Friday, June 18, 2010


A young woman stands in a dim hallway. She is on the seventh floor of an old apartment building built with a communist aesthetic. The building is tall, narrow and long. She stands in the hallway, a long corridor lit only by a few small windows on each side of the buildings’ length, beside the stairs. A pale light seeps in and bits of dust travel in its rays.

The young woman is slender and pale, her shoulders revealing the pointed bones just below the skin. Over her slender frame is a red 1920s flapper dress. The fit is baggy, hiding all of her curves, though its low neckline begins to hint at her pointed breasts. The hemline reaches to her knees, where several inches of gold trim sway with each movement of her body. The dress has signs of wear and the seams along the sides have begun to loosen. A thin stretched out spaghetti strap keeps sliding off her bony pale shoulder, exposing the black strap of her bra. The girl’s hair is short, cut just below her ears, it is a messy head of wavy hair. Her cropped bangs hide the shy pale skin of her forehead.

Balanced in the palm of her left hand is a large plastic serving tray. The tray is long, wide, and oval, its shape providing the flooring for several dishes displayed on white porcelain plates. Each plate holds a different type of egg. Sunny side up, poached, boiled, soft boiled, she holds them all on the tray, attempting every now and then to replace the red strap of her dress to her shoulder with her right hand. It slides off quickly and when it does, she lets it be.

She stands in front of apartment #4 with the tray of eggs. Not far from her, in the doorway of a different apartment a few doors down, an older white man in a white tank top and a protruding pot belly stands silently. His large shape and broad shoulders almost block the entire doorway, covering everything behind the threshold. Without any words, with just a cold, indifferent stare, he watches the waiting girl.

The girl looks down at the worn dark carpet in the hallway, then back to the door of apartment #4. There is a small square glass window two-thirds of the way up the wooden door. She peers in, sneaking a glance at four young blond men putting on their military coats. The uniforms are maroon, decorative coats with metal buttons and bits of embroidery along the shoulders. She peeks into their space, then returns her gaze back to the worn carpet at her feet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Edge Of The Mountain

A young woman is standing in a small room drenched in soft blue light. It is the kind of light that can only be created without bulbs and switches. It is light that streams in from the single tall and narrow window that hugs the corner edge of one wall. The walls are bare, white when illuminated, but now, in the dimness, they are a pale gray-blue. The floor is covered by dark blue carpet. It is a covering without plushness or comfort, carpet that is just one step above the hardness of stone.

Foam blue yoga mats are laid out on the floor, four of them lined up vertically to one wall, another four across from them against the other cool wall. In the room are several young men in white linen pants that are held up with red rope. Baggy white T-shirts cover their muscular chests. The men look like copies of each other, each having short dark brown hair and olive skin. Each with a solid stare of brown eyes and covered with thick, bulging muscles.

The young woman looks out the room’s only window. The view outside is of wilderness. The sky is blue, though the sun has fallen behind a mountain peak, on its way to the other side of the world. A few meters beyond the window, a grassy clearing has turned yellow and limp, the long stalks of grass laying down like a mass suicide. On the edge of the clearing, a thick forest begins. Tall green pines stand tall and vertical, covering the mountain behind them in a dense green blanket. The gaps between the thick trunks are dark, nearly black, with hardly any light making it through the thick canopy to the forest floor.

Wandering around the clearing are a cluster of at least twenty bears. They swirl around each other, moaning and roaring, sniffing the air. They walk slowly, maintaining the dense cluster though there is plenty of room in the clearing. There are two types of bears, each in equal number. Half have dark chocolate fur, the others have light tan fur with a golden sheen. The bears mingle, sniffing the air and each other, walking slowly and deliberately around the area, stopping every few feet to look around, roar and huff or raise their nose into the air.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


The air is hot and dry and hurts the skin with each step. I’m covered in a long black robe, my head covered from the sun by a white scarf that billows behind me in the breeze. Bursts of hot wind blow dust into the air, creating dirt devils that swirl and twist violently until they run their course, dying without a trace.

The sky above is clear blue, not a single cloud lingers. The landscape is totally flat, no mountains, no trees, just pale sand that has turned hard enough to walk on without strain.

I walk between rows of tents, on a surface of bleached sand only few degrees shy of white. The road is well traveled, covered in sand ground to fine dust and millions of footprints from those who’ve walked before.

On either side of the four foot wide street are tents made of burlap and dark canvas. The fabric is sun bleached and worn, covered in dust and pale dirt. The structures are square and feel permanent, though they lack formal foundation and could be taken apart in minutes. The roof of each tent is flat and sinks inward, creating an inverted dome in the space within. Canvas walls are tied to metal poles creating the 3 dimensional square. The doors are long rectangular pieces of fabric that can be pulled to one side, creating a triangular entranceway.

On the long street of tents, nearly a third of the tents have their soft doorways pulled to the side. Within those open doorways, close to the street, I see tables of fruit and metal wares. There are woolen carpets and tea in jars and baskets full of buttons and cloth. I can see just the things closest to the door, beyond that are just shadows, darkness that begs the eyes to look. Most of the canvas doors are down and tied, leaving their treasures and secrets hidden from the bright sun. The street of merchants is long, stretching into the horizon and then out of sight. One after the other, they stand without a gap between their walls.

The street is deserted, and I can hear the soft padded sound of my footsteps and those of my companion, also covered in flowing dark fabric.

The smell of thick, pungent coffee and burnt sugar wafts on the breeze every now and then, sometimes mingling with the smell of cigarette smoke. Every so often I hear the thick rumbling laughter of an old man.