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Vignettes & Poems

Your Cinema is My Mind (2014)

Shells of buildings; this could be Syria or Gaza. Two teenagers stand by rubble, gazing at something they hold, hoodies flung behind curls. A girl creeps along a wall to the right, peers ’round at the boys; dark attire, headscarf. The camera moves closer and she fills its frame as she turns to looks beyond it, down the street, then swivels her head back… They see her and yell, she darts, they give chase. The camera shifts 180°. Walls and upper stories line this side of the street, few fronts and roofs; the other side is mostly rubble. The girl runs, reaches an empty crossing…and disappears.

She reappears moments later, still running. Disappears. Reappears a little farther down the hill. Disappears. Reappears…standing in the crossing, looking over her shoulder at the camera; rough-edged like a hurried photomontage, flickering like an erratic projection or someone seen through traffic: Flick-flick-flick—girl—flick-flick.

She reappears running down the street, yet also stands at the crossing. The air thickens as both disappear and reappear. Flick-flick. Flick-flick. The boys chase one girl down the street. They don’t see the other, looking over her shoulder, frozen.

Suddenly, she’s unfrozen. Nothing in the scene has changed—flick-flick-flick. Except, she’s become a watcher. She’s watching me. Girl—flick-flick—girl. In the distance, boys chasing an apparition. Closer, the apparition watching me.

I turn and walk to where the boys were, knowing this where the ghost originated. Behind where they stood, a room without a roof. In that room, so much more light, as though it has its own sky. And—a creature on fire. Like the gill-man but silver-scaled, a round O of a mouth as it wordlessly screams, dancing to the back wall, shuddering and burning. Scales tawny at their base, turning black above. Burning to a hollow form, collapsing.

From the crossing, a girl watches me; flick-flick.

I return to the doorframe and a screeching bird skeleton attacks, feathered with the same metal scales. Arms fly up instinctively. From inside, a gust of fire throws the bird back, setting it alight. Tail like a link-chain, snapping and whirling as the bird gapes with skeletal beak, wings beating, sockets darkly empty. 

And then…out of this flying fire and fury, an eagle with shimmering feathers, silver and tawny, edged with black. Focussed beyond me. It lifts its head, pours itself out of the room. Streams down the hill, feathers stripping off and swarming in the air. It pours and pours and pours into the world…above the world…around it

As far as the eye can see, Scandinavian blue sky. Metallic feathers rocketing, orbiting like manic pigeons, red and black against blue. It is all I can see as I spin: Streaming colour. And somewhere up ahead, an eagle I know is unstoppable.

Three Scenes from a Scattering (2014)

Scene One: At the bar of a club, nursing a drink alone. Something whacks me from behind, crashing my teeth into the counter, smashing my glass. Everything is cloudy red and black, shooting white. The friend I came with is knocked out—black and white chevrons watch me threateningly from the floor. Did she pass out because we collided? Was she pushed? No. The man dancing with her says something inside just stopped… And so, it begins. Hong Kong's crazy skyline, glittering and wheeling above me. Pale blue smudging the sky as I rush from taxi to Emergency, flinging everything out of my pockets. Begging them to wheel her in as they ask for formalities…screaming now because she's turning blue… 

Scene Two: The view is black and white, except neither colour is present. This is a world of greys, faintly tinted green
—like a bad print job. Flour billows over the room as the camera pans left to right, across a large table with an ominous machine like a meat grinder, to a middle-aged woman. She's kneeling beside the table, facing forward with a prisoner's bob-cut, dressed in a dark shift, wailing with broken teeth. But it's unclear: Is she a monster, those sharp teeth her weapons? Is the grinder cranking out food for her children, possibly playing in the dust and dirt by her side, just out of view? Or is something more hideous hidden there, stretching and sticking to the floorboards? Is she beside the machine to receive something from it…or is she herself being secretly 
fed to it, behind the table, limb by limb?

Scene Three: A chocolate-coloured woman, slender, impossibly tall. Flowing hair, sparkling smile. Gorgeous. Dressed in stiff, strapless red, endless legs tipped with strappy yellow stilettos. She's entering my house and I want her there. But she attempts this diagonally, leaning back and angling herself along the double door's hypotenuse instead of crouching; she wants to enter unbowed
… Almost makes it. There’s a slipping, slithering thump, legs splitting along the doorframe as though it's a shard of glass. She's on the floor now, in pieces. A crazy Picasso painting at my entrance… We spectate from the garden, confused and appalled.

Elevation (2011)

Into the skeleton of love 
Falls the flesh of despair 

Upon the shape of salvation 
Fades the mark of desire

Scent [The Birds] (2002)

Molecules nest in folds
Hover over follicles

[du Maurier invades]

A sudden swirling 
Blanketing attack

[The tide turns]

They retreat
To reassemble