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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 …

the black sands of Ureki


I wonder what might happen if we all measured time by how often we stand looking out at the ocean. The muscle of the sea turns in on itself, a clock, a pendulum, a rocking chair. All at once, the fragrance of salt and seaweed returns, that sticky perfume on the back your arms as you step into a cool elevator, and to the hushed room. There is a balcony, and almost a view. Trees are bending in a low wind. The sound of children laughing filters up to us.

V is jumping on the bed, more puppy than three year old. E is shuffling around the space as if she is measuring it, shoulders hunched in curiosity. N is already unpacking the suitcases, lining the shelves in the closets until she is satisfied.

There is black, magnetic sand here in Ureki. They say it has magic properties, that it can cure your ills. I see children that look like they have been rolled in black tar, with grandmothers spraying the sand off of them, as they shout from the cold water. The black sand scatters across floors, the insides of shoes. I imagine we will take a good amount back with us, without knowing it.

I get a proper sunburn on the first day, my skin staring back at me that night, that red face of mine in the mirror. There is a bottle of cold wine, with great beads of sweat running down its sides. A table on the balcony, a little chair that is already familiar. Here, I will write more of that new book when everyone has gone to sleep, when the only sound will be the scratch of my pen on good paper, and the sea.

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