“And here …” Now the orange became Tejas: “In the middle of this mess, Tejas, Spanish to the core, God’s bastion, just as in Europe.” He patted the orange, reveling in its security, and said: “God arranges these things according to His grand design. Believe me, Trinidad, Tejas is not where it is by accident. And you’re not in Tejas by accident. Your destiny is to rear Spanish sons who will build there cities much finer than New Orleans.”
I’ve stolen something. There is a bar that I visited last year, one that had an old fashioned photo booth back in the back, next to the filthy bathrooms. On the wall by the booth was a torn up cork board. A lot of people thumbtacked their strips of four photos into the cork, leaving them for posterity. I picked up a handful that looked interesting and stole them.
I’ve scanned the strips and I think I’ll take them, one at time, four photos at a time, and write a few words about the people in the photographs. Or, more accurately, what I imagine about the two people.
They were in Love. Mad and passionate, unbelievable love – like being lost in a world unimaginable, but with someone else there. There had been a lot of madness and passion and even a little bit of love in that French Quarter bar, but they felt like they were the first and last. Everybody does.
They were both afraid to take the photos. Maybe photographs can’t steal your soul, but maybe they can steal your love. Especially black and white photos, especially machine-made photos. This is dangerous ground.
So they abandoned the little strip after it fell out, threw it on the dirty floor right outside the bathroom. Someone found it and thumbtacked it to the wall. If you could find the person that tacked it up (and you can’t) they wouldn’t be able to tell you why they bent over and picked it up, or why they pushed the rusty old pin through the paper. It fell five more times, the cork was old and brittle, as if it was trying to escape, but someone always put it back.
They shouldn’t have worried. Photographs, especially black and white ones, do steal your soul and do steal your passion. But there is plenty more left – an unending fountain, really, if that is what you want. The photos are only gifts, bits thrown out into the cold night, given away, but never really lost. Never lost.
Time is the real villain – the relentless thief. Time will steal your soul and your passion and your love. Though defeat is inevitable, a photo or two cast out into the pond of the world is one weapon against that inevitable doom of chaos. A small and fleeting victory – but maybe the best you can do. The best they could do.
Margarita está linda la mar,
y el viento,
lleva esencia sutil de azahar;
en el alma una alondra cantar;
Margarita, te voy a contar
—-Rubén Darío, A Margarita Debayle
Margarita, how beautiful the sea is:
still and blue.
The orange blossom in the breezes
The skylark in its glory
has your accent too:
Here, Margarita, is a story
made for you:
Ooh baby, watchful lines vibrate soft in brainwave time.
Silver pictures move so slow.
Golden tubes faintly glow.Electric faces seem to merge.
Hidden voices mock your words.
Fade away and radiate.—-Blondie, Fade Away and Radiate
“The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him.”
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills
Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o’clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
‘Til we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land”