Carol of the Christmas Ball

They said you shouldn’t stare into the reflection in the red ornament, the glossy surface dimming the room lights but amplifying the image, the mouth-gaping silhouette. So, naturally but superstitiously silly my hand trembles holding the apple-size red ball, polished plastic, cheap and fragile, thinking who “they” are supposed to be to say things like that.

I place it central, hang it there to drink in the light and I pay it no more mind preparing dinner, settling in for the festivity, the food and caroling and presents and bad jokes, the cat under the table meowing for a piece of turkey.

But then I catch myself catching an image still lingering there inside the ball like a smoke ghost, an imprint on the inside of it made to look like me. So I call for my husband, “Come look at this, it’s a most uncanny thing” and then when nobody comes I turn around and my house is in shambles, a dystopian image brick for brick like a tornado swept through it while I wasn’t watching and left me and the tree, spruce five foot nine standing there, me dumbfounded and it close to discoloration, no lights, no golden star at the top. What remains is a jagged piece from that red spherical ornament. A vacant half to which I have to find the missing one to make it whole again, to return home.

I take it off and keep it enclosed careful not to grind it between eager palms and turn it to dust, and I step through what once, when once was the wall of my living room and trespass onto the street close in resemblance to the semi-interior of my demolished house. And I hear caroling though there’s no “Carol of the Bells”, no “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or “O Come Emmanuel”.

They from behind missing walls and smoke curtained corners sing of a different spirit, a true ghost haunting the skies with his phantom carriage, transfixed by his holy unending duty every Christmas month and year and century. I listen to that chorus depicting him as a wandering soul unable to break for eons and eons from a perpetual sacrifice, starting with the dawn and ending out of breath and dead by dusk, an empty bag and skeleton thin reindeer, tired and old and gasping, red tongues darting out of steaming muzzles.

I jerk around and run away from the whispers of the carollers, the wispy voices effortlessly carried through the empty air. In this place so much like my own home and then so different I catch a glimpse at that sprite and he is neither jolly, nor bright, nor laughing. He is gaunt and tall and his red coat, overlong and tattered is worn out, pinkish with time. He walks through thin air with heavy footsteps, descending upon a hollowed rooftop, his body transparent between wall and wall. And he places a long-fingered hand inside the depthless pockets of his coat and pulls out a simple toy, damaged by time but precious and places it in the empty spot where a pine or spruce or fir should be. Then he leaves a little more exhausted, I can see.

I call after him like a child, like I haven’t done in years and years and when he turns before me, taller than a tree and I see his sunken eyes, black as coals and button-shaped, the roundness of them not matching the fake sagging layer of his anemic body. I stare at the creases of his elongated, sharp face, deep by age and cracked by the cold like fjords running along the pastiness of his skin half-hidden by matted white locks. But I show him my red ball like how it is in half, jagged edges and hollow. Do I say please or does he know it, because his face pains, grimaces and frowns.

“I don’t belong here,” I say, telling him I don’t want to either. I offer the ball and hold it there and I don’t think he sees me. For a moment I panic, stranded and abandoned and I imagine growing old here with the carollers in forever winter white this giant visiting abandonment as a promise or a punishment, trying to return some light and joy to it. I tremble, visibly shake with incoming sobs or it’s the cold finally creeping in.

He looks at me, the red coated man, this forgotten saint and he reaches inside the folds of his being. Pinched between two thin digits he offers me wordlessly the other half of my red ornament. I eagerly bring mine closer to fit in the edges and glue together another kind of reality away from the loneliness this alteration exists from.

Then my husband is right behind me saying “what did you want to show me” and “I’ll go check on the oven and the turkey” and I nod, focused on something else outside his voice.

The red ball is polished and complete, the tiniest crack visible only to me, like a hair splitting me from him, his image lingering in there filling the entire space but then it’s gone and later on I sneak into the living room when the house is quiet. I weep silently for some time watching the ball in the darkness.

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Passion in Monochrome

So, a couple of weeks ago I decided to collect photos I think decent enough into a more “professional” looking layout rather than just keep posting them all on Instagram. Some Weebly themes caught my eye and after messing around with the platform for a few hours I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted this “professional” photography blog to look like.

It’s mostly dedicated to monochrome stills because I just love them, I love how they look and I am always happy when I work in this minimalist, ambient, shadow infested approach. I think it ended up looking pretty clean and to the point.

It’s still very fresh and I fully intend to grow it out and do some blog posts over there as well regarding certain projects and what not. So, if you dig black and white photography, come on over and give it a look around, get to know this other side of me and drop a few words if the mood strikes. Link is through the photo. Cheers.

 

The Witch’s House

 

Tender steps. Hand loosely than harshly grasping the rail. Splinters entering the softness of the cold palms. Cold with sweat. Cold with the stickiness so common in fear. Eliot is afraid and that feeling is making his insides freeze. They cheated him into this, his friends, hiding behind the trees, feet rustling in the fallen leaves, no footprints just imprints, the heaviness of their bodies leaving a mark they were there before they run off leaving him with the shortness of their laughter whispery and frail, reverberating in the October chilliness. They called him a faggot, a pussy, a piece of good-for-nothing shit when he didn’t want to go into the Witch’s House, barking the word on repeat.

So Eliot went, not wanting to be anything, anyone but himself. He didn’t want to be scared of their mockery. And as he went up the steps, she came out after hearing the creaks and pops and breathing of the house. With her came the sort of sound wind makes through abandonment, through foreign cracks, alien and old with time and poised with things – words and noises, music bumping on and off, voices and wet eyes watching. With truths kept secret and identities hidden underneath layers of skin that gets pulled and teased and worn until it rips open and the truth oozes out. Like the wind slipping through, a whistle at a time.

‘Do you know what she does, the Witch?’ they asked him when they were all playfully pursuing paths in the forest. ‘She takes your skin away, peeling it with her claws and she wraps it around herself like a cloth. She wears you and you see and hear and feel everything she does. The Witch is fat with the skins of children.’

Standing before Eliot, she was pregnant with the promise of their words. She was layered, folds of smooth skin, colorless and colorful overlapping in the form of shirts and skirts but leaving her naked all the same. There was however one lie to their story and he saw it as she bend over, faceless yet seeing. He wouldn’t see, nor hear nor feel anything she did with his skin after she took it. He would be just another corpse, neatly hidden somewhere. The empty eye sockets, red around the rims of their flesh stared at Eliot emptily devoid of that essence remaining in them that his friends spoke off through puffs of smoke from that shared packet of cigarettes and splashes of stolen beer.

However them having run off meant they would never see or hear the Witch leading him inside a damp and dark room, floor littered with syringes, the pungent smell of piss soaking the walls, the corners. In there she would unfold her face and allow a glimpse at her eyes merging that in-between, outwordly feeling Eliot had standing on her doorstep. She would look at him as her teeth emerge and she lowers her mouth onto his pinky finger, delicately separating skin and meat from the bone. Eliot would watch the Witch chew the soft redness and churn the skin, stretching it with her tongue, modeling it to her own being.

Then she would leave him there, a boy with a skeleton pinky finger trembling in his own pooling piss and she would rustle the leaves with her draping skin to find the friends which left him at her doorstep and ran off with their flesh pink from the October cold.