Posts Tagged ‘devices’





Standing in the Rain

You were standing in the rain. In the story I tell myself, you were waiting. Maybe you were just smelling the rain. Maybe, like me, you just wanted to feel something. Now, this was a temperate rain and I thought I could sniff the tropics with it, but I’ll admit my imagination is easily influenced by meteorology. The clouds were formed south of Cuba, and had crossed Virginia and New York to get here. Your rain usually comes from the west, dusty from the shield and the plains, or otherwise from the north-east, cold and terrible. This time of year, your rain is close to body temperature. You were dressed perfectly for it. It must be a routine for you.

I wanted to give you something. It seemed important. It seemed like you were waiting. A mint canister was lying right there in the gutter. The image on top shows a rosy-cheeked girl with a rabbit. It looks too old, anachronistic, as if a ghost from 1912 left it here. Instead of taking it straight to you, I hesitated. So I still have it. I scrubbed it off using the rainwater on my finger. I popped its dents back out, even though anyone can still see where it was dented. Later on I found something to put inside, a curl of red plastic. It doesn’t take up too much space to travel with. I’d still like you to have it.

Before you continued on your walk, you brushed away a lock of wet hair that had stuck to your cheek. I thought you were going to say something, but you just opened your mouth to let in the rain. I remember how the drops were heavy. Once you were gone, I closed my eyes and lifted my own face into the rain.

I’ve been gathering more tokens in case I see you again. So far, there’s the cannister, the red plastic curl (a golden spiral), and a chain of paperclips I have been lengthening in my office. I also plan to wrap some twigs in twine. They keep twine in the supply closet, who knows why. I do know I might not find you again. I’d have to be in Montreal on another rainy day.

I’ve also been picking up pennies. I keep one at a time, always comparing it with the next that I come across, discarding the less shiny. The current champion was minted in 1985. When the rain clears, it will reflect a disk of promises onto your cheek.

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Secrets onto Paper Airplanes

It wakes me up again, a question that will not answer itself. You open my hand on the street in front of a bar that is covered in graffiti. You mark a black X on my palm and tell me that tomorrow it will mean something; that this is inevitable, and that it is also necessary for me to be confused.

The world presses on me; the people, the things they say, all so repetitive, all so alone. The cars (where are they all going?), the ads, the signs all screaming at me to pay attention. To what?

In a better world there are longer, greater distances, there is wide wilderness and anarchy. The city becomes a tiny speck, fragile as an outpost in the north, and the next city is a five day flight. But instead, this is the world we’re given (or that we’ve made)—crammed with people and even more crammed with symbols.

I want to kiss you in a riot, slip a piece of rubble into your pocket, from a wall they are tearing apart. When we meet again, it will be in a desperately crowded dance club. It always is. I will think you are dancing, I always do, but no, you will be fixed in the middle, barely swaying, almost standing still. I will go up with you to the roof, we will locate Sirius, Arcturus, Vega, Capella, Rigel, Procyon, Betelgeuse, Altair, Aldebaran, Spica, and Antares, all the stars the city, with its own blazing lights, will let us see. By then I will have planned an escape, complicated and unlikely. All that will remain for us to do is run, run and in our mindless, thrilling haste give it every chance to fail. We will post our secrets onto paper airplanes and watch them coast down to the street, wishes that must never come true.




See Like You

The first series are pictures of me looking for this camera—on the table where I had left it for just a moment, on the other chairs, underneath, and apparently into the sky, as if it could have leapt onto the awning of the café or been stolen by a seagull. These photos were taken from close range, and if the camera could see me, I should have been able to see the camera. In one, I am asking other tourists. In another, I am looking straight into the lens. In the next few, I am wandering along the boardwalk and then the streets back to my hotel.

The second series are pictures of you. At least I assume they are. Your feet in sandals, on the pebbles. The arc of your hip, with the sea as background. Your hand grasping a blue scarf. Edges of shoulder, neck, earlobe, lips, always in a new location, apparently shot on the same day, between pre-dawn and post-sunset, and never in a mirror. Hints. Nothing that identifies you.

The third series are pictures of things I would never have seen without you. At least, I would never have seen them in the same light, from the same angle, with the same ideology, with the same patience. A seagull picking at a crab shell, unnoticed by the crowd tanning on the other side of a big rock. A particular tomato at a fruit stand as it is examined by five successive customers over the course of a day. A series of shots of an ice cube melting on your pelvis. It quickly meets the curve of your body, your skin with goosebumps. Then it turns to water, then it evaporates.

Next there are shots of a hang-glider as he runs towards a cliff. Somehow you are positioned to see his face, first in reflexive fear, then in perfect exhilaration. I had a dream like that while visiting. You couldn’t have known.

When I found my camera again, it was the last day of my trip, my bags were right beside me, and it was on my table at the café, exactly where I had left it. How did you know I would come back? Perhaps you returned every day, set the camera down and watched. It is such a crowded café. I suppose the owner must have been in on it. She always seemed to know something.