The Blog

We’re Here, We’re Now

People aren’t actually obsessed with their phones. If they were they’d get one without putting most of their attention on how good the camera is. A phone’ll cost you $99 tops, a camera $300+, what are you carrying?

When you pull it out at concerts and car crashes to snap a couple, when you meet your idols and your first thought is to ask for a pic, when you’re in presence of good food and great views and your first thought is to capture rather than to breathe fumes, and when you can’t go anywhere without it, you’ve got to realize that your phone doesn’t take pictures, your camera sometimes makes calls.

Everyone’s a photographer – that photographer, subconsciously aware that something actually interesting happening in their life is a rarity, that can only be captured only if they’re always prepared, only.

And so we carry these cameras that make calls, text-gossip to pass the time, and when something interesting finally happens… bliss. We finally have something to prove that our daily life isn’t actually all that boring – like, scroll through these new pics like.

But it is. People with interesting lives don’t have that much time to take pictures or answer texts, interesting shit is happening. The universal sign of enjoying a good night out is not being able to get to your phone, the secret’s to put the camera down as well. To stop being boring. Interesting lives have interesting people. Everyone’s a photograph, image-conscious, how’s that interesting? Put the camera down. What were you like before the camera?

There’s that old story of Native-American, African, and Aboriginal tribes believing that a photo can steal your soul, cage it. Seems foolish in these dangerous times, but what were you like before you learnt how to take a good pic? Of yourself, of your life.

Bob Dylan has that line, “But you’ve picked up quite a story and you’ve changed since the womb. What happened to the real you, you’ve been captured but by whom?” It means a lot of things, one of them being that we are our worst enemies.

Let Me Help You

This has been a weird sort of two weeks for me.

Brexit‬ made me feel angry and powerless to help my friends of African and Indian origin who were facing unjust persecution in a land they loved, and then ‪Alton Sterling‬ and ‪‎Philando Castile‬ were murdered in the land of the free so I found a small release for my powerlessness – I could donate to their families, throw money at them and feel… less impotent.

Then I realized, wow, I’m a piece of shit; here’s this amazing device for intercontinental connection and voice, and all I’m using it for is as speedy means of deriving some sort of self-satisfaction from helping the needy, wow. There loomed above me this heavy rain of a question about myself that was hard to weather.

In the meantime, I ended up being front and center as Dallas PD labelled the wrong man as suspect for their shooting on their Twitter account, front and center as he was exonerated in less than 30 minutes by video footage and multiple eye witnesses, as their Public Information Officer gave no damns about retractions or of the consequences of leaving the wrong information up, and as the Twitter homepage news algorithm and multiple media outlets picked up said information and made it their headlines. Angry again I somehow found myself doing what I do best online and unearthed way-too-much information on Dallas PD. I did what I could and quietly made numbers and other means of communication more easily accessible to people who wanted to voice their anger the right way. Though my help was very minor amongst other key players it helped spark a fire which would have never happened had we kept to our daily selves.

I won’t lie – I was happy, and confused about it. Maybe it’s because although some justice was realized a horrible 17 hours later, at least all that effort amounted to something. See, I’ve been made a realist about the sum of my contributions to the world when it comes to these things, a grand total of “so hardly helping they by all means almost amount to nothing.” Amongst other things I’ve helped a reporter expose rape by police in Thailand and I’ve watched him “disappear” and upon reappearance he was deported and his report was never looked or acted upon, and I’ve tried countless times to expose the cruelty that’s put upon the animals of Thailand (mainly elephants and dogs) to anyone (anyone) and received laughter as my comeuppance. So yes, I was happy that “almost amounts to” wasn’t actually nothing in this case.

Without realizing it I’d stumbled right back onto that question that made me feel like crap, and I’d found a sort-of answer. I’ve been too logical about my end contribution to this whole thing and inadvertently I’ve become a dispirited product of my environments. So here’s my plea: If you’re fighting injustice in some way and are in need of someone who’s basically a magician at finding information via web, let me help you, pro bono. Short-term, long-term, it doesn’t matter, just contact me privately and let me help. In the larger scheme of things I’ll be so hardly helping I’m almost not, but almost isn’t nothing. Let me help you.

And let me leave you here. In the same breath that I’d found my answer, I’d also realized how important the question was. I won’t voice it for that will belittle it, but it’s the question that, for today, can be answered by paraphrasing Shaun King, “Whoever you are right now is an indication of who you would’ve been during the Civil Rights Movement.” With all due respect, I hope your inaction eats at you.

Pissed

All of my UK friends of African or Indian descent have expressed to me how the racism they’ve faced in the past couple days amounts to a couple years’ worth. They’ve been verbally abused, told to go home, spit on, &c.. All of them.

People hate being told how racism is still alive in such “progressive” times, but are lost for words when things such as Brexit unfold and suddenly there’s an uptick in racism. “My word, where did all these racists come from?” the lady next door exclaims, shocked. They were always here ma’am, you don’t notice them because they don’t target you.

(I mean, I’ve lived in Texas and Georgia, whether or not Trump wins shouldn’t one view his progress as a sign of something serious? No? An old-timer from Alabama told me a couple weeks back that things haven’t really changed – “Sure, segregation’s officially done with, but black-folks and white-folks still living in the same places they used to live, doing the same things, drinking from the same fountains.”)

This is the heartbreaking thing about travelling the world while dark-skinned. I’ve been told not to go to Ireland or Russia or Australia or [insert multiple countries] by good friends because they fear for my safety, I’ve had my skin digitally-whitened in all of my passport pictures in every asian country I’ve been in, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been followed and questioned by cops as I’ve jogged early mornings in multiple cities, the number of times I’ve been called ‘dirty brother’ or ‘monkey brother’ in a foreign language as a “friendly nickname,” and of the number of times I’ve been partying, having a good time with someone drunk to suddenly hear them say, “Hey Arsène, I usually contain myself, but I feel I can be myself around you, you’re a likeable nigger.”

I get angry, really angry, but I’m wise enough to just walk away and shut up, every time. There are better ways to spend my time than righteous indignation, like making money. But there are days like today.

Blessed strength be upon you UK friends, for as much as I wish it did, it never gets easier being shown that the world you love doesn’t love you back.

the cool

Our friendships are made of… the buzz. The cool, the mixed signals and covered moon. Genuine laughter. Dancing something with no name to it with you but would rather be doing anything else. Something like the middle finger, the smile, white teeth showing. Dimples, and beaches, and jungles, and weeds, and healthy foods, and tattoos, and something we think original. Pronounce that right, thank you. Whatever, go on, be happy. Topless models, breathtaking conversations, patios with great views, nights we’ll never remember and real love. Caramelized popcorn, back-to-back movies, and unforgettable sex – reel love? Hour-long somethings and chills. Under-exposed photos, the blurs. Designer shit. Good nights, bad mornings, gorgeous women with dark shades of lipsticks, tired eyes getting everything they want. Not you sweetheart, something like the movies; the noons, the mixed signals and ever coveted moons.

What are we selling? We’re on our third passport and we’re bored. Wouldn’t change a thing though.

sohbet

A night full of talking that hurts; my worst held-back secrets, her worst held-back desires. Lord, our hearts can’t take this! But we keep on. Everything has to do with loving and not loving. Mystical conversation; often, the closest we come to surrender is orgasm but we’re past that… where are we? Closer. We move; milk, and honey, and warm chocolate, and a stirring of the spoon comparable to your waist around mine. Dancing something supple but we break.

This night will pass, but we had it. The night will pass, then we have work to do.

music to sleep two

Sometimes the night gives more than it takes and you bring all the stars home with you. And the rain, and the moon, and the whole damn storm. And she looks at you – says, “You make love to me like you’re going to lose me and there’s no convincing you I’m here to stay awhile. Such sadness.” And all she’ll remember is the morning you convinced her to stay awhile, the temperature. The afternoon you showed her how to carry a knife and still trust everyone, how she’s the thing at either end of the gun. Church.

Rhythm & Brown Sugar

hey glory child

child_soldiers_gundam

Iron-made orphans, clipped our wings in the late night. Sometimes you hate to leave somebody, what’s happening to we? Gardens, flowers, I recall your soul had a taste like…

sonnets

ballads