man. They get up and stand around, the women wearing shapeless flower print dresses, the type now only found at charity stores. They do not speak. They are waiting.

A dust cloud on the horizon signals the approach of another vehicle. They all watch as it moves closer, the women shifting from one foot to another. The driver is tall and skinny, his white pick-up surprisingly clean for this part of the world. He gets out and immediately begins to unload some cases of beer. They watch him, but don’t offer to help – they pay good money for this service.

He finishes unloading, then hands the man in the hillbilly hat a clipboard. He indicates where he should sign. The hillbilly hat pulls his mouth in a semi snarl, revealing dirty teeth. They could have been good teeth, but they’re not. “You’re not done,” he growls, and points to the white icebox precariously balanced at the top of the tower. The courier looks up, then turns and takes a ladder from the back of his truck. He steadies it and climbs up slowly, still having to stretch for the top ice box. It is heavier than he expected, and makes a terrible polystyrene screech when he moves it – artificial, chilling, nails on a plastic blackboard. He almost loses his balance as he takes it from the pile. The eldest woman draws in a sharp breath. The courier recovers and reverses down the ladder, holding onto his cargo carefully. When he reaches the bottom, he looks at the four people, rests the icebox on the bonnet of his truck.

He opens the box. The older woman looks away, bites her lip. Both the men look down. The other woman takes a curious step closer, looks around the courier, then stumbles back, dazed. She whispers something under her breath and shakes her head. Her curly black hair is now a mess. She pulls her fingers through her hair. Sweat sticks to her palm.

The second man walks to the white pickup and pushes the courier to the side. He puts the lid back on the icebox, and turns it on its side so it fits under his arm. Thump. The older woman yells: “Upright! You have to hold it upright!” The courier takes the box back, carefully turns it upright, and puts it on the front seat next to him. He gives them one last look, backs his car up, and drives away.

The woman with the messed-up hair laughs nervously. “Will someone roll me a cigarette?” The older woman gets in the car, the men smoke, saying nothing. The courier’s clipboard lies in the dirt, the pages flicking in the wind. The men both wonder where they’ll get their beer from now. The courier won’t be back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rhyme and Reason

because I am old
you said

because I am young
I thought

because this is it
we knew

and you left

Of leaves

I was documenting our daily lives
with scientific precision
this is where we are
this is what we’re doing
this is the weather
I froze us in time

without a past
without a future
in the photographic present
were happy

at least that’s how I presented it

but in the snapshot of us
lying somewhere
in some archive
the voyeur was more sincere

it shows you

bearing the backpack I loaded you down with
struggling ahead
and making painful progress up the hill

and me
lagging behind
taking picture upon picture
of trees
and moss
and bark
and rock
and leaves
and leaves and leaves and

The first temptation of the chairman

I am tempted to photograph
your empty seat
abandoned for a minute
in the middle of the day

I will pin up the picture
and familiarise myself with the emptiness
lest the suddenness of absence
shock me
into permanent silence
and a fear of chairs

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Resurrecting the write stuff

the white paper is dusty
and sort of shy

and so am i

we eye one another
careful not to cross the lines

the first cautious click
of a paralyzed pen

and suddenly
we're friends again

there is hope for us
we rekindle our past
we are resurrecting
the write stuff

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dream Remembered

Thus the drowning
of my fish-being wish:

During the night
malicious fish
pulled me into the deep

At first their dark forms
embodied no menace
helpless in the way
the lumped above the water
giant blobs of pitch black butter
they would not melt
inside this mouth

Thus the suffocation
of my earth-braving birth:

Listen to their curious noises
with the sea note
in my stomach

laughter wails yawning

the fish are calling
summoning the sudden move
from the shadow of the shadow
that particular lunge
from utter blackness
the forward pitch

and waking in water
trailing bubbles
there's no need to breathe
when you're cloaked in life
they bare their vicious teeth
and unlock the glow
in unholy eyes
the journey alters me
i have grown gills
i think
the phosphorous light licks at the ice
this is electronic music
these are my fins
sinking to a new low
i take the bait

Thus the demise
of my flying dreams of dying:

wings are of no use to the water bound
i take my lessons from malicious fish
thus my wish
my birth
my death
this is a dream
i remember it now

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sound Advice.

"Never get so attached to a poem that you forget truth that lacks lyricism. Never draw so close to the heat that you forget that you must eat."

-Joanna Newsom

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Last Words.

"You be good. See you tomorrow. I love you." The final words of Alex the parrot. (From Time magazine.)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Practical Notes on Photographing Interiors

Ou Goud.

From the archive: Light in cows.

Seeing the light inside the cow frightened her. There is no simple explanation for this. It is just that she had never thought about cows in this way. You must admit that a dramatically different direction like this can be somewhat daunting for a mind unused to time travel.

He didn't think about it in that way, though. For him, the light inside the cow was just another light inside another cow. He always looked at the bright side, the light side and found that it was mostly the inside. He couldn't quite understand why it frightened her. He didn't know about the darkness. He dreamt about it once, but inside he had the light. Even in dark dreams. And at night. Maybe that is why she loved him. She had always been adventurous, in spite of the fear. Attracted to the dark. The night. But for this, she needed light.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rabbit watching.

Look! A very busy rabbit is hiding here. Click, and he will appear.

Wails. Whales.

From the New Zealand Herald. Beached Whales in Australia. Picture Credit: AP.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arbor Day

i leave
i l e a v e
i leave i leave i leav e
i leave i leave i leave i l e a v e
i l ea ve i leave i leave
i leave i leave i leave i leave
i leave i leave i leave i leave
i leave i leave i le ave
my exits
are a
i have
i am gone

Friday, February 27, 2009

Small Gift from my beloved

Homage to Illumination

Scraps on feast

something is weighing on my mind
with all the gravity of an antique oak table
creaking under the weight
the wait

set for a family
a group of friends
something is weighing on my mind

something is eating at me
the weight
the wait
the family
the friends
there is an antique table on my mind
and no one is eating
the table is creaking
the weight
the wait
something is eating at me

something is driving me to drink
the teetotaler stumbles to the table
the table on my mind
the empty table
there is no one
the weight
the wait
the shadow at my table
the empty plate

something is weighing on my table
no one eats with me
the weight
of the table
the table on my mind
buried under mountains of things to be shared

the antique table on my mind

i bow my head
and my neck snaps

Monday, February 23, 2009