1.2 myth of the cameraman

He is daring.

Out in public, in sunlight like this. Along common areas in a common neighbourhood, he, with his dark and tall priestly stance, his finely shaped beard, his snake charm eyes.

We cross path outside a grocery store. He is talking to three girls. Too young to be mothers, too old to be students. They are already exchanging contact details with him.

Plain white name card. Poet. Filmmaker. Producer.

I have no reason to warn them. (Does that make me complicit?)

The false name. Cell number off a burner phone. A website siphoning private data.

I look into the face of one of the girls. White dress, long, black hair, eyes lit up with laughter. Conventionally pretty.

She does not see me. But he knows I’m there.

He always follows a familiar, similar aesthetic. I know the type he likes. Fair. Asian Chinese. Unblemished. Slightly meaty.

I prefer the petite.

He promised me videos, when he was done. I say to him, “You know I like to watch.”

He understands but offers something else…

I’m behind a two way mirror. I’m looking into a well lit room. There are beds. At least six, if not eight, or nine, neatly arranged in rows. Headboards facing west. Plain white sheets.

I cannot tell if the three females, in oversized pyjama pants and shirts, sleeping soundly, are the same three I had met. (If so, where were their corporate clothes? The white and black dresses?)

How does he make them all feel so comfortable? Comfortable enough to sleep with all the lights on?

Are they drugged? Is there a specific kind of soundtrack he’s looping through unseen speakers that lulls them to natural sleep?

I do not see him enter the room, but he is there, standing between the beds.

I see him cock the black handgun.
.45, no silencer.

He is daring. Wearing no gloves or mask.

They are sleeping so softly. No distress.

I do not actually hear him tell me, but I know he speaks these words.

“You fire into them, when they are in deepest sleep.”

I do not actually hear the double shots. I just see ripped cotton drifting back down onto empty beds.

Where are the girls if not bloodied or dead?

I do not see him leave the room, but he is no longer there.
This makes me realise how time and sound can vanish, that
I’m actually not watching through the two way mirror.

I’m watching a video of myself watching the empty room, with one of the beds ruined by two bullet holes.
The other beds remain vacant and untouched.

This is who he is.

The cameraman. A thief inside my head. Planting and extracting spectacles, scenes, evidence of other lives.

He lets me see him.

He is daring.

Showing me the subjects from his films.

1.1 amniotic women

The camera man is showing me a monochrome scene on his cctv monitor, in an unidentified room:

(It is night, false hollow light —the whites burn with over saturation—a full moon )

There’s only half a basketball court, crowded with followers in dark clothes, all in profile— the blacks are deep and solid—

An unknown cult? Neighbourhood watch? Citizens together for celebrations?

They are praising, perhaps cheering before an unseen stage (just out of frame) No other voices can be heard — no discernible words —just a jumble of human noise from male and female, no children.

There is certainty with this. No children on site.

(Lens flare)

The concrete floor is wet. Either rain, or spilled drinking water, or most likely, amniotic fluid.

There are pregnant women present, four or five of them, unmoving figures sitting upright and scattered among the crowd) They appear elevated on chairs carried by men, liquid dripping, two heads higher than the others (who are standing)

The pregnant women are wearing white maternity dresses but the designs on them are different

floral, shapes, batik, minimalism

The common denominator are embryos, suspended in bellies, listening. This is important.

Four or five of them in one space, connected by an unseen cord, as if the sum was greater than the all.

I don’t feel they are going to be sacrificed. Maybe worshipped. They do not speak and no sound comes from them.

Serene. Unafraid.

(I believe them to be receiving the sounds of the crowd)

(The unborn, listening, their mothers, receptacles)

The scene ends there.

1.0 nudist dramatis

My body is hairless.

Smooth, rounded surfaces, stomach
(like lunar bloat) protruding
skin warm
(there can be fine sand on my body when sprawled)
but here, I’m upright, shoulders back, spine curvature

calves, elbows, pubis — angled perfect, soft to touch

This is my performance,in the central business district
Building facade filthy with black grime and unclean capitalism
6pm. Everyone else is going home while I am home
among currencies and crisis management units / strategic business empires unawares of my hauntology

I move between dinner tables full of hunger.

Afterwork professionals/ middle management / executives / junior ad men search for empty seats
waiting to order dead animals (fried , boiled, steamed)
(the four living creatures, restful in my arms, before the throne of God)

i smell carbon monoxide from dark grey tarmac
double decker busses lurching

faces full of fatigue staring out
but
None—shocked by my nakedness

People pass me by,
grazing the tips of my limbs but
they do not see me

The camera man sees me
perched in his corner
stooping low, low-light settings, filming my slow turn and step and lowering of body and temperature

regulated breathing

I am looking for water, a white shower from trees
dark canopies screeching with carrion birds
a blue black bruised sky
Skin moisturised but dry

This is my celebrated act

Specific gestures for the masses
A movement of arms and hands
from rib to ear, a metre away from chest and nipple
veins and palm, holding a new bottle of
cool
fresh
antibacterial body wash

I put it on empty tables then take it away
before people could sit down with
Chinese tea and braised peanuts in saucers

Soap for you, soap for him, soap for her but no one sees me.

They just sit there in social configurations,
people layered with soot and paper cuts and pantry smells
dried biscuits gone stale…

I want to bathe them with trembling hands
wash the sins off their feet but they do not undress for me

I wish to lather myself
but the air is too dry
nothing descends from the sky

So I pose by roadside
profile, (exhale, distend gut), bend legs and barefoot
musculature, thighs untouched by the sun

no one can see me except the filming man
red light, high definition, on board mics tuned to traffic
and steady murmur of eating

Then the students come, recognising me.

For several terms I had studied with them.
The girl from india, flashes her white teeth, excited by my presence and progress.

We speak without speaking

They had seen me on stage several times before
and now they gather about my fresh flesh
in awe of hairlessness, my mythology, the epic blood and sweat, the light in mine eyes. One of them is studying the bottle of body wash, reading the labels, prime texts of my poetry,

“The long roads,” I told them, “it’s hard to go without transport. I walk. I walk, curved streets, past vintage shophouses. I aim for the buildings on the horizon, financial district. I follow the money.” I point and everyone looks. the camera pans. the sky is ominous, blackness devouring penthouses.

“Those moguls, they pray for shower so I am here, with the soap, but they do not see me…”

“We see you,” the youngest girl says.

I follow them. Young, tender rabbits, I follow them.

Through glass sliding doors, up black escalators, past the princess loaded with youthful gold and dinner dress and treasury, the students bring me to their classroom.

Part-time evening lessons had begun
running perpetually
for hours on end
tuition stuck in the blue-grey dusk, everyone is tired.

But I am here now.

I’m at the back of the class. The camera man waits outside, stealing found sounds on black boxes poised against closed doors – recording.

I’m too late, scattered chapters and discussions were missed
but i’m settling into the middle of a topic:

Top of the line automobiles:
– sections on insurance numbers, velocity philosophy, paint jobs, oil grades

So many words on white trash paper clipped to white boards

hasty handwriting
axis mathematics, rotational physics, chemical emissions, street conditions

There were photos. Blurred, iso too low.

Several car models were identified,
trapped in unmoving traffic outside the building

There’s a ghostly image of a naked man posing,
profile, left leg thrust out in semi-falling
tendon taut, knees wobbling
hairless artist evolving
from grotesque sculptures
skin the colour of pastel afternoons
squatting, pre-leapfrog, post-landing

he’s there but also not
an enactment / an audience

Copies of the photos were handed out earlier but I cannot find mine.

I need to make an announcement to the class.
(The lessons don’t end, no clocks on the walls )

My core sketchbook is missing.
I only have black folders, loose sheets in between hard covers
half drawings of fully nude selves
tone, nerve groups, exoskeleton, varying degrees of body tension, sexual positions, a mimicry of god forms.

‘assembly required, assembly required’

The lecturer is missing. He sits at the back of the class. Or he is by the roadside, moving between people eating…

The recoding artiste is editing a sound clip.

who_has_my_sketchbook_?.wav

He loops that existential question, syncing it to the grainy, monochromatic video of a man in dramatic movement, gripping a bottle of soap in his hand

I know that this man dreams of bath in the city

– but the air is so dry

– there is no water from the sky

– no one is looking…