ferry man calls

My father has this annoying habit
of putting on a song to listen to and then
disappearing
and while my emotions are wrestled
tortured and dragged kicking and swearing
through the mire of all the world’s darkest caves
a part of me says hi,
says thanks for explaining how now and then are inextricably bound
he’s dead
And the dead give up their right to a voice the minute they pay
the ferry man
since I first saw you
I have been
aware of his existence
cheroot, cap, and torn clothes
his purse, an open box on
the floor
each step I take closer to you
he comes more clearly into view
you brought me back into the river
and some days
I’m swimming upstream
can’t work out whether you’re the riptide
that’ll pull me down
or
the current which will pull me along
there’s no such thing as a life jacket
to save me from these waters
when I’m swimming I turn the music up
no more sounds to drown out
just got to find a reef shelf to help my stability
to stop me drifting out
hear me shout
I’m here
Sweet baby
I’m here

Text: © JL Nash, 3013
Images: Sydney Police Vintage Mugshots [1920's-1940's]

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untitled note

there is no title to this page
and you have no name to be spoken
there has been no food shared
no lips kissed
no drinks spilled in favour of
secrets
no songs no poetry no gifts
and although i am not the only one
who refuses to make comparisons
between what has not occurred
and what cannot be acknowledged
there is still no title to this page
and you have no name to be spoken
and in some other dimension
this time has already slipped
in between pages of a book
for discovery
because someone will recognise
the emptiness and in that
solace of space
there will still be no title nor name
and a thousand stars will have exploded
in galaxies unseen

and if i did decide to give this to you
then you might have to exist

Text: © JL Nash, 2013
Images: © Othon Mataragas by Predrag Pajdic, 2013

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conflict / conflicto

I’d like to propose a toast…

to dreams
and to the bold
Men and Women
that dare to dream them
to the wild-eyed visionaries
that plant seeds in their
hearts with hopes
to one day see them
come to pass

for prayers
sweeter than papayas
that rise from the
deepest darkest
depths of our cellars
where my heart
is pumping out
prayers like mass

to the foresight
that illuminates our
foreshadows that
whirl in the glass
of our souls
to those robust
farm workers clad
in jeans, flannels
handkerchiefs and hats
for all the mamas and papas that
wear their skin like worn leather
who are wrinkled and red like raisins
and whose wrinkles hold stories like wine jugs and whose woes
are ten miles deeper than any winemaker’s pocket book

this one’s for them

for all of the grandmas
and grandpas that look like stucco
whose eyes look like ice wines
with frost outlining their irises
for the crows-feet perched
perfectly on their eyelids
and their white hair flowing
like broken clouds passing
through windmill slices
for century old spines like gnarly
vines in vineyards for lilac diamonds
to the god-like elders
for our aging wines and
their timeless guidance

this one’s for floral notes
sung by the brown folks
for the flower vendor
the one that puts
the rose in rosary
for a gorgeous culture
that rose from dirt so openly
for arms that open like blossoms
for womb-like palms that deliver
the grape from bondage
and carry it from
conception to fruition
and beyond the goblet
for the seed that dreams itself
larger than grapes and transcends wine, song, couplet and sonnet

to cherry pickers like
rebels with barreled chests
waging war with their wages
who hurl their dreams
like Molotov cocktails
into our amber waves of grain
whose knuckles are
gnarled and strained
for the work of a dreamer
is stainless and honest

for the protagonist, the antithesis, the subplot and most importantly the conflict

you see

I know copper-skinned
women and men
that work for pennies

I know mothers that
never feel beaten
machine-like Mothers
that clean hotels by day
sell Avon at night
and work the fields
on the weekends
so this one’s for freedom

for children with eyes like plums
whose hair looks like dark chocolate
waterfalls pouring out and catching the sun

for precious sun-flowers
with green thumbs that
have never been embarrassed
of their hardworking parents
that pick pears and pluck asparagus
this one’s for the families that get scattered for work all across the Americas

its ugly
I know a girl that was
held for ransom at birth
just beneath the border
by bad men known
as Coyotes who you
gotta pay to smuggle dreams
into this country

its beyond ugly
its heart crushing
so this one’s for the underbelly
for the juggling of children over rivers
for dodging dogs & militias
for sliding dreams past
the law writers passing
laws higher than the
barbed wire they’re casting
the people they’re pruning
and the hopes they’re smashing

to the Mighty Migrant Worker
may your hands and spine
always nurture the vine
may the cups of all your tomorrows
be filled with the fruits of your labor
and may the dreams you
dream of find freedom
in the land of your neighbor

to you

Quisiera hacer un brindis…

un brindis por los sueños
y por los valientes hombres
y las fuertes mujeres
que se atrevan a soñarlos.
Un brindis por los visionarios
cuyos ojos iluminados
siembran semillas en sus corazones
con la esperanza de verlas, algún día,
llegar a florecer.

Un brindis por los rezos
más dulces que papayas
que se levantan de la más onda
y oscura profundidad
de nuestra bodega
donde mi corazón bombea
los rezos como en la misa.
Y brindemos por la previsión
que ilumina nuestro presagio
que gira en la copa de nuestra alma.

Brindemos por los robustos granjeros
con sus franelas, vaqueros, pañuelos y gorras por las mamás y los papás
que llevan su piel como cuero gastado
arrugado y rojo como uvas pasas
cuyas arrugas guardan historias como jarras de vino
cuyas congojas alcanzan diez millas más allá de la cartera
de cualquier vinicultor

Este es por ellos

por todas las Abuelas
y por todos los Abuelos
quienes se parecen al estuco
cuyos ojos son como vinos helados
con escarcha rodeada en sus iris.
Este es por las patas de gallo
perfectamente posadas
y su cabello cano volando
como nubes pasando
por las tejadas del molino.
Este es por las columnas
vertebrales, antiguas y nudosas
de las parras del viñedo
como diamantes de lilo
y viejos sabios
por nuestro vino añejo
y su guía eterna

Este es por las notas de Flora
cantada por la gente morena y
por la vendedora de rosas
que echa rosas en el rosario y
por una cultura hermosa
que salió de la tierra tan abierta
Este es por los brazos
que se abren como flores
por las palmas del vientre
que salvan a la uva
de su servidumbre
y la lleva de su concepción
al hecho y más allá de la copa
Este es por la semilla
que sueña en sí misma
más allá de las uvas
y trasciende el vino,
el canto, la copla y el soneto.
Este es por Ella.

Este es por los recogedores de cerezas
rebeldes con pecho de barril
declarando la guerra contra sus sueldos quienes lanzan sus sueños
como cócteles Molotov
hacia nuestras alas amarillas
de trigo, cuyos nudillos
nudosos y cansados
por el trabajo de un soñador inoxidable y sincero por el protagonista, el antitesis,
la trama secundaria y, más importante, el conflicto

Ya ves
Yo conozco a hombres y a mujeres
de piel de cobre que cobran centimos

Yo conozco a Madres
que nunca se sienten vencidas
Madres de máquina
que limpian hoteles de día y
que venden Avon de noche y
que labran en el campo en los findes
este por la libertad

por los Niños con ojos de ciruela
cuyo cabello es como el chocolate
como cataratas vertiendo agua
y atrapando el sol

por los girasoles preciosos
con manos de jardinero
que nunca han sentido la vergüenza
de sus padres obreros
que recogen las peras
y que arrancan el espárrago
este por las familias dispersas por toda América en busca de trabajo

Y es feo.
Yo conozco a una chica
que fue secuestrada del parto
justo en la frontera
por hombres malos
conocidos como Coyotes
y a quienes se paga
por contrabandear
sueños a este país

La fealdad del hecho
te agrieta el corazón.
Entonces este es por los invisibles
por el malabarismo de los niños por los ríos
por el escape de los perros y los paramilitares
por el tropiezo de los sueños
por el aprobado del legislado
cuyas leyes sobrepasan
el alambre de púas que pasan
por las personas que podan
y los sueños que quiebran

Al Poderoso Obrero Migrante
que tus manos y espinazo
siempre alimente a la parra,
que las copas de tu mañana
estén llenas de las frutas de tu labor
y que encuentren tus sueños
la libertad en la tierra de tu vecino.

Este es por ti.

Text: © Jordan Chaney, 2013, courtesy of the poet.
Conflict translated to Spanish by Kyle K. Black, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Spanish, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Images: Marion Post Wolcott [1910 - 1990]

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louise dearman

Louise Dearman is a British musical theatre performer, who played the role of Glinda and currently plays Elphaba in the London’s West End production of Wicked. She is the first actress ever to have played both witches in the musical. She has a number of other professional stage and television credits, such as Eva Perón in Evita, and released her solo albums, You and I and Here Comes the Sun, in 2005 and 2012, respectively.

Images:
Featuring: Louise Dearman
Photography & Art Direction: © Predrag Pajdic
Styling: Elizabeth McGorian
Hair & Makeup: Nina Van Houten
Location: London, April, 2013
Commissioned for www.wearemmag.com

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ode to grape

I have a crush on you
you beautiful bulbous
berry of the gods
you galaxy of dark blue stars
you plump and precious
bottle of Pinot Noir

I simply adore you

you sometimes gorgeous green thing
drooping a thousand times from paintings always nude and next to tulips the Pinot Gris on your two lips puts the kiss in kismet
it’s serendipitous the way
we have come together

mighty migrant workers
are up to their shins in mud
are sweating in the sun
are plucking darkened rubies
all for my tongue
getting paid in pesos
to slave away
for my fair love

you are endless and without edges
a purple pearled necklace
with a cluster of cleavage
dangling beneath it
a scarlet goddess
robed in a red dress
sagging on the vine
marauding my fantasies
every midnight
when the sky light is merlot-like

I love it when you
bat your lashes at me
while layered in lingerie
then splash into my cup
like purple rain and
climax when you pass
my tongue and come
into long stemmed glasses
you look like a pin-up doll
showing off your legs & ass
making my heart patter
fast and then faster
until my pulse is unfastened

alas
you are crimson
a succubus
a full-bodied Jezebel
who has had
everybody’s filthy hands on you
from train hopping hobos
to snobs with mountains of
dollar bills you’ve slept in crates
in dirt fields next to windmills
in alleys next to burning barrels
and even in sheets woven
from the finest of silks

but I don’t care about
your cheap past
and how you were
stepped on daily
how your delicate skin
has been beaten and smashed
or when you lived in boxes
with eyes blue & black
to me you are a rose that grew
from history’s trash

my love is unconditional

you are both the Mother Teresa
and Mary Magdalene of all the fruits
a noble truth serum with heavenly
roots and sauvignon rivers
flowing bright though your veins
turning tongues into pure silver
a miracle like magic a mystic
once summoned you from
a glass of water
to make men meek
you put the vine in divine
and now my mind is an aimless
cork afloat a placid sea
sacred grape to saintly mate
hallowed be thy taste
Ms. Holy Water if you please
I love you
because when I was sour
when my heart was withering
away like a raisin in the sun
when every part of me shattered asunder and I was picking up
the pieces all over the streets
you stood by in the countryside
waiting for me to mature
and then cherry-blossomed into my life singing a song of dreams of tomorrows and swept all of my sorrows away

I want you to know that

sitting on the couch with you
is enough for me
we can watch the sun
melt like gold into the hills
we can imagine that the
sun is sinking into the earth
and impregnating her with
our hopes and with our dreams
we can watch as she gives
birth as the harvest
ripens and comes forth
and brings our visions
full circle back into being
and so when we toast we’ll know
that our souls are swallowing
their own dreamsText: © Jordan Chaney, 2013, courtesy of the poet

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overwhelm

It hit me like chickenpox
at first, just a hint, a spot appearing here
and there which could be accounted for
by life’s mismanaged moments
an ever-grieving dermis
it wrapped itself around my chest
as if I had expanded without informing
my ribcage or skin the pressure
proving theories I’d long forgotten

there’s a lump in the throat
blocking the noise which demands
reverberation throughout the marrow
bones taking the strain there’s an ache
here and in there and I can’t be
anything more than the smallest
of human pylons excepting
the distinct lack of wires
through which to connect

and then there’s these footprints
in front of my door that I was so sure
were yours
but now only perhaps they were
definitely a back-step I notice
reversals of movements as if
a movie was on slow rewind
my life is the movie
on slow rewind, sometimes

I could stop the traffic by standing in the
middle of the road and shouting WTF
out loud. It’s not as if you haven’t already
thought of doing that. Haven’t you
felt the heat of disappointment
breathe down the collar on focusing
its the invisible weight I’m trying to fathom
beginning to buckle at the knees
tendons in my ankles tearing.

Text: © JL Nash, 2013
Images: © NAM
NAM is a Japanese graphic/art collective, formed in May 2006 by a graphic designer Takayuki Nakazawa and a photographer Hiroshi Manaka.

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the photograph

In this obscene photograph sold secretly
in the street (so the policeman won’t see)
in this lewd photograph,
how could there be such a dream-like face?
How did you get in there?

Who knows what a degrading, vulgar life you lead;
how horrible the surroundings must have been
when you posed to have this picture taken;
what a cheap soul you must have.
But in spite of all this, and even more, you remain for me
the dream-like face, the figure
shaped for and dedicated to the Greek kind of sensual pleasure—
that’s how you remain for me
and how my poetry speaks about you.

Text: Constantine P. Cavafy [1863 – 1933]
Images: © Cédric Roulliat 2013, courtesy of the artist.

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she’s fly

she’s fly
and not just like slang in ‘85
she’s fly like angel’s wings on babies
dangling from clouds in Raphael Santi’s famous painting fly like Michelangelo’s hanging masterpiece God’s creation

and she speaks the language
of eternity with love skinnydipping
from the tip of her tongue she could be the one I’ve been waiting for and possibly the one that I came for

‘cause I swear I would harvest every star from every galaxy for her I would and if I could I would scribble both of our names in the moon

and trace them with a heart
together there forever never to be touched by weather

versus the world that we live in
that seems to be withering away
and falling apart all around us but we bloom two of a kind working in unison like one mind

she is my queen
and I am her worker bee
building a honeycomb in her beehive
pollinating patiently ‘cause this worker bee be longing for her inside

and yes
I know that that metaphor could have been written by a child but the truth is she makes me smile so my youth is let loose and running wild, I’m feeling the way I used to feel so it’s worthwhile

you see, I went from walking on water to completely drowning

to finally finding someone who keeps my heart pounding

she glows
she flies

and I don’t care why
‘cause here in the afterlife
she conquers the heavens soaring through the skies apparently transparent blending in with the horizon or even disguised in
the wings of butterflies
1000 watts brighter than fireflies
a flying angel with bonfires

like burning eyes
into infinity she glides divine
she’s levitating in my mind

fly
above the mountains
above the falcons
and beyond the clouds
her aura could cool the sun down
and she gallops through my dreams never touching ground

haunting me peacefully
it’s the most profound feeling
and I just want to be part of her flight
tonight right now I want us to leave our bodies together and never return to fly

forever beyond
forever beyond
forever beyond this lifetime

‘cause I might have found love this lifetime I might have finally found what I came searching for when I crept into this lifetime and if we fly away now love could be ours forever

then I could sever my mind
forever from my body
building wings on my soul
to unfurl and leave this world

having never lost love
and having only lost myself in love
with her I am in love with her

I’m in love with her wings
I’m in love with her dreams
and I’m in love with

the dreams she has for me
to fly

Text: © Jordan Chaney, 2013
Image: © Predrag Pajdic, 2013

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in a box

Today is the beginning of my confinement
In a small room without the possibility of you being near
Overnight, I’ve discovered from the
Fits of making and wondering what you’re doing
Now I am an optimist
Got to believe in the possibility of your return
I crave it and now sit in this cave
With only my words for company

You have trapped my heart and I feel
With every beat against the cage
My obsession

It has taken its toll on the bridge
Crossing over from saint into the ultimo
Projection of you inside me
Would be madness but I’ve paid the price
And my appetite has left me
Completely

I think I’ve been taken by subterfuge
To participate in scientific experimentation
Because the inside of me is exposed
I am turned outward and the sun withers me
If I am not protected
And turned back the right way

What is the right way?
If i am the subject I gladly participate
In anything you shall want to try on me
For me
Over me
Under me
In me

I want you in me

My hair turned white overnight
I lost the last vestige of my youth
But still I wanted your hips on mine
I wanted to know the flicker of your tongue

It’s killing me
The scratch and bruise of my heart crashing
Into its welcome prison walls
If I dive into the ocean to sooth this bleeding heart
The crocodiles will reach me before
I swim to your shores

I can’t bear it – every song contains you
Every breath keeps this heart alive
The engine on the bus says your name at every stop
And I miss you
I think

Text: © JL Nash, 2013
Images: © Predrag Pajdic, 2013

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primal matter by dimitris papaioannou

The motif of a body wrestling with its own image can be traced throughout Dimitris Papaioannou’s creative output, right back to his beginnings in 1986. With Primal Matter (2012), he chooses to go back to basics at a critical moment in time, with this embodied work cutting across a traumatised sense of national identity in Greece today: the body nude and dressed, silent and dismembered, the body as a battlefield in a dialogue between history and the present, walking the line between identity and otherness. This multi-talented artist returns to the stage as a performer alongside his new co-lead in a rawer version of the work that is also richer from the experiences of the past year.

Dimitris Papaioannou was born in Athens in 1964. Trained with the painter Yannis Tsarouchis. Worked as a painter, performer, comics artist, choreographer and director. A founding member of Edafos Dance Theatre (1986-2002), he conceived, directed and choreographed all of the company’s productions. Conceived and directed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. In 2006, he created the work “2″, and in 2008 presented “MEDEA2″. In 2009, he co-curated the “HEAVEN LIVE” exhibition at the 2nd Athens Biennial with Zafos Xagoraris, and inaugurated the renovated Main Stage of the Greek National Theatre with the work “NOWHERE”. He spent Spring 2010 in New York on a Fulbright Artist’s Scholarship. Returning to Athens, he staged K.K., a concert with video projections for 13 poems by Constantine Cavafy set to music by Lena Platonos, and collaborated with actress Reni Pittaki to present a staged reading of “HOMER’S ILIAD – BOOK FOUR”. In 2011, he created the six-hour theatrical installation “INSIDE”. At the Athens Festival 2012, he presented his latest work “PRIMAL MATTER”, appearing as a performer for the first time in ten years. The work has since been performed in Thessaloniki, New York and Edinburgh.

PRIMAL MATTER (2013)
by Dimitris Papaioannou
With Michael Theophanous + Dimitris Papaioannou
27 June -14 July 2013 (Except Mo, Tu, We) at 9pm
Peiraios 260, Building A, Athens, Greece
Images: Miltos Athanasiou

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