Lilies from the garden
On not having children
In the space you leave for
the tiger bears a daughter of her own.
The weather moved me yesterday. It was misty in that patchy, anomalous way that means you can't see shit one moment while it's clear as a bell 10 m down the road. Always look behind you into the sun during mist. These are a wee bit noisy but the camera was ancient and tiny, so whatever. I didn't throw on any FX filters, just black and whited them. This is pretty much how it looked.
The sun was pushing through the watery suspension and lensing into the void over the bay in the form of a cold white rainbow- the opposite of darkness yet somehow vacant of all the properties you expect of light.
I had never seen this before.
I made a Poem about Paul Banks from Interpol. Please Hold Your Applause til the End Thank You.
It's 3.38 am and this is the first and only draft. Enjoy.
I dreamed Paul Banks was my boyfriend
I called up and annoyed him
while he was working
on a song
He went and changed the title
to Kelly You're Annoying Me
it is destroying
my creative life.
you are late for dinner
my wild venison wonder
it is an undisputed winner
a culinary triumph
I changed my eye makeup for you.
your gentle and yet withering
attempts to fend my tentacles
so I extinguish
all that silver-tinted sarcasm
you are all the fucking same.
Photo du Jour: Fir
The white dust ring around his nose is a product of his insistence on digging up the stones under our café table chairs so he can lie in the cooler shade.
It always amazes me how different two dogs of the same breed and strain can be. Fir is a lot more easy going than Felix, who didn't care for unfamiliar dogs; he loves everyone and takes nothing personally, assuming any aggression or rebuff is just some sort of misunderstanding that you will reconsider as he trots away, unshaken. Many crises have been averted by his breezy diplomacy, for which we are incredibly grateful given the burgeoning ranks of poorly-socialised dogs and clueless owners. He is extremely affectionate and trusting, welcomes any and all attention and sits patiently through baths, haircuts and flea-pickings, another tremendous relief (although Felix was similarly tolerant).
He's got a few annoying quirks, though. Obsessively coveting my hair bands, for one, stealing and eating them whenever they are in reach, necessitating public extraction of the poopy elastic from his bum hole while out walking. The kleptomania is apparently congenital, his grandmother being an accomplished thief of dog treats from concealed tupperware according to his breeder so there's not much to be done about it. Socks are another illicit passion. He snores while lying on one particular side due to a slightly sloppy palate. And my god, his ability to find and devour anything disgusting or hazardous while out walking is a continuous nightmare. Our battle to stay between Fir and the street caviar he finds so compelling has so far kept him out of dog hospital, but it would be great if filthy arseholes stopped throwing their fishing gear and chicken bones on the fucking ground.
So, how's your week going?
When all things are truly considered, there are actually very few roses that merit a featured position in any mixed garden. That's quite a sad admission after so many centuries of fervent breeding and distribution. Our Zone 9 location offers no earthly challenges to any damn rose; no gophers, exotic attack beetles, frost heaving, desert summers or blue-titty blizzards- nothing. And yet, when browsing my photo files for new review candidates I'm always struck both by the number of plants we've consigned to steamy decay on our half-sentient pile and the many that have simply popped their simpering clogs for no particular reason.
On this anonymous rootstock it is a good doer, tolerating considerable interference from underplanting and general shovel intrusion. This is especially praiseworthy because high-quality flower producers are usually hungry, thirsty and fussy about setbacks. I don't think our CdP has ever lost a main cane or aborted a flower cycle in spite of these insults, nor have I seen it defoliate with rust or blackspot, our two main aggressors. So two thumbs up for health.
But let's face it, no one plants Chartreuse de Parme for its rude health or admirable posture. Rose fanciers are flower sluts and this one comes through with a cyclic sufficiency of tough, slightly leathery, classic tea rose blooms in an intense, hypnotic blue magenta with a slightly silvered reverse (please note the camera exaggerates this phenomenon, especially in the above and below pics). That pleasing sculptural form and glowing colour withstand rain unscathed, remaining almost supernaturally clean. This is super-important in a maritime climate. CdP is a standout cut flower both in the vase and as the star of a bouquet, lasting well and playing nice with a lot of other flowers.
You may hesitate to expect more and yet there is a definite and respectable perfume, a medium-strength old-school tearose with a bit of dusty fruit and that cool unplaceable note that is possibly unique to this class. Sawn blonde wood? Crushed leaves? Aged pot pourri? The scent lasts pretty well and can sweeten up in the vase but lacks a wee bit of silage, if I'm going to pick any nits.
Does CdP suck in any respect? Not really. It can sometimes be a bit bloom-shy in the first spring cycle for me despite full sun. There might be an extended lull between flushes, understandable given the biological cost of such quality flowers. And like many five-star prospects, Chartreuse de Parme is congenitally unsuited to sitting quietly in the landscape. It will stand out like dogs’ bollocks unless provided with similarly flamboyant companions, so don’t plant it thinking it will somehow magically calm the fuck down if you throw enough gypsophila at it. Give her red and lime euphorbias and delphiniums and those giant African lobelias to hang with. CdP's surreal circus beauty is no clown show and deserves pride of place.
Want More? Clickety click for more Rose Reviews
Thanks to Jo for the phone pics. We had to wait in a sweaty line full of students to view this vegetal hulk and convey its magnificence to you, constant readers.
How's it going?
I'm posting new things. Doing it. Doing it.
The blank black sign looks shopped but it was real, wired onto the fence outside the Port facility. Then it was sadly withdrawn, presumably by the very same hand that affixed it, sucked back into the silent wormhole of entropy from whence it came. All I know for sure is that someone billed us for it.
There's been some quite good tagging on the trains lately, but we hardly ever have a camera when we see it.
The Gen X bellwether influences in Pat McGrath’s aesthetic will always be an intrinsic pillar of her appeal to we peeps of a certain vintage. That darksided moosh of dirt and luxe, sinister historical x futuristic bling, the visual angst and effusion. She came up with freaky units like Philips and Garland, McQueen, Galliano and Mugler et al., at a time when everything was on the slab and subject to the art school scalpel. McGrath's shit is instantly recognisable and largely worthy of the reverence it receives. So refreshing in these tawdry times!
I’ve always admired two things about the Pat McGrath range from a distance; voluptuous packaging and the rigorous specificity of her individual shades. Each one is a look per se, existing for a particular reason instead of just occupying some pointless rung on a chromatic ladder (see: latter-day MAC). It's a bit weird then that Unnatural Natural (Luxetrance) is the first McG lipstick I’ve owned. That would be because the retail price tag is beyond insane; pushing $80 here in the southern hemisphere with postage and that’s a fuck outta here situation, vanity be damned. If you’re going to snatch an entire hundy, you better knock me on my arse with unconditional pornographic awesomeness. So I dodged that trauma and picked it up second hand.
Unnatural Natural is, I think, discont’ now but there’s plenty still knocking around online; I salute my budget-conscious hos with this belated review.
While it's a beautiful and far more neutral option for deeper complexions with cooler elements, you might want to be dark/light enough to provide adequate contrast to avoid a lost-lip outcome.
UN in this Luxetrance formula is quite... heavily present on the lip, reminding me of another slightly annoying formulation, maybe some of MAC’s gluggier mattes, without the overt chalkiness? It’s not so much uncomfortable as distracting and I do find it a wee bit drying on wipe-off. There is a thick, waxy satin finish that persists, but the overall, socially-distanced impression is of a dense off-matte rather than any obvious lustre.
L2R, MAC unless stated:
Russian Red, Sin, PMcG Unnatural Natural, Jasper, Paramount,
Nars Golshan, Nars Lonely Heart, Marrakesh, Spice It Up
Paramount looks dupe-esque on the hand and you probably don't need both products, but its dissimilar formula makes it more of a trad brown once applied. I thought Jasper (LE) would be a lot closer: nope- it's more of a Sin-type blackened, boiled wine. Spice It Up may be difficult to get straight with the camera on a sunny day but it has quite a bit in common with UN, hue-wise, if you're looking for a lighter, shinier version.
RubyHue Lipstick Review: You maybe masked and locked down but you can still be Glamour
Shaw's mirror showed him the remaining conscript emerging from his suicidal transport. Scrabbling to his feet, the man stared up at the over-looming parapet as though waiting for it to pronounce a deferred doom. The wind flapped his clothes against his body and snow blurred him momentarily; when nothing more occurred, he murmured and began to brush himself off with mindless hands that fell once more to slack disuse while Susan searched the empty castellations on her own account, closing her eyes and dropping back onto her knees.
Still in a crouch of his own, Shaw began to struggle out of the ephemera that was strapped to him. Josephine snatched up the tracking device he had cut loose and threw it back at him, striking his shoulder.
"You won't get clear... " she promised, watching him upend his pack and gather what he needed. "She'll spill everything when they get her in the chair..."
"This place is fucking empty, she doesn't know shit and you..." Breaking off, he lunged forward after Susan's hands, too late to stop their lashing strike. She punched the split length of silvered pine butted in her fists into Josephine's thigh, committing her entire weight to the assault; driven deeply, the dry wood pierced her skin, skidding then stubbed blunt between the knot of bones and sheaths inside her knee. The woman retched out a rasping cry, clutching the leg as the shard shifted in the flesh contracting round it and Susan launched herself at her, clubbing furiously at her face with both bound hands. They slid together down the wet slope; Shaw shouted after them, but as he struggled to his feet it was the sucking crack of a bullet loosed from the ruin that stilled the women struggling below.
His head snapped forward on his neck and opened, expelling wet red and thick sodden pink through the outward dissolution of his features. The hot matter struck the side of Susan's face; his body listed, dropping to and falling forward from its knees. On the ledge the remaining conscript caught a second round and toppled before the sound of the first had died away. Susan kicked back from the woman underneath her, fingers sliding on a small stretch of half-buried black, a pistol jogged from its holster and stamped into the thin snow. Snatching it up, she planted her boots against the woman's hip and aimed the weapon at her face.
Her shot threw the pistol backward in her hands. A knocking report swept down the hillside as a booming seashore echo, leaving a dark puncture in the snow by Josephine's left ear, but before she could amend her aim, a grasp closed on her jersey and hauled her sideways; keeping his hold on her, Sachiin swung his rifle from his shoulder and struck the stranger senseless with its stock.
The soft sound of his voice puzzled Susan, seeming new to her while behind them his brother cast fresh snow over the ledge in dropping from it, holding his rifle clear. The chain still bound her to the nameless woman and she exclaimed in sudden and visceral repugnance, casting up screeds of dirty snow as she pounded her boot against the latters' arm and ribcage until Sachiin cut the black cuffs from her wrists. With her freed, he sat down on the slope as though his legs had failed him, finding the hand that hung by her side with his own and breathing a prayer of thanks, his eyes still wide and holding a ghost of their commonplace shade. Shaw's stricken body shifted weakly in a slow, petering contraction, closing on itself with a series of little shudders, like a child wracked by the distant passage of a dream.
Susan cleared her throat and slid her hand from his to push back her loosened braids. The snow wandered against her face as she drew her sleeve down over her wrist and used it to wipe the thick pink spatter from her mouth.
Blushing pulses of pain roused Josephine to the sight of dark eyes in a pale scowl blurred down to lithic tones and shifting, misted shapes. The girl wrestled her black boot from her left foot, wrenching the leg that had swollen around the shaft of wood still buried in its knee. With her head to the foot of the ruin, Josephine saw the curving wall loom in a dreadful grey parabola, black cuffs securing her hands at the small of her back, though she could no longer feel them. Her former captive shuffled her feet into the warmth of the stolen boots, walking a short distance and stopping to rock back and forth, then stooping to lace them with her best hand. Josephine's rifle slid forward against the back of her head from where it hung across her shoulders.
The small party had chosen sparingly from the vanquished corps' equipment, satisfying necessity more than preference, Susan taking obsessive care to locate those samples wrested from her person. Having segregated them in the midst of the clearing, she looked again toward the survivor and stamped her new boots over the fragile receptacles, splintering and kicking them into oblivion. Behind her, Sachiin lifted her pack to test the balance of the load, cheating Fyodor's questing snout of the rations stowed in its compartments. Shaw's body lay like refuse, limbs left skewed by their passage over the stony ground; a florid drag had trailed the remaining portions of his head like effluent bleeding from a rusting pipe.
Josephine did not know that her weatherproof garments had been awarded to Susan, feeling only random and dissonant elements of her own exposure, pinching pain and blue-hued absences. The fraternal creatures standing before her claimed the whole of her faltering attentions, the fauna of a lost continent that drifted away slowly while they walked its distant shore, a paradox that crowded all else backward. Snow embraced them as surely as it reviled her, closing like the jungle around the oscillated feline and leaving nothing to explain. She ate what she could get of them until the memory began to seize and fracture, choked with their detail, closing her eyes only when the frowning girl complained to a companion of her stare.
The shadow had been scoured from the wall beneath the steps since Petrouchka's demise. Sachiin followed its curve to her remains, where his hands moved in a simple observance, articulating sorrow and gratitude. That which had been spared by her immolation was already half-interred by snow, its sated darkness consumed in turn.
"I don't think she did it for us." Susan ventured, standing at his side. He half-turned to pick her up and held her dumbly. "Breathe." she urged into his ear, appraised of the suspension he still suffered despite her warmth and sentience. His brother brought tape from Josephine's kit and Sachiin set her down to wrap her injured fingers; she watched their crushed colours disappear, letting him go to make a final sweep of their surrounds.
"They could have had us all by now. You should have gone." she told Kala'amātya. He did not reply.
"I put my foot down." Sachiin admitted.
"Again?" Susan's face slackened into a half-formed smile, but it was dismissed by the purpose that turned her back toward Kala'amātya and prompted her to trail him as he performed his own final survey of the debris broadcast around them. "Petrouchka was lying..." she whispered, wiping stiffened hair from her cheek and awaiting some sign that he was attending to her communique, "She told me Helaine was happy, and then sad... not the other way around." His acknowledgement was wordless and delayed, evinced as an expression he turned away from her, but she was gratified, and stood to work a glove over her injured hand. He emptied the rifle he had used to kill Shaw and the conscript, laying it out beside Josephine in an act that Susan came slowly to appreciate. "That cow was the one who did this to my fucking hands." She leaned once more over the woman's leg, examining the wound she had inflicted with a satisfaction as plain as carbon daubed across her face. "It looks bad..."
Josephine's gaze continued to mine the precious values of Kala'amātya's surface. He returned her stare with something forged beyond the windblown, fox-grey span of prosaic indifference.
"Will she walk, if she makes it out of here?"
"Eventually." he conceded. Susan squinted at her own irresolution when his silence became expectant.
"So it's up to me..."
"She's your mark. You get the horns."
"I think I'll leave it. It sort of feels like throwing back a live grenade." she declared, taking out the pistol and directing it at Josephine in passing. "It won't be your fucking knee next time." she promised her, joining Sachiin as he moved out, the piglet trailing him closely.
They skirted the stiffening remains of the corps; Susan held her companion's hand in negotiating the drop onto the snow-blurred trail, blowing the flakes from her fringe and urging him onward. The narrow way curved to the east with the hollow leading from the weathered spur, the clouds lowering to graze the apex of the tallest pines. Where the steps diverged they halted, the brothers murmuring to one another, Kala'amātya offering a handgun and a fold of bills to Sachiin and accepting a camouflaged bag in the exchange. The latter lifted Fyodor from the snow and over his shoulder, stuffing the small animal under the cowl of his pack.
"Sis'thle bai'in." he said softly, addressing the brief courtesy to his brother.
"What's this? Where are you going?" Susan demanded.
"West." replied Kala'amātya.
"East." Sachiin confirmed when she looked back to him.
"But... when will..." The question's plaintive irresolution and the expression that accompanied it took them both by surprise, Kala'amātya shifting the rifle to his left shoulder. He waited momentarily, then lifted the hood of his sweatshirt, stepping up onto the westward flight. She caught his arm and turned him back toward her. "Wear you teeth, and don't be such a bastard." she whispered, wresting something small from the pocket of her jeans and pushing it into his grasp. "It's got a filling, but don't throw it away... it's definitely lucky."
He looked down at the tooth in the palm of his hand, then turned again and began the long climb toward the wooded ridge, his footprints first softened, then obliterated by snow. Blowing on her hands, she watched her breath curl in plumes as he was lost to them, still frowning to herself.
"Do you know where he's going?" she asked her remaining companion.
"Yeah..." Sachiin admitted through a seasoned scowl. "I'm pretty sure I do."
He held out his hand and she stepped down with him in the opposite direction, beside the course of an infant spring, its silvered flux slicing through the snow in its desire for the darkness of the gorge.
f i n i s
Read the Book onsite
Fucking Xmas Again, Isn't It?
Dear readers, I think we're all aware that 2020 has been a shit sandwich for most of us. As Kiwis we might not be (currently) living in a cesspit of freewheeling COVID and human plague rats, but between all the ambient mental, physical, political and environmental challenges, this year has really taken a dump on our motivation and creativity. Going through the hard yards creating non-shit content just to have fucking Google jack my clicks with their stupid image page has been particularly demoralising, and between that, Weebly's retarded page view counter and VPNs etc, I now have no clue about how many are visiting and what you want to read and see etc.
I'm hoping next year will prompt me to struggle out of that gelatinous apathy. A few of you have written with kind words and that has been nice, so thanks for your encouragement. R and I hope you have a tolerable end of year period and hopefully some kind of holiday. We'll try to get our arses into gear and post some shit shortly.
X X 🤘
November 06th, 2020
If, like me, you suffer the highly refined and tremendously dignified problem of giant head/big hair syndrome, you know hats that fit and stay are a precious resource. This bitch is heavy enough to remain seated in coastal wind and keeps the drips from one's eyes. It is more than stiff enough to hold its shape but you could set/felt it up a bit with hot water, probably. I've gone on to make a scarfy cravat thing for R using the same technique and you could do a really nice dog vest or coat out of it. You may not be impressed, but I am.
The Bicácaro- Canarina canariensis
C canariensis is a bit of a seasonal contrarian in that it dries out and retreats back into corky, dahlia-like tubers just below the soil surface in early summer, sitting out the stinging UV of our hotter months and reemerging in autumn. Here the flower appears in early spring and can continue for a while until edible fruits occur, a prospect I hardly dare hope for.
In lieu of any specific advice about soil needs, I stuck mine in a 50/50 blend of rose mix and coarse pumice, guessing from its forest-slope origin that a relatively open, well-drained but humusy medium was called for. It gets a good watering about once a week while in growth, and bugger-all over summer when dormant, so it's not particularly high maintenance.
While I have found most plants hardier than conventional wisdom allows I really would not roll the frosty dice and leave this fleshy guy out over night in any sort of high winds or winter. The stems are hollow and easily munted. Mine sits outside with my Aloes and has probably experienced close to freezing under a polycarbonate verandah, but any direct icing would turn it to sludge in fairly short order. Too hot is no good either; C canariensis will apparently decline if your summers inflict extended temps over 25 C.
Well shit, that makes two of us.
Other Vegetative Glories because Plants don't Talk Shit or Cough On You in the Supermarket
Photo du Jour: Fir
Nightwalking in Port Chalmers, Pt 4
The Dunedin City Council, in its infinite, unquestionable wisdom, ripped the roof from this historic industrial shed in a bullshit asbestos panic and presumably hopes it will disintegrate before they have to make a decision about preserving it. Which fucking sucks, since this is one of, if not the last remaining vintage industrial building in the area, and definitely the last one of any aesthetic merit. Get your shit together, DCC, or at least be honest about lumbering onward with your middle-finger agenda in regard to our much-abused little town.
Port Otago's nasty wizard eyes.
Careys Bay lies around the corner from Port Chalmers, behind a veil of old volcanic stone. It is a pretty little gully that once would have chimed with a legion of native birds, but now mostly buzzes to the sound of incessant powertools, the barking of bored dogs and the industrial declamations of Port Otago. The giant container ships have been muffled for now, but something worse will come along.
Careys Bay at night is more palatable, because the power tools are tucked up in bed and you can overlook the oily little teacup bay and serpentine Victoriana from a quiet cemetery fringed with smoke-scented blue gums. Possums shriek and fuss in the trees alongside roosting Rosellas, both rowdy imports from Australia. An Arbutus, heavily laden with both polychrome fruit and pearly blossoms, shelters the graves. It is a peaceful isolate.
Down by the water, the Black Backs croak lullabies to each other post-breeding season, and shit on the bow of the pilot boat.
Someone went to the trouble of installing this pursy effigy; fixed expression, hi-viz, low inputs, strange posture, alarming moisture content. The vérité is terrifante.
A new fishing wharf lies beyond this ziggurat of containers, a somehow depressing sop to the community that had to submit to still more noise and disruption as the Port expands its activities. Depressing in that it is been covered in furtive slash obsessive groups of people jerking largely undersized fish from the bay every time we've visited, in a metastatic expression of the everything wrong with the facility lurking behind it. It smells of death, already.
I'm not a Star Wars person but that is some Evil Empire shit.
There is something deeply surreal about the high tide overrunning the concrete of the boat ramp around Back Beach under these lurid lights; a blurring of material realities in which the water, supremely unconcerned with infrastructure, subsumes terrestrial limitations, in a small taste of what is to come. I have stood on the northeastern tip of Arnhem Land and watched distant cyclones steer their fluted, lightning-flecked flanks over the blood-warm waters of the Arafura Sea; the feeling is the same, somehow. Ominous, for sure, but not entirely unpleasant.
On some nights, the gulls sit in tight ranks on the jetty rails, scurling loudly. It sounds like they're arguing about something we don't understand. They'll shut up if you shine the torch toward them.
It seems like we might have escaped the horrors of Covid community transmission here in NZ, for now. I am grateful; it feels safe, no thanks to the legion of arseholes and micropeen'd edgelords who flocked out here specifically to break Level 4 lockdown. They're all gone now that small-scale travel is permitted; back to their land of never walking anywhere, complaining about environmentalists and public health measures. Another week of political dithering would have seen these turds blow the curve for us all, so don't believe the accounts of New Zealand's utopian exceptionalism. We just got lucky. Lucky especially that there was a sentient woman in charge of making collective/domestic shit happen, but lucky none the less.
We hope you find ways to fend this clusterfuck off if you're less fortunate geographically; stay home if you can, because that shit does work.
The pale ground sloughed from under the girl's soles, pitching her into the hillside. She laboured under a slack, cygnet-hued weight that was almost visible about her head and shoulders; halting their companions, Josephine took the chain from the prisoner's tightly-cuffed hands, assuming her custody while the monastery stood in its eternal remove, neither friend nor conscious obstacle. They toiled on over the shoulder of the supporting spur, forced into a line that played out loosely until she called to it, wary of the split in their formation. Scuffed free by the boots of the advance party, a slip of snow sucked mass and pace from the incline, rushing by to the east of both women and breaking like a wave around the stout trunk of a dead pine. It shook free the white mound that had swamped the surrounding bracken, revealing the slick black rock that formed the edge of the narrow scarp beneath. The girl sprang from her haunches behind Josephine and threw herself at the drop while the chain between them flew after her and snapped tight, ripping her captor onto her back. Josephine caught the links and slid toward the defunct tree, boots slammed into the wood by the weight strung out of sight against the rock face.
It shadowed the fugitive's features as two conscripts leant out over the void, dusting her with snow and hauling on the suspending chain. She made no sound even as her wounded hands were dragged beneath her by their brutal effect of her ascent.
Flat-faced boulders parted from the ruin's footings and mottled with tea-green lichen bordered the curve of intervening ground that stretched before the walls, the steps up to the postern door terminating at its south end, the north littered with the leavings of the axe. Slumping where she was shoved, Susan drew her legs into her stomach and leant against the ledge behind her, its low rampart cutting off any view of the monastery. Splintered waste wood squealed and cracked beneath her, water tapping her shoulder from a trickle dripping off the stone. She lifted her hand to the cold flow while Josephine payed out a telescopic mirror and scanned the face of the ruin.
"I want their positions." she told her while Shaw kicked himself a berth into the ground beside her.
"Susan, we got you. We had you when you set foot in that compound... it's done. If you care, then do them right, and if you don't, just give them up." he told her.
The girl had let her head fall back against the stone but glanced toward him, then at the conscripts aligned beside her. In the face of their concerted expectation she turned away and proffered silence. Shaw seized her arm and dragged her forward, crushing her face into the shallow burn of melt and wet snow that undercut the brittle debris. She gasped a breath; he swore and held her down until Josephine looked down, pulled a humming sensor from her pocket and blew the pine dust from its display, Two reaching for his own version of the instrument and squinting at it.
"Decomp." he called, dismissing the reading and tucking it back into his clothing. Beside him, Four muttered at his chest and struggled with his garments as though something live had fallen into them, pulling back his armoured vest to inspect his belt.
"The fuck? My loc's lit up..." he cried, his suspicion confirmed by the dull red light that flashed at his waist and prompted him to look up at the sky in pavlovian alarm. Shaw checked his own, then stared at Josephine, who did not share the sentiments expressed by her companions, as charged as anything that might have emerged from their weapons. They cursed the activation of their locator beacons hotly, kicking stones and earth down the hillside in a embittered and childlike display of pugnacity. Their self-styled leader stroked a hand over his cropped head, shaking it to himself.
"What did she do?" Susan murmured, wondering at the fusion of inertia and violence surrounding her as she righted herself.
"In two fuckin hours there'll be airborne out here lighting all this up with fifties... the only things dodging shit'll be your fuckin tricks. Crazy fuckin bitch." the conscript beside her grunted, careless of whichever woman claimed offence.
"I don't know why you're still here." she admitted, laying her head down onto her knees. "It's not like they can stop you. She's mad, and he's a gutless numpty. I'd have shot them both and gotten it over with." The words cleaved swiftly to the notions already taking shape inside them. "You could have been over the river by now."
Shaw's execration was superseded by another advisory from the corps.
"I ah... shit, yeah....got decomp again." said Four, rubbing a hand across his mouth and lifting a furrowed expression from the instrument in his grasp. He turned his crouch in the direction indicated by the pulsing dial but did not dare to raise his head over the ledge, lifting it instead to mark the sun, a little past its apex in the wool-grey sky. "Fuck... it can't be rolling, we still got a fuckin tonne of lux..."
Shaw demanded the instrument from him and examined the reading himself.
Their mirrors rose again like the stalk eyes of an insect. The glass found a figure seated midway on the steps. It was so much smaller than Josephine's expectation that her eyes at first dismissed it as some disfeature of the shade, until it lifted a face that had taken a bright icy blue from the sheltering umbra, floating almost in isolation over a coat of engulfing fur. She threw down her mirror and tore a lanyard from inside her shirt, stuffing pendant yellow buds into her ears.
Susan hoisted herself up to the edge of the stone where she caught a glimpse of the figure on the steps. The vampyre seemed like something that might be blinked away, the distant sun dismissing her beauty like a vapour and casting her as ruined as the battered leavings of her feasts. As she was dragged back onto the crumbling ground a voice began to flow across the clearing and roll down onto their heads like a spill of cool, heavy gas. She watched the men stab soft buds deep into their ears and sit knotted up while Petrouchka's voice welled all around them, seeping through the cracks in the rock and soaking through the fibre plugging the passages into their heads. Despite their cold-sweating terror it began to stroke and coax their bones and muscle, twisting them as though between two fists and sucking them, one by one, onto their knees, and then onto their deadened feet. The voice pulsed with all the flushing speed of blood along their neural traceries until its invitation became the only course of action. Indemnified by the scars upon her neck, Susan could hear nothing of its lure and watched Josephine shout futile commands while Shaw's hand clutched her tightly against the sucking draw that he himself resisted only with his hold on her.
One by one, the conscripts heaved themselves up over the ledge like pinnipeds striving onto a shelved beach, boots battling the wet stone, eyes bulging in their hollows. The vampyre awaited them, seated in the heart of her smiling insistence while they pounded across the narrow clearing toward her. She rose to meet them with a handgun; it blew sputtering holes into the foremost's chest and face until he fell against the steps, still reaching for her. The second stumbled over him and threw himself at the same cursory fate, staggering along the wall and rolling slowly while the third swallowed her last rounds and crashed into her, crushing her small frame against the stone and wrapping around her in a sightless rapture. Susan watched Petrouchka climb the tall man swiftly and grasp his head in her little hands, tearing at his red-flushed face and disgorging gouts of blood that doused his inarticulate cries. He staggered backward from the steps and toppled down into the smothered daylight.
She fell with him, and the sun struck her through the cloud. The blackness coiling in the heart of her remaining cells burst in gentian flame that garbed her tightly, leaping skyward from the crown of her head; the man's pale hair caught, his face scorched quickly to a mask of soot and yawning blisters while his clothing melted and she savaged the new shapes of his torn face. They sank together onto his side where she let go, rising while he lay kicking, the fire eating his skin and turning his eyes a blank matte white. Blood boiled over her chin and streamed from her gaze in two dark fingers, the stench from her flickering fur redoubling as she threw it off beside the burning man.
The last of her supplicants crawled on the stone between her and his lost redoubt, faltering in his desperate need to satisfy the summons she could no longer sustain. She sank to her knees in the hissing immolation, its flames breathing flesh and air and parting the snow as it began to drift around the ruin. A black stain spread beneath her palms, hands curling inward as her form grew indistinct and lapsed into the shallow pool beneath her until it was no longer possible to discern what fueled the blaze. It sank from the height of a woman's shoulder to that of an infant's sleeping form, and then to nothing, leaving only a darkness upon the rock like the shadow of a bird between the earth and bright midday.
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
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Asian Elephant Support needs your $ to continue feeding and caring for rescued, exploited and wild elephants throughout Asia now that tourism has plummeted and the programs they funded are under threat. They also undertake advocacy and community training for areas where wild elephants and people are in conflict over space and crops etc. We donate to these guys and hope you will consider it too.
Why elephants? They are charismatic megafauna. Aiding them flows down the line to other species who benefit from the protections they gain. And because they deserve much better treatment than they have received at the hands of people up to this point.
Not only has tourist revenue dried up in many areas where conservation and care programs traditionally rely on this income, almost all animal charities are now facing the loss of fundraising events due to Covid 19 restrictions, so they are suffering a double blow to their resources.
Everyone's income is taking a hit, I know- ours included- but we cannot afford to abandon our fellow beasts in the face of amplified perils. $20 feeds an elephant for a week. $100 provides emergency vet care. It feels great to do something positive.
See their projects DONATE HERE
please give what you can.
Nightwalking, Port Chalmers Pt 3
This pandemic is the socialised cost of exploitative globalisation. I thought about that, wandering around beside the Pacific Ocean under a full moon. Like all shitty concepts, unfettered capitalism needs to hide its stinky, dysfunctional arse, to privatise its profits and kick the cost of everything else off the books in order to look like something that actually works. I hope a lot more people are understanding that, feeling the true shape of it. What we are doing now only works as long as the teetering garbage mountain of karmic and practical consequence doesn't shift and crush us. This disease is just a little bit that broke away and flattened the garage.
I've followed epidemiology for years now, and you might not want to hear this, but Covid 19 is actually a bullet dodged, relatively speaking- wrap your head around those implications. We have a great opportunity to change our heading, but... that's not going to happen, is it? A man threatened to assault us today for questioning his lockdown-busting public fuckery. He had his elderly father in the car with him.
We are so fucked.
If you're groping for epidemiological context and why Covid 19 was not made in a fucking lab (it is a basic bitch zoonosis; they happen every day and don't need help), you could do a lot worse than read The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett (1994, Penguin). Prescient, chilling, awesome.
I'm pretty discouraged about moving from Level 4 lockdown (everyone stays home, nothing's open except supermarkets and essential business, no gatherings or school etc) to Level 3 in a week, here in New Zealand. We have seen so many selfish, clueless breaches of L4 that if the virus had been 5% more virulent or dangerous, half of us would have it by now. There's nowhere near enough random/sentinel testing to draw definitive conclusions about the true extent of community transmission; with estimates of up to 40% asymptomatic cases (worst scenario, but not out of the question) and suggestions of an associated array of organ damage, my morbidity is starting to feel like a big fat fucking comorbidity. As you may have observed in your own country, a lot of people don't give a shit about observing responsible procedures. They do not and cannot be made to understand the dangerous roulette of exposure and exponential transmission, and they will cite the very success of any public health measure as proof there was no epidemic and it was all a false alarm by libtards and the kind of weird science people who made them feel stupid at school.
Fucking A, I'm ranting. I didn't live this long to die at the hands of retards.
Unless you want to haul serious gear around or spend hours fine-tuning your settings, you have to let go of technical quality at night. I'm a primitivist anyway, and prefer images that recall the shortcomings of the human eye in darkness. The greasy murk of Back Beach still holds sway under a supermoon; potholes in the dusty road are always trying to twist your ankles after sunset.
Export logs are usually piled high between these steel stays on the wharf at Port Otago, but the timber boats have cleaned them out for now, leaving an eerily henge-like installation.
I love this image.
The rusting primary hues of industry are a sort of dirty visual candy at night. Strobes, bleeps, colour blocking, percussive impact, robot motion. It looks like christmas, and there's no Mariah Carey or emotional blackmail.
Always consider that you might be standing in the very thing you're looking for. I walked right into this puddle groping for the angle and saw nothing, until R pointed out the reflection from the other side. I love the satiny black ponding and bossy, lurid markings in the darkness.
It's so good, it goes further. This is actually true.
I know I was downplaying technicalities, but fuck I love this picture ^ and am determined to improve the quality so I can get a decent print out of it.
Part Four ensues. Lucky you.