The air is heavy this evening, thicker than usual for this time of year. We expect a hint of crispness when leaves start falling like the wind’s telling us secrets about days to come. But all I feel is muggy. Maybe it’s my mood. She’s projecting again, despite my chagrin. How I’d give anything to go back in her history, to solve the mystery. What fool could have played so loosely with a hand like this? Never mind that line, his loss is my gain. And now I follow behind, ready to pick up the pieces should any break free. My only purpose, to save her from another carbon copy scene. I’ll know it’s time when I see the chill set in, when social graces raise goose bumps on her ivory skin. That scarf, the white one, she wears it like armor when forced to do battle on the fields of society. I watch as it slips lower and lower. A glimpse of her shoulder reminds me of the delicate flower that lies beneath. Despite the hard edge she’s attempting to display, I see only soft curves and her womanly ways. I know in mere moments, we’ll be on the open road. I’ll reach to her hair and let it flow, the pardoned cascade setting her free -- and just like that, she’ll be back with me. ~ Francesca
Through photographs, each family constructs a portrait-chronicle of itself; a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness. Now they are on the auction block; a big ’4 Children For Sale - Inquire Within’ sign in a Chicago / Illinois yard mutely tells a family’s tragic story. For long months the family waged a desperate but losing battle to keep food in the mouth and a roof over their heads. With no place to turn, they decide to sell their four children. The mother was shielding her eyes from the camera while her four small children stare wonderingly sitting huddled on the steps outside. Photographie à clef -- this photograph is the remake of an infamous historical photo originally taken in 1948, that made its way into many U.S. newspapers. Redone to put a focus on the tragic case again because things have not changed that much. Human trafficking is still around in many countries and numerous children are still sold throughout the world. Many of them abused by child labor and kept in child slavery; not to mention sexual abuse and child prostitution. The little checkered dog was not part of the original story but was added to the scenery to make its own, personal statement on animal cruelty.
He’s like a hero come back from the war, a poor maimed bastard living out the reality of his dreams. Those whom society rejects, under the pretext that they may have -- no Gods, no Masters. Wherever he sits himself the chair collapses; whatever door he enters the room is empty; whatever he puts in his mouth leaves a bad taste. Everything is just the same as it was before; the elements are unchanged, the dream is no different than the reality. Only, between the time he went to sleep and the time he woke up, his body was stolen. It is very queer that the unhappiness of the world is so often brought on by small men. We were young, and we had just begun to love the world and to love being in it, but we had to shoot it to pieces. We’ve been cut off from real action, from getting on, from progress. We don’t believe in those things anymore; we believe in the war. The cigarette we smoke at the democratic dawn; the dawn that puts a veil for tears that may have -- no Gods, no Masters. You take it from me, we are losing our democratic freedom because we can salute too well. The word of the prophet, I claim it and I wish you -- no more Gods, no more Masters!
Three o’clock in the morning. The highway is empty, under a malignant moon. The oil drippings make the roadway gleam like a blue-satin ribbon. The night is still but for the engine’s humming noise. There is something unbearably sexy about cars at night. The way the fenders twist the light and reflect the road, the way every driver becomes anonymous. The inside of the old Lincoln smells like asphalt, gasoline and dreams – and desire. The road is straight. The way is long. But the night is short. The humming burgeons into a roar. The car is going so fast it sways from side to side. The backseat produced the sexual revolution but all males chase women they have no intention of marrying for the same reason dogs chase cars they have no intention of driving. My tears were not allowed to cry. At that very special night, after the last picture show, driving my car along the country roads, I began to wonder how real the landscape truly was, and how much of a dream is a dream. I dreamed of driving off bridges, into the moonshine river, into the dried-up reservoir on the country road to home, into the lake beneath some twisting highway of my youth -- Film Noir.
A bare thigh or a thumb in the air can only lead to certain despair when you take a chance on beauty so fair that she must be too good to be true. A look of innocence required no effort on her part, so when it became a necessity, she thought nothing of it. A stunning beauty, gifted by her pagan Gods with the visual charm of a young Cardinale. A cunning vixen, learning early that her impish charms could bring her any number of rewards. With Cicciolina, you'll never get what you see. In fact, it was festering and putrid, beneath the stunning veil of youth. Even before she was aware of her need to control men, she had a skill for cutting her eyes a certain way that would render any man senseless. She used that skill many times, and it fueled the darkest parts of her being. She found the complete mesmerized looks on their faces both disgusting and empowering. Her mind drifts, strolling through the path of potential suitors that could come calling. Her bewitching resplendence a consummate host, delivering wanderers, wonderers, travelers, and poets. Serving them to her in a bountiful buffet, feeding her ever increasing hunger for all of the life's vigor. The dust on the road kicked up just enough to cause her to squint back into reality. Surely someone would come along soon, if not she might be forced to nap. She had seen a little station a few miles back, surely there would be a young man there willing to help a damsel in distress. Or even better, a mature blue collar with rough hands and amorous gullibility. Although, with far too much life out there to live, there was no time to waste with napping. This would not do. She'll wait a bit longer; after all the shade casts just enough shadow to lend to her current state in an appealing way. ~ Francesca
Detroit's mummified sculptures, frozen behind my back - a vision of human industrial empire keeps passing before my eyes. In my ears, I hear the wonderful symphony which came from factories where metals were shaped into tools for men's service. Motown Blues - a new music, waiting for the composer with genius enough to give it communicable form. I think of the millions of different men by whose combined labor and thought automobiles were produced, from the miners who dug the iron ore out of the earth to the railroad men and teamsters who brought the finished machines to the consumer, so that man, space, and time might be conquered, and ever-expanding victories be won against death. Machinery for its own sake and for its meaning to man -- his self-fulfillment and liberation from drudgery and poverty. Detroit's motor-cars were the ultimate symbols of those American dreams - the reward for travelers towards luxurious existence. But we lost it all; wealth and beauty are buried deeply under this coating golden cold. I have memories, but the images have lost their vividness, they seem dead and desultory. Nothing but glimpses of faded past which Miss Liberty tries to mask by slipping into the photograph’s sepia. And yet the city is not dead: but no human is there any longer to send or receive, to charge or discharge. After a long exile, the wild animals have come back to occupy the territory wrested from the forest: foxes and martens wave their soft tails over the control panels starred with manometers and levers and gauges and diagrams -- badgers and dormice luxuriate on batteries and magnetos.
The land and the water make numbers joined, through the endless night the earth whirls toward a creation unknown – a poem written in flesh and stronger than steel or granite. For years I went about, day and night, with only one thing on my mind – her! She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately – a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs. I could see only the eyes shining through; eyes so big and bright, as if they saw more than they could comprehend. That’s what made them so beautifully bright. One can wait a whole lifetime for a moment like this. The woman whom you never hoped to meet now stands before you and she looks exactly like the person you dreamed about. But the strangest of all is that you never realized before that you had dreamed about her. Your whole past is like a long sleep, which would have been forgotten had there been no dream to become reality. I sit down beside her and she talks. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die. But she even wouldn’t remember that at a certain corner I had stopped to pick up her hairpin, or that, when I bent down to tie her laces, I remarked the spot on which her foot had rested and that it would remain there in Perpetuum, even after the cathedrals had been demolished and the whole Latin civilization wiped out forever and ever. I loved -- and I lost.
In the midday heat of any yellowish June's summer day, back in 1948. Touching the steering wheel and power ran to my fingertips. Driving west, then south, in search of the lost old highways. All of a sudden I was out of the lot and on the turnpike next to the mountains, flying. I put my hand out the window, and then I put my head out. There were a million smells along this road, both old and just born. I felt my hair blow behind me and the air rush into me, and I forgot for a moment to worry about how I was supposed to be. Most of life is driving somewhere and then driving back wondering why the hell we went there. The roadway seems to stretch for miles in a straight line as the fields and farms give way to a more barren landscape. All that space, waiting, so easy to go sailing off this road. It was like hundreds of roads I'd driven over - no different - a stretch of tar, lusterless, dusty, pitted, bumpy. The broken center line of the road reflected itself in the windscreen and became an endless pulsing ribbon. A town or village straddling the highway; street signs peer out here and there among the trees. On both sides were telephone poles, tilted this way and that, up a little, down, threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three ... one hundred and nine-teen telephone poles. I drove along them like a drunken butterfly heading to its next fermented flower. The indicator on the speedometer started to lose ground and I was miles away from my real life. Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia, everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated. Fly towards the unknown -- beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.
It's not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be, but amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are a few things admirable for a woman to be. It's always wonderful to be elegant -- elegance is a glowing inner peace. It's always fashionable to have grace -- grace is an ability to give as well as to receive and be thankful. It's always glamorous to be brave -- glamor only radiates if there is a sublime courage and bravery within. Glamour is like the sky; it only blazes because the clouds are there. And it's always important to own a delectable smile. Yes, wearing a beautiful smile is in style at any age. Wear it as you wear an exquisite perfume; to be wrapped and cradled in an enchanting scent upon your face is a magic all on its own. The notes in that precious smile will remind you that you love yourself and will tell other people that they ought to love you because you know that you're worth it. The love affair created by an alluring smile between you and other people, you and nature, you and yourself, you and your memories and anticipations and hopes and dreams; it is all too beautiful a thing -- woman is never overdressed or underdressed with a little seraphic smile.