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Quartered • View topic - Just talking.
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 Post subject: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:54 pm
Posts: 7
I hope this is what I think it is.

I need to talk to someone. I don’t need help finding people. They usually find me, backstage or under the stage or on the green room couch, somewhere close to the stage. We have to be quiet. The whole place is designed to carry sound, to hold on to it for as long as it can, so we have to be quiet. We don’t ever talk, and in that moment talking always seems like a ridiculous thing to do anyway. I wonder if anyone ever made a language out of smells. Probably. There, not here.

I’ve never called out words. Not names, not gods, not yes, not curses, and not any combination of the above. Just oh. One vowel. One syllable. Usually silent, because usually there’s a play being performed somewhere nearby. One of our young, itinerant directors decided once that the modern equivalent of “O” in Shakespeare is “dude.” He made his actors go through the whole script replacing every O. “Dude, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” I was on the grid at the time, hanging lights, remembering other occasions when I had been up there, braced against a girder and silently screaming O. “Dude” is a crap translation, gendered assumptions notwithstanding.

Words don’t seem so useless afterwards, hours afterwards, after the words come back to me. I need to talk to someone far away, someone I can’t smell, someone I can’t be distracted by.

I really hope this is the right place.


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:05 pm
Posts: 15
I'm here to talk. Talking is what I do best, actually. I'm still not really sure what's going on, and how it spreads between us. I want to hear your stories and learn what I can from them, and in return I'm willing to discuss and share my own. What have you seen there so far? Where are you? And who are you looking for?


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:31 pm 
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I’m at work. I’m never not at work. My apartment used to be a dressing room. I read the news and check email on the box office computers, after hours. Troupes and solo performers and their entourages and roadies and techies pass through all the time. There’s always someone with a tattoo.

I’m not looking for anyone in particular. Should I be?

I work when I sleep, at the opera house. Thulium House. It’s upstream, and it really is a house. Private boxes, private rooms, many curtains. The audience wears blindfolds. Ushers have to plug up their ears with silk and dribbled wax. We escort the blind audience members. We see the show, but we never hear it.

I’m not sure where else I’ve been. Various places. I just ask where the river is, and find it, and follow it upstream.

Where have you been?


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:39 am
Posts: 5
I'm on a bridge.

The river changes. It can be soup or snakes or old coats, depending. But the bridge never changes. Solid grey stone, cool and rough to the touch.

I can *see* other places from the bridge. That's the most frustrating part. I can see them as if through a layer of cotton batting or a thin sheet on the clothesline. I can see people, the trees on the riverbanks.

But I can't leave the bridge. So I pace it night by night, hoping for some connection.

How do you find someone to connect with? This isn't something I do. This is a crazy fluke. But every night I'm on that eerie-quiet bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:15 am 
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Usher - I've been to a printing press where people fit in as a part of the machine, one at a time, numbered and labeled, for as long as it takes to print the book that is written inside their hearts.

I've been to the shop of a tattoo artist who swears he can ink another map under my skin, one that will always show me the area around me, no matter where I am. I don't know if I believe him. I don't know if I can find my way back to him even if I did believe, and dared let him give it to me. He warned me that his ink burns, and the heat of it never goes away.

I'm not sure how I could afford it, anyway. I may have to find work there to occupy me some of these nights. It's absurd, considering starting a business in your dreams, but I am. Usher, do they pay you for your work at the opera house?

Oh, and I have heard people mention a hospital by the sea where amazing surgeries are performed. I want to find my way there, to speak with the surgeons and.. well, I'll make up my mind on the rest when I hear what they have to say. If I can find my way to them.

CompassRose - Here, you mean? I go out to clubs. I take long walks through the city wearing pants and skirts slit up the sides to show the mark on my thigh. They come to me.

I've been threatened for doing it, had people tell me to hide my mark and keep it secret, quiet, or they'd see to it that I could never connect with anyone again. I've heard of it happening, people being killed for showing off too much and telling too many people, but so rarely, and it's probably just another urban myth.

And anyway, it's worth the risk. So I continue to advertise, and they continue to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:18 pm 
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Dvash– I haven't heard of any hospitals, but I can try walking downstream. It might lead me to the beach, if I can get that far.

CompassRose—I know that bridge! I've never been able to cross it, but I can take adjacent streets, and I can talk to the puppeteer at the entrance. His puppets are mostly wind-up. He'll start them up, and start the show, and he claims he doesn't know how the story is going to play out. It's always about the war, though. Some of the puppets have animal faces and animal limbs.

Okay. To reach the part of the city just west of that bridge, you have to find a girl. I don't know her name. I'm sorry that I don't. She has red hair, not dyed. She designed lights for a dance company based in Chicago, called Dust Returned, but she said she planned to leave the company soon. Maybe she already has. Maybe somebody there knows how to find her. The map surrounds her right arm, near her shoulder. Her arms are thin (wiry, from lifting lights all the time, but still thin) so it reaches all the way around. Its a map of the places next to your bridge. I'm sure of that. I dreamed myself there after a late-night hang & focus. She does quick and businesslike hand work during union-mandated breaks.

As for the trees on the riverbank, check out the tip I just wrote to Dash in the "Connections" forum. I think those trees might be on Stacy's back. Maybe all this stuff is better suited to "Connections." Not what I was looking for (people come to me—I don't need to find them) but maybe something I can provide.


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:22 pm 
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PS - Yes, the Opera House pays for usher work. Just don't touch the earplugs while on the job. Ever.


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:42 pm 
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Posts: 5
Dvash: In the daytime world. And I can picture you stalking the streets in your slit skirt, thanks to your vivid first post! I can't imagine. My mark is easy to hide... but easy enough to show, if I choose to. The bridge stretches up along my spine, up the nape of my neck. Every so often I pile my hair up in a bun and look at it with this crazy arrangement of mirrors. The thought of someone touching my bridge is almost unthinkably intimate...

...I could braid up or French-twist my hair and go out for coffee. See what happens.

Usher: I've seen that puppeteer! I can *almost* get to him, but not quite. I'll have to try to look up the redhead. :) I want to explore the rest of this place...


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:27 pm 
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Posts: 6
Talking, just talking. Please forgive me if I trip over myself. It's just...I've been walking around so long without knowing what's been going on in my head, or on my body. So long? Three weeks. It feels like an eternity. An eternity of questions with no answers, and a hard longing for a place I can't seem to get on my own.

How did you all learn so much? I was desperate, home alone after yet another fruitless search throughout the city, when finally I thought of another web that connects so many. I tried so many searches, so many attempts. City, ink, even contagious tattoos. Then I took another try, and thought, how might I approach it? What would I say if I was talking? I tried again, "the place on my skin", and came here.

You don't understand...but no, you must understand. You more than any others must understand how it is, just having been there enough times, seen just enough maps in ink on flesh to know that there is something going on, but still not sure if you're mad or not. You are here, you are here, you are here, you are proof in an uncertain world that I am not alone, and that you can find your way, a path of order amid chaos, in the city. The city I must go back to. The city I am willing to brave so much for.

Dvash:

Is that the only way? How I envy you, sailing across the city like an Egyptian queen, bearing the flag of the place only you hold the key to. I wish I could do that. I wish I could, but my streets and winding paths are hidden-not by the conventions of what I can display on my body but by my body itself, by its artificial camouflage.

I've always loved ink, you see. Even before the strange design appeared on my forearm, wrapping itself around and licking the scar on my wrist, I had decorated it. Ink of all colors covers me, winding paths and pictures across my body. It is so hard! Anyone who might be looking, out there hungering to travel just as I am will look away, stare though they might. It takes real work, real effort, real time to look at the lines and borders of a portrait on flesh. It's why I have been so few places. I need to find them, others, need to move through them and with them.

I have thought of duplicating the pattern, of having it traced and tattooed somewhere on me where the rest of the skin is clear. But I am afraid-afraid that repeating it might break the magic, whatever it is that allows me even the vistas I have seen. Afraid that it will not look the same, and that others will know. Afraid it will change, my real city within me, but the new tattoo would not.

Has anyone else had this problem? Has anyone else heard of this problem?


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 Post subject: Re: Just talking.
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:05 pm
Posts: 15
Farihah - That's.. oh, god, I never even thought of that. I've never heard of a problem like that. There must be some other way, though. Are there clubs out there? Maybe you could start one. Or post personals ads to craigslist or okcupid - I've tried the latter, but no luck there so far.

Or, well, not be crass, but - where are you? Maybe you could meet up with some of the people on this board.


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