Issuu on Google+

issue #6

NEW WRITING, POETRY, ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY ON A COMMON THEME


Cover photo by Ben Turner THE GUYS AT PoV TOWERS: Designer: Ben Turner Editors and co-creators: Chris Pilkington and Ben Turner Proof reading wonder kid: Emma Seymour


WELCOME TO ISSUE SIX

It’s true, I’m back from the farthest reaches of the planet and I think it’s fair to say that one of the things I noticed when hopping from bus to tuk-tuk is that all people love different things. I, for example, love my wife, biscuits and sitting. Chris loves his kids, mud and sticks. Different strokes for different folks. But we both love new and exciting writing, art and photography and luckily there’s loads of it on the following pages. We’ve got some great new artists taking part this time and a few of our old faves. So turn the page and enjoy, among other things, one man’s love of his country, the love of stars, the love of a Kryptonian, love on the streets and even, believe it or not, love between people. It’s beautiful thing. Ben Turner

Haddaway once asked What is love? If PoV had existed in 1993 we could have told him that it was the theme for our sixth issue and avoided all his worries regarding a baby hurting him. If you’ve come here looking for love then this isn’t the place, but if you’re after seeing new and brilliant work by artists from all over the world then you are looking at the right publication. Ben has returned from his travels around the world and much to my disappointment he does not sport a large, thick, soup-stained beard. But he has returned with a fresh new look for the magazine that, I think, is rather good and a noggin packed full of wondrous ideas. Probably. Enjoy! Chris Pilkington

Visit: www.povmagazine.co.uk

Follow: @pov_magazine TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

Email: hello@povmagazine.co.uk

3


WELCOME: CONTENTS 006 MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS 010 WHAT IS LOVE Emma Seymour asks the ultimate question 012 BLIND DATE By Ziella Bryars 016 LOVE ON THE STREETS Ben Turner goes in search of love with his camera by his side 030 NOT QUITE DATEABLE By Kyrsten Bean 034 TIN HOUSE WARM HEART By Jeff Chandler 036 STARMAN Ben Turner talks to Phil Hart about his love of astrophotography 054 DRESSING UP By Emil Blaker 057 THE GIRL WITH SAPPHIRE EYES Life and love with Sgt. Pilko

cont 060 SYRIA THROUGH A LENS By Emma Seymour

066 AS THE WORLD IS SOMETIMES GOTTEN SAD Poetry from W.M.Lewis

4

MAGAZINE


068 SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE By Luis Amate Perez 076 EMBRACE Photography by Heather Shuker 086 SUPERMAN SAYS Our favourite Kryptonian gives us his thoughts on love 088 A FALSE DAWN Poetry by Victoria Sanchez 090 SO SORRY Beautiful self-portraits by Jennifer Bruget 098 MURKA, THE SADDEST SADISTIC LOVE STORY By Zarina Zabrisky 102 SHOOT FROM THE HEART Photography by Emma and Pete Case 114 MY SPECIAL YOU Poetry by Lorna Benoit

tents 116 THE TEA AND TOAST CLUB Jackson Pilkington’s fists do the talking

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

5


WELCOME: MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS BEN TURNER Designer / photographer / film lover / music listener / book reader / Stephen Fry worshipper. Oh and co-creator of this very magazine, by the way thanks for reading. Having worked on corporate publications for the last few years where everything you do is checked by the complete and utter hell that is a “Branding Team” this is a breath of fresh air. A chance to design something I love with content by people I admire. Can’t ask for more than that eh? Website: www.ben-turner.co.uk Twitter: @benturner83 BURAK ISIK Founder of graphic design&advertising agency ºcelsius, a brand specialist, professional traveller, documentary photographer, writer (hillsider / blank-mag / paper TAG), dreamer… His idea of re-creating Superman on twitter with @Supermantweets entertains more than 48.000 people on a daily basis. A Kryptonian stuck on Earth with dual personality disorder shares his perspective on everyday things with a wicked sense of humor and imagery. Some of his tweets are published as social media reference by French L’Express, American Wall Street Journal, Vogue UK etc. Among his celebrity superfollowers are Stan Lee, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise, Milla Jovovich, Jean Paul Gaultier, David Copperfield, Amanda Holden, Kristin Davis, Bo Derek, Nina Garcia, Angie Harmon, Matthew Modine, Tony Parsons, Matt Johnson, John Simm, Ed Drewett, Fran Drescher, Blake Harrison, Adrianne Curry, Emilio Estevez, Chris Kattan, David Faustino, Samantha Fox and Martina Navratilova. Twitter: @SupermanTweets EMIL BLAKE I’m a freelance journalist and English teacher with interest in politics, photography and fiction. I love rockabilly, punk and 60’s reggae. . I love a nice cup of tea and a pint of real ale (not at the same time). Despite a massive lack of any real talent I also love playing guitar I blog at www. http://emil-blake.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://www.lechenegra.co.uk/ and I’m currently writing my first novel. Twitter: @emilitoemilio

6

MAGAZINE


ÉMMA CASE I am Emma Case, together with my husband Pete, we run Emma Case Photography. We started out in 2010 as a full time wedding photography business, we have shot over 100 weddings all over the UK and Europe. We mainly shoot alternative weddings where couples are not afraid to stamp their personality on to their day and do something different. We also run the ‘Welcome Home’ workshops which focus on shooting from your heart and realising why you do what you do. Websites: www.emmacasephotography.com The Welcome Home Workshop Blog: emmacasephotography.blogspot.co.uk Twitter: @EmmaCase Facebook: Emma Case Photography EMMA SEYMOUR Emma Seymour is a writer and journalist based in London. Starting out as a reporter on regional newspapers in Kent and the capital, she now works in corporate publishing. Her heart lies in writing about real life, people and what makes them tick. Other interests include human rights, politics, animal welfare and international development. Twitter: @Emseymour

JENNIFER BRUGET Jennifer Bruget is the epitome of the twenty-first century photographer: passionate and driven, she is a multitalented artist who assumes the creative roles of director, photographer, make-up artist, stylist and model… all at once. As she introduces us to her world, to her work ethics and to some of the pieces in her glossy, vibrant and absolutely surreal portfolio, we have come to realize just how much work this dedicated French artist puts into her brilliant self-portraits. KYRSTEN BEAN Kyrsten Bean is a writer and a musician. She pens freelance articles for publications, including Groovemine and Bound by Ink. Her poems have been published in Children, Churches and Daddies, The Railroad Poetry Project, Amphibi.us, The Camel Saloon, The Delinquent, Breadcrumb Scabs, Gutter Eloquence, Censored Poets and others. She writes to motivate artists, writers and musicians to keep going in spite of difficulty at thestifledartist.com. More than anything, she encourages people to try and fail over and over again, because as Steven Pressfield put it in The War of Art: “because this is war, baby. And war is hell.” Website: http://thestifledartist.com LORA BENOIT

HEATHER SHUKER Heather Shuker is a professional and creative arts photographer. She is a graduate of Central St Martins, and is currently working on her MA in photography at the University of Brighton. Heather says, “ As a photographer of ‘life’ and ‘happenings’, I am interested in those moments when people let down their guard and show themselves as they truly are. My approach is that of an unobserved observer, exploring and revealing missed details and gestures to create images with beauty and realism. Website: www.heathershuker.co.uk JEFF CHANDLER Jeff currently lives in London where he works as a professional actor and singer. Being faced with a crossroads in his life, he began to write. His weekly blog entitled ‘Malleable Reality’ marries together his passion for writing and photography covering love, life and everything in between. Blog: http://goo.gl/45E2a

TH E LOVE ISSUE

I was born into a simple small family in the city of Thibodaux. I am writing and publishing books. I am a middle aged woman who just started to get my work out there. I realized that if I don’t get them out there what is the point of writing them?

LUIS AMATE PEREZ Luis Amate Perez is Lou Perez, half of the comedy duo, Greg and Lou (www. youtube.com/gregandlou). Lou was a comedy producer on TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and performs regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. His work has appeared in Fiction, Born in the 1980s (Route Magazine, 2008), Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled (Villard, 2009), Beyond Race Magazine, Religion Dispatches, and Zouch Magazine. Twitter: @LouontheSubway

M AY 20 13

7


WELCOME: MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS PHIL HART Phil Hart has been enjoying and photographing the night sky for nearly twenty years. His award winning photos have been published in books, magazines and popular websites around the world and in 2012, Phil was the winner of the prestigious ‘David Malin Astrophotography Award’. Phil also runs Night Sky Photography workshops with Michaels Camera Store, one of the largest retail camera stores in Australia. You can follow Phil and the beautiful images he captures on Google Plus or the Night Sky Photography Facebook page. SGT. PILKO Born in the wrong century, I’m the type who would love to harp on about exotic foreign trips, filled with peculiar women who have tempted my gaze with silver trays laden with shiny puddings. But alas the nearest I have come to this was to be holding the form for a trip to poke a peasant whilst he clutched at his Nokia 3310... VICTORIA SANCHEZ Victoria is a professional writer and editor who has a proclivity for travel, photography, and technology. Victoria has written for publications recognized on both a communal and international scale: In London, London Planner, the Orlando Sentinel, and Interact Magazine, amongst others. Chosen from writers across the United States, Victoria has been bestowed several poetry awards, including the prestigious National American Academy of Poets prize. She has lived in Chicago, Orlando, and now resides in the bustling city of London. Website: http://victoriasanchez.virb.com Blog: http://traversetraverse.wordpress.com

ZARINA ZABRISKY Zarina Zabrisky is the author of IRON (Epic Rites Press), a short story collection, and a novel We, Monsters (forthcoming in 2013 from Numina Press). Zabrisky’s work appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland and Nepal. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a recipient of 2013 Acker Award. ZIELLA BRYARS Ziella is a writer and producer based in London. She founded Love Bites in 2008 as a way of collaborating with other writers and getting new plays showcased in a bite-sized format. The annual Love Bites show invites submissions on the shared theme of love, each time choosing a new location for the latest instalment in the series. This recurring theme has led Ziella to write extensively about relationships and dating. She’s written several plays for Love Bites so far including Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, The Pitch, A Little Bit of Magic, Blind Date, Good Clean Fun, The Wedding Date and Down In One, the latter three having appeared at Southwark Playhouse and The Waterloo East Theatre. Her monologues True Love, Sunny Side, Blind Date and A Room on Greek Street have been performed at Rich Mix, the Live Theatre Newcastle, The Red Room in New York, The White Rabbit Theatre Ensemble Australia, The Horsebridge Centre Whitstable and at the LiT Space in London. Ziella has also written for The Resident and Verities Magazine and is currently working on a comedy novel about dating. Love Bites: http://www.thelovebitesplays.com/index.htm

W.M.LEWIS I’m a Brisbane-based poet and fiction writer. my work has appeared in Alliterati Magazine, Best Australian Poems 2011, Cordite Poetry Review, Eclecticism, Multiverses, PoV Magazine, Railroad Poetry Project, street cake magazine and The Night Light. Twitter: @w_m_lewis

8

MAGAZINE


Download your free PoV posters from povmagazine.co.uk and help spread the word TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

9


WHAT IS LOVE? EMMA SEYMOUR

Benji Stanley will become a Rabbi in July after five years’ training across London, New York and Jerusalem. Benji grew up in London and will start working at West London Synagogue this August “Love is not just a feeling but a commandment, to be realised in acts as well as thoughts. The Hebrew Bible commands love of three types, of God, your neighbour, and the stranger. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your substance – by learning, living with sacred discipline and giving charity. You shall love your neighbour as yourself – by comforting mourners,

WHAT IS LOVE ?

and visiting the sick. You shall love the stranger as yourself, having the same rule for citizen and stranger. “Love is to be realised in deed with one’s beloved too. Sex is encouraged. An awareness that life is a gift, and that you and I are made in the image of God, equally infinite and yet completely different, compels me to act upon the world with love – even when I’m not feeling it.”

Monsignor Matthew Dickens is Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Southwark, an area covering the London boroughs south of the Thames, Kent and Medway “All human loving should be a reflection of the love that Jesus reveals to us. Whether this means between individual persons or in society, true love is a giving of the self for the welfare of others. “In marriage, for example, this love should be mutually given and received by the partners. “St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians gives the classic Christian interpretation of the qualities of love: ‘Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes…as it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Cor 13:4-7;13)”

William Shakespeare, playwright and poet

“LOVE LOOKS NOT WITH THE EYES, BUT WITH THE MIND, AND THEREFORE IS WINGED CUPID PAINTED BLIND.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

10

MAGAZINE


Members of the London philosopher’s club

“Love is a word in the English language that’s used to describe, inadequately, a wildly varying range of chemical reactions that we experience.”

The Beatles, Musicians

“I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend, If it makes you feel all right, I’ll get you anything my friend, If it makes you feel all right, Cause I don’t care too much for money For money can’t buy me love” Can’t buy me love

Posted as Paul St Paul

“Love is a big word with many meanings. I do like Tim Ferriss’ definition as he explains what love is by explaining what it is not: ‘The opposite of love is indifference.’” Posted as Filip Matous

“Nietzsche quote about it was interesting. ‘What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.’” Posted anonymously

Caroline black is an accredited celebrant for the british humanist association “We must be able to love ourselves before we love another. And then there are so many sorts of love – sexual, romantic, affectionate. Love of comrades and friends, love of children, love of parents. Whatever sort of love we are talking about it is all in the mind – and we have absolutely no control over it. Love is a powerful neurological condition and scientists say love (in the form of lust) is a primeval chemical thing – because without it we humans wouldn’t be primed to procreate. “The two huge benefits of love are attachment and commitment – because we love, we look after and nurture, we build supportive relationships. Love makes the world go round and without it we wouldn’t have evolved into the complex creatures we have become.”

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

Yogesh Patel from the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Europe’s first Hindu temple – known as the Neasden Temple in North London “Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the principal deity of the Swaminarayan Hindu tradition, explained in his teachings that ‘true love is doing as your loved one wishes’ (Vachanamrut Kariyani 11). “Of course, this has a strongly theological context, referring to the reverent adoration of God as expressed through obedience. To offer this with a slightly modern and broader take, one could paraphrase it as: ‘Love is not simply looking into each other’s eyes, but looking in the same direction.’”

Views compiled by EMMA SEYMOUR 11


BLIND DATE: ZIELLA BRYARS

12

MAGAZINE


(A table in a bar. Emma is sitting facing the audience with a glass of red wine in front of her. She is smartly dressed, with perfect hair and is smiling enthusiastically. She bubbles throughout with nervous laughter and uses ‘funny voices’ when she feels awkward, flitting occasionally into moments of intense sincerity when she wants to appear genuine.) EMMA (Smiling) Well… cheers! To new friends! I’m so pleased we managed to meet. And it’s a lovely bar. Good choice. “One point to you”! (Laughs). No I’m just joking, I’m not marking you... I’m just saying that it’s nice! It’s lovely, and dark, and romantic. Not that this has to be overly romantic of course! I understand that it’s a first date! “No pressure!” (Laughs). No, wine, nice lighting. That’s the main thing. (She takes a breath and calms down.) Sorry. I don’t mean to be manic, it’s just my last blind date was a little odd.

by ZIELLA BRYARS TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

13


BLIND DATE: ZIELLA BRYARS

Amy did say you weren’t terrifying but then you just never know. I’ve not seen her in years. It was only through bumping into her like that that we, well she, said that it would be nice to… y’know. End up here! I don’t even know what she’s doing now. Hm? (Listens.) She’s a carpenter? Wow. I would not have guessed that. “Build me a cupboard Amy!” “Get the wood out!” (Laughs). No I wouldn’t make her do that. So, um, I don’t know if this is maybe a little unusual, but I thought it might be nice if we started the date with a totally honest introduction. Like a first date, get it off your chest – cleanse! I’ve just sort of… I thought it might be a good start. I can go first! I don’t expect you to tell me all your darkest secrets before you’ve even had a drink! I just thought it might be nicer if we started openly. You can just listen and judge. What do you think? I’ll start? If you…? Ok. Great. I think this will be nice. Or a good thing to do. (She takes a sip of her wine and prepares herself.) So. I guess dating history is a good place to start maybe? Well, I’ve had two serious relationships in my life. They were both a while ago now but were lovely. Nothing dramatic or awful to report there. No horrific break ups. No weird sex stuff. Just fun weird. (Laughs). “Let’s experiment! Let’s mix things up!” “No not again!” (Laughs). No I like variety, I think it’s important. But um, yes, those relationships were when I was a bit younger. I think maybe you’re not quite ready for commitment in the same way then. So over the past couple of years I’ve been dating a lot and going out with a mix of different people. I think that can be a little exhausting sometimes. All those relentless evenings. Like you’re in a dating marathon, with no finish line. I suppose the most recent dating thing to report, just in terms of stories, would be my last date before this one. It didn’t go that well. I still really want to meet someone though! It just sort of changes things when you have a bad one all of a sudden doesn’t it? I had been doing a lot of online dating and fix ups through friends and everything and it had just become… y’know, one thing after another.

14

MAGAZINE


I was set up with this guy Ben, who was probably very nice deep down, but when we met up that night I was just hit with that “God, no not again” vibe. I thought I’d try and spice things up a bit so I drank quite a lot of wine…. (Pause) Look, I’m just going to come out and say this because I think honesty is the best policy and you should know these things before you get involved with someone. You don’t want to get to date three and suddenly be faced with someone asking you to pour fruit syrup all over them! You see… one thing led to another - and this is really embarrassing! - but I got very very drunk and things sort of took off down a funny route and I ended up, accidentally, well… I ended up…. …killing him. Ta da! (Pause) No I’m not joking, that is really what happened. I killed him. (Pause) Now I know that sounds really really bad. Obviously. But…. it was an accident. I’ve never killed anyone before and I would never ever do it again and it was, honestly, just a really awful mix up. (Lighter) And, also, just to be clear, on the legal side of things, because it was an accident it is also classified as manslaughter. So it’s not like I’m an ‘actual murderer’. I mean I know it’s a difficult area, obviously, because killing someone is awful, but the manslaughter element is an important distinction I think. I’m not saying it’s ok. It’s a grey area. But that is the technical classification. This script was performed at a Love Bites theatre show and in the next issue we’ll be bringing you another one – by Daniel Frankenburg. For more info and to get involved go to the Love Bites site.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

15


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

by BEN TURNER 16

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

17


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

18

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

19


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

20

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

21


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

22

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

23


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

24

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

25


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

26

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

27


LOVE ON THE STREETS: BEN TURNER

28

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

29


NOT QUITE DATEABLE: KYRSTEN BEAN

NOT QUITE DATEABLE by KYRSTEN BEAN

30

MAGAZINE


I’M STAYING AWAY FROM ALCOHOL,

trying to curb my bad habits, when a swing dance teacher hands me a Heineken at a ballroom dance party in Oakland. “Would you like a cold beer?” he asks. “Sure,” I say. “A Heineken sounds great.” I’ve been relatively clean since moving from the East Bay into a sober living house near City College. Minus a few minor indulgences. A beer at Renaissance Fair with my sister. The remnants of the codeine cough syrup, my sister’s fatherinlaw left boldly on the kitchen counter, followed by a night of face planting on my friend’s bed. A glass of red wine at some event I attended at Fort Mason, because I’m suddenly old enough to purchase it. The Klonopin I’d stolen from my mother’s purse on a visit, to see if I still could. I’d put the Klonopin back. Then I’d taken them out again. Then I had ground them up into a fine yellow powder and snorted them in the bathroom of my sober living house. When I told my mother, she told me we’d better keep it to ourselves, so I didn’t get kicked out of another home. “You confessed to me,” she said. “That’s enough.” At the party, a shindig for my mom’s friends who own the ballroom dance place where Autumn works, I soon polish off all of the Heineken in the wet bar. I need something more, so I flirt the caterer into grabbing some warm beers out of the company truck. He grins, obliges, and I knock back a couple warm ones behind my mom’s back. Soon, I am the life of the party; I hold the undivided attention of all the cute guys in attendance. A small group has congregated in the upstairs bathroom. Curious about why one would pierce their tongue, they are watching me untwist the ball on one end of a steel barbell, their eyes locked on my tongue in the mirror we are all looking into, when the entire barbell slips out of my tongue and drops down into the sink drain. “Crap,” I mumble, still holding my tongue. “Thith thucks.” One of the guys, a handsome Latino dude with long black hair, commissions a third party to come and take a look. It is determined that the sink will have to be dismantled in order to retrieve the lost component of my stainless steel

TH E LOVE ISSUE

barbell. The husband of the hostess comes to my aid, equipped with a wrench. He gets to work and about a half an hour later, my tongue is safely stabbed through with metal again, and I am apologizing profusely while trying to avoid my red face in the mirror. I am outside of the house on a long suburban street, smoking very stinky pot with a dance teacher who has a soul patch. I don’t even like pot. The dance teacher is so thin I’m positive he would wisp down the culdesac if I so much as blow on him. The world starts spinning. I drank a lot of beer. I thank him, wave goodbye and seek safe refuge in the bathroom, where I pass out. What seems like hours later, I hear a voice talking to my mother outside the bathroom door. I have no car; she is my ride home. “She’s been in there for a long time,” says a deep male voice. My mom responds, “Oh.” That one word falls slowly through the air like a deflated balloon. As I lay at the foot of the toilet, I cringe. The door handle jiggles, and I reach up to unlock it. She helps me get up. I can’t walk properly; she puts my arm around her shoulder and helps me to her red Toyota Camry. “I think I have alcohol poisoning,” I mumble from the floor of the backseat, where I have rolled since the car started up. Busy having heated conversations on her cell phone with my father and the staff at the sober living house I am about to be kicked out of, she ignores me. She soon decides that the best solution is to drop me off at an overnight detox center in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, to sleep on mattresses with homeless junkies. I check in, and go lay down with all the other bums on the first floor, which is covered with mattresses. Soon, the facilitators move me upstairs to the more sheltered threeday program. While sitting on the couch an older man slips me a tiny pill wrapped in newspaper. I open it and find a fat yellow, Klonopin in a potency equivalent to four of my mom’s purse pills. He

M AY 20 13

31


NOT QUITE DATEABLE: KYRSTEN BEAN tells me where to go down the street to buy more. After ingesting the pill, a calmness washes over me and I sleep the next day away on a tiny plastic mattress. While I linger in detox for three days, trying to figure out how to get more Klonopin, the staff warn me to stay away from the older guy. My mom, worried I’ll lose my call center job, calls the boss to tell him I have food poisoning, that this is the reason I didn’t show up for the past two days. Instead of firing me, they tell her to tell me to come in when I feel better. I call a friend from the last rehab I attended three months ago, who offers to let me stay at her house in West Oakland. I take BART to my call center job every day for a week, using Yolanda’s heavy shampoos for black girl hair in the bathroom in the morning. Her daughter, about my age, asks me if my tongue piercing hurt. “I want to get one,” she says. One day, while answering phones at the call center, a familiar voice asks for me. “Autumn?” I ask. “Yep, it’s me,” says the Heineken-handing dance teacher in a singsong voice. “Would you, um, like to go out on a date with me?” I’ve been out with plenty of boys, usually we were tied at the hip the first night we met, but never, sober, have I been on a so-called “date.” I sit at my desk quietly, trying to look cool lest my call center compatriots swivel their heads and observe my confusion. “Really?” I think to myself, “After the tongue ring and the drinking of all the beers and the passing out? He’s asking me on a date?” I am too shocked to wonder at the implications of such a thing. “Sure,” I say. One night, we drive through the Richmond District of San Francisco, past Victorian buildings, over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito in his beat-up truck. He takes me out to his favorite Indian food restaurant and we walk around outside on the pier in downtown Sausalito. We end up inside this sailboat house, watching Donnie Darko on a miniature TV. We pretty much have to lie on top of each other to fit on the little bench across from it. I can barely see the screen. “Why a sailboat?” I ask. “Do you know how cheap it is to dock it here? My rent is like $500 a month,” he says. “How much was the boat?” I ask. “Couple hundred,” he says. “Some guy on Craigslist was selling it because it doesn’t sail anymore. Something is wrong with it.”

32

His bed doubles as a laundry hamper. When the movie is through, he pushes all of his clothes, clean, he says, aside, and we climb in. Later, I limp across the gravel parking lot to use the public bathroom, having forgotten my shoes. There isn’t a bathroom on the boat and I can’t pee into the marina water like he so shamelessly does. “I don’t pee near anyone’s boat who actually lives on it,” he explains as he follows behind me. “How do you shower?” I ask. “I use the bathroom sinks,” he says. When we return to his houseboat later that week, he pulls out his journal and a guitar and serenades me. He shows me pages of poetry written about girls who have long since evaporated. I have the sinking feeling that the poems are interchangeable carbon copies, applicable to whatever girl is currently sitting on his boat. It is painful to watch his face contort as a pleading wail slips from his mouth. I do my best to distract him by commenting on his lost loves. “Oh. You must have really liked that one a lot.” Our dating continues for about a week. In the meantime, I am trying to find a place to live, and staying in a piss-in-the-hole hotel in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. I have a top-floor bedroom, thanks to the owner of the hotel, a knife under my pillow, a green rotary phone, and a calling card, so that I can drunk-dial my exboyfriends to tell them how good I am doing as I slug Smirnoff Ice I purchase at the liquor store across the street and watch MTV. One night at the marina where his boat is docked, Autumn pulls me aside under the stars. “I need to talk to you,” he says. He has a different kind of pained look on his face, like he has found a stray kitten he can’t adopt but is going to give a tiny bowl of milk to. He’s not going to ask me to be his girlfriend, is he? I think, panicking. I slowly creep backwards. “Can we just be friends?” He asks me in a pleading voice, as if he is afraid I might lose control upon hearing the words and plunge myself into the marina to drown. I exhale. “Aren’t we?” I ask, my eyebrow cocked. He breathes out so much air I’m sure he was going to pass out. “Thank goodness,” he says. “I wasn’t sure how you were going to take it.” “It’s totally fine,” I say. Better than fine, I think. Though the sex was alright, good, even, the serenading had felt a little bit like being raped.

MAGAZINE


BORED? LONELY? WEEKS BEFORE THE NEXT PoV MAGAZINE COMES OUT? Well chin up, stop sitting staring blankly at the wall and log on to the PoV Symposium, a brand new site from the minds behind PoV Magazine. The PoV Symposium is the place to go to keep you entertained between issues with more amazing work from our brilliant contributors and we want you to get involved. If you’ve been inspired to write a short story or poem, take a photo or paint a picture by the themes of the magazine send them to us on hello@povmagazine.co.uk and you could see your work online. The PoV Symposium – better than a poke in the eye.

HTTP://POVSYMPOSIUM.TUMBLR.COM TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

33


TIN HOUSE: JEFF CHANDLER

TIN HOUSE WARM HEART by JEFF CHANDLER

34

MAGAZINE


AS I TURNED THE CORNER,

I saw it; half tin, half brick... My friend’s house stood on the estate, unassuming. For years, I had witnessed every derogatory, hurtful word used to describe him and his family from the other kids. But he was nice, and despite getting some stick, I thought it would be rude to refuse a dinner invitation. So here I was, straight from school, walking up to the front door. As soon as it swung open, a beautiful woman appeared and warmly welcomed me into her humble home. I stepped inside. It wasn’t until the door closed behind us that I noticed the cardboard boxes piled high along one of the walls. As I took off my coat and hung it on the banister rail, curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t help but peep inside an open one, which sat there deliciously tempting. Before me lay a veritable feast of teeny Christmas Cracker novelties just waiting to be assembled; puzzles, dice, magic tricks, key rings, mini tool kits, fortune-telling fish, plastic rings, Tidily Winks, tiny playing cards and colourful whistles - all the good stuff that used to put a smile on my face as they came flying out with a paper hat and funny joke. To me, his mum officially had the best job in the world!  After a short while she came out of the kitchen and proudly put bowls of food down in front of us. “This is Frankie’s favourite”, she declared with a warm smile.  And then it hit me... The love that was present in that room was far greater than the sum of all the things they didn’t have. They really didn’t own much at all, but in spite of that, I was sat at their table, sharing their food. It was a lovely evening.  Years later I look back at that moment and realise something; in life, we may not be financially abundant or have all the latest shiny must-have gadgets, but as long as we have love in our hearts and a generosity of spirit, we will always be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

35


STARMAN: PHIL HART

STAR 36

MAGAZINE


RMAN Photography by PHIL HART

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

37


STARMAN: PHIL HART

There’s no denying that here at PoV we LOVE all things to do with space. It’s exciting, romantic and incomprehensible all at the same time. Someone who shares our passion and also tries to capture the very essence of space through the lens of his camera is Phil Hart, one of the world’s top astrophotographers and author of the brilliant Shooting Stars ebook. Ben Turner caught up with him to discover a little about his love of the night sky.

38

MAGAZINE


Phil, tell us a little about how you got into photography and particularly, shooting stars? On family holidays when I was young, Dad would get out a planisphere and help us find our way around the night sky. Then as I started developing an interest of my own as a teenager, Mum brought home some film SLRs and all I really did with them was use them at night. So photography and astronomy have been together for me since the start and it has stayed that way for nearly twenty years. Astro and night sky photography is an area that is growing rapidly in popularity, why do you think that is? Affordable digital SLRs with amazing sensitivity in low light have had a massive impact. I started using DSLRs about ten years ago and they were already very capable then for astrophotography. Now they are simply awesome. People who didn’t start in the days of film have no idea how good they have it now. And astronomical images have always been well loved and popular online so there is plenty of material out there to inspire and motivate people. Photographing stars involves very long exposures on what must sometimes be very cold nights, why do you do put yourself through it? It’s probably true for any kind of photography.. if you don’t enjoy the process you won’t keep ‘putting yourself through it’. I love being outside at night and the colder the better! I spent nine weeks photographing the Northern Lights in the Yukon last year at -40 degrees and I still enjoyed it. Wind can be a bit unpleasant but if there’s a unique shot to be had I’ll still put up with it.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

39


STARMAN: PHIL HART

40

MAGAZINE


What element of night sky photography do you love most? These days what motivates me is capturing night sky scenes where the location is as much a part of the image as the sky. Even better is chasing transient astronomical events and objects, such as comets, aurora or a lunar or solar eclipse. If you can combine an attractive location with a unique astronomical event then you have a cracking image.

Do you use any special equipment for your photography? Yes, but for much of my work these days it’s not very much. For the ‘deep sky astrophotography’ side of things, there can be telescopes, tracking equatorial mounts, computer control and lots more. But simple ‘night sky photography’ can and often does involve nothing more than the camera and a tripod. That allows you to get out to interesting locations and enjoy being under the stars without being burdened by loads of complicated gear and error messages on the computer, which I really don’t enjoy. Where in the world have you had the best view of the stars? I’m very fortunate to have lived most of my life in Australia, where access to dark skies is not too hard. It still takes a two hour drive to get out of Melbourne, but after that the skies are great. For five years I lived in Scotland which also had good skies, just rubbish weather.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

41


STARMAN: PHIL HART

42

MAGAZINE


You’re undeniably one of the top astrophotographer’s around right now, having captured the winning photograph in the David Malin CWAS photography competition (above). So have you got any top tips for our readers that might want to have a go for themselves?

Enjoy being out under the stars and experimenting with your camera as you learn about both astronomy and photography. If you enjoy the process, you’ll keep coming back for more. Of course, my eBook ‘Shooting Stars’ could be a great help with that journey! Aside from learning how to operate a camera in manual mode in the dark, the biggest hurdle for most people is learning how to get good focus at night. Practice that and the rest comes more easily.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

43


STARMAN: PHIL HART

44

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

45


STARMAN: PHIL HART

46

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

47


STARMAN: PHIL HART

48

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

49


STARMAN: PHIL HART

50

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

51


STARMAN: PHIL HART

52

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

53


DRESSING UP: EMIL BLAKE

DRESSING UP by EMIL BLAKE

IT HAD BEEN TWO YEARS

since she passed away. He had got used to her ways, which were as habitual and self-reflexive as taking a pee. He’d assumed without too much questioning that he would go first, and loneliness an affliction that he would remain unfamiliar with. Throughout their life together, the caresses and kisses had become stamps, reminders of their physicality, as if checking they still occupied different spaces. It wasn’t an intense love by any means, but it carried the years of tenderness, hope and anxiety to its bosom as an eternal union. Sometimes hours would pass with no word spoken, as if, they were lost within themselves. He’d never wanted children until it was too late. The doctors warned her that having children late might endanger her life. Perhaps the choice between her and children made him value her more. As the years passed she became all he had, and despite the slow decline of her health, remained optimistic until the very end. He still looked at her picture every day, but mostly now he spent his days at the pub, firstly in the solace of company, and then in alcohol. The pub during the day was a mixture of men escaping the image of the women in their lives

54

- either escaping from them, or escaping the loneliness of their absence. Every man an island, each to his own thoughts scratching out crosswords or betting slips in silence. Later in the day, workers would come in for a pint after their shift and he preferred this time. If only to listen to other men complain about their jobs or the cost of keeping a family, it was better than the television for company. A new girl started working behind the bar during the afternoons. She was in her midtwenties, pretty and very cheerful. He began striking up brief conversations, and he enjoyed her company. They talked about all kinds of

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

55


DRESSING UP: EMIL BLAKE

He felt happy, the ache in his bones had been subdued and he didn’t feel so lonely

also because he wanted her to miss him. The days at home were lonely and empty, and he was already excited about seeing her again. He’d sent his army uniform to be cleaned and pressed, to be worn on his next visit. He couldn’t wait to see the look on her face. He collected his fresh uniform, and putting it on realised how much weight he’d lost in the decades since last wearing it. The years wore a physical form yet he was certain she couldn’t fail to be impressed. Before leaving the house, he once again looked at his dead wife’s photo. He’d neglected to do this for some days now but he set out for the pub without dwelling on matters, telling himself off for being an old fool. He felt positive and happy to be alive, like flood gates had been opened and allowing all his sadness to wash away. The sun could be seen on a not-so-distant horizon and he remembered what joy was. He went first to the florists to pick a bunch of flowers, feeling bold enough as things, the newspapers, what was on telly, and he was to ask her to dinner. He arrived at the about themselves. pub with the years and decades peeling from He told her about being in the army when him, with only his sagging skin and enormous he was younger, and all things he got up to and bank of memories betraying the butterflies in his had been through. She seemed fascinated and seemed reluctant to break the conversation when stomach. He walked in to see her standing and she had a new customer to serve. He liked being talking with a man half his age, she nodded and interesting and told her something new every tenderly placed a kiss on the man’s cheek and time he saw her. After a few days, he brought in an old photo before stepping back behind the bar. Glancing over as he approached the bar, she unconsciously of him dressed up in his army uniform. smirked, and seeing his uniform a fleeting blush She was very impressed and commented on passed over her face. how handsome and strong he looked. He went He ordered a drink instinctively with his home slightly tipsy, and in a better mood than head lowered, the onus of truth pushing his he’d felt in months. He felt happy, the ache in his bones had been subdued and he didn’t feel so hunched elderly frame a little lower to the ground. He could only nod shamefully and lonely. look away as she confirmed his usual drink. He returned to the pub daily, with his stays there becoming longer. He always complimented He collected his pint and shuffled off to the her when he saw her, telling her respectfully that first available table, where he sat awkwardly, his she looked nice. She would coyly thank him and uniform swamping his shrunken form as the clutched flowers fell to his side. smile. They chatted throughout her shifts, and Life had moved on. Yet he couldn’t move on, he hoped that he was helping to make her day he had fooled himself. His time had gone but better. was not yet finished. He would drain his glass He decided to stay away from the pub for and return to the photo of his wife. He would a couple of days because he was worried how return home and re-join her once more. much time he had started spending there, but

56

MAGAZINE


THE GIRL WITH SAPPHIRE EYES: SGT.PILKO

AS THE SARGE LAY ON

his knees caressing the tea cups and the formidably arranged dust that he had spent much time on. He heard a faint memory in the back of his vast cavernous mind drop, roll and come to a silent stillness next to his most recent thinkings. Rubbing his temples he rose from the floor and strode over to his arm chair in a manly fashion. Just in case someone was looking. Upon retrieval of the memory he had the sudden urge to close his eyes and think, the hardened cobwebs of his cranial pathways moved aside in a welcoming manner. The Sarge was almost infuriated with this, since when had his own mind been so friendly? A Sepia light begins to fall... She looked at him with those big round “go to bed now� eyes, something that always bothered him as he was never actually tired. Oh how he loved her, her name was as elegant as a drunk seal making its way across sharp gravel.

THE GIRL WITH SAPPHIRE EYES by SGT. PILKO

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

57


THE GIRL WITH SAPPHIRE EYES: SGT.PILKO

German heritage, “ms echnic” was a studious lady of many disciplines. Her unfortunate middle name of Terry and her birth name of Polly meant that all her post came addressed thus:

Indeed his ‘chat up lines had always left something to be desired, and this fair maiden escaped such beauties as-

Ms. Polly T. Echnic

‘Your beauty overwhelms me, I feel nauseous’

They married, of course as was often the way and her sheer ‘force of nature presence’ meant that he felt small and bullied into a corner almost permanently. Happiness was a fickle visitor to the household and gradually he slipped from the sane pathway and into his own little armchair world. One night he escaped, through the window dressed as a man escaping down a drain pipe. A look that aroused many curious looks as he ran through the town’s central train station. She had tracked him down in subsequent years and written a very stern letter thanking him for relieving her of the burden he had bestowed upon her. Then there was the lady with eyes like those of burning Sapphires..... He had seen her picture in a magazine, and her eyes captured his heart immediately, so much so that he thought it was brokenWhat beauty I see before me! Why if those eyes were detachable I would have them out and mount them on my wall....Best off left where they are though..

‘you have beautiful eyes... may I have them...’

‘For you I would kill thousands’ ‘Were you born looking this good or are you some sort of servant of the Devil here to test me?’ The way to any woman’s heart is through a decent sized opening made in her chest with a decent blade of steel. The Sarge often took practical impractical advice from surgical journals when it came to matters of love. For eavesdroppers or passers by it was hard to tell if some of those were serious questions. To the female being in question he poured his hollow and enraged heart, writing dozens of letters and drawings and dutifully posting them at the end of each week. He never had a reply. Back in his faithful armchair he stared fixedly at the wall... His eyelids grew cold and heavy. He drifted into a disturbed, cheese induced sleep. Slowly the mists of reality parted and the clear as day vista of a dreamscape emerged.... Wretched paperwork... It was evening and the clocks tick backwards. Why can’t I find anything! His paper work was rammed into an old tea chest. The spirit apparition who followed the Sarge faithfully everywhere, had attempted to lay

58

MAGAZINE


order to it all but had given up. He now looked on as the Sarge lost his temper. Slamming it down he turned to a picture that had randomly walked in and sat on the table. A gold framed photo of the woman with Sapphire eyes stood looking up at him, his heart melted and instantly fear took hold, he dived into a cupboard that happened to be walking past. I should be safe in here! And look! Biscuits! He was in fact surrounded by biscuits of all types. Oh how he loved biscuits. Just at that moment a shadow loomed over him. The woman of his nightmares, the French mistress with whom he had once shared a Garibaldi, a certain ms T’errer (Lorraine being her first name) stood with a perplexed look. Asking why he had run off with all her biscuits the morning following their night of bizarre passion. So he ran, finding it hard to run with his new shoes made of syrup. That night with ms t’errer had involved making love in a freshly ploughed corn field. That morning Farmer Ted Merchant, who had re-located his farm from the wilds of Yorkshire to the mid-rural areas of France woke up with a smile. After years of building and designing the perfect seed distribution machine, today would be the day he would finally get to test it in the field. Literally. By 8 am he had finished ploughing and sowing the field and now each square foot of soil had the exact number of seeds required to maximise his yield. 8 hours later as the sun set, two ‘lovers’ trespassed and ruined a small section of this agricultural perfection.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

Time to wake up, the Sun had begun to chime. Back in his chair listening to the clocks ticking in the right direction he heard the doorbell. Eyes pierced with the beige daylight, blinking to regain a sense of direction and waking the senses, he stood slowly and adjusted his slippers. Walking over he slowly leaned to see out of the window. Peering through his net curtains the sight he beheld made him shudder. His mortal enemy Baron Von Theramin stood looking impatient, holding a mystique cane in one hand, and Argos catalogue in the other, wearing his trusty dusty suit. Making his way to the door and taking the handle of cold brass, he paused to think. For some time he stood before calling out What do you want? He waited for his most hated enemy to reply...

M AY 20 13

59


SYRIA THROUGH A LENS: EMMA SEYMOUR

60

MAGAZINE


Picture: fpolat69 / Shutterstock.com

by EMMA SEYMOUR TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

61


SYRIA THROUGH A LENS: EMMA SEYMOUR

SINCE THE SYRIAN REVOLUTION

started more than two years ago – a chain reaction sparked by the unrest across the Arab world – more than 70,000 people have been killed. Thousands more have been reported missing and up to 1.3 million have fled the violence, seeking refuge in camps across the border in neighbouring countries. As peaceful revolution spirals into violent civil war and the lives lost become numbers on a page, a group of friends led by Karim Shamon, are trying to remind people of the country behind the conflict. They have produced a documentary of films by activist Bassel Shehadeh, who was killed during a government assault on Homs on 28 May 2012. A well-respected figure of the revolution, Bassel gave up a scholarship to study film in New York, to organise and document the peaceful protests across Syria. “I love him, he’s my brother,” said Karim (his name changed to protect his identity). “When I learned of his death it was a huge shock. He didn’t tell me he was going back to Syria until later. It was his dream to go to the US, he was so happy when he got the scholarship. But when they turned down his request to defer for a year he just left. He told me he had to go back.” ‘Syria through a lens – the life and works of Bassel Shehadeh’ portrays his love of the country he called his home. Far from the war-torn images projected into our living rooms, the film paints a picture of Syria before the violence. Karim said: “I had a very good life in Syria – my own flat, my own car, a good job. In Damascus many people tend to live with their families but I had my own life, I was independent. “I’ve lived my whole life under the same regime and I guess I got used to it. Everyone knew not to discuss politics in public because security forces were everywhere but you got by. “When the revolution started in Tunisia I realised it would happen in Syria. I’m prorevolution and I believe we need change but no one expected the brutality. No one thought the government would shoot protesters and kill people to put a stop to it. “Before I left Syria two years ago I saw dead

62

A protester waves a Syrian flag during a protest rally organized to raise awareness and commemorate two years of the Syrian revolution, in Toronto, Canada. Picture: ValeStock / Shutterstock.com

MAGAZINE


‘Syria through a lens – the life and works of Bassel Shehadeh’ is being screened across the UK, with several planned to mark the anniversary of his death this month. Dates include: May 28 Dublin (The Lighthouse Cinema, Market Square, Smithfield, Dublin) May 28 Edinburgh (Edinburgh University) June 13 London (Amnesty International Richmond group) June 20 London (Amnesty International St. John’s Wood group) July 15 London (Amnesty Croydon group)

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

63


SYRIA THROUGH A LENS: EMMA SEYMOUR

When Bassel was killed I wanted to do something. This is why we have put together this film, to show people who he was, what he did and his love of his country bodies in the streets. It was already in a mess and I experienced the clashes, although it wasn’t as bad as now. “But still, Syria in my mind is a beautiful place.” As the revolution began to escalate, the organisation Karim worked for was closed down and he decided to take up his postgraduate studies abroad. While he concentrated on studying the situation in Syria got worse, until the place he called home became unrecognisable. “When I left Syria I just wanted to study, but anyone who sees his country burning…I can’t describe my feelings, seeing the streets you walked through being destroyed. “I can’t imagine the level of hatred in Syrian hearts. I can’t believe the people I lived with are killing each other and the villages I hiked through are being destroyed. I see what’s happening and it hurts me a lot.” Before Bassel went to the US he was

64

involved in organising protests in Damascus, including the Freedom Money project, which printed fake Syrian notes calling for protests and distributed them across the city. During what became known as the Intellectuals’ Protest – because of the number of doctors, lawyers and other professionals involved – Bassel was arrested. He was detained for a week, beaten and tortured but eventually released because of pressure from the media. Karim remembers something Bassel posted on Facebook shortly afterwards. “In detention one of the officers asked Bassel, do you want freedom? He said no, but couldn’t help nodding and he was beaten. “When they were released a group of them were put in a bus to take them to court and they were singing freedom songs. Bassel said I’m singing for freedom not just for me, but for the people in the bus, the bus driver and the officer beating me.”

MAGAZINE


An unidentified woman participates with a group of people who staged a demonstration in front of the Syrian Consulate, protesting Syrian authorities’ violent crackdown in Homs, in Istanbul, Turkey Picture: fulya atalay / Shutterstock.com

He fled the country but couldn’t resist going back, documenting the protests and becoming a target for Syrian forces. He was killed during a shelling in Homs nearly a year ago. Since his death Bassel has become an icon for the revolution – his love of travel, his motorcycle and his activism making him Syria’s own Che Guevara figure. His funeral was shut down by security forces and the church closed. Karim said: “Since Bassel’s death, my profile picture on Facebook, like many of his friends, has been a picture of him. My mother has called me several times asking me to remove it but I can’t. She said, ‘You don’t love us because you care more about your friend who was killed more than our safety’. That hurt me, but I can’t

remove it, I can’t explain why. “When Bassel was killed I wanted to do something. This is why we have put together this film, to show people who he was, what he did and his love of his country.” As atrocities are committed on both sides and the death toll rises, Karim mourns the loss of the country he remembers. “Historic sites are being destroyed,” he said. “They’d been there for thousands of years, they didn’t belong to us. But nothing is sacred in this war. “I’m an optimistic person and in the early days of the revolution I was still optimistic that all this blood wouldn’t be for nothing. But I lost my hope. “My country has been destroyed in two years and it will take many more to get it back.”

For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/Syria.Through.a.Lens Or watch the film on Youtube: http://youtu.be/Nem33Ow8wb4

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

65


AS THE WORLD IS SOMETIMES GOTTEN SAD: W.M.LEWIS

as the world is sometimes gotten sad by W.M.LEWIS

66

MAGAZINE

As the world is sometimes gotten sad   the sky is filled with spring, though it is not   (such a beautiful thing as my love is)   and as the world, sometimes, is got ten sad   i will give it room to flex its wings and welcome hope into its heart   (like my one, which is set apart, and dedicated to finer happinesses   such as you bring)


William Street (Eternally Yours)

  I see you walking ahead of me and something makes me hurry, then stop My breath escapes like a courageous bird on its first day It is looking for safety and finds freedom I am looking at you and finding myself in your daydone gait, your crossingroad distraction, in your hoveringsky wonder You point at the ground You move your lips, softly, and this much is clear: in the grammatical jungle you name all things correctly I speed up, then slow down, and something makes this short wild moment eternal

A dream that came true   Come the day my hands are numb from sleeping in odd positions   (In here is a girl who cries quietly under the light of a chandelier)   They were jammed in my armpits like lymphatic crutches   The dog and morning agree it’s early, and someone groans softly   My eyes turn black when I realise she has saved me from the cold, again   (Out there is a woman with a dream that came true, and freezing toes)

An orphan of light

  a quiet place my heart stopped again in between beats you were there my love affair with life made flesh, stretched across time like an orphan of light whose source is long gone yet still burns as bright as the day it was formed, my heart skips a beat in the heat of your hands

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

67


SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE: LUIS AMATE PEREZ

SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE by LUIS AMATE PEREZ

WE HADN’T EVEN TAKEN OFF,

and I was already hurtling through the atmosphere – a glitch in the navigational system I’d predicted; a storm of monsters on the wings I’d forecasted; gravity, simple gravity, tugging me back down to earth. Trinh’s voice – that Minnesota accent you’d never expect from a Vietnamese girl – playing the hooker role from Full Metal Jacket: “Me love you long time?” I was escaping her, I thought. Not so much her but what I’d done. We’d done. I did not force her hand. My kisses were soft. The tip of my tongue, a masseuse. I didn’t force her. But I begged. I begged her to do it. “What if my plane goes down?” I said in all

68

seriousness after our second kiss. “You know you’re gonna have to live with the fact you said, ‘No.’” v The flight staff on the projector screen demonstrated how to fasten our seatbelts, as the live crew passed out small glasses of champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Business Class: half a fig with cream cheese and a sliver of smoked salmon. My father let me have his portion. “That shit repeats on me,” he said. “Then I have that taste in my mouth all day....” “Oh, yeah?” Two chews, then I downed the morsel before gobbling up my own. The older woman from the terminal – she must have been something in her prime! – was already lounging in the seat in front of me, a ringlet of her strong black hair hanging over the lip of her headrest. About seven hours into the flight we could meet – serendipitously – at the restroom behind the cockpit. I could pull the gentleman out of my pocket – you know, tell her I could hold it: “After you.” But she being independent – traveling alone – could turn it on me: “No, I can hold it.” And I would heed her word, step inside the latrine, lock the door – OCCUPIED – and wait for her knockknock. I’d open up, invite her inside, ask her if she’d

MAGAZINE


like a cocktail – “May I take your coat?” – then just like that, we could be making love on my bed – on the sink, I mean. Mile high. She’d never done this before. Like two naked astronauts orbiting Venus. And then we’d fall in love…. The older woman – Isolina could be her name – now looked like she was swatting at flies, cutting through the air in front of her face with loose karate chops. She got up from her recliner – doing little to not disturb the heap of human sitting next to her – and took her petite frame to the front of the cabin, stopping in front of the restroom. I remained seated, hand on my belt buckle. We hadn’t even taken off yet. We still had miles, hours to go. The blond flight attendant came into view, turned her head and looked down the aisle in my direction. She – Veronica, why not? – and Isolina went back and forth. My Castellano is shit, but I could imagine what they were saying. Isolina needed something, right away – she couldn’t wait. Veronica, remembering her uniform, the training, the professionalism, tried to calm Isolina down: Hey, just give it time. It’ll happen. How the hell were the three of us gonna fit in that airplane bathroom? “She wants to change her seat,” my father said, translating the ladies’ pillow talk. “Says something stinks.” v Now, jumping the gun a bit, what would you do if you found your grandmother weeping – totally coherent, as if all her marbles had never rolled out of her ears – over the grave of her husband and two sons (one of whom lived but one day, the umbilical cord created from her own flesh having been the instrument of death; the other, a priest whose heart – your grandmother also played a role in constructing – gave out at 43?). Would you not look on her with all the pity your 19 years could muster? Would you not do something? v CK One, Cool Water, and the other scents the guys in high school used to bath in (I never touched the stuff), sat on the duty-free shelves looking drinkable. Pretty bottles. Eau de Toilette. This is the only solution, I thought. There was no shoe store in the Florida terminal. A two-hour layover, stuck in my Sambas, aware of the funk three-years-worth of weightlifting and cardio had given the leather sneakers. But they were my most comfortable pair. Anyone flying would understand: you need to be comfortable, you need to stretch every couple of hours so you don’t cramp up. It’s important. And if the plane goes down, wouldn’t you want something on your feet you could depend upon? Later, in the terminal bathroom: my father was cracking up as I doused my Sambas and socks with Polo Sport. He and his beard, his face reddening – I couldn’t see the humor in his reflection in the mirror. “You’re still gonna stink, though,” he said. “Like a two-dollar prostitute. You’re gonna have to burn those things.” “I feel bad though.” My eyes watered – from the acidity of the cologne. “For what?” “I don’t know. I just feel like I should apologize. I think I have to.” “To who? The woman?” “I don’t know. Just apologize.” “C’mon! She’s a fucking prima donna,” he said. “If you only understood Spanish better! She’s all attitude….” He rubbed his hands with the Purell sanitizer he’d brought in his carry-on. “And no ass.” Still, when we left the bathroom, bought a couple of orange Gatorades, then sat down to watch CNN on the CNN-sponsored monitor, I wanted to track Isolina down. She had to be somewhere, maybe crying in a corner, her eyes puffy. And when a stranger would ask her if she was all right, she’d just say that she was allergic to cats. I could find her before we boarded the plane again, I thought, before others could witness our joint misery. I could kneel beside her and tell her: You’re right, I’m such a stinker. I’m sorry. “No, you’re not,” she’d have to say at first. “You’re not sorry!” Then I’d have to prove myself. I’d have to tell her about Trinh – how Trinh was probably in some corner of the world, crying her eyes out, telling each concerned passerby that she too is allergic to cats. “Isolina, it’s not the first time I’ve made a mistake.” I’d have to tell her all about Trinh – she has black hair just like yours, Isolina, but straight, Vietnamese – and how I had played a game with her. After Trinh had said, “I can’t do this,” I asked her why. And she answered, “Because, I mean…you’re….” “But what if I was someone else?” I had come back at her. “What if I wasn’t your friend? What if I was just this guy you wanted? What if I put these on?” “But it’s still me,” she said, laughing at my neon-orange shades. “I don’t have cool sunglasses like you do.” Then in no time at all my shades were on her face, the wide tinted lenses hiding so much of her face, until she wasn’t Trinh – but was. Then came the first kiss. “Do you understand, Isolina, how sorry I am? How much I could love you? I don’t even need Veronica –

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

69


SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE: LUIS AMATE PEREZ she doesn’t have to be in the picture. She’s just a flight attendant, anyway. There’ll be more of them on our travels. Perhaps even a female train conductor here and there.” I could say this to Isolina if I could find her. I could say this to her if I could leave my father’s side, leave Anderson Cooper on the CNN monitor, leave my Gatorade, just leave. And even though it would have been impossible at the time (maybe I could have predicted it beforehand), I could tell Isolina about what I would do for my grandmother three days later. Wouldn’t that be proof enough of my ability to love? Poor Isolina. When we boarded the plane again she did a good job composing herself, hiding any trace of the tears she might have shed in her corner. She was so quiet. It was a relief when she sneezed. v I slept. Or at least I closed my eyes. Not yet, I said to myself, and then there was laughter in my ears. I looked around thinking the whole cabin was cracking up, but then I realized it was just a laugh track, an episode of The King of Queens playing on the projector screen. They weren’t in on the joke – the other passengers – how the plane could just fall apart, burst open like an unexpected snicker. Until you land, I say that you’re just falling, hurtling through the atmosphere…. I wondered how oxygen would taste. Would it really fall from the ceiling? Would my body accept it? Or would my lungs fight the gas, saying: This is not the right time – not yet. Should there be a change in cabin pressure…. Should the airport lose cabin pressure, are there masks that will fall from the ceiling? When Isolina might have been in her corner, was she breathing normally through her mask? When Trinh and I were stripping off our clothes, stripping off our friendship, (much like the wind outside, stripping the paint off the fuselage) where were the masks? Three days later, I’d wonder if oxygen masks could fall from the sky. And Kesare and Pilar – I didn’t forget them, although I hadn’t met them yet. v We stopped falling and touched down on the Buenos Aires tarmac sometime before scheduled. I had expected the Tango to welcome me, but instead I heard a few claps from coach. Maybe prior to takeoff the few applauders had received the same vision as I: our plane just not making it. Carlos Gardel was not in the air; neither was love; and all I could taste were the hors d’oeuvres from half a day ago. I squeezed my nostrils shut and tried to blow my nose, which popped my ears and made the airplane’s engine come alive. “Ready?” my father said – his first words in hours. “It’s another two-and-a-half, three hours to Tucumán.” “Another flight, right?” “You feel like walking?” he laughed. This wasn’t a bonding trip. Like I said (too many times already) there was Trinh, back in some corner in Brooklyn; and my grandmother (maybe she was the real reason why I’d come); and love – that’s why I came! Because of it, and for it! Love kept the plane in the air. Love stopped the pole shifts and made the compass functional. Love shook the gremlins from the airplane’s wings and said: Hey, Gravity, a friend of ours is in that flying machine, so how about you cut him a break? Love brought me here, I thought. The inertia of love. God, then there’s Trinh again! Trinh’s still wearing my shades, I thought. Even after I had finished she’d refused to remove them. “Can I have those back?” I asked. “No,” she said, wiping her cheeks, “If your plane goes down, like you seem to

Three days later, I’d wonder if oxygen masks could fall from the sky.

70

MAGAZINE


want it to, I’m gonna need something to remember you by. Isn’t that only fair?” I did not force her hand. I did not force her mouth, her thighs…. I was not going to force her to cough up the shades. I just asked her not to look at me. And I would have liked to have asked the same of Isolina, whose face contorted with something like heartbreak when she passed by me. “You really have to burn those sneakers,” my father added, amusing himself. At the exit, Veronica consoled Isolina with a mirthful Ciao. Isolina would never forgive me – I knew that. v The automatic sliding doors of the San Miguel de Tucumán airport parted, and then Heat, like a bully, rifled a scorching pass into my unready face. “Jesus Christ!” my father said. “It’s fucking hot!” It wasn’t just fucking hot – it was purposeful. Heat, and its legion of excited atoms, wanted to melt something – wanted to melt me – wanted to liquefy me until I was a sorry puddle on the pavement. “I won’t have that!” I said aloud. “What the hell are you talking about?” my father said. “You won’t have what?” “Um,” I hesitated, “it’s a…song, I think.” “You should sing it in the shower,” he laughed, his beard holding solid to his face, as he hailed a cab. v Getting ahead of myself again (only a day or so), what would you do if you found yourself weeping in your grandmother’s shower, running through the plot of your love life, second-guessing each love-at-first-sight, each love-at-first-dance, the two times you tried to kiss Kesare, the two times you did kiss Trinh, and the two times you would never attempt to kiss Pilar because of her scars – Isolina – Veronica – the women you’ve met, the women you’ve not met, and the women you will never meet (the distant, the unborn) – would you not burn your Sambas? Would you not walk barefoot for the rest of your life? v The air conditioner was working just fine inside the cab, but for some reason the driver decided to crack his window a full eight inches – my father’s laugh put a stop to their conversation for a moment. A flurry of Castellano followed; zapatillas was the only word I could understand – that is before the words “burn them” escaped the hole in his beard. I would have taken them off right then and there – I would have slid the zapatillas through the eight-inch slot in the driver’s window – I would have watched them fry on the pavement – but I didn’t want to scald my feet when I would get out of the car shortly thereafter. “We here?” I said, as the car pulled up in front of an off-white, two-story building. “Unless Mama moved and didn’t tell me about it.” Would she even know if she had? I said to myself. Granted, I had not been able to truly love her yet. Yet! – that would happen two days later, give or take. The language barrier, over the years, had become a roadblock on the camino to true affection. I had known no other levels of communication. She was my grandmother, so when she visited the States there was the perfunctory hug, kiss, smile, and hug. But I never really knew the woman. All I knew was that for the past seven years she’d been losing a battle (a fight she could never really take part in) with Alzheimer’s. The kid in me liked to call it ol’timers. Something to look forward to: the forgetting. The women come back to me again – all major characters, though, at times here, seemingly minor: Trinh, Isolina, Veronica, Pilar, Kesare, the monsters on the wings. Something not to look forward to: the mishmash of memories, whereby the forgetting is more like a rearranging of the elements. The monsters on the wings: Isolina, Trinh, Kesare, Pilar, Veronica. “See that?” my father said, when we were taking the luggage from the cab.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

71


SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE: LUIS AMATE PEREZ “What?” “When I was a kid we used to have one just like it,” he said, pointing to the horse-drawn wagon across the street. “We used to sell the seltzer bottles. Every morning – ” “Just the bottles?” “C’mon, what are you, stupid?” v Not stupid – never. Romantic? Yes. Yes, I had been romantic, my tongue massaging her earlobe, whispering, “Please, Trinh. Please. Please. Please…Trinh….” “What if you come back, though? Aren’t things going to change between us?” “It’s not us,” I said, staring at my stretched forehead in the tinted lenses covering her face. “I’m just some guy you want. And you…you’re wearing the shades.” I kissed her for the second time. “What if my plane goes down? You know you’re gonna have to live with the fact you said, ‘No.’” “OK.” She tilted her chin up towards me. “So, me love you long time?” It didn’t have to be in that accent. v My father searched every room – “Mama!” here, “Mama!” there – as I slugged back three bottles of Pepsi. “That fucking asshole!” my father said, shaking his head, and losing his lips in his beard. “He knew I was coming today.” “Who?” “The fucking asshole – Mama’s nurse!” He walked out the door. “C’mon – let’s go!” I took a full bottle for the road. There was Heat again, waiting outside the door. My father was no help; there was no way for him to protect me. He was probably in on it, anyway. I just followed him like a stupid wagon following a stupid horse: my wagon-face downcast, awaiting the first of Heat’s sweaty assaults – my brow, my pits – oblivious to the architecture, the history of the streets (Tucumán, the home of the Argentine revolution) – the back of my neck, my crotch, drenched. I opened the bottle of Pepsi. “Where are we going?” “To the cemetery.” “What for?” “That’s where your grandma is.” Looking back, my father’s words should have scared me. I should have thought my grandmother dead and my quest to know love ended. And I should not have downed the bottle of Pepsi, and then pitched it into a trashcan. But that’s looking back. At the time I knew about my grandmother’s obsession with dirt, grass, and tombstones; how she (89 years old) would walk off in the middle of the night, down the block to the cemetery in search of whichever person was talking to her in her head at the time. Once, her mind had gone back fifty years to a day she’d asked my ten-year-old father to get a cut of beef from the carnicería down the street. My father had to explain to her over the phone how he was no longer ten, how all that had happened a long time ago, and, to boot, how he had brought the beef to her just as she’d requested. “Maybe it was your brother then.” She hung up the phone to go look for him at his grave. She believed my father. But I’m not too sure I did, as we came to the cemetery entrance: water-damage, chipped walls, dust, and a few decrepit flower stands. A big dead thing. Maybe, I thought, he visits every year just to make up for that undelivered piece of beef. A horse-drawn wagon – different, or maybe it was the same one – passed and all I could think about was my father selling bottles of seltzer to all the clowns in the world.

72

MAGAZINE


“Let’s go!” he said. v All right, what if you went to your dermatologist, and after a thorough examination – latex gloves, magnifying glass – Molluscum Contagiosum – he reached for the local anesthetic and scalpel? Would you not scar? And would you not assure Trinh that the painful-looking splotch on your penis was nothing? Would you not take words like poxvirus, papular eruption, and umbilicated cutaneous tumors, and redefine them with love? HATE is just a HAT with an E. Would you not assure her that despite its clinical name, the virus is not all that contagious, that children get it, too – that it’s very common? For fuck’s sake, my plane’s gonna crash! v The interior of the cemetery was a suburb of mausoleums; dead families packed into one room quarters not even a story high, lawn-less: San Martín, Mayo, O’ Brien…. Along the dirt path a few structures had been abandoned, windows busted in, exposed caskets big and small. “There they are!” he said. “Mama!” My grandmother and her male nurse were the only things standing in the cemetery’s separate yard of tombstones. “Mama!” my father shouted again. He explained to her that he was her son, which the male nurse had to corroborate before she’d allow my father to kiss her. He introduced me as su nieto, which she didn’t believe – she would not accept my dutiful affections. She just kept pointing to the grave in front of us, shaking her head, the wrinkles on her face moving like those of a bulldog. She wasn’t having it, I could tell – any of it. She was not happy to see us. We didn’t exist. I could have been under the ground at the time, under the single slab of granite, under my two uncles (the day old uncle who could not hold his breath, and the 43-year-old who couldn’t beat his heart), under my grandfather – another boxedbody in the stack. And if I were stacked there, shouldn’t Trinh and Isolina be stacked there as well? – what about Kesare and Pilar? (They’re coming.) Veronica? Me between all five of them, their weight bearing down, squeezing the breath out of my already dead frame…. Squeezing, squeezing, and squeezing the love out of me! v We haven’t even taken off yet, and already I’m hurtling through the atmosphere – a sudden pole shift has destroyed the compass – the monsters will soon appear and tear this plane apart – and Gravity, my friend, will allow us just enough altitude to make sure the crash is a fatal one. My father won’t look at me, even though he’s sitting right next to me. He won’t talk, so the last words of his I have to remember go something like this: “What the fuck is wrong with you?” My left eye has stopped puffing. I’ve taken off his extra pair of New Balances and stowed them in the overhead compartment. When the flight attendant – how about Luciana? – brings the preflight edibles, I make sure to eat both fig halves with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I leave both glasses of champagne for him. From my window the wing appears empty. v Kesare, with her long straight black hair and boyish body, was not an easy thing for me to deal with. A kiss on both cheeks, a shared surname, and, of course, she had to look like Trinh! – only Tucumana. And I wanted to reveal everything I had gone through, every realization I had come to and would come to – more than anything I wanted her to love me. Had Kesare and I been hermetically sealed in a container for two I’m sure I would have revealed all this to her (in broken Castellano) early in the evening, but she was my guide on the town, so my confession would have to wait for at least two gallons of Quilmes and a dark dance floor. She was in my life for one night, a handful of hours – Pilar, even less – yet I

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

73


SHOULD WE LOSE CABIN PRESSURE: LUIS AMATE PEREZ can’t rid my memory of them. Two months knowing Trinh, that’s an eternity! That’s the way it is. And this is but a short list of lovers. I don’t even want to think of the distant and the unborn. The drinking had started in Pilar’s basement apartment: no air-conditioning, hardly any air circulation at all; the place was dank but well lit – the beer cold. Pilar flashed her big, porcelain teeth every few seconds, as we sat around the table gulping down glass after glass. She was a happy spirit of a woman, making smoke rings which Trinh – I mean Kesare – would penetrate with her middle finger. Pilar had freckles, too. And I wanted to connect every brown dot on her body. Kesare could have watched if she wanted. I enjoyed the attention and their mispronunciations of Aerosmith, Keane, and other Rock groups. They were enthusiastic to learn every dirty word I knew. They were open to teach me as well. Asshole: ojo de mono. Pussy: concha. Dick: verga. The thoughts that crossed my mind! I wanted to pull the klutz out – you know, turn the beer to Cabernet, then spill the sucker all over my shirt: “How silly of me!” And this being Pilar’s place – she having had the new washing machine and dryer installed but a day ago – would offer to do the cleansing for me: “Take that thing off (it was getting in the way, anyway!). Yeah! Swing it above your head a few times!” Laundry Room. Me drying her off with the wine-soiled rag, connecting her freckles – hundreds at a time – with every swab: her brow, her breasts, her knees behind her shoulders, my nose scouring that strip of fur – a perfect landing: We made it! We survived! Then they ran in, screaming, “Mama! Mama!” I was introduced, then one of them sat in my lap, while the other one made the motion that something stunk. I wanted to wipe the two of them away, but before I knew it I was introduced to another two by way of a photo. Four children. Four girls. The mother, whom I could’ve been grinding during a spin cycle, smoked like a chimney…. I could only think of the scars their births must have left behind on their mother. Somewhere – there, below the panty line…. Why did she have to show me her scars? I thought. What the hell is wrong with her? v My grandmother’s shower. Soap in my eyes, coughing – the water went down the wrong pipe. Kesare denied me twice the previous night. Pilar would never get the chance. Isolina? Veronica? The distant? The unborn? Trinh’s voice in my head, her body under me, in my head: “What, are you trying to hurt me?” she asked, squirming. “Stop it!” How could I ever hurt her with my love? “Stop it!” she wiggled out from under me. Please don’t look at me! I’ll burn them, I thought. That’ll stop me from stinking. I’ll take a flame to them right now, then run away, bruise my feet, redeem myself. v Quilmes, Quilmes, Quilmes – the beer impaired my senses. But Love, Love, Love – the true intoxicant would not be denied on that dark dance floor. In our own commiserating corner, Kesare showed me how to dance, and I wanted to show her how to love me. “Bésame!” I said, attempting a kiss, but getting my lips caught in her long straight black hair, in Trinh’s long straight black hair. “No,” she said, heartbreak in her face. “¡Vos eres mi primo!” And I apologized with everything I had, just like I’d weep in my grandmother’s shower (hours later), with everything I had. I played with Trinh’s hair – Kesare’s hair – Trinh’s hair…my eyes watering – from the extra dashes of cologne I’d added to my Sambas. “Bésame! Por favor!” v

74

MAGAZINE


“Blue Skies” plays in my headset, Rod Stewart’s voice calling the ladies to take their positions on the wing. When we reach the appropriate altitude, Isolina will break off a nice chunk of the wing, while Trinh and Kesare use their long straight black hair to stop the engine turbines from spinning; then Pilar and her Four will impregnate the navigational system with viral glitches. And Veronica – or is it Luciana? – will bust into the cockpit and smother the pilots with the extra pillows and blankets from business class. Should the plane lose cabin pressure…. I prepare for the oxygen mask to drop. v I ran over gravel – I must have, looking at my feet. I must have run to the cemetery – that’s where my grandmother was. She was not in her bed. She was at the grave and she knew who I was – she knew that I was there to listen, to learn. She was totally coherent, even pointing out the fact that I was not wearing my Sambas, and her words were easy to translate, as she pointed to the granite slab by our feet: “They’re dead. They’re all dead.” No survivors. She wept – she must have – because I embraced her, held her like a child and rocked her back and forth; and she understood how badly I wanted to love something – to have someone who would love me – to show me love. I told her how I wished that I knew every constellation in the universe, every particle, every bit of empty space, because I wanted to crush them into a ball to give to her. Here. “What do you call this?” she said through her silence. I call it Love. Yes, I was trying to woo her, just like I’d tried with every other woman, but this one was born 89 years ago, and she was there. Don’t you see? This was my last chance. She was there with me, and she lost herself in my arms: “¿Dónde estoy?” she whined. (Where am I?) “¿Dónde está mi amor?” (Where is my Love?) “¿Mi Amor?” she screamed. (My love?) “¿Mi Amor?” Here! (¡Aquí!) I am here! (¡Estoy aquí!) A mausoleum door flung open – not her bedroom door – and there was my father – deranged clown that he was – walloping me with a punch, sending me to the carpet of dirt. He covered her with a blanket, and then turned to me, his eyes taking in my nakedness, a huge clownish mouth opening up in the middle of his beard: “What the fuck is wrong with you?” I turned towards the wall so he would not see my scars, and I wondered: what’s wrong with love? What’s wrong with it? When will the oxygen masks start falling from the sky? v We’ve taken off, nearing the altitude where a fall will be fatal. The monsters on the wings are hard at work, dismembering the flying machine. My father is silent – he will never forgive me. As “Blues Skies” ends, my headphones fill with laughter. I don’t look around the cabin, knowing that the sound is just a laugh track. I’m in on the joke. Perhaps a minute or so before the crash, I will go to the restroom – OCCUPPIED – knock-knock, and there she’ll be, my grandmother, eager to open the door. She’ll invite me inside, offer me a drink and tell me about how wonderful she’s been feeling, how thankful she is. And the last embrace I have – before meeting the ground – will be with her. It will be perfect, the way love is supposed to be, except for that aftertaste: fig, cream cheese, smoked salmon.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

¿Dónde está mi amor?

75


EMBRACE: HEATHER SHUKER

Embrace is a photographic series exploring couples embracing in a kiss. The work tries to capture the tension between the stereotypical image of a romantic kiss and the reality, and to create images that are on the borderline between alluring fantasy and a more down-to-earth realism. The series focuses on the gesture and the graphic figuration of the individual rather than on the setting. Through selective lighting images are created by what is revealed in the highlights and concealed in the shadows. The dark spaces in the image and what they hide leave the viewer wanting to know more. It is up to the viewer to imagine what has been hidden.

E M B R 76

MAGAZINE


R A C E by HEATHER SHUKER

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

77


EMBRACE: HEATHER SHUKER

78

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

79


EMBRACE: HEATHER SHUKER

80

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

81


EMBRACE: HEATHER SHUKER

82

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

83


EMBRACE: HEATHER SHUKER

84

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

85


SUPERMAN SAYS – LOVE: SUPERMAN

N A ERM

SUP S AY S

Superman returns to PoV to share his unique perspective on our latest theme – Love.

BEN TURNER ASKS THE QUESTIONS

This whole magazine contains human perceptions of love, but what is love to an alien such as yourself? Love is everything to me. I’m not Superman because I’m indestructible and can fly. I’m Superman because a good man and woman from Kansas loved their son.

Q

Do people fall in love on Krypton? Oh, yes they do… I know a Kryptonian couple who were in love till death did them part: Jor-El and Lara.

Q

Who do you love? Lois Lane. Great girl… And she reads all my interviews too.

Q

Love, what is it good for? Love can make an ordinary man feel like a superhero and can make a superhero feel like an ordinary man. Love makes us all equal. I think that’s a good thing, right?

Q

What in life do you most love doing? Let me just remind you that one of my super abilities is X-Ray vision.

Q

The great philosopher Meat Loaf once said that he would do anything for love, what would you do? Hmmm… I guess, I can reverse time to save the life of someone I love. Actually, come to think of it, I remember doing that once. Cool, Eh?

Q

IF YOU WANT TO KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE MUSINGS OF THE MAN OF STEEL YOU CAN FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER: @SUPERMANTWEETS

86

MAGAZINE


PHOTO: BEN TURNER

Who do you love? Lois Lane. Great girl… And she reads all my interviews TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

87


A FALSE DAWN: VICTORIA SANCHEZ

a false “Other birds will sing at night, but with ordinary songbirds, it is usually either when they have been disturbed or when there is artificial light. In the latter case, the birds almost certainly think it is a false dawn.” I. This old, sweet song keeps you on my mind: our dreams lie awake, full and heavy at the seams. and your body is my false dawn, infinitely designed. Summer songbirds are resigned to the exhaust left from pipe dreams, and this old, sweet song keeps you on my mind. I write and write on reams of paper, milky white promise, weightless house sleeping underneath my palms. Here I insert a line that rhymes with find, and there, a line that rhymes with seems.

II. So if my lines have no depth, and there’s no life left in the letters, or if the magic has run away like ink runs down the page, and if my name means nothing else to you–– this old, sweet song, keeps you on my mind. And if the letters or the words or the promise have lost their tune, and if you leave or I leave or we both give up–– this old, sweet song keeps you on my mind. And if the sack of grain lies heavy at the seams, and you’re not there to reap our harvest, I want you to know: For all your lies, you’re still very lovable.

88

MAGAZINE


dawn by VICTORIA SANCHEZ

Dedication to M. M–, your laughter is sea foam– sweet salt in the flood. It plunders space; it gnaws on grief. I was by the ocean today and your light looked less far away. The weedy sea dragons were sleeping all afternoon, and the swell, the seas, nodded off with them. The sky dipped its head into the water, and it dreamed of sunken shells, stars, ships; it dreamed your dreams–and mine. I cast off the hook of dead hours. This space aches without you.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

89


SO SORRY: JENNIFER BRUGET

SO SORRY by JENNIFER BRUGET

90

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

91


SO SORRY: JENNIFER BRUGET

92

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

93


SO SORRY: JENNIFER BRUGET

94

MAGAZINE


So Sorry, You forgot me unreasonable laziness sketch tenderness Water drops Drip Warm water Enriched by great emptiness You do not see me flexible automaton In the heavenly throat On the passing appearance who admits these wrongs With laughter The sky will be hurt me A track on the sand And even then Lava crystallizes Warm heart Ice my fingers desires awkward Bag of balls Transitions quiet.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

95


SO SORRY: JENNIFER BRUGET

96

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

97


ZARINA ZABRISKY: MURKA, THE SADDEST SADISTIC LOVE STORY

MURKA, THE SADD SADI LO

98

MAGAZINE


DEST ISTIC OVE STORY by ZARINA ZABRISKY

THE SCAR ON HIS ARM LOOKED

like a flying bat. Raised, jagged, red-purple, it glistened between the silver hairs on Storm’s arm whenever he rolled his sleeve to polish his combat boots or to saw a log in the yard. The scar was ugly and spine-chilling, just like his rusty saw, just like Storm himself. If you saw it once it got stuck in your memory like a splinter. Storm, or Benya Stormberg, lived all alone in a dark room at the end of the long hallway of our communal apartment. Everyone called him Storm but no one really talked to him. No one had ever been to his room. He never drank vodka with men. He never slapped women on jiggling behinds in the steamdrenched kitchen. We, children, ran away

TH E LOVE ISSUE

from him. At night we baked gnarly potatoes with purple eyes under the old linden in the far corner of the yard. We picked potatoes out from smoldering coals, burning the fingers, blew at wrinkled skins and whispered scary stories about Storm. “You know, M on his arm stands for a Man-eater,” Nikita from the other yard would say. “No,” answered Rita, licking her sootcovered fingers. “He’s a sorcerer, and he is one thousand years old.” “Storm is a monster,” I always said. “He murdered young women when he was young. My mama told me so. She said to never talk to him, ever.” During the day Storm hid in his room. At sunset he limped out down the corridor, settled on the bench in the yard, and rolled cigarettes. His tobacco smelled like old ship

M AY 20 13

99


ZARINA ZABRISKY: MURKA, THE SADDEST SADISTIC LOVE STORY

ropes in the port. A tar-black cat usually sat by his side. For hours they stared in the distance in complete silence. Then he sawed logs. He made a living by selling firewood to the many families of our old pink building, drafty and cold in winter. v One evening just before dusk I stepped out into the yard to play hop-scotch and saw Nikita hunched up over something on the ground under the linden. I ran over. He held Storm’s black cat in the canvas bag, the strings around its neck. Nikita pulled on the strings, his mouth twisted. The cat’s eyes popped up like soap-bubbles and covered with whitish film. Its red mouth opened. A pink tongue stuck out like a piece of plastic washed on the sea shore. A strange hissing sound came out of the cat’s throat. I didn’t think long. I took a rock from the ground and hit Nikita on his dirty blond head, right above his temple. He let go off the bag, and grabbed on his forehead with both hands. I saw bright blood splashing through his fingers, pouring over his bitten nails, but I didn’t care. I untied the strings, and, cat in hands hot and heavy, ran back towards the door, feeling the boy stumping after me, raising dust in the air, panting, puffing. By the front door I bumped into Storm. With his hawk beak nose, silver hair like horns, and red eyes he looked like a devil himself. Storm moved me aside, stepped forward, grabbed Nikita by his collar and lifted him off the ground like a puppy. “You come here one more time, you touch this girl or this cat one more time,” he said in a low voice, “you’re dead. You understand?” “I understand,” said Nikita. I saw his pants getting dark between his legs and pee

streaming down his legs. Storm unclasped his hand and the boy ran as if he had wheels. The cat scratched its way out of the bag, flipped in the air like a squirrel, landed on the grass and disappeared in the basement. I looked at the long thin scratches on my arm. Storm looked at them, too, nodded and something like a smile moved over his brown face. v Ever since then we formed something like a friendship. He still sat and smoked, as always, the black cat by his leg. Sometimes, though, I’d come closer and just stood there, running my fingers over my red ball, staring at the cat, and Storm’s wrinkles, and his scar. After two weeks, he asked me, “What’s your name?” “Manya,” I whispered. In a month, I sat next to him, dangling my feet, and he told me stories about pirates, parrots and robbers in Odessa in olden days. And then, one day, he asked me if I wanted to know about his scar. He let me touch it. Close up, the scar was the color of overripe grapes. It felt rough at the edges and smooth—almost velvety like the cat’s back— in the middle. “Long time ago on a dark night I came to Odessa from Amur on a long green train.” “Amur means love, in French,” I said, proud. “Amur was a small gangster town in Ukraine,” said Storm. “Odessa was a mess, but it was a rich mess. Ukrainians were killing Ukrainians. Russians were killing Russians, and everyone was killing us Jews. But I came with Jewish hit men and crooks, the Mob, we called it. We hit back.

one day, he asked me if I wanted to know about his scar 100

MAGAZINE


“The Reds were in charge at the time. They wore black leather jackets, boots that crinkled at night and revolvers on straps. The Reds just won over the Whites. The Whites fled on big ships, to Istanbul. “The Mobsters wore purple bell-bottoms and flashy jackets. We didn’t take sides. We took pride in not taking sides. The Mob lived by its own law. We hid our guns and crooked knives under our chic yellow and pink vests. We lived in abandoned buildings, in catacombs and in ruins, but we wore bow-ties and shined our buttons and boots. We killed, robbed and gambled, but we had fun. “The Mob had a boss. Murka. Murka was one of a kind. No one fucked with her. If she said something, so was it. She jumped like a cat off the roofs during robberies, without making a sound. She cut off diamond rings with fingers and carved Ms on her lovers’ shoulders. With her small black razor. She carried this razor blade hidden inside of her boot. “I was twenty, and I was an orphan since birth. I lost my mind over Murka. She smelled like Odessa in summer: sweets, sea and raw meat. Her hair looked like a black cat, like Black sea itself. Her eyes shone like ripe cherries. When she sat near to me I had no air to breathe. “I robbed for her, I killed for her. I brought her money, cocaine, golden rings and bracelets, silks, lace and necklaces. “Murka loved me, too. She called me her little hawk. I called her Murka, my little kitten. She cut an M on my arm. Under that linden, on the grass.” “Did it hurt?” “It hurt. It hurt and bled good. Then Murka did something she never had done. She cut S on her arm. For Storm. Then she threw her razor at me, and it flew and got stuck in the bark of the linden. She laughed, her teeth were white like sugar cubes. She loved me. “That summer life was good. Love was good, and the Mob ruled Odessa. Gunfire shook the crooked streets. The Reds chased the Mob, but they couldn’t get us. “But summer ended, and in fall our luck

TH E LOVE ISSUE

ran out. Arrests, failures, raids fell like rains. Someone ratted us out. We couldn’t find who. Murka got sad. She started to disappear. I tried to follow her, but she could vanish in the dark like a cat. Life was empty without Murka. I started to drink. “One night I went out with Moisha Tickle to take care of business. It was a corner drug store robbery. Tickle, he said, he was thirsty, let’s have a drink. So we went inside that kosher restaurant, and I saw Murka. First I saw her black hair. Then I saw a black leather jacket. Then a revolver, on a strap, on her hip. She laughed, and the Red commissar put his arm around her. “That’s how I knew who ratted us out. Murka did. She ratted us out. I came to her, and my heart bled. “’Murka,’ I said. “She didn’t look at me, just kept laughing. Why? You had everything. I got you rings, skirts and jackets. What was that you wanted? I didn’t say that. Just thought it. Instead, I said, ‘Hello, my dear Murka. My dear, dear Murka. Hello, my dear Murka and good bye.’ “And then I pulled her razor blade out of my boot and stabbed her in the back. And the Red jumped up but I stabbed him, too, and he fell down like a sack of potatoes, next to her. “‘Forgive me, Murka,’ I said. I cleaned her blood on her stocking, the stocking I gave her, shiny like mermaid skin, and I put the blade back into my boot and walked out.” “Did the Reds catch you?” I asked. “No,” said Storm. “Finkl, the old owner, he turned away, moved his bottles around or killed cockroaches, like he didn’t see me or two of them in blood. There were other Jews in the restaurant, but they looked into their plates, and just kept drinking. No one cared for the Red commissaries and their whores. So I went out and that’s that. I loved her. You’re a child, you don’t understand,” said Storm. I wanted to understand. Long after my mama forbade me to sit on the bench with Storm, and long after he died suddenly of a heart attack, all alone it his room, I thought about Murka, and Storm, and their good love under the old linden and the ancient black cat.

M AY 20 13

101


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

102

MAGAZINE


Photography by EMMA CASE

It wouldn’t be a love issue without a little wedding action so PoV caught up with Emma Case, who, together with her husband Pete, runs Emma Case Photography.

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

103


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

104

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

105


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

When we shoot couples we want to capture the real people, their quirks, their natural smiles, them just being in love really. The best way for us to get that is by making the couples as relaxed and comfortable as possible, so we approach everything we do as having fun with friends, we laugh, we tell stories, we just encourage them to be free to be themselves. It really helps that Me and Pete are a couple too, the men find it a relief to have another man along for the ride, otherwise it can feel daunting that they are somehow expected to ‘perform’ or be ‘super romantic’ and nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a big believer in the real, what they are really like. So, yes I do have a few methods and ways of communicating with them to help them relax, but essentially it’s just us having a laugh. We find that couples in love will want to touch each other, hold each other, kiss each other, so we don’t tend to prompt them into anything, just give them the time to be together. As I said, I’m a big believer in the real, the natural. At our couple’s portrait session on their wedding day we want our couples to feel as relaxed and happy as possible, we do this by spending at least 40 minutes of dedicated time with them, ideally up to 1 hour. We don’t want our couples worrying about anything else, the table settings, times for dinner or speeches, the only thing that matters is the two of them together on the most amazing day of their lives, being in love and having time out just with each other. We want them to have beautiful, artistic photos that just really capture their natural and excited love for each other, its about bringing to life that moment they are sharing, it is a very intimate and personal moment and a lot of couples say that it was their favourite part of their day. Showing this real emotion isn’t something you can really create or set up, it happens when two people are in love and are given the space. We make sure they feel as safe and confident as they possibly can, so they feel encouraged rather than directed. We give 100% to our couples and their weddings, they know how much we care, because we really do care about them, about their families, about the precious moments that can be so fleeting but are vital to them and their day.

106

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

107


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

108

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

109


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

110

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

111


SHOOT FROM THE HEART: EMMA CASE

112

MAGAZINE


TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

113


TITLE: NAME

I WAS BORN

into a simple small family in the city of Thibodaux. We were considered poor with my father working as a bus driver and an air condition repairman. My mother stayed home, cooking, cleaning, doing her garden and raising us, her children. I grew up along the bayous of southern Louisiana where I experienced tough times and had many hardships in my life. But those hardships are what made me appreciate the things that I have now. I worked most of my life starting off babysitting, cutting grass and working in the lunch room at school. Then as I got older I got a job at a florist shop in Thibodaux. I met a wonderful man who I married a few months after I graduated. We were together for 23 years until the twisted arms of fate took him from me. I had to deal with the transition from a loving and real relationship that was consummated with a long-term marriage and was cut short by an unexpected death pushing me into the modern day dating scene that is replete with all kinds of colorful characters. My departed husband was a gentleman and a good loving father. He also happened to be the first love of my life. These poems are for him.

by LORA BENOIT

114

MAGAZINE


My Special You

My Love

You’ve taken my heart and kept it dear being my better part, I have nothing to fear you help me get through each wonderful night when you’re with me and holding me tight.

You are my love and my life you are also my very best friend we both have this special love I hope that it will never end.

You are what I live for:

You are my best friend my friend to the very end you are the love of my life I’m so blessed to be your wife.

When I look into your loving eyes my heart flutters deep inside we keep our strong feelings true because I have someone so special, you!

I can tell you anything I can’t tell any other we both have this special something because you’re my friend and lover.

We get high on each others love so high like the heavens above your love has made me so strong like powerful words in a love song

I am so lucky to be your wife and to be with you to share my life God blessed me from up above with your devotion, faithfulness and love.  1999, for my husband Chris

Rivers of love always flow strong flows strong for you my dearest one my heart beats hot and long just like the rays from the sun.

PHOTO: BEN TURNER

You’ve made all my dreams come true because I am so in love with you you are everything to me you make my life as it should be. 1982, for my husband Chris

TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

115


TEA & TOAST CLUB: KNUCKLES

WELCOME TO OUR CLUB. TAKE FIVE. SIT BACK . RELAX. AND MEET SOMEONE WHO TOOK LOVE AND HATE TO A DIFFERENT PLACE...

photograph of JACKSON by CHRIS PILKINGTON 116

MAGAZINE


! e n o d ext up n In issue six we explore

and

In issue seven we take on

GET INVOLVED. WE WANT YOUR WRITING, POETRY, ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY. GO TO WWW.POVMAGAZINE.CO.UK TH E LOVE ISSUE

M AY 20 13

117


NEW WRITING POETRY ART PHOTOGRAPHY ON A COMMON THEME

issue #6

WWW.POVMAGAZINE.CO.UK POV MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY ONLINE CONTENT MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE ARTIST © POV MAGAZINE 2013


PoV Magazine issue 6