Identity has been watered down for me
In these names they have called for me
Like a thousand yellow birds that have been laid down
On the sea
A white sheet shifts over top
Every wing holds another
Every wing sways to a dancing weight of body and bone
And my blood knows my name
And my blood knows your name
And my blood dances
And my name sinks under earth
And my name vanishes in air
It will not meet the throats of many
My name has country, body, blood, time
I want them to stumble over and see
I cannot get over this
I cannot let this sit forever
It is thrashing in the stomach
Let my body fall
And let that body be beautiful through fall and when limp
The most beautiful
Will you gather to hear my name whispered past dead lips
Will hundreds kneel; their hair a silken blanket
Will hundreds crawl, knees bloodied
Waiting for a name past lips lost
Posted in memory
Tagged attention, body, broken, call, culture, identity, language, memory, name, poem, poetry, seek, story
a friends chandelier. you won't get to see it. But it's THERE.
just when i needed a little drama in my life.
Unfortunately the complex next door is fairly crispy and stinky. I and my roommates will smell like a campfire for a little while. No need for summer camping.
Posted in event
Tagged burnt, charred, close call, deck, fire, lesson, memory, photo, photography, polaroid, scare
From time to time my mother used to sporadically zip around the house jumping and spinning in the way she presumes a ballet dancer would do. She would say, “Erin, this is where you get your natural dancing skills from.”
I’m not really sure if mom has an innate sense of her own coordination. I hadn’t really thought about it. She has, on occasion, been inspired to imitate older men and she has an added excuse to do so if they are dancers. First there was ZORBA and then there was LARRY DAVID. Zorba (played by ANTHONY QUINN) happened to love dancing.
“Teach me to dance. Will you?”
“Dance. Did you say … dance?! Come on my boy!”
In the last scene of Zorba The Greek aka Alexis Zorbas, both Zorba and Basil (ALAN BATES), an Englishman who had recently settled into his small inheritance on a Greek Island, sit on a beach. Both are downtrodden by the disastrous outcome of their latest endeavors but Basil decides he must learn to dance.
In a moment life’s difficult realities are pushed aside and the two begin to dance. Mom stopped, rewound and replayed this scene over and over until she had memorized…almost…every step. In the midst of her triumph, where she was imagining herself dancing on that beach next to Zorba and Basil, I got up from the couch to correct her on a few steps. Having watched this scene more than five times I was now very familiar with the dance and with Zorba’s enthusiasm.
A year later we would find ourselves living on a friends sailboat in a Mexican bay. Sitting around a raging fire on a deserted beach Mom would get up, wine glass in hand realizing it as the perfect opportunity to become Zorba.
That was not the first instance in which she saw an opportunity to identify herself with an old Greek man. When we’d dock to gather supplies, mom and Fiona, a family friend and inhabitant of the sailboat, would hold onto each-others shoulders and picture themselves on the beaches of Greece. With great confidence, and meandering feet they moved along a narrow deck humming the soundtrack to the final scene of Zorba The Greek.
Currently in the midst of updating my photography portfolio through various concocted projects. Here are a few results from SPACES: Photos of people in places important to them.
The year we spent waiting for my grandmother to die has come and gone. Mostly I ran on beaches and clambered through trails overlooking the meeting of Atlantic and Indian oceans. Plettenburg Bay – a place tourists spend thousands of dollars to reach. They plunge from the highest bungee jump in the world and watch herds of whales drift by – a watery safari.
I am 10 years old. In front of me lies my grandmother; her body stretched to either edge of a splintered wooden box. Mother’s mother. Stuffed tightly around her edges are queen proteas. They overwhelm her. Their furry thick petals and wild green leaves look like heaven (not in the religious sense but the feeling of it). Her casket is awkwardly placed on the coffee table. It pushes up against the green couch, she had chosen to face sliding screen doors overlooking a hilltop of proteas and the distant sea. There was importance and there was vague memory before death, after death and in-between.
I knew my mother was there, at her bedside, when everything slipped away. Their two hands clasped, my grandmother’s breath growing shallow (as I’ve heard it does when death is slow to come).
I don’t walk up to the box that holds her awkward shape; long, cold, stiff. I obsess over the wild beauty that surrounds her. Flowers soft to touch. I imagine her closer, I touch her skin – pull on it.
Family gathers around a deep hole in the garden. I don’t come within five feet of the hole as I watch each person drop handfuls of dirt into it. I’m not afraid of seeing the box carefully placed in its cavity. I’m scared of standing in front of a crowd. Like a magnet, I stick to the side of my mother. Her edges are corduroy, soft and crumpled.
All faces are a blur, except for my aunts. Her yellowish skin and excessive sniveling shock me. She sucks in air through her nose. Every movement made is monstrous and cruel. All else is fine. The air that wraps her face is new air, thin and whispery. The grass under her feet perfectly kept, sculpted around a wild garden. The rest is sea, dirt, tree and protea – a good death.
One of my latest photo projects, Spaces, will be a series of portraits of individuals in spaces that are important to them. Some of them may look a little like this.
Or this.....All portraits will be medium format (square).