black and white

15th post – playing catch up.

Black and white is actually a very exciting concept for me, full of opportunities. Something about staying within the constrains of such a vivid contrast of colour.

A black and white floor, a black and white house. Black and white. A chess board. Piano keys. A crossword puzzle, dice, some newspapers, footballs (soccer balls to you Americans out there!).

Penguins, zebras, pandas, orcas, skunks, Dalmatians, cows and ermines.

The possibilities are endless because when you mix different volumes of black and white paint together you get a multitude of greys. Dark white and light black.

Malory Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series is an interesting observation of the tumult within society when it comes to race, only in her universe the whites are the prosecuted ones and the blacks are living it up.

What about the colours in between? For example I am yellow – a mix of different races, not white nor black. Where do I fall in? To be honest I still feel ostracised in mostly-white towns. That’s England for you.

Again, not everything is black and white. Nothing is, in fact. Unless you’re thinking of penguins, but even penguins can be grey, have orangey beaks and feet and of course their insides would be red.

What comes to your mind when you think of black and white?

 

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Reckless

Ploughing. Raking. Toiling. Burning, wiping, smearing.

Looking up through sweat soaked eyebrows and blinking roughly against the salty stinging  in his eyes. The heat hazed in the distance, the trees rustled, or seemed to, because they didn’t move and from where he stood, the sun scorching his scalp, they looked like a painting. Lined up at the top of the fields in the distance, the sky a lazy blue, not quite burgeoning into the deep colour of summer, almost as though the sun was so bright that the sky paled in comparison. So still. Was the world even real?

Midday. A bird chirped quietly somewhere nearby, too tired to break into song. A pickup truck trundled slowly down the dusty road just outside his garden. A face, browned and hardened from heat, stared at him, turning as the truck drove past. He stared back.

The truck slowed, it seemed, creeping along now. He gripped his shovel tighter, aware his fingers were slick with sweat under his gloves.

‘Hey,’ he said to the man. The truck was level with his now, and the man’s eyes were piercing. They reflected the light like a pair of sapphire beacons under the shadow of the truck.

The man said nothing, and the truck slowed to a halt.

‘Can I help you?’ he tried again, shifting to his other foot. He was aware of his own pulse in his neck. The world was so still around them, even the solitary bird nearby ceased to chirp.

Nothing.

Then the wheels spun viciously in the dusty road, and a brown cloud rose behind the car and it roared into being and started off, engine rattling loud enough that birds flew up into the sky in alarm. He watched as it sped off along the road, growing smaller in the distance.

As the dust settled, and the birds swooped back into the cool shadows once more, the heat of the day took over again, blanketing the world in hot, tired silence.

The trees in the distance didn’t move a branch. The summer haze lay languidly over the earth. The silence was vast, universal.

Was the world even real?

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Having Yet To Find Oneself

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A twenty five year old woman spoke into a camera and told me she had found her calling, her place in life. I sat back, for a moment, as she carried on speaking. My eyes roved the stacks of books by my fireplace, the piles of things on my bedside table, the lamps, the globes, the jewellery, the clothes, the box of mango and papaya incense, the little rug, the calendar waiting to be ripped into and scribbled with annotations of 2014, the scruffy paintings on the walls, their edges curled with age, the postcards, the bottles of cosmetics, strewn everywhere, whiffs of scent tracing the air, mixing with floating dust motes, the old shoes, the holey socks, the empty mugs, the crumpled hoodies, the stray lonely glove, the scrunched up tissue, the glowing snowman, the reel of shiny ribbon…the bag of brushes on the unused bed, the canvas on the bed, half painted..

The smear of dark green, on the bedsheet..

The lace of a boot, frayed at the edges, dangling from the bedside lamp..

Who am I? Am I all these things, put together? Or am I none of them, struggling to break free of the layers that encompass my being.

Are the books I choose to buy significant of who I am? Or are they just masks over what I have the potential to be?

Lots of things happened in 2013. Perhaps the most significant of them was finding the courage within me to stand up for who I am, to who I was afraid of. In some ways, I believe I found myself this summer. In others, I am still lost, alone, far away from my final destination. Yet it taunts me, dancing just beyond my grasp. It’s laughter is a mocking echo in my thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if it is even there at all.