10 augusti 2018

Dawn of Dystopia

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There were those who warned.
Early.
And later.
Many wrote, well and clearly worded articles or spontaneous posts in social media, that we had to do something.
Yes, gradually there were almost nobody who hadn’t heard the warnings.

Still nothing happened.

The typhoons along the Tropic of Cancer started to come… not just during late Summer and Fall but, soon, all year round.
The consuming fires in Australia got worse by every Summer.
New York and Boston were cut off in a terrible snow storm – in May. In Arctic Europe snow melted in the beginning of March. Skiing competitions were cancelled.

Still nothing happened.

Fiji… Samoa… Vanuatu… the Maldives… disappeared.
The countries of South occupied the rostrum in the UN building, Angelina Jolie travelled across the world giving inflammatory speeches.
But nothing happened. The oil continued to flow in the fuel tanks. The cole continued to warm the buildings. The advertising agencies continued to produce cheerful commercials or jingles that were running, day and night, on television and radio:
Consume more! Buy now, pay later!

Dawn of Dystopia, by Andy Lord


Then one day… a tiny rivulet started to wind its way southwest from the Siberian steppes. A rivulet of poisonous matters that had been frozen into the tundra for thousands of years.
At the same time, a 2000 kilometers wide, ten kilometers thick block of ice came off the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. It moved northeast with the water currents and melted along the way.
From opposite directions they came – the melting water and the methane river, and they crashed right into the heart of civilization.

Then, only then, when the white man’s home and cultural heritage lay in ruins, the leaders and those who were in command reacted.
Then, when it was clear that it was their own population who would be forced to flee – with no cars, no electricity, no food or accomodation – a small group was appointed to lead the search for new land.
The members of the group were equipped with the old, still functioning weapons, fetched from their hiding places, and with the ancient knowledge that secretly had been transmitted, by oral tradition, from mother to daughter.
They got unexpected assistance from the proud but shy people of the large pastoral forests, when they set out, in the Dawn of Dystopia.

Andy Lord

12 juli 2018

...and the sky lit up


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She knew she couldn’t go back.
She knew that everything that up to now had been her life, was gone.
She had heard of the fights for months, first through reports on the radio, later from friends who had returned from the fighting area. Returned, for the fighting took place far away from her town… maybe even in another country, she wasn’t sure. One group was fighting another, but it had nothing to do with her or her dear ones.
Their lives went on as usual. She got up in the morning, made porridge, woke the oldest girls, who were going to school, made sure they ate their breakfast. Made sure they looked proper in their uniforms, brushed their hair and braided it.
By then, her husband had already walked over to the square and sat on the flatbed truck, with the other men, to go out to the fields for the working day. Before, when she was younger, she had sometimes joined them, to serve the men lunch. She knew that the trucks took the winding, dusty road past the old tree with its peculiar outgrowth. "The pregnant tree”, one of the girls had called it.
When Shirin and Samira were on their way to school she tiptoed into the room where the boys were sleeping. She studied their faces, peaceful and lively at the same time – maybe in the middle of an exciting dream – where they lay, slumped all over the bed. She smiled and slid carefully down beside them, felt their bodies against hers, until they awoke or until the youngest one, in the adjacent room, where she and her husband also had their bed, woke up and started to make herself heard.
Later, when Mahmoud and Youssef had run across the street to play with their cousins, under the supervision of their grandpa, she had taken her youngest to her breast. Although she had stopped breast-feeding her, both she and Fatima appreciated those moments of carefree nearness.
The president in the capital is a despot, an evil man! some of the men with whom her husband had coffee in the evenings said. And one of the women could tell of a relative of hers, who had been manacled and thrown into a prison cell because he had dared to question something the government had done.
Those are bandits rebelling against our leader, elected by the people! others said. They come from the other side of the mountains and they have support from another country, and they want to introduce a barbarian regime that we haven’t had for a hundred years. If they win the war, your daughters won’t be able to go to school anymore, Umm Ahmad said. You will be forced to wear a niqab and throw away all your beautiful clothes.
One late evening when the children had gone to sleep, she stepped out on the street. The day had been warm and she enjoyed the cool of the night. She looked at the rough walls, the irregular cobble stones on the ground, the houses further down the street. Everything was so familiar she would have been able to draw it all, blindfolded.
Then she noticed how the sky lit up, faintly, for a moment. And then she could sense a rumbling sound far away. She felt her heart beating fast in her chest and held her breath – to calm down, and to see if there was more to come. She could see, or hear, nothing more, but she sensed a shadow behind her and turned. It was her husband, who had joined her, and she understood that he had heard and seen the same as she had.
They are far away, he said. They are still far away.
She closed her eyes and thought about her children, whose lives had just begun. And she thought about the children in that place where the sky had just lit up and from where the rumbling sound had come. Those children must be terrified now, she thought.
He put his arm around her and brought her inside. They went to bed, she saw the outlines of Fatima’s body in the cot next to their bed. She embraced her man and he penetrated her with a sincerity she hadn’t felt in a long time.
 
Shades of Yellow, by Andy Lord.
They have taken our neighbor town! Umm Ahmad was short of breath as she came in through the door. They dragged men, women and children out into the streets and killed them! Hundreds have run away!
She met her daughter’s gaze. Shirin, the oldest, sat at the table doing her homework. She put down her pencil and said: Mom, I don’t want to go to school. I wanna stay at home. She walked over and sat down next to the girl, stroked her hair behind one ear, caressed her cheek. You have to go to school. You have to learn things. Because knowledge is the only thing that can save us!
Her daughter stared intensely at her for a while. Then she nodded and grabbed the pencil again.
The soldiers were marching along the street in an endlessly long line. Mahmoud and Youssef ran out to look at their guns. She took her sons by the hand, stood with them in the doorway. All the neighbors were outside their houses. Nobody said a word.
We will protect you, said the commander. Don’t worry. As long as we are here, you are safe.
Then: We need beds in your homes. Share your food with the soldiers. They are here to protect you, surely that’s the least you can do for them.
She heard from the women that one of the wives down the street had been forced to accept getting intimate with the soldier sleeping in her house. She didn’t dare to object and her husband didn’t dare either.
When will someone come in here? she asked herself. When will a soldier enter our home and force himself upon me, maybe in front of my children? She didn’t dare to talk about it with her husband.
Then came the night when the battle for the town started.
She heard noises, one more terrifying than the other, that she couldn’t identify. And it wasn’t faint rumbling anymore, like the other nights, the noises were as loud and piercing as if they came from somewhere inside her own house.
Her husband was talking and she knew that he explained what the noises were, but she didn’t understand what he said, couldn’t take it in, couldn’t register it. She moved in a circuit, lap after lap, between the girls’ room, the boys’ room and her own bedroom where Fatima was sleeping in her cot.
If one of the children moved, cried, opened its eyes, she would caress their hair, kiss them and say: The soldiers are here, they protect us. Sleep my darling.
Somehow, the night passed and it was morning.
Worn-out, with lack of sleep, she mechanically made the porridge and, while her husband stoic went out to take the truck to the fields, she woke the girls.
They saw, like she did, when they looked out through the window, that Umm Ahmad’s house was gone. A pile of stones, wooden beams and twisted iron rods were all that was left of the woman’s home.
Mom… Samira had a worried look as she stood in the doorway with the satchel on her back.
You’re safe in school. No one would even consider bombing a school. Off you go!
The boys had their breakfast and walked across the street to play with their cousins. She was alone with the little one.
Then they returned, the sounds that she now knew were airplanes, airplanes carrying bombs. And those other sounds, when bombs hit their targets… or hit something else than their targets, for example a school.
Run! Somebody called down the street. They will be here within an hour! Run!
We are safe here, grandpa said. Our house is solid.
The teacher has taken the children to the pregnant tree, somebody said.
Stricken by panic she collected some bread, dried meat, oil and a few other things in a bag. She put Fatima in her reins and fastened it to her back. Then she left her home, walked down the street and out of town. She didn’t want to watch the black smoke rising from where she knew the school had been. She didn’t want to turn around as the planes came back and dropped their load on her street. She didn’t want to look at the destroyed road leading out to the fields.
She didn’t want to leave. But she had no choice.

Andy Lord

1 juni 2018

The Blue Lady's Tale

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I wasn’t ready for you coming... and even less for you going.
It was November when I first looked into your eyes, at the coffee shop where I was doing hours. You came in and just sat down by a table… you didn’t realize you were expected go over to the counter and place your order. Or you didn’t care. Maybe you weren’t even planning to buy anything when you stepped in.
My colleague, a square, slightly fierce mother of four, finally marched over to your table and informed you, a bit haughty and patronizing, that you had to order at the counter. Still looking at your cell phone you sauntered over and – after having stood there immovable for so long that my colleague had already inhaled to, now definitely fierce, haughty and patronizing, urge you to order or leave the premises – with the blink of an eye took in the limited selection of cookies, pies and loaves of French bread.
”A piece of pineapple pie and a coffee, please.”
I was the one bringing the coffee and the pie to your table. I was gazing at the snow falling outside, wishing I was somewhere else, like Florida or the Caribbean, while I put the cup of coffee and the plate with the pie on the table in front of you. Quite unexpectedly you looked up at me, our eyes met… and the rest of the world disappeared.
I don’t know if it disappeared to you too. Probably not entirely, because then you would still be here, wouldn’t you? But partly, I’m pretty sure. Because it wasn’t just me that froze there, like paralyzed in a thought, but you as well. I noticed how you, like me, were caught off your guard, were free falling through mental space. But you composed yourself before I did:
”Thankyou Miss.”
I don’t recall how I managed to return to my place behind the counter, suddenly I just was there... and still, ninety-nine percent of my conscience was left with you, refused to leave. Although I did everything to put my mind to the order of 50 pies that would have to be prepared during the afternoon, or what I should get for my aunt’s birthday, or even the snow that kept falling, my whole inner focus was on your gaze, that had met mine. There was an invisible thread between us, growing stronger each moment.

You were standing outside the book store next door waiting when I left work. As if in slow motion, I walked the twelve steps over to you. Your trench-coat protected you against the wind and the flames in your eyes warmed me.
”Never before” you said in your strangely dark blond voice.
”Me neither” I breathed.

You told me you were in town temporarily, you had rented a room in a boarding house for a month. When that month had gone you paid for another month. After that, you stayed with me.
You did research for a book, you said. And I thought, yes, there is much to write about in this town, with its long and many-colored history.
”You’re a part of this town, that I wanna write about” you said, and you made me grow, become significant. I would be a part of your book, I thought, and smiled at the idea. I started to wonder how you would describe me, and what part in the story I would get.

Soon we started to explore each other’s bodies. We were both unaccustomed to it. In that sense, and only in that, we were equal.

The Blue Lady, acrylic by Andy Lord

The coldest period, in late January and early February, was the best time. I went to work, and when I came home you were there. We kept each other warm in my drafty apartment. You cooked, mostly various soups, and we ate it from steaming bowls. Then we made love, over and over again.
During the weekends we walked out to the lake and looked at the mountain. You were fascinated by it, and I, who had seen it ever since I was little, learned to really appreciate it. And we hid from the wind behind the big tree; the tree with its very special outgrowth in the middle of the trunk. The pregnant tree, you called it, and we hugged it, bit by bit in a ritual movement until we had done a full lap around it.

It was so painfully easy to get used to having you there, in my apartment, in my life. It was as if you had always been there, and therefore would always remain. But it wasn’t to be.

When the sun rays of spring started to warm the ground, the houses, the people, you became restless. You stopped, gradually, to eagerly tell me about your latest idea for the book. And when I asked about it you got at first uncertain and your eyes got shifty, then you became avoiding, and then irritated.
So I stopped asking. I cooked – your soups vanished with the winter – and we ate in silence. I watched TV, you were busy with your cell phone. Sometimes you smiled looking at it, and I wondered who you were smiling at.
At the same time you could be just as loving as before, and just as hot and wonderful between my sheets. And sometimes you would say things like: “Let’s go to Italy this summer! Or Spain! We could sit at the streetside cafes by the beach, drinking coffee. Or stand on the hotel balcony watching the sun set.” And I believed you, and looked forward to our journey.
Or: ”We could open a culture cafe together. You make the food, I arrange interesting lectures and exhibitions. It will be a great success!” And I could see that cafe before me, crammed with enthusiastic, dedicated guests.

Then you entered the coffee shop that Wednesday, just before closing time. You hadn’t been there since that first day, so I immediately wondered why you came. Then I noticed you were carrying your suitcase. I was petrified while my colleague walked over to your table – obviously not recognizing you. I heard, with a strange echo, how she informed you that you should go to the counter to place your order. I couldn’t hear your reply but she returned and looked at me with a blank expression:
”The customer wants to speak to you.”
My legs barely took me over to the table, and when I got there I just collapsed on the chair opposite yours. I realized, with blinding clarity, what was happening, that you were leaving, that what I thought would last forever, had been just a parenthesis of your life.
You looked at me and I desperately tried to drown myself in your sea weed-blue eyes. And I looked at your mouth, that had kissed mine, and every line on your lips was so familiar.
”I have to move on. I’ve had... a proposition, a contract, that looks very intriguing.”
I closed my eyes, I would have closed my ears too if it had been possible. I didn’t want to see anything, nor hear anything. I felt your fingers down my cheek, gently touching my earlobe, wiping away a tear that obviously fell from my eye.

I lean against the comforting trunk of the tree, feel the huge, ancient body sharing its healing warmth. And on the other side of the lake, the mountain, a silent but solid pledge that there is a bigger perspective, and I’m a part of it.

Andy Lord

31 maj 2018

En comeback i egen sak

Under en tid, drygt tre år för att vara mer specifik, har det varit, hrm... stiltje på den här bloggen. Jorden har snurrat sin bana trogen och vårt solsystem har fortsatt på sin väsentligt längre och, åtminstone för våra sinnen, mer subtila färd runt Vintergatans centrum.

Tavlor har målats, skulpturer har huggits och människor har bevistat utställningar där (en del av) dessa verk har visats.

Nu kommer det dock att bli ändring. Kanske inte på planetens eller solsystemets rörelser, eller - förhoppningsvis - på skaparglädjen hos kreativa personer. Men på bloggen. För under den närmaste tiden kommer en av oss (Anders) att publicera texter och/om målningar. Egna målningar, vilket förstås kan verka lite förmätet. Men sådan är nu en gång konstnärssjälen och jag inbjuder er till att åka med på denna lilla tvärkonstnärliga resa.

Det blir, om ordet kan tillåtas och begripas, en essensialisering av Lord&Bild, som är namnet på min hemsida.

Och det värsta av alltihop är, att det kommer att ske på engelska!
Men varje inlägg kommer att kompletteras med en länk till en plats i cyberrymden där texten kan läsas på svenska.

Vi börjar imorgon!

Anders Lord