14 October 2011

Random favorites from times before dyslexia


a lion in helsinki

in solitude above kilpisjärvi, f-land

russian girls in pärnu, estonia

securitron somewhere in central poland

shoes of jews in oświęcim

pissed off lion under bahnhof zoo

stalin's baroque on karl marx allee, friedrichshain, berlin

sähkö-aro in vondelpark, amsterdam

Here we are

04 October 2011

Nothing is real

aestheticizer in helsinki

in the past, the decline and fall of the light which turns helsinki into a cold, dark hell, has signaled the time for me to close myself into my dungeon resting in the heart of the city. a few weeks ago, I wrote the following to my little black notebook while laying in clean sheets well protected from the coldness outside,

I've decided to close myself down, to hide from all capable of acknowledging my existence. from the books hoarded I find the words of the strangers - the distant and the dead. they, the words, are a bouncing ground for my mind, a mind looking for clues of similar senses of life not to be found from the world opening up outside of the cubic meters of this room.

helsinki is the center of the universe, and as such it possesses the weirdest sense of humor. it loves presupposed truths whispered inside of it, and does all in its reach to twist the mind of the whisperer into seeing his own foolishness. it all stems from the incredibility of there ever existing such a quantity of buzzing conscious life in these latitudes. so much sweat and tears and hard liquor have washed the streets to life.

and so I began to see things differently after my heart melt to run up and down my spine. the fall wind wasn't as suffocatingly cold as it was the day before. when I sat among all the books hoarded from the dead poets I couldn't concentrate to any of them anymore with the same intensity I yearned. I was having a conversation with an alive poet instead.

helsinki is an ideal place for a poet, a poet who is ready to accept within his sphere of experience anything, at any moment. a person open for all potentials draws them to fulfill around him as a creation which is not made real by just one mind, but many. today is my turn to document it.

I sit on a big rock, looking at a mother and a son throwing pebbles to bounce off the surface of the sea glimmering in the warm light. for a brief moment I can understand the charm of spending time with someone born yesterday - for a kid anything can be real. my heart sings,

I feel the sun and the sea, breathing the air 
      the only three things we all share

as the sun warms my anklet, I begin to lure myself into the thought of all the beauty around me being nothing but a dream. my eyes follow for some time a huge wooden sailboat slowly lingering past me. as I marvel at its beauty I sense three old oriental tourists in suits, passing me on the path winding behind my back. the gentle demeanor of them towards each others as they take a couple of pictures close to where the mother and the son are playing warms my heart. 

I want to take a picture of the three men when I see them turning to return to walk the path past me, but decide not to fall to document out of respect for their ascendancy. then, as suddenly as thoughts rise to my focus, the one with the camera steps off the sandy pass onto the grass, coming straight towards my black sunglasses. I am so blinded by the ever emanating light I sometimes wear them even, foolishly, at night.  

“can you take a picture of me?”

in confusion, my hasty mind imagines for a second him to want me to document him for the dyslexic. but, as he hands me his eos 7d with the lens with a red ribbon around it, canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, I realize it to not be the case. he descends from the grass to lean onto a rock underneath me by the sea, so I jump off the big rock I am sitting on, wearing my camera on my back and having his in my hand, to crouch on another big rock on the same level with him. 

baffled, I frame the picture as to have the line between the rocks and the sea split the image in two, with him posing ever so courteously, in his dark beige raw silk suit on the right side, with the sea reflecting the sun and the icebreaker kontio on the left. branches of a tree with round leaves slowly forgetting their greenness cover half of the blue the sky. I have to get these pictures for myself, I think in near desperation. when he returns to stand on the grass, I follow his lead and ask,

“can you send me those pictures via email?” he leans to show me the pictures, rolling the memory to the wrong direction after the one picture where I see what a beautiful portrait I took of the stranger, and so I see an eastern girl child sitting on a couch, dressed for some occasion. I stress my point from between trembling lips,

“the picture I took is beautiful. you are such beautiful a person and the light is amazing. can I have it via email?”
“yes, a very beautiful day,” he answers, which makes me curse my foolishness, turning my impetuousness to ramble,
“beautiful day in helsinki today. we have had such coldness and now the sun finally warms my boldness. where are you from?”
“I had a best friend from vietnam when I was six years old. her name was hani. did you know vietnamese were finland's first refugees, back in the seventies?” all the three men look but confused, and I realize they don't stand under the english language. we farewell, and nobody sends me an email.

and so that lens haunts me to this day - oh how it captured the ever emanating light! what a tease was this vietnamese!

later, I sit in a booth of a bar on the same street which has at its end the island in which I met the vietnamese. playing trivial pursuit with two old friends, I am as loud and cunning as I always am in my natural habitat. the joke is known to us three - if a stranger shares the space with me, already at least a bit intoxicated and with something weighing on his heart, he'll end up in my table. the loud deep voice of pure confidence will do that to anyone.

I conduct the game compellingly as I share my poor jokes related to the game well worn out and published over a decade ago, with questions demanding a twist of a sense of time, back into the days of mika häkkinen's reign. after an hour or two of playing, a bit drunken bearded man asks to be seated into our booth, and like always, I say please do.

“I am sorry I sit here, never mind me really.”
“oh you're all welcome to sit there,” I say and ask the next question. the stranger intervenes by asking his own from the friend sitting next to me, offering his hand for a shake,
“are you a couple?”
“no we're not.”
“you are friends?”
“we are all old friends, yes.”
“oh. I miss having friends like that, friends to play like that with. I am sorry I sit here,” he repeats, and I become annoyed by the unnecessary apologizing from the man who I can see needs no-one to forgive him.
“if you want to sit there just shut up with the apologizing, it's of no-ones interest. now, an answer for me: how many adjoining neighbors does austria have?”

we continue to play, and the stranger sits staring at me. no matter what he utters, I play down the self-pity between his lines while making my friends relieve their stress about his weird focus on me by laughter. and then, finally, the stranger says,

“you have been fucking with my mind seven times now. I know you. I am not intelligent like you are, but I know you. I am just a bullshit artist. I know you, but I have to go back to paimio now. there is a sick girl there I need to attend to. will you please hug me?”

I look at his face and I recognize it well, and raise myself to hug him as the dear friends of mine are baffled to the bone. he leaves, and to this day his pursuit haunts me - what the fuck did he know?

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