“These images by a white photographer
of black domestic workers are offensive”
reads the headline on my newsfeed,
two words hanging like death knells
so that the sentence cannot live,
cannot breathe beneath the
crushing pair of opposites
it fails to reconcile.
The portraits are not perfect,
lacking the shades of grey
also missing in the headline,
but the function of art
is to bring out the best in us,
reveal the wonder of perception.
That is what the critics
have never understood.
Even the unskilled artist says
“This is my truth, nothing else,
it need not resemble yours.”
But if there is rhythm,
if it is skillfully rendered,
it will have some element of Truth,
an all-too-fleeting moment of
That is what I seek
between the light and dark lines
of a Japanese landscape painting,
opposites used to construct
a complete picture of
the ebb and flow of existence,
photographers and domestic workers
included in the rhythm of it All.
The more I look the more I think
the answers only fit for the
conversations of madmen and shamans
far from religion, race, belief,
where the truth is shattered
into a million different shades
battling back and forth between
the darkness and the light.
There was a beautiful girl
in a bar called Buccaneers
who talked a bit too much
about life and energy and
manifestations of consciousness.
Still, though, she was
really really beautiful,
so I stuck around and
made sympathetic noises
everytime she said something
especially deep and meaningful.
I paid particular attention to
a comment about my glass
just being a slower-moving
manifestation of the energy
of life which is all around us
in the hope that said energy
would instead manifest itself
in the form a free drink,
but it seems this cosmic force is
as uninterested in our wishes
as most modern-day gods.
Still, something she said
stuck with me despite the
manifold drinks that did find
their devious way into my glass
as the evening progressed
She told me that she would
never stop being idealistic
because it is not realists
who change the world.
‘How naive’ I thought snidely,
nevertheless lifting my drink
to acknowledge her smile.
Imagine my surprise when
the glass twisted in my hand,
winked at me and waited
for the jukebox to stop,
then, in a clear voice,
said “Cheers bro”.
God, she was beautiful…
Facebook is a fascinating phenomenon
along with all its equivalents:
Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr,
even WordPress and Blogspot.
All these so-called social networks
which allow you to build a self,
carefully constructed with text
to share with other shadow people
wandering a digital landscape,
plugged into a personalised news feed.
It’s a little worrying, I think,
how lost we can get in
so vast a web of words,
how Whatsapp and Viber
have overtaken our ability
to communicate face-to-face
while Facebook reminds us to
bid half-hearted happy birthdays
to people we barely talk to.
Us youth, digital natives of the net
with technology in our pockets
that transcends time and distance,
generation of iPhone therefore I am,
who will have our very sight
connected to the world wide web
through small contact lenses.
What will we make of all the
shadow people, ideal projections
and shallow internet chatter?
We can so easily drown in
such a flood of fluid networks,
but the ability the net provides
to learn and link to others has
set off an exponential explosion
in the ways we can now share.
It’s no mistake that we call a
conversation with links a ‘thread’:
a small piece of the tapestry
we weave with digital fingers.
There is freedom to weave as
you please and, if done well,
we can find the occasional
golden thread where we would
never have thought to look for it,
be it in a flamenco song or,
nerdy as it might make me,
a simply brilliant maths proof,
both reminders of the beauty
to be found in everything.
Im gonna make those
last few lines my status.
There’s a video of a man dancing:
he starts by crawling through the dust
over sand and rough stones.
He moves while people walk past,
ignoring him and his beat.
He seems lost,
having been rejected again.
They’re missing his moves,
his unique rhythm and
how it will change the world.
Finally, he recruits one man
to pass the movement on
before collapsing on a bench, depleted.
It is not until another joins this man
that the dance can be finished.
I’m getting tired of picking myself
up and out of the dust.
I wish I could find that man
who will pass the movement on
so that I, too, can finish my song.
Maybe he’s in the legions of losers
I join now, not knowing if I can dance,
only that I am not alone,
that failure makes me harder
after doubt cuts away resent.
The dancer moves despite
the judging looks of passers by.
I guess I will too,
throwing my head back to silent music,
smiling at those who cannot hear it
(praying for someone who can)