Tea + Poetry

Earl Grey

Notes had been sent asking after my whereabouts. I hadn’t indulged in my favoured Earl Grey, tiramisu and panna cotta combo for months. This is my day off, so I presented myself at my friends’ patisserie just after 11.00 (dessert before breakfast, people) and got to work. Eating, that is.

Orange panna cotta

As for play time, this is what I got up to. Special thanks go to Egbert Starr for permission to work on this composition using excerpts from his brilliant prose poem, The Gallows’ Horse. Please visit his blog to read the full version.

open magazine pages with tiramisu and orange panna cotta

Featured magazine – Numéro, Tokyo, April, 2016. Vol 95: Perfume ads; “Dark Romanticism” and “Pretty Killer” editorials by Ellen Von Unwerth with art direction by Yuni Yoshida.

Dark Romanticism with glass try and tea

Prose poetry excerpted from “The Gallows’ Horse” by Egbert Starr.

Facing pages; poetry on magazine page; empty dessert jars

Upper:
I said to the wise man I met, “Love.” And I said to the crone the same. To children, I said to them, “Love one another.” To kings, philosophers, chemists, scientists of every kind, my message was exactly so.

Lower:
I remembered from the land above the flower of my treachery. I remembered my rage and anger and my fulsome seductions of a thousand Persephones. How pleased I was! How capable! How incisive and cross-quotable my demonic possibilities. I was in the world of common men without compare!

second page with poetry written on

Epic prose poetry, and it tasted fantastic. My friends and I chatted while I worked, so they were my guest editors. Thank you for reading, too. Enjoy a sip of all right until we meet again. SB

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Long live the King!

Parliament based on columns, Vienna

This medical morning, for the King, started in a Vojda Space Cab. It surged through a private subterranean concourse, along a 500 km track, nonstop to Brussels. Technically, he was dead, long live the Queen.

Images of the plane wreckage were shared everywhere. The world sat down to look. “Surely, no one survived the impact,” agreed the comments.

Conspiracy theorists weren’t having it. They leaked reports of advanced stem cell research. They explained mitochondrial nanorepair kits. Available in portable spray cans, a generous spritz regenerates cells from the inside out. Over time, nanorobots rebuild nerves, blood vessels and tissue. Surgeons supervise them over WiFi.

365/17 - Banned by Justice

Hours earlier, tributes labeled the monarch, “Guru of a pampered and oblivious sect.” But a news anchor tearfully reminded everyone that Lear was a single father. He’d done a great job, if his youngest daughter capsized the world’s oldest monarchy. When the forty second eulogy was over, the King became an icon of equality and fair play.

The conspiracy theories remained unbelieved until some atheists tweeted prayers. Minutes later, temples, synagogues, churches and mosques around the world were crammed with supporters.

“We forgive you,” pleaded the congregants. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

 


Long live the King | SB
…continued from Lear

Photo credits: Parliament based on columns, Vienna and Banned by Justice from Dominik Bartsch via Flickr.

Lear

365/26 - Lotus Elise

It was a grey morning. The King’s jet landed, without pomp, on the wet tarmac. To demonstrate the urgency of the matter at hand, he held court in the hangar.

Flunkies prepared champagne infused strawberries, seared swordfish, and dark chocolate wrapped in silver vark. All nestled peacefully by a hedge of white lilies. The floral scent was powerful enough to obliterate the King’s rage.

Cordelia smeared wasabi on her swordfish with a flash of defiance. Her father had filed a lawsuit (€1.2 trillion) against her to “recover assets essential to the economic prosperity and political stability of the nation.” This morning, he’d asked to see her without their lawyers.

Karl der Große, Rathaus Osnabrück

He spoke, judging her. “The Imperial Household is divided but there you sit, eating sashimi.”

“Dad, his cousin’s going to be Empress. She is the rightful successor.”

“You cannot be in love,” trumpeted the monarch. “In this era, love’s flight risk factor is treble thousand. That boy …”

“That man. That heart surgeon.”

“One rank up from butcher, cosplaying as normal. It is undignified for a future Emperor to touch the flesh of yet dead men.”

“This is incredibly bigoted!”

“Pledge your loyalty to me. Rescind this vile protest and I will abdicate. You will be Queen.”

Succession contracts wafted about her face, close enough so she would catch sight of the lucrative terms. Cordelia did not flinch.

 

Lear | SB

Photo credits: 365/26  – Lotus Elise and Karl der Große, Rathaus Osnabrück, both by Dominik Bartsch via Flickr.

Goneril

Schloss Belvedere, Wien

Washed in oils of honeysuckle and thyme, the crypt ushered her in with antiseptic strength. She asked after the King’s body. None of the responses congealed in her hearing. Phrases like, “legal property of Vojda Research Laboratories,” “insurers,” “exclusive” and “living will,” went over Goneril’s head as she faded to the floor.

She was shaking. “Hold me. To hell with protocol! I need to be held.” A minder enfolded her in his arms. From there, her eyes rested on the brushed silver canister that cradled her husband’s remains. His ashes muffled her distress.

“You mean,” she said, breaking through somehow, “my father is alive because he got better life insurance coverage?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the Prime Minister said, “and until he has officially recovered, you are Queen, regnant.”

Goneril

Photo credit: Schloss Belvedere, Wien/ Belvedere Castle, Vienna, courtesy Dominik Bartsch via Flickr. I was fortunate to find the amazing photography of Dominik Bartsch on Flickr. It is difficult to find images that bring the right ambience to a story. But I found everything I needed in one place.

Notes: This is a teaser for two short stories based on Shakespeare’s King Lear. They are here: Lear and Long Live the King! 

London, 1953

The intruder pulls me away from the closet door, believing I’m too frightened to react. But I am a woman with a plan.

One roundhouse kick to his chest fractures a rib. He reels backwards. His abdomen and chest form a ramp and I use it to vault over his head. Twisting in mid-air, I end the discussion, heel to jaw. He’s on a timeout.

His accomplice rushes in to assess the situation. My fists plough through his face. The concussion blinds him temporarily. Ax kick to the knee. He’s on the floor. I stomp on some fingers to disable a hand.

My bodyguards have finally joined us. They look shocked. (They’re also fired). I point to my wrist and say, “You were taking too long.”

I adjust my tiara and make my way to the banquet hall. Two hundred guests, most of them blood relatives, are waiting. My smile says, “Welcome to my coronation reception.” But to be honest, I am a bundle of nerves.

London, 1953 (Coronation Day)

Notes: Feminist Tuesday. Special shoutouts to Mek @ Work in Progress, the Artful Blasphemer and Bernadette at Haddon’s Musings. Thank you all very much for your support.

Photo: Claire Foy in “The Crown”, courtesy, Live for Film. Indie Rock song, Hold On, by OLSSON featuring Mapei, via YouTube.  

Minimal Lines

Minimal Lines - abstract charcoal lines in loops and stripes on smooth illustration board

Minimal Lines

Charcoal on illustration board (smooth – B4); processed

Keeping it simple. Not that my closets (nicknamed “Game of Throwns”) would agree, but I really am a minimalist at heart. The residue is from charcoal.

Have a great week ahead.

Madame Editrix,

Madame Editrix

Metallic paint and ornate rubber stamp on cardboard. Processed with handwritten font overlay.

Story
William Shakespeare’s manuscript for Romeo and Juliet has been scorned by an editor. To redeem himself, he stages the play for the Queen.

Script
Alas, and did my nostrils flare, to see a note; thine own words here:

“What strop is this? I ask, forsooth. This Romeo ballad’s not hooked. Thy fellow bards might pardon this. But “hit” for me, dear Bill, not ’tis.”

Her Majesty will be today, with noble court, to watch my play. What, and she’ll ask, lit fire in me? Please rest assured, I shall blame thee.

+_~

 

Wallis

Wallis Simpson photographed with former king Edward on their wedding day. She was a real feminist, unlike some contemporary feminists who pay lip service to the idea, mistakenly thinking that a strong woman is angry. Faux feminists wouldn't recognise an actual feminist if one stomped on them

The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders noticed as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.

Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. Books provided an escape while soft lights and sweet music kept her docile and subdued.

From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Just enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her petite figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking slim. These days, she always felt a little hungry.

It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman who had more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy to get respect. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.

~_~

Notes: Thank you for reading this work of fiction. I am NOT a Wallis Simpson apologist, especially considering her sympathies during WW2. Revisionists may want to forgive her but some things should never be ignored.

Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine

Pandora

Sorry, faux feminist, no Cliff's Notes to help you decipher this one

Dripping wet, Pandora stretched out on a parapet of black stones. After bathing in the filtered streams of the lake, she felt warm under a pleasant copper sun. The bifocal lenses of her guardian scanned the surrounding woods. He was cautious and ready.

Her facial muscles tightened, drawing her lips into a wide grin. She couldn’t feel them, but the stones’ infrared rays had already coaxed her cells back to optimal function. She had outlived the great grandchildren of her childhood playmates. However, her stunning features and sensual vitality suggested she was frolicking past her nineteenth summer.

She knew how to get along with the young ones. Honeybees had taught her that for healing, she could use venom and propolis. For nourishment, pollen. And for restful sleep, nectar. She’d spent years practising her craft.

“Yay, cat,” she said now, gathering stones. “That’ll have us for a bit.” This was to be their last visit.

A new settlement had welcomed her to stay. Pandora planned to grow old there. With the stones she would bring the young ones time. Time that was still firmly on her side.

🐝

Notes: Best wishes for healing in November. In this story, I present Pandora as a nomad and the world’s first naturopath, who created the myth to protect her anti-aging secret.

Photo: “Morning Beauty,” Alek Alexeyeva by Sølve Sundsbø (2009) for Vogue via Fashion Gone Rogue.

The Feast at Samhain

Three pairs of eyes, dusted heavily with shadows of Dior, beamed at the stage where a D-list “vessel” was just sold. The auction house, or rather, suite, was rattled by the combined assault of perfume, statement earrings and martini shakers. Plush carpets steadied the unquiet clacking of new Louboutins.

Up next was a down-on-his-luck A-list actor with perfect teeth, two ex-wives and mortgage payments of $60,000 a month. His nickname was, “Paper Tiger.” The auction proceeds, minus a 9% fee to the organisers, would net him more than he earned from his latest blockbuster film. He was a raw vegan, free of infection, drugs and alcohol. They could have called him, “Prime Meal.” His blood was that refined.

The auctioneer called the bid. “Vessel withholding one litre of highest quality, purest, untainted blood of Hollywood’s acting elite. Bidding starts at nine MILLION dollars.”

The actor’s pulse raced as all paddles clapped the air in unison. It was one past nine of the clock. The vampires would continue bidding for two hours and ten minutes.

🖤

Happy Halloween!

Photo credit: The three vampires are wearing Christian Dior Haute Couture – via Blogazine.

Poppet

Russian rod puppet

Poppet

Russian rod puppet propped in a corner, by a window. She was eight feet tall and I couldn’t resist her juicy lips. Wishing you an autumn filled with spectacular views.

Corona

Pink edit - Popsicle

Berry Soda

Acrylic and moulding paste on
A4 illustration board (processed)

Orange edit - Orange silk

Orange Silk

This is a practice painting I’ve been playing with since early March. It started as an orange stigma and petals in shades of green, on green illustration board. Later, I painted over it in light rose and oxide black. And finally, in deeper shades of rose.

Two versions of the painting were photographed on magazine pages. Below is the light rose edit I’m using as wallpaper for my phone.

iPhone screensaver edit - on magazine pages, a model is wearing a spiky Game of Thrones style tiara and necklace.

Corona – The Same Face

Outtakes: The collage below shows the edits that nearly made it to the main presentation. This time, I really couldn’t make up my mind. The final deep pink version appears in this one.

Collage of alternate edits

Collage with texture details

Corona - Banner with inverted text, by SB

As always, I wish you a lovely day. Thank you so much for viewing.

Magazine photos – Maggie Jablonski by Elena Rendina for Numero, Tokyo, “Be Gorgeous”, vol 91, November, 2015. 

David et Goliath (Archangel Edit)

Archangel Michael

Cheer me on, Oblivia
as I wind up from the knees
to rend from Earth this nemesis
of everlasting peace

Aiming at the nose bridge
of the Grand Chaos Machine
bracing with the groundswell
fully charged, I launch again

Swing that arm around now
Come on David, let her fly
Holding up your left hand
as a shield against the sky
watch that middle finger
you must use it as a guide
Clean your stones; less friction
Count, release and it is done

Lead, my faithful vanguard
Gather, kindred, go that way
On your trusting footprints
shines the mighty light of day

Come on, children, walk this way…

 

Note: I wrote this poem at the end of March and hid it, thinking I would never need to publish it. Clearly, I was kidding myself. Tammy, and Jeanne, this poem might be all I can do. Photo credit: Archangel Michael defeats the Evil One, St Michaelis Church Tombamasta, Hamburg, Germany; image via Pinterest.

Antique Moss Green

paper plate with green wall paint
Antique Moss Green

Ordinary, exterior wall paint (yellow in green) drying out in a paper dish, on a sheet of newspaper. The result of a demonstration that wall paint doesn’t blend like artists’ colours.

Think

Think – Grey

Poster colours and masking tape on 120 mm x 100 mm notebook cover.

Poster colours over assorted masking tape with green filter

Think – Green

 

masking tape

Masking tape

Today, I wanted to play with watercolours and masking tape. I tried something complicated with art and poetry (the inked portions) on Sunday afternoon but messed it up. After hearing encouraging remarks from a friend, I taped another layer and splashed out on a new idea.

Setup – before painting

 

Think – Raw (unprocessed)

Keep it simple if/where you can.

Coffee + Heart

Melbourne – Monday, June 13 – 08.08

GUEST POST

Reflection and photos by Machine.Gun.Meow (mGm)
Facebook: Machine Gun Meow Twitter: @MachineGunMeow
Instagram: @machingunmeow

Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.

While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.

Filtered

We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.

Mixed bowl

At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?

Reflection

If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.

 

No Forks Given

aluminum cans

Varnished aluminum cans …

A head dressed up

… dressed up a head

Can I have a witness? Two hours after swearing on a stack of fifty imaginary Bibles that I would never, ever, ever publish anything from my archives, I found myself wedged in a situation.

Hiatus

Hiatus

Wired

Lomo wired

newspaper roses

Newspaper roses

Summer, 2009 – A friend and I thought, “Let’s, like, totally deface a mannequin as an homage to Alexander McQueen (memba that headdress?) and Junya Watanabe (Comme des Garçons).” Yeah, sure, she had some at home, so we borrowed one. Ow!

Netted

Netted

Defaced

Defaced

red tab

Red tab

Instead of using plastic to wrap the soda cans, as in the McQueen Horn of Plenty Autumn 2009 show, we used 110 denier tights, glue and wire. Nail polish went on the lips, can motifs and Hangul lettering. The barcode was inked with permanent marker.

Forked over

Silver painted forks

My friend was really into Korean pop music and the Hangul script was hers. I have removed the forks because I don’t remember why we added them.

The heart can

Heart can wire

They are tucked away in a basket on a nearby shelf. But please don’t get any ideas. I’m not giving away any of my forks.

No Forks Given

Modern art, these days

Thank you for viewing. xo

Buccaneer

Dutch replica of warship

Buccaneer

closeup of port side bow

Ghost Ship

Replica of Dutch built warship

Docked

These photographs were taken on Thursday and Friday (May 19/20), in a small port town, where I attended an art conference. May is the month in which I return home to do laundry and repack my luggage. I hope it’s been a good month for you.

cave, nuanced

Treasure Cave

wooden peg, close up

Pegged

wooden peg, monochrome treatment

Posted

Dutch replica, portside, medium closeup

Ship, Port Side

Wood Love

An open sack of charcoal; the opening is in the shape of a heart

Charcoal Heart

strips of wood, interlaced

Stripes

Captured in a forest reserve. The torches below were for our evening bonfire. The chopped wood for the bonfire is shown in the second to last photo.

In other news, I managed to make curry, over a coal fire, for ten hungry colleagues. No idea what I was doing and there was lots of improvising. So, it felt like an episode of MacGyver. The ingredients (curry powder, streaky bacon, potatoes, carrots and onions) were already prepped by the research facility that hosted us. Everyone was nervous about the potatoes but I Gordon Ramsayed them and they came out just right.

Torches for a campfire on the ground

Torches

Logs on a log shelf processed in black and white

Shelved

wood for a fire, in an iron grill

Wood Burn

Thank you for viewing.