Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Indeterminacy #428

He spoke to her, glancing up from the wheelchair. "This is my plan. You will take the roses, much like the one you see in the vase, sneak out after curfew, transplant them in the locations I told you, then slip away, hours before the dawn reveals your work. My underground greenhouse has a capacity to produce several dozen specimans a week, ripe and ready for the subversion. With a full night of setting the plants, you can instigate enough chaos to paralyze the authorities. They will not know what to do. There is no contingency for such a situation. Someone will see the roses. And the idea will be born. The regime can't stand more than two weeks of the resulting affection before it finally collapses."

"I love it!" she exclaimed to him, using the forbidden word. "And after the collapse, it will be as it was before, like in the stories you told me?"

"Yes," he answered, "you will look at a boy, he will look at you, you will sense an expectation, moments when the mere act of breathing becomes an exhilaration. He will feel the same. Somehow, mysteriously, inexplicably, you will find yourself holding hands. Oh, don't laugh, it will happen. It always did. No one could explain how. It was all quite innocent - nothing wrong in it at all, despite the official ban on affection, despite your parents' fear to practice anything else. It was the motor of our lives, before the era when love became a forgotten idea."

"Will you tell me that story again," she asked him, "it is so sad, but I always like the way you tell it to me."

"There is time until dusk, before you can begin with the roses, so why not, though it is sad for me, too, to tell it to you. I suppose it begins with the simple idea, 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' But who could have known that such a simple truth could be subverted? What if no one knows the name, what if the rose gradually becomes anonymous, completely unnoticed, forgotten. And that is what happened. It began with the regimentation in school. The continual studies, each hour planned, each afterhour filled with an assignment. It continued into the university. No time left for breathing, for a quiet meadow, for the holding of hands, for a rose. We kept everyone on a treadmill, and once the studies were completed, each was assigned an employment completely automated. No colleagues, only mechanisms and electronics to deal with. It wasn't intended, but soon it happened. Every human being was completely isolated. No one knew or had time for anyone else. With so little contact, the concept of names grew dim. Names were no longer needed, no longer thought of. Affection was the next to wither away. As this reality grew into the status quo, everything that was not this status quo became forbidden. That in itself is completely natural - regardless of what the status quo might be. People were afraid to think of anything else, afraid to break the years of conditioning that allowed no other alternative. So they continue in their established pattern, with no impetus to ever break out of it. Alone, so utterly alone, in a collective completely blind to its parts."

"It's like a dark rose the way you tell it to me," she said, an affectionate look in her eyes.

"I am the only one who can tell you this story. I was the only one who stood above the process. Fourty years long I ruled this society. I had to be aware, even if I did not consider the implications, or even understand them. But it was all my fault to have let it develop as it did..."

"I see the tears welling in your eyes, grandfather. Don't worry. I will plant the roses."

He smiled. "I know you will." Then he winked at her, and she smiled. Soon she would leave with the roses, soon they would be rooted in the public earth. They would be seen, and the pattern would break. Those who beheld would find a name for the roses. And what he did not tell her, but what he knew would be. Some boy, somewhere, would find one of the roses, would find her, and return the flower to her as a present.

Story #428

Happy New Year, and a Happy New Age! Note: This story was written last year, but seems to me to fit well to the occasion (Inauguration Day). This day, more than any other in my memory is a the beginning of a New Age...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Vote Twice then Write a Story

A story will be posted shortly, but first.....

Mayuko Fujino, whose artwork you may view here and here has an online exhibit at the House of Scratch in Toronto, Canada. Truly, I am fascinated by the colors and the intimate delicacy of her artwork. If you agree, please vote for her in the juried competition at this page (scroll down to find her works).

Update: Mayuko has won the competition! Thanks to everyone who voted! Please check her new Website: www.planetplatonic.org.

Letters Home to You is a blog that I have seen grown from unknown domain into a highly frequented Website, due to the unique and intriguing perspectives that are always spot on. The blogger is Ian. Read some of his posts, then vote for him: Canadian Blog Awards - Best Personal Blog.

Update: Ian unfortunately did not win the competition, but as far as I'm concerned, he has the best Canadian blog in the world!

Last but not least, the literary journal Greenbeard has a writing contest called The Symmetry of Flaws. There are cash prizes, and everyone is eligible to submit, so what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indeterminacy #427

One of the missing legends of archaeology is that of the Mauktika Niila, Pearl that is Black, an indestructible statue carved from material unknown with a technique equally mysterious, and an origin lost to recorded history. The statue is so named for a chain of pearls adorning the neck in the inexplicable unity of sculpture. The pearls shine like black suns against the whiteness of the stone body, though there is no clue as to how these two opposing hues could originate in one instance of any natural substance. The hair, too, is black and the eyes retain a vivid color no one can define, as if a living woman were photographed in stone. She may have decorated the Garden of Eden, or earlier gardens beyond the grasp of memory. We gave her a Sanskrit name because it would be profane to describe her with words familiar to modern times. Only primal syllables were worthy of her conception. Many times she lay buried in the rubble of destructive wars, herself unmarred, only to be uncovered again by new civilizations sifting the ashes of earlier eras. She survived earthquakes, fires and the subtle erosions of time. In this manner she forged a path through history, appearing, then vanishing in the daze of some cataclysmic event, as her undisclosed destiny designed.

We deduced all this by looking in her eyes. In fact, there is no known mention of the Mauktika Niila in oral or written communication. No poems of passion. No paintings on temple walls. No evidence of her substance, except for the Mauktika Niila herself. Ancient Greece knew her, banning her from its mythology out of fear. Of this we were certain. We concluded the same of the ancient pharaohs, and of conjectured civilizations even before the pharaohs' time. There was reason for this. To gaze on the statue in solitude is to press one's face through the fragile film separating reality from the supernatural. The pale, white stone floods with the warm tones of flesh, as if blood had suddenly condensed in her stone veins. Her breasts reflect the scarcely perceptible motion of living lungs beneath and her eyes turn to the gazer to subsume his reason into her biology. The gazer is found later, if found at all, wandering, no memory, his identity irretrievably lost. And the Mauktika Niila, undocumented archetype of that which cannot be understood, submerges again into the unobserved chaos of time.

But I am not afraid. We know now, if two or more souls are present, the statue presents itself only as an artistic wonder. It is safe to stare, to study the form, to explore the surface with the touch of one's fingers. To assure that the unspeakable would not occur to us, we approached her over the past few weeks, my colleague and I, in tandem presence. Many fascinating clues emerged, written meticulously in our journals, clues scratching dust from the window of divinity. Our record of her would be the first the continuity of mankind had produced. We studied the pearls under magnification, excited about a nuance we detected as the spotlight shone upon her. Then, without warning, my colleague slumped to the floor, seized by a sudden asphyxiation. It is sometimes natural to die. I am sure it was natural, the death that descended upon him. What else could this have been? I stand alone at her side, appraising her eyes, unable to relax my gaze, unable to attend to his rigid form already seconds beyond the threshold of rescue. Her form glows into life, her inanimacy dissolving like a moon flaring into a sun. I cannot turn away. I dictate these words to my hands to write, but my hands do not respond. I see them hanging limp at my side, see them through her eyes. I perceive my facial features surrender to an eternity blacker than the blackest pearl. As my colleague and I had counted the pearls, a subsequent inventory, however many generations later, will show their number increased by one.

Story #427

Anyone wishing to contribute their own story inspiration to the photo, please feel welcome!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My first job was in the t-shirt factory. The thesis to my textilian studies was on the fine art of t-shirt removal, so I was immediately placed in charge of the testing department. The cotton garments, newly seamed, must be worn once, then removed, to assure proper function. This was the process I oversaw. The models, men in the morning, women the afternoons, paraded single file past my station. Each took a shirt from a fresh pile, tucked it on, turning and pausing before me, awaiting delivery of my contribution. I certified the tautness of the cotton coverings on bodies not much younger than mine. When satisfied, it remained for me to remove the shirt and, if no complications ensued, add a sticker - "inspected by 1." Then the slightest lull - my voyeuristic limbo: before waving the model on I stole a glance going from navel to neck, admiring the disclosed magnificence of bodily form. Men by morning. Women the afternoons. By lunchtime the flesh had me stimulated. After an industrious day, I walked home aroused into breathless gasps. It was fine while it lasted.

The cutthroat world of t-shirt manufacture left its scars on this paradise. Layoffs ensued, to ensure competitiveness. Beautiful models, no more than twenty years old, took early retirement. It was demoralizing. Now my workdays were spent at an assembly line. The shirts came by, flung onto showroom dummies, my job to undress in the measured seconds they wobbled into reach. I pulled the garments from plaster torsos scarred and scuffed from industrial use. It was a steady, repetitive rhythm, like an eight hour copulation that fails to arouse.

Soon the dummies were gone, too expensive to clean and maintain. Costs cut everywhere. Lights dimmed because of bulbs so costly. I stood alone in the factory, like a visual soliloquy, testing the shirts, pulling them on, peeling them off, a work that tires the arms, but the quota required my constant motion. After a few hours I could no longer stand, arched myself onto the floor. Dressed. Bared. Dressed. Bared. And on and off and on. Dazed from a day of this, and oblivious to anything touching my numbed skin, I walked home, my bare-breasted physique greeting the evening breeze.

Story #426

This photo appears by kind courtesy of Jonas Skerra. In the next weeks you may enjoy more of his photography at his new site: Photorama of Jonas.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Waiting for Ian

This is a photo I took waiting for Ian. Ian and I meet sometimes for lunch around the corner from where I work. I just stand there and keep a watch out for his bicycle. Ian's a nice guy with an interesting blog called "Letters Home to You" featuring solid and well-written viewpoints right on the pulse of the times. A guest post of mine is up at his site, called "North American Expat Germany survival guide: the pancake edition." If you're hungry, I invite you to stop by.

P.S. This is a repost of a guest post at Sar's, whose blog is sadly no longer with us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In anthropological journals you will find occasional mention of the "Hooded Ladies of Lanslund" -- In footnotes, implicit innuendos, little more than hearsay, vague tales quoted from legends. Direct information, however, remains sparse. Most accounts are little more than flowered renderings of the footnoted statements, statements which themselves do nothing more than hint at existence of the ladies. Whether this existence is tangible or fancy is left to speculation or even to faith. Are the hooded ladies a race of arctic Amazons, muscular and stern in their interactions with the hard environs of the Lanslund region? Are they tender like melting snow warming on Spring blossoms? Do they like to kiss?

If I could answer these questions I would be assured a doctorate. I jetted to Scandinavia, took a train to Kolari, as far north as Finnish rails were lain. From there I trudged the tundra, ever further, north by northwest, camping under the Aurora Borealis, long nights of exhausted sleep - and days of relentless treks through uneven land.

Finally I reached the lake country, an uncharted region with no official name, but in the mind one knew it could only be Lanslund. It was nearly dusk, and the Northern Lights began to flare. I stood before the threshold of Lanslund as one of the hooded ladies appeared out of the glowing shadows and stared at me. She did not blink. She stared in a self-assurance that needed not a word.

"Lady of Lanslund," I answered her Nordic silence, "I want to know you. I want to know all about you."

She did not speak, though she moved her head slightly in acknowledgement of my request. She extended a hand towards me, a universal expression of "join with me." My hand was in hers as she drew me into the timber surrounding the lake, then deeper still, past sleeping trees, into her abode, a tent of animal skins, warmed inside by the heat of our breaths.

In her tent she taught me. Gazed into me without a sound, pasting complex sentences into my mind, that I could never speak in words. I became dazed, I felt numb and saw only her, soon like a dream, where faces loom the size of novas. It is all I remember.

My next recollection is walking back with her the way we came. She led me to the Lanslundan frontier. I turned to look at her, encountered again that unyielding gaze, as immobile and inviting as the slabs of Stonehenge. I turned and traversed the tundra back to Kolari, to the train, the airport and ultimately back to the desk where I performed my studies. Still the same person, but different. Now I knew. I knew how to write footnotes.

Story #425

Anyone stopping by is invited to post his/her spontaneous story and/or impressions given by the photograph above...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lips looking ladylike she smiled like always, then pouted, the rapid metamorphosis wrenching my reason from a grasp already unsure. We worked together, side-by-side for months. Businesslike. Official behavior, the way that colleagues do. I stalked her secretly, saw the URL she visited once, and noted it, repeating the address intensely to myself until I could write it away: an online beauty contest she'd won: "Loveliest Lips on a Lady" contest. Thousands of males lustful and lusting came voting for that facial detail of hers, some sharing comments imaginative in ways to make lipstick blush. She read every one. But I could enjoy her lips anytime I wanted to, at least the view of them. She was much too involved with her work to notice my rapt appraisal of that lower hemisphere of the face. There were moments, though, that she suspected. The sight of her then sent me spinning away. I'd blurt out words I knew could make no sense. Lorelei lips. Slashdotted lips. Anything but subliminal. And then it all went black. Then suddenly light, as she pressed my reboot button to call me back. This was the finest moment. As she waited, and I booted, those lips formed words at me: "Damned Vista!"

Story #424

Since I kept you all waiting so long, I think the least I can do is post the next story right away with the photo. I check my logs occasionally and see some of you stopping by from time to time, hoping maybe to find a new post. Thanks for the compliment.

Anyone who feels like it is more than welcome to post their own story to the above photo as a comment, but don't feel obligated. I guess I owe you all a few for the long wait.

Important message: Greenbeardmag.com is back! New format, new stories. Check it out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Six Word Memoir

"I rarely smile - I'm so serious."

Miss Pansi tagged me with this meme in which you write six words about yourself. I think Miss Pansi will like this picture because I am wearing a designer jogging jacket. We visited an outlet mall during vacation. But somehow it feels strange to have someone else's name on my chest. Maybe that's why the jackets were so cheap.

I get to tag five new victims:

1. Aral Peppermint Patty Pez (who also hasn't posted in a while, so I hope she will do so now!)
2. Cooper (because we know so much about her already, and every little bit is gold.)
3. Jamie (who is too young to write a memoir, and if she weren't, it would be more than six words!)
4. Ian (because I know he hates these things *snicker*)
5. La Delirante (because she's cool, and blogs from Malta)

Here are the rules of the meme:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Those of you who haven't yet heard, there's a new literary e-zine on the scene, called Greenbeard, featuring an illustrious anthology of poetry, short stories, reviews and artworks. One of the main contributors is Angela Meyer with several reviews and a story in the best tradition of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. There are film reviews by Batul Mukhtiar, who herself is a filmmaker, and one by Greenbeard's editor Mariana Sabino. Mari reviewed "Sedmikrasky", which is one of my favorite films - and thanks to her I finally understand it! You'll also find pieces by The Observer, Sherriff and The Sylphidine. The only way I can list all the highlights is to copy and paste the table of contents. One of my pieces is in there too, and I feel quite honored about that, seeing the quality of the other contributions.

I will begin posting here again soon - I have just been lazy, enjoying life as if the Internet didn't exist. I do apologize to all of you who keep stopping by here. It was a great vacation, and we just missed a second snowstorm on the way back. Really. A few hours after we flew out of Chicago they cancelled around 500 flights because of a snowstorm.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Indeterminacy #423

I am away for a two week vacation in the gentle, snowstorm-covered plains of Ohio. Until I'm back (around March 25th), I leave you with this wonderful work of art by Mayuko Fujino entitled "Dia de los Muertos Georama" which I playfully combined with a song from the 1930's. You are all invited to contribute your stories and impressions to this image, and when I'm back in two weeks or so, I will post my own story. In the meantime, you're also invited to enter and enjoy Mayuko's fascinating world of art spanning paper cutouts to shadow plays. Here are her sites you can visit:

Homepage: cohac.com/m
Myspace (videos): myspace.com/georama
Photo Galery: flickr.com/photos/mayuk

Note: The song I used is "My Unfaithful Cowgirl" by the Swift Jewel Cowboys (found at westernswing78).

Here is a static version of the image:

My tip: Load this photo in your full screen, play the song, and look at the picture. It's so much fun!

Another Note: A warm thank you to Cooper for featuring Indeterminacy at Shouldbefamous.net. With your help, Cooper, I really might be famous someday.