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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

red, yellow, blue, green.

Spring in Moscow smells like oil paint and mud. Handfuls of black haired workers paint everything in sight, dripping fire engine red and egg yolk yellow, splashing middle blue and acid green on every banister and bench, every gate and metro entrance. They lounge in their coveralls, smoking cigarettes, eyeing everyone on their way to work. Everything is soft and wet and sticky, as one more layer of paint dries slowly in the sun. Everything I see has gotten a little bit thicker, cruder, more grotesque. I imagine the city will eventually become one giant lump decorated in these 4 childish colors.

The half-empty wine bottles on the kitchen table look beautiful the next morning. Coffee tastes especially delicious. Now E draws pictures of me with a guitar, or clouds and flowers and little birds. Sometimes N is half asleep, bringing my hands to her body in the warmth of the covers. There is a fragile peace and balance to my days now. And now the old wounds are naked in the sun, white and twisted like spiderwebs that could not fully be brushed away.

There is a new restlessness worming its way inside me. There is nowhere to hide here. And maybe, no reason to.

Today I saw a child's toy abandoned on the sidewalk - a little lamb, staring up at me.

Helpless, was my first thought. The next, was to buy something to scrape paint away, down to the bare metal.


Comments

willwilisovsky said…
Ah, but there is no metal.
This city is made of paint.
The rest is silence Brother Marco

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