Monday, 22 June 2009

the seven days of myself

and there is evening and there is morning, the first day. i feel the world taking shape in myself. the light doesn't know of its light. the dark doesn't know of its dark. but then, they touch my soul. and they know each other, in me. i am the battlefield on which beauty is tired of being and claims a meaning. oh, blade of grass, seal my lips, cut my tongue, bind me to your nameless grace. make silence be enough, before the stone stirs into an answer. make solitude my crown.

the dawn of the second day finds my voice drawing the thin line between earth and sky. my reckless god, why did you put that black belt of loneliness upon the marshlands of my soul? i run circles around me and all i can find is this damp, forlorn earth on which, occasionally, a thistle blooms. i beg for a presence, the tiniest breath unfolding towards me.

contemplating the thistle's longing to become a poppy, it occurs to me that i need to be sly in order to lure people my way. i put on my best garment, cover my chest, wrists and ankles with dazzling gold. each of my movements sways in the air like a song. trails of scent swirl above the endless fields. with a precision that amazes me every time i witness the defilement, they place a seed of me in every thing. this is how the third day was spent.

souls are greedy, souls are hungry, i tell myself in the morning of the fourth day. they need to feed on more than such shallow waters. with unabated diligence, i start piling up treasures after treasures inside the caves of my being. i hesitate a little before ripping off the sun from its heaven. i cry when i tear down the stars with the fork of my solitude years. i go on about my business nevertheless. now they hang inside me. their light is suddenly heavy of history, i am the richest and oldest prey of this world. my fourty thieves, come.

people are lazy, i ponder on the morning of the fifth day. the effort of moving a hand to undress another soul in the dusk is too much for them. i will make it easier for you, my tribe. naked, i stand before you, like a black statue in the white valleys of the moon. i have learned from the nest to wait for roundness. in the evening, tired of such wingless patience, i send myself onto each road. i offer my soul at every curve of my courtesan thighs. i burn for you all. i am the whore of the high wheat.

contemplating my failure in the grey light of the sixth day, i am suddenly struck by the simplicity of the answer. people are so scared of each other. they only seek themselves in every shape of life. nobody wants to inhabit a soul that is already inhabited by a stranger. with fierce determination, i wipe out every trace of myself in the marshlands of my being. i look in the mirror and not even i can see my face. even from my shadow, i chased myself away. my sorrows hang on the walls of my memory, devoid of myself. i don't recognize myself in my joys. my emptiness glows. satisfied, the lack of myself sits down and awaits to be taken over.

finally, on the evening of the seventh day, something stirs beyond the horizon line. my old trembling limbs, my wild beating heart, see, see. blinded by tears, my shout has no echo. my beautiful friend, my brother, my beloved, you have come. you have come. don't wear out your delicate feet, i will crawl to you. we have found each other. our embrace will be endless, you will be i and i will be you. my only one, my sweet sister, my soul.

growing like a black cloud, like a black horse galopping towards me, was the hour of my death.


  1. God...

    Brilliant. Stunning. Genius, this is...

  2. Continuo a gostar bastante desta forma impressionista de fotografar.
    Sempre muito interessante...
    No, i am not in London now.
    Now, i am in OPORTO, my suite town.

  3. Mmmmm... think I will need 7 days and 7 nights to drink from this cup again, and again to... to... to what ? To understand ? Is it possible to understand another voice ? I hear the vibrations, they wash over the senses... but what do they mean, these vibrations, this sound, this light...? Love the grainy light here, as though it were black and white film from long ago ?

    Also, I don't know where your musical tastes run, but I can't help but toss this out as somehow pertinent here :

  4. a post 'growing like a black cloud' ....

  5. See..I always suspected that in your vanity you believed ou dserved your Genesis.

    No, but more seriously... what a magnificent pagan you would have made...I sense such love for the earth, a feminine empathy. this is beyond me to comprehend fully.

  6. 'like a black horse galloping towards me, was the hour of my death'

    by this i was in there too and could feel the thunder of the horse.

    the days started getting shorter on the 22nd, yesterday - this post seemed appropriate

  7. welcome back from the the 7-days journey to yourself, roxana. you are the epic itself.

    appreciate for everything.. adorable, lovely, and brilliant.. open sesame.. :-)

  8. powerful post... both images and words.

  9. a thistle wants to become a poppy!?
    never!!! lol

  10. "with a precision that amazes me every time i witness the defilement"

    (i have nothing more to add, adding anything would be to diminish that phrase)

  11. Rechercher les mots dans un mélange,les maux les besoins les faux mots dans le tréfonds des coeurs
    l'humanité harmonie,que nos rêves câlinent.les parfums les senteurs
    que les êtres butinent dans des black White doser d'une larme un clin d'oeil des amours qui s'effleurent.Roxana Merci!

  12. I like this graceful parable --- this sense of the elements of being coming together out of the silence and dark just as a world emerges in your photographs from the start assembly of unbeing, where the bleakness is a matter of stripped focus and the honesty of the morning of creation. Among many treasures, I love these sentences from the first section: “i am the battlefield on which beauty is tired of being and claims a meaning.” and “make silence be enough, before the stone stirs into an answer.” These lines will be indispensable to me ---

    I am haunted by the last photo, and I return to see it again. I have written before about the negative space in your images, the absence that is at once erasure and creation, and I see that at work here. The way the lines of her face and fingers repeat the margins of the dark and light to either side, an unforgiving beauty about her in this photo, emerging from the dark and dissolving into the light…. And her gesture --- one of refusal, of pushing away, or reaching out to grasp? I suspect that it is both, simultaneously....

  13. Roxana, Hello.

    I like what you have written but more importantly, i like the manner you have written it. these are the words of the mistress of an imperial "eastern despot" know, the construction of such characters in 'western consciousness'.

    these words sound forceful and direct and signal action but are actually quite melancholic in intensity and there is a forlorn lost ring to them. you write like an eastern love-ridden character, bereft of an escape clause, surrounded by the king's army, surrounded by the 'thistles' of the 'marshland'.( it is easy to see how such generalizations work in literary fiction.....the words the character and yet everything is universal) though such imagination is not so common.

    you do violence to yourself, you have been done violence to( i would like you to understand that you understand that i refer to the "persona" that writes what you have written, not the "Roxana" of the bridge.

    The darkness of your words surprises me, for i thought you are just japanese flowers( i am happily surprised). i haven't concentrated much on the photos accompanying( honest).For once , i just looked at the text. it has shimmers, it reminds me more of a certain style, i think now of Milorad Pavic, you see, have you read Pavic? Pavic of course writes fables in a deconstructing way but nonetheless.

    I have actually heard this style more than having read it, bu i know this quite well( unless this post has deceived me completely).

    I must confess that your post excites me, the words do. melancholy and sadness are such positives! But i am not sure who I address? you or the writer of that singular mood?

    I recommend a novel called "senselessness", you will find an uneasy post i wrote about in last year. you must try the novel. i thought of the novel after reading you, though your post and the novel have nothing in common.

    in short, well written!( I have become so cynical, nothing pleases me. notice the capital 'I'). but well done!

  14. oh S., dear dear dear S., now you make me blush!!!! what can i possibly say? i can't believe you loved it so much...

    Adelino, thank you, i think our styles are very different, you being so much concerned with abstract shapes and geometrical patterns, so i am glad you like it :-)

    Owen, this is the key question, isn't it? "is it possible to understand another voice"? how much ink has been used in struggling to find an answer to it :-) but i think what is more important here is exactly this, that one hears the vibrations, receive the sounds, the light and the shadows - be open and respond to them, in an empathic way. at least this is what matters to me, i am not much concerned with conceptualism :-)

    yes, it is film, i only work on film.

    thank you for the song, it's pertinent, yes... i haven't much listened to him, i was more of a Doors fan :-) now mostly Cohen, Waits... which suddenly puts me in the mood for a bit of music in the next post...

  15. dear ffflaneur, perhaps it was this post that brought the storms we had to face these past days - and another one is coming tomorrow :-)

    Zuma, ha, my vanity! don't challenge me on this slippery ground :-) and yes, of course i AM a pagan, however clever the disguise :-)
    but what is more interesting is that i got a longer mail from an indian reader who also talked about the strong earth connection he felt in this post, and the same kind of empathy you mention - it has surprised me because i had never thought of it in these terms, perhaps this is indian sensitivity?

    "and could feel the thunder of the horse" what more could i wish? thank you, Manu.

  16. hi Peter
    however, if the journey went exactly as i told in my story, i wouldn't come back from it, i'm afraid :-)
    as for 'open sesame', however funny this is, i think such magical incantations have lost their power in our post-post-post-worlds, so sad, no?

    Seth, thank you for your visit and kind appreciation.

    swiss, hahaha: a Scot is always a Scot, even in Zagreb :-P what is funnier is that i had written: 'to become a rose' but then 'a poppy' made more sense for those fields. i imagine how you would have raged then :-) of course, how could i contradict you if:

    I vow - and let men mete the grass
    For his red grave who dares say less
    Men kinder at the festive board,
    Men braver with the spear and sword,
    Men higher famed for truth - more strong
    In virtue, sovereign sense, and song,
    Or maids more fair, or wives more true,
    Than Scotland's, ne'er trode down the dew.
    Round flies the song - the flagon flows,
    The thistle's grown aboon the rose.


  17. Michael, and i cannot add anything to what you wrote, without diminishing what your silence brings to me. thank you.

    Allan, c'est moi qui dois te remercier pour tes commentaires qui sont autant de meditations sur l'etre humain... je suis heureuse que mes images inspirent une contemplation pareille...

    James, you do me such honour when you say that these lines will be 'indispensable' for you. i don't know how i could answer here... i think we share this obsession with the struggle and the Riss, the fissure between the natural object as such and the (poetic) word which, in our post-romantic sensitivity, longs for the same mode of existence - and it is forever condemned to fail in achieving it: "For it is in the essence of lan­guage to be capable of origination, but of never achieving the
    absolute identity with itself that exists in the natural object.
    Poetic language can do nothing but originate anew over and
    over again; it is always constitutive, able to posit regardless of
    presence but, by the same token, unable to give a foundation
    to what it posits except as an intent of consciousness. The word
    is always a free presence to the mind, the means by which the
    permanence of natural entities can be put into question and
    thus negated, time and again, in the endlessly widening spiral
    of the dialectic" (Paul de Man, Rhetoric of Romanticism).

    or no? :-)

    thank you telling me that about the last photo, i have to admit i pondered a lot whether i should include it or not, just end the post with the cloud image. but i decided to go for it because it made sense to mark an opposition with the rest of the images, and also because an older curiosity of mine, sparkled by Neil's marvelous post on artistic depictions of personified Death:

    how could one try this in photography?

  18. wow, Kubla, hello and... my deepest gratitude for such a long and thoughtful reaction to my post, you have taken me by surprise... and all the more because i am acutely aware of your skeptical view about literature and of that what you call 'cynicism', but which is perhaps only your way of staying true to yourself and your own standards.

    i am amused by your description: 'the words of a mistress of an Eastern despot', it is hard to step back and to think about my text in this way, trying to see what aspects reminded you of the fictional construction of such images in the 'western consciousness'. perhaps there is a certain similarity between the melancholy here and that famous sad longing of the 'russian soul' - is this an eastern feature? i wonder if you had thought of that not knowing of my origin. there is a certain talk going on here about the 'inevitable bovarism' which seem to plague all Romanian intellectuals, and i think i am guilty of that too, but not so much in this text, perhaps? ... and i am inclined to think that this is something inherent to my nature, and not some cultural influence, but it is of course hard to tell (it always is when one asks such questions).

    i see what you mean by 'violence' in this case: perhaps it is a text dealing with just that, the violence which is done to a soul when it is thrown into this world of absurdity and loneliness. what Heidegger means by: "In-die-Welt-geworfen-Sein" - being thrown into the world...

    but i have to confess that i am surprised that you haven't noticed these dark tones by now, i don't think the Bridge is 'just' about 'japanese flowers' :-) (i will let it pass like this, though it would be worth questioning this 'just').

    the problem that you raise: the relationship between the writer and the 'i' in the text is a very thorny one, i doubt i can answer it - or that i am willing to try, i think i will leave it to the readers themselves :-)

    i don't know Pavic, i will go check - also the novel you recommend.

    once again, i am so happy that my text has spoken to you and... thank you so much for such a challenging reply...

  19. oh i'm not the one to be being sensitive about other people's national symbols, even when they come from the same place as me. i'm well impressed you were aware of the cunningham poem tho. it's a bit controversial here, as well as fairly unknown outside academia. national symbols tho, that's another subject that'll need to wait for that conversation over a beer!

    thistle into rose i'm not into because of its nature as a transformational mythology. i like thistles, i grow one in my garden because of it (and to annoy the neighbours who hate it as a weed). a thistle has its own beauty, to be interacted with on its own terms, without compromise. i rahter prefer that. the truncated version. obviously!

  20. haha, swiss. first things first: i was pretty certain it was not a question of national symbol for you, you don't seem like that kind of guy :-) so i was about 20% that you wanted to joke about that, and 80% that it was just because you loved thistles (there is a certain hardness, directness and recklessness about you, at least my feeling, which recommend you as a thistle fan :-). so, "obviously"!
    but you mention your neighboors who hate it as a weed, i assume not many people would prefer it to a poppy, and that was exactly what i tried to play with in my text.

    as for the poem, sorry to disappoint, but it was google: i somehow remembered the thistle-Scotland connection, don't know from where, and that poem was the first thing which popped up :-)

  21. i think i'm just gettig too predictable for you! lol

    we had some discussion around all of this on our many train journeys. t was more in accord with the position of the post but said that these days she didn't much wish for transformation but rather that she was a diamond and chose to reveal facets of herself at her own behest. it wasa good point well made and as a gentleman i could only demur!

  22. :-)

    swiss, i forgot to say how much i liked what t said and i also agree - please thank her for that...

  23. the black poppy and the shadows...

    the abstracted bridge of burnt grass stretched to sun

    the horizon