Sunday, January 21, 2007


For a photographer accustomed to pointing a macro lens at low bits of weed and grass, New York City comes as a visual shock. There aren't enough gigabytes of memory to hold all that camera and camerwoman want to swallow. We're like a hungry ghost, cursed with a bottomless appetite and a pinhole mouth.

My eyes grow red from trying.

My neck creaks from the craning.

Red is the color of desire, and it is everywhere. It attracts my eye as a red berry attracts a bird's, as a red berry, for that matter, attracts mine. Eye candy,

mouth candy,

ear candy.

Blue rises into blue

above a rippling green slash, glassy as ribbon candy,

and beside a big, red, corrugated air kiss.

A man slouches at a doorway. He winks at me as I shoot, and jokes --

You can have them all for a quarter.

An idol squats on a pedestal announcing that money is god here. It flows in and out of the city like a torrent. The river of god is full of money. I spot the neon CNN logo atop a tower. Currents of money swirl around it, through it, over it. What can be said ? What must not be said ? Ask the green god. It's not about truth. It's about power.

Which is well dressed,

and well built,

and learns about privilege and entitlement

from infancy.

Oh, sweet city, can we devour you before you devour us ?

It's a race. Where shall I start ?

I am ill dressed for the task.

Headless, faceless beings reproach me from bright altars.

I feel the icy scorn of their glance as their acolytes bustle around them.

The green god is far more than a trinity, and as carnal as can be.

Its liturgy is a simple exchange.

Its promise (wink, wink) is eternal youth and beauty.

O clemens, o pia, o dulcis I almost cry, running after a billowing, white vision. But she is, alas, the merciless belle dame of the green god and I am not on her speed dial list.

Camerawoman stops. Night approaches. She is already in a well of spangled darkness.

Abover her floats a white rectangle. Over the traffic sounds, an unearthly chorus -- boy sopranos ? castrati ? -- chants shoes for the living, and shoes for the dead/some are black, and the others are red She shudders. Her camera groans and burps, surfeited with images. She realizes that, despite everything, she is famished.

A pretzel, thinks camerawoman, drawn toward a bright oasis. Now that would hit the spot.

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