totalcontrivance

One ignorant and fallible account of heat and mind; one version of an infinitely possible truth.

Garbage (Barcelona-Perpignan; 7 de Septiembre 2012)

We feel uninspired.
To remain in an uninspired state is to embody the following metaphor: we are gathering up time, tossing it carelessly into a plastic bag and throwing the bag into that great green bin (okay, here the bins are grey), where it will inevitably be taken by garbage people (some of whom are probably very interesting; maybe they are writers, maybe they are welders and carvers, maybe they explore caves), to a great mountain of garbage, where the time will sit and rot, patiently, steadfastly refusing to decompose—it’s not biodegradable, yo. Decomposition happens over time; how can time happen over time? I mean, of course it does, but the material breaking down of time is time itself, only more time, and so we have entered into a cyclical sort of labyrinth here.

What I mean to say is: All we need to do is put this pen to paper, and suddenly, words are there, they’ve always been there, I don’t know where THERE is, but there is.
It doesn’t have to be good—it won’t be good—why would we want to be GOOD? Good is too flat, a plateau.
Let us desire complexity, profundity, intricacy, anything—let it be BAD—but do not fear a lack of good.
A lack of good can only lead us deeper, onward, toward the lost. After all, we are found in being lost, no? We are always lost, only lost. We, existing in miniature, cannot comprehend location. Cartographers create, they construct a tiny fraction of the “reality” we inhabit.
Do not trust the map. I fear it exists there, on the wall, to fool me into a false sense of security (“YOU ARE HERE”).
LOST is our natural state — in it, we are located; we are found; we are just where we need to be.
Searching.

Por autobús/ Estació del Nord (Barcelona; 7 Septiembre 2012)

… and I only want to know, really know now, how lucky I am to look down while ascending—motionless on the escalator—
to look down to see two beautiful faces smiling waving up at me,
two burning furies, each burning different coloured flames, I can’t get close enough to see the texture, the nuance of the colours
or how exactly those flames lick the air, but I know them just the same.
They are two entities in flight, and I want to know that I have been lucky to pass by them, pass through them,
that I want to contain it, to keep it, to put these flames in a jar the way you would a firefly, and to carry them with me always, borrowing from them only to add to them again later until we don’t know whose flames they are;
some sort of hybrid: una luz mezclada.

Imaginería (Paris; 25 August 2012)

I have this image
that is entirely mine
no one has ever seen it
before or after
but I guess I can
describe it to you.
(if you are there. are you there?
blink once if you are there.
close your eyes if you’re not.)

There is no risk,
in this case,
of mimesis
the image will
inevitably
take on different proportions
shades tinge
participation in reality
on the black
blank screen
that hangs
on the wall of your
mind
in the space between
eyelid and brain
(or something).

It goes growing
in STOP. motion
the roots grow
on different slips
of coloured paper
ripped out of books,
construction paper
like when we were
kids
and love was simpler

The different slips
replace each other
in STOP. motion
one over another
and in each
—flashing—
replacement
the roots of this
great tree grow
deeper into
the psyche
(or something)

The trunk is
BLACK
PROFOUND
STRETCHING
nearly to infinity
only to diverge
again
this time into branches
made out of
light
blinking

AND YOU, TOO; BLINK!
PICTURE it
loud, alive.
I think it is
the centre.

OFWGKTA

OFWGKTA (Paris; August 23 2012)

 

Odd Future

uses water as a crowd pleaser

subverting purity 

with a new mode of baptism

water on sweat on

pessimism

stage lights light on shiny

Imagemoist black skin

only let the right light in

can’t speak French

subject to Anglo-Americanism

still see a bunch of white kids

in the audience.

doing something real with

the subversion of 

their own security measures

when they intercept the

banishment of the kid

who got up on stage

without permission.

The absence of Amelie

The absence of Amelie (Paris; August 23 2012)

 

I have something to day, goddamnit. or, more likely, something to think through, something to mull over. But now I must do it in pen, and not the pencil—the red Faber-Castell led pencil I bought from Yusuf at Bilgi in Istanbul. (The jar of pencils sits next to a wooden carving of a slouchy man creature that Yusuf had made in a photo I took. And perhaps it is the kind of pencil he used to trace the face of Beethoven as it sits behind him when he is at the cash register in the tiny shop. But I doubt that; now I am just making things up.)

And it’s not because I don’t have the pencil—I have it, and I have led, but as of now the two components are separate and I am incapable of assembling them in a way that might enable led marks to imprint themselves on paper. Because of this, I am forced to write in pen, and this mulling over takes on far too much weight—heavy ink—permanence, contrast with whiteness of page, than it really ought to.

Despite this pain of permanence, this fear of commitment, I sit in Cafe de 2 Moulins in Paris, France. I imagine Amelie were working and, if she were, that we might make eye contact and then quickly look away; if after that I might leave this book behind, knowing she would discover it; if she might wonder at the possibility of knowing someone more intimately than in the quickly averted gaze; if she might make a connection between Nino’s book of found portraits and this book of found words, arranged in ways that—it can only be hoped—take on meaning through the discovery-by-reading of someone like Amelie. Someone who wears strawberries on her fingertips and whispers colours into the ear of a blind man.

Amelie is not here, but she is the reason that all these other people are here; people with maps; iphones; cameras; backpacks; plastic water bottles; laminated itineraries; books to read; glasses of wine; café and creme brûlée. Lipstick marks and the buzz and hum of voices. And in all this perhaps there is something we can use as a bridge to tiptoe carefully across the surging artificiality beneath—the fact that we are all HERE, though there might not be the SENTIDO I was looking for, the SENTIDO that comes from the special light that Jean-Pierre Jeunet uses to illuminate film, and so of course would be missing, here, in the real where I am now.

But that’s what art does, I guess: improves, where it can, upon reality.

.

Rage, Rage against the Breaking of the Day

Rage, Rage against the Breaking of the Day (Barcelona; August 22 2012)

I do not know what time it is, but I sit outside on the terrace with a glass of cold water, munching on honeyed and puffed wheat. My eyes sting from sleep that was perhaps too little. Not too long before I fell asleep I made some vague and grandiose statement to the effect of
TIME IS ELASTIC.
I think time is now fucking with me.

The sky was darker a minute ago. It must have been the blue-black of midnight hours ago; now it is softer, showing its vulnerability. It hides the stars, offering its sympathy, extending the olive branch to the few restless and overheated ghosts who might look up, not to be confronted, tonight, with their own minuteness, insignificance–which is always reflected back to us in the ironic steadfastness of those burning balls of fury–but rather with a pastel and velvet sheen.
There now! It is beginning to light itself from within! How does it do that?
I have company in the sounds of the flamingos and the wildcat–jaguar?–who live in the Parc de la Ciutadella across the street. The trees are like conductors, carrying the contemplative murmuring of the animals up and out, to be dispersed throughout the city.

Two bikes spin past, hissing.
Hum, oh Tram, and continue on your way.

Only with the breaking of the day, of tomorrow which is now very much today, the day I will go to Paris, do I feel any cooler.
But the mosquitoes are assholes. Be gone! Can’t you see you’re ruining this for me?
No nos importa, they buzz obnoxiously (these mosquitoes speak Spanish), tu sangre es buenisima.
Now a few clouds streak across the sky, one resting on top of the golden horse that caps the trees in the park.

And if we raged, raged against the dying of the light, just as he told us to, and just as we did, justly, with intensity, shouldn’t we now venerate this light that comes again? It has been a slow return, with many a dark hour in which to contemplate the presence-in-absence of the divine and the mythological.
But have we not been lit upon again?

Failed Meditati…

Failed Meditation (Barcelona; August 20 2012)

 

Sound, of inhale

Slow, exhale

So, hum.

You

Ride the inhale up,

Blue light,

To where it connects

In the sky

Branching off

Millions of lightning strokes

Then slide back down

Into the centre

Where things burn

In the ground

Generating

—INTERRUPTED—

flicker of image

of a face

only part of a face

a snatch of conversation

not the actual sounds of

dialogue, but rather

a suggestion

and someone says the word

B.E.A.U.T.Y.

 

Inhale, exhale dark

Dark that bleeds into

Light

Blue

You, stay here.

 

Barcelona; August 18 2012

Yesterday I went into the supermarket below the apartment to buy almonds. It was hot. The two girls who were working sat outside, smoking beside a small selection of weary-looking fruits. One wore a blue uniform, collared short-sleeve, the other wore bright pink (maybe she wasn’t working, maybe she was only a friend).
Inside the shop, which was narrow but relatively deep, it was quiet and stuffy and fluorescently lit. Like you could see everything far too clearly considering how hot it was.
The girl in blue reluctantly paused mid-smoke to ring me through. And this day she actually spoke to me: “Qué calor, eh?” And we spoke about the weather, me asking what was normal for which season, her asking me where I am from. When people think of Canada, they think of cold, and they never think first of Vancouver.
This girl is beautiful, but strangely so. The fluorescence lights upon her face, giving me access to what shouldn’t be seen—her foundation perhaps a shade too light for her skin, making it seem translucent. Like if I looked long enough, I might begin to see her blood flow around her muscles—the ones around her mouth, where there are so many.
And the fluorescence reflected in the blue of her eyes—a different blue than that of her collar, a universe away—made them shine like marbles. This artificial supermarket light, what is it doing? Illuminating the surface; giving it spark; making it something you could light a match upon—something I didn’t expect?

Barcelona; August 17 2012

There is a man who runs the store adjacent to the Escuela Mediteránneo. Every morning I go into the store to buy a 1.5 litre bottle of water, to be sure that I remain hydrated in this fucking heat. Every morning we have brushed paths, barely acknowledging each other; he, refusing to speak to me in Spanish, instead repeating every day the price of the water in English: 75 cents (wait—there are horses passing by on la Rambla; something alive, something living! I’ve never seen that here before).
Today I am wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the yoga studio I attended in Istanbul, Cihangir Yoga.
He sparks, he crackles. I didn’t expect it. I am still groggy and I struggle to get up and run after the ray of light he throws:
“Tu camiseta es de India?”
“de Istanbul”
“Pero el imagen es de India”
“Ah, si, Ganesha?”
“Si, es de India”
“Y qué significa la figura de Ganesha en India?”
And suddenly he becomes a poet; he speaks of toenails that remember every kilometer travelled, toenails that embody the landscape through memory of passage. And how great are these creatures—how strong, yet how tranquil—qué fuerte, pero qué tranquilo.
A balance; a grounded nomad; a sage.
Thank you for the spark, Ganesha. Thank you for the point of departure, from which we can perhaps make more of the mere monetary exchange.

She starts from…

She starts from the end sometimes; sometimes it is a better place from which to begin. Her ending happened in the cab of the way to the airport. She had worked herself up into sweat and frenzy with the stress of a dysfunctional Canadian credit card upon attempting to pay for her one-month stay at Hotel Bilinc. She has to say it was the most stressed she had felt during her time in that city. Thankfully, one eternally helpful patron (so named by the hotel staff for her organizational skills and her commanding presence) and fourth mother (fourth because the other three strings have already been claimed by our subject’s biological mother and two other fundamentally inspirational women who she encountered earlier on in life) by the name of Colleen Stricker, supplied an American telephone with which she called the card company to get the capital flowing again. The man on the line sounded like a robot and lacked sympathy for a sweaty, breathless little girl struggling to pay out what she owed. Despite all this, Mr. Emire, the sole fluent English speaker and manager of the Hotel Bilinc, had actually agreed to accept a deposit of $300 USD, credit card numbers, and an oath that a wire transfer would be sent upon her arrival in Spain that evening. However, this proved unnecessary due to the competence of the patron and the indifferent concession of the robot voice on the phone.

After a tight, quick embrace that would never be long enough, she broke away from Colleen, heading up the street to Laleli where a taxi waited with her bags already loaded. They agreed upon a fee of 45 Turkish Lira and she settled into the back seat as they moved out into traffic, yet the streets were strangely clear on this Monday morning in Istanbul. She had asked for the cab to come a couple of hours earlier than necessary because she feared the infamous traffic—perhaps the city will not let me go! Yet the ride only took about a half hour—you are released, it whispers, over and over.

She sees the eyes of the driver in the rearview mirror and wonders about him. He speaks some English and they exchange a few niceties about how the first few hours of the day have gone (at least for her.. it may have been the last few hours of his day and she will never know. Time is not the same for all; day and night speak to each one in different voices). The radio is on and plays the same American pop that she has been confronted with every morning in Bilinc’s Breakfast Room (the amount of time spent eating, reading, sleeping and laughing in this fluorescently lit room imposes capitalization on the name), a source of mild entertainment that they had half abhorred and half enjoyed—particularly Carly-Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe as exemplary of Canadian musical contributions on an international scale. In fact, the pop had become more familiar to her in Turkey than it ever would have at home in Canada, as she tends to follow her father in sticking the dial to the CBC and its static-y charm, and she closes her eyes, feeling wind move through her hair and glimpsing the last views of the Bosphorous and the many ships in harbor through lash-bordered, drowsy windows. And then the music stops, and without opening her eyes again, she knows that the driver has noticed her slipping into something near sleep and offers her a peaceful silence. Perhaps he is appreciative of the opportunity to silence Rihanna for a brief time. But this taking notice is indicative of something special about many of the Istanbul-ites she has encountered in the past weeks, people who will go out of their way to help you find where you need to be (in this case, he helped her get to a dream plain, and from dream plain to airplane. Sleep, in those moments of transitional movement, made the journey seem a bit surreal. Where was she, where has she been, where is she now, and why has it been so easy to get from one point to another? Of course, it has been anything but easy, but the silent dream transition gave a certain illusion). And so, her Istanbul ended with his gesture, his taking notice and his offering of peace. Stepping out of the cab and entering the airport, she had already taken leave of the city; the airport is a suspended space, not a part of Istanbul as she knows it (and she knows it in a way that is meaningful, but not concrete).