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Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
Ellen Joyce Jun 2013
And Ovid said "she asked for it"
she turned Tereus to lust on sight and caused him to **** her
over and over and over
the only control remaining to speak the truth.
a tongue turned phallus
that was to be cut off, castrated
to silence, make powerless -
Philomela subjugated
beneath the vile grunts of the patriarchal chorus
mumbling grumbling over the rumbling
of a revolution of women rising to dance, to shout, to sing
to bring Philomela from Hades to cascading waters of womanhood
extinguising the flames of the hell that is here.

Here in the he said - she said
in the legal loop holes
in the seems like
in the ridiculous pondering of legitimate ****
as if when Tess, at pitchfork, took off her clothes before Alec
that it could be consider seduction, romance.
The threat of violence - silence.

Here where we remember world cup victories but forget Nanking
hundreds, thousand of women violated and broken for sport
because **** is a weapon of war
because Lord knows bombs and bullet aint enough
Soldiers photographing rapes like snapshots to take home as souvenirs.
- the sadistic ******* who sexually assaulted, mutilated and murdered
daughter, sister, mother, grandmother
and then headed home to the ***** of the matriarch,
to hold their own teenage daughters in the arms that turned screams to silence.

Voices silenced.  
Vocabularly lost.
Women have come to fight silence with art
to speak in a language without words because there are not words
to tell of a hell that ------------------------

But when Toni Morrison told the truth
the truth in all its gorey graphic raw ugliness
the people tried to stick together the pages
to conceal the painful truth,
to build up pyres of life stories and watch them burn
The pen stamped underfoot into silence.

And Pa simply said "shut up and *** used to it"
and those words still echo now across the world
and there was noone to tell
nothing to be said - just the colour purple
and silence.

Silence is being broken
across this world women rise to tell, to share, to voice, to shout, to say, to sing

We've had enough, enough of being treated like dirt,
we've had enough enough of putting up with the hurt,
we've had enough enough of getting trashed from above,
us women have had enough -

we've had enough they say
of this vile hierarchial structure of **** that almost always favours the male
of arseholes like Galloway and Akin putting forth their perverse poisonous perceptions
of one in three women being ***** or beaten
of one in three women having to pick up the pieces and find a way to live
of one in three women feeling the weight of the silence

As the monologues echo in theatre stalls
as ***** taken to the streets both female and male
as men declare themselves feminists and walk the walk
the spirit of Philomela unites with her tongue,
the silence created by the threat of violence is cracked
the us and them mentality that allows us to hurt the other challenged
the once burned books have gone mass market
and we as a human race will no longer be told "to shut up and *** used to it"

We are standing as one
for the sake of the one
the every one in three women
one will billion rise
Inspired by Slutwalk movement and One Billion Rise.
From his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;

But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.

This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said, "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.

All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.

First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
Looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die ill tempests.

Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.

Next, his better half took courage;
SHE would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it came into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.

Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason,
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.

Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little,
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty.'

Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.

Hiawatha, when she asked him,
Took no notice of the question,
Looked as if he hadn't heard it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.

Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.

So in turn the other sisters.

Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.

Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.

Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions -
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.

But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Thus departed Hiawatha.
Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.
Sprung to the road
                   Had coffee in the moonlight

Her, photographing,
                              The strap pulling her hair in an exquisite way
                              On her knees like a tiny elf
                              Illuminated by yellow street candles,

It was a summer night and the wind was gentle.

It was an odd night
                 In the odd same city as always
                             Oddly comfortable.

The coffee left a bitter taste

Yet the car drove us sweet and joyful
                    Through the yellow painted night.
july 5, 2017
1:20 a.m.
First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die in tempests.

Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.

Next, his better half took courage;
She would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still ?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it come into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.
From his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;

But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.

This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said, "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.

All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.

First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
Looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die ill tempests.

Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.

Next, his better half took courage;
SHE would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it came into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.

Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason,
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.

Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little,
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty.'

Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.

Hiawatha, when she asked him,
Took no notice of the question,
Looked as if he hadn't heard it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.

Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.

So in turn the other sisters.

Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.

Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.

Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions -
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.

But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Thus departed Hiawatha.
FROM his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;
But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.

This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.

All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.
But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty-'


Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up Sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.

Hiawatha, when she asked him
Took no notice of the question
Looked as if he hadn't heared it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.

Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.

So in turn the other sisters.
Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.

Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it,
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.

Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions--
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.
Kate-Lynn Walsh May 2012
The land is green,
And the water, blue.
Let us remove the solves,
Beneath sheltered feet.
Trekking through these colors,
Bare-foot.
Lapping waves wash out,
Con-caved imprints of adventure
From feet grazing the sand.

Photographs spark,
An array of mental depictions
With first hand sights.
Flashing activity, inside the mind,
Multiple memories,
Recollected in due time.
Words do not describe,
What a photograph provides
But a photograph does not suffice,
The memories which last a lifetime.
Gary L Misch May 2014
April is their month.
They've sat,
Patient,
Throughout the winter,
Those sturdy oval buds,
Sometimes cased in ice,
They don't seem
To mind.
Are they awaiting,
Tax time?
These jewels
Keep company with
Their pretty pink
Cousins,
The Redbud.
Why does the dogwood
Ask
For our attention
So?
Perhaps because it
Blooms so early,
When
There is so little else
To see.
Perhaps it is the legend that,
From the poor dogwood,
Came the wood,
From which was fashioned,
The true cross.
More likely it's just,
The timeless beauty,
Born-in beauty,
From long ago,
Needing no
Adornment,
And not a bit
Of pruning.
Touch it with a knife,
You'll invite disease.
Let it grow ***** nilly,
It will give you,
Perfect beauty,
On its own.

Wild,
It sits beneath
The forest cover,
Like a craggy,
Wasted twig,
Dwarfed,
By its bigger cousins.
And then,
Before any others,
That slim and subtle
Beauty
First appears,
As an
Exquisite miniature,
Creamy yellow flowers,
That open,
To bleach themselves white,
And show the
Blood red crosses
At their center.

They are
Gems,
That change,
Day by day,
So leave your camera
Home.
You cannot catch
Their beauty.
Instead,
Imprint the view
Upon your mind.
They'll be back
Next year,
More beautiful
Than ever.
Marquis Hardy Feb 2015
In an old...
wallet
box
attic
was an old faded photograph of a photographer.
Meant to be...
left alone
put to rest
forgotten
it was since then brought back by nostalgia and the impossible life that was now to be lived without you.
You liked to be...
behind
smiling through
holding the camera
as you were the photographer but not this time, as you were the photographed...
In front of
smiling at
holding a pose
while I became the photographer, photographing you, the freshly captured photographer in the faded photograph.
In an old...
dream
heart
memory
you never faded but remained the still whole of a perfect silhouette.
The perfect photographer preserved in the perfectly faded photograph for...
love
life
forever.
I spent part of today listening to the album My favourite faded fantasy by Damien Rice and it made me think of the idea to write this piece
jonchius Sep 2015
resuming vogon poetry
altering website logos
pretending everyone cares
playing "east hastings"
asphyxiating well-nigh denouement
depicting twitter status
obfuscating coincident deletions

translating from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh
assuring Sḵwx̱wú7mesh exists
painting skwiḵw's mother?
decrying micropolitical maelstrom
imbibing fireball fountain
inundating lexical foofaraw

crafting poetic wonders
desiring other mediums
remaining practically invisible
ending internet-only depression

drafting noetic blunders
requesting astute clique
blazing perilous trail
aging ominous grisaille

depicting kmart realism
seeking darker groups
increasing pre-weekend laughter
appropriating communist symbols

making lone chuckle
offending worldwide communists
colonizing hello poetry
colonizing parallel universe

relaxing e-migration policies
пить чистую водку
photographing abduction scene
¿losing consistent format?

increasing bluebird insignia
avoiding frivolous legalities
striking astraphobic comments
assuming near-universal automation

lowering latent inhibition
traversing oneiric plane
laxwadding afebrile loodies
wallscaping pitchsourced chthonicities
closing one-star conveniences
sharing alien-looking alphabet
writing system downtimes
first week of September 2015
Lauren Yates Aug 2012
For the days when your ego slaps itself as if it’s playing hambone,
remember: there’s a name for the smell of rain on pavement.

And every photograph is like Stockholm Syndrome,
where subjects fall in love with their captors.
You are no victim. That’s why I still don’t know whether you’re photogenic.
All I ask is that you keep photographing my self-portraits,
so that I may love you through the way I view myself.

Because my ego is more like that potato clock from the science fair:
surprisingly electric, yet full of holes. My skin is pierced with nails,
but I am no Christ. It’s just my job to keep time.

That’s why first place goes to the skateboarding rat.
The judges don’t like me because I don’t believe in gimmicks.
But when you look at me--alligator clips and all--
your eyes become blue ribbons, letting me know
that I have won and you intend to claim your prize.

“Let’s take a photo,” I say.
You say no, that taking pictures will make us like everyone else.
I ask why it matters if we know we’re not.
You look down at the newspaper. In my mind, I say your name.
And when you look up from the politics section,
I snap a photo for good measure.

This plan seems completely doable until I realize
I’ve never called you by your name.
You call me by mine, and attach it to sayings like
“No one will ever bring half a smile to my face like you do”
or “Hi” or  “How are you?” or “I love you.”

Is this because there’s only me or because
there’ve been others besides me?

If I were to succeed in capturing you,
I imagine you’d have red eyes in the photo.
Red ribbons to let me know I’ll never top second place,
that there are other girls you’ve been inside of,
but you are my only. No contest.

And yet you ask if I’ve awarded any other blue ribbons.
You don’t believe me when I say, “No.”

I know you asked as a way to boost your ego,
but for the days when your ego slaps itself as if it’s playing hambone,
remember: there’s a name for the smell of rain on pavement,

and that your wish to feel special should never be at my expense.
judy smith Sep 2015
Photographers are up in arms this week over an online battle between a DJ and a wedding photographer. At the center of the controversy is the question of whether or not a DJ should be able to shoot and share wedding photos when the photographer has an exclusivity agreement with the bride and groom.

Photographer Carly Fuller and DJ Ken Rochon of Absolute Entertainment were both hired to offer their services at a wedding this past weekend. Fuller says that it was during the pre-ceremony that she noticed Rochon holding professional camera equipment.


“I love cross promotion but unfortunately no other professional company may take photographs during the event,” she tells PetaPixel. She says she offered to send her photos to Rochon after the wedding, but the DJ replied that he was taking his own photos for marketing and social media purposes.

Fuller says she was surprised at 9am the next morning to see Rochon’s photos posted in a Facebook album on the page for Rochon’s other business, The Umbrella Syndicate. The photographer then contacted the DJ to ask him to take the gallery down, since she was hired to be the sole professional photographer at the wedding.

Here’s the exclusivity clause that was in the contract signed by the bride and groom.

This agreement contains the entire understanding between Carly Fuller Photography and the CLIENT. It supersedes all prior and simultaneous agreements between the parties. It is understood Carly Fuller Photography is the exclusive official photographer retained to perform the photographic services requested on this Contract.

Rochon says he was indeed photographing at the wedding, but believes that this whole thing was a “huge misunderstanding.”

“Either the bride and groom didn’t know of the clause, or they knew and didn’t tell me,” he tells PetaPixel. “The client was the bride and groom, and the bride and groom never told me I couldn’t bring a camera. The photographer wasn’t my client, and I didn’t have a contract with the photographer. I do have the right to take pictures.”

“When she delivers the photos she shot, she’s still delivering what she was hired to deliver,” he adds.

Rochon says he shared 232 photos he captured from his DJ station as a gift to the bride and broom with the couple’s full knowledge.

After word of this dispute got out into photography circles, photographers began to come to Fuller’s defense, leaving angry comments on Rochon’s album and Facebook page.

As this controversy grew over social media, Fuller named it #weddingphotogate. Rochon launched his own campaign called “Freedom to Capture Love.” Here’s an open letter he published to Facebook yesterday:

Fuller denies that she has levied fines against the bride and groom, who are currently on their honeymoon, and accuses Rochon of slandering her company and business practices.

Fuller accuses Rochon of interfering with the “organic experience” of the couple’s day and confusing guests about who the photographer was by posing people and taking detail photos during the wedding (Rochon says he was almost always shooting from his position at his DJ booth).

“I have images of them holding the camera and photobombing my ceremony photos,” Fuller says, “minutes after I had asked them to put their camera away and I would send them images.”

“Wedding vendors are hired because of their experience, talent, and vision,” Fuller tells PetaPixel. “Each of us has a right to do our job and deliver the quality our clients expect. We have a right to be able to perform our duties without another professional interfering with the process. Another vendor’s marketing needs do not supersede those rights.”

Rochon argues that he has the right to shoot photos during weddings as well.

“Why is it only the photographer that can market the event? Pretty much the only way you can market on social media these days is photography,” he tells PetaPixel “Everyone has cameras at events these days. I have every right to capture that love.”

Fuller’s position is that other professional wedding vendors should respect the wedding photographer’s exclusivity agreement and stay away from shooting and sharing photos themselves. Rochon, on the other hand, believes that photography is a basic right that even other vendors should be able to use to serve clients and market services.

“I wasn’t trying to give photos to discount the work of the photographer. I was simply marketing my company and giving my vantage point as a gift to the couple,” Rochon says.

Fuller responds: “Going forward, I hope all vendors can embrace the idea that we all should just do what we were hired to do, and BRING IT! But only bring what makes our own profession rock, and what makes our service and product the best they can be. Let’s agree to stay out of each other’s jobs – we each were hired for a reason. Let each other shine.”

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
JL Jan 2013
I was young foolish and just out of the cookie cutter medical school at the community college.
I work in the mortuary much better than watching the old women who die from cancer
I've spent hours pumping radiation into their frail bodies
"Fighting Cancer"
I watched some die with terrible gasps of blood in the emergency rooms during a long internship
A sheet thrown over
As if we are already trying to forget it happened
Death seemed to touch everything in my life
Regrettably, it has yet to touch my life itself
I am exhausted with the process of death
But... I was both discomposed and
...aroused by its product
The dead were just that
Silent cold white
And we covered their private areas with a white cloth
If not under examination
She was not dead though
The mortician
Warm with long black hair
But almost just as white
She leans over a cadaver before me
Her voice echoing in the sterile
Rubber scented universe of the examination rooms
Her voice settling into the running tape recorder on the table
I check off endless boxes on the clipboard I hold
Only half paying attention
Her scent lulls me
I swear I smell her hair
As if I were at the nape of her neck
Seeping through the pungent and intoxicating scent of formalin
A spark of life in the void
She seems to realize all at once
The gravity of my gazes
She chides
Please Stay Focused
Countless hours we work together beneath the bright examination lights
Sometimes working late into the night
If a terrible car accident were to happen on the interstate

Once
On a dark night on just such an occasion
She enters the examination room in a rush
Approaching a corpse I had already cleaned and undressed on the table
A male somewhere in his early twenties with an unnatural ark in a few of his ribs. I was looking forward to photographing the anomaly for my


Most secret collection

She holds a 20 gauge syringe prepare with an odd violet colored solution
She injects it into a dark black vein in the hand

I remain silent
She stares at the injection sight intently
Bead of crystal sweat falling down her forehead
"We are never to speak of what we may see her tonight."

Her hair pulled into a tight bun
A serious gaze in her dark eyes constrict me
Somewhere far in the dark basement in the back of my mind
A flare of something strange to my soul
fear
I am flooded with adrenaline and she seems satisfied with the dilation
of my pupils and a smile stretched across my face

The corpse
The skin begins to brighten
Oxygenated blood running through starving veins
Then
A sigh
A breath
My hand pressed to the neck
An arterial pulse
Weak beneath warm flesh
The thing breaths its breaths ragged at first
Then faster
She holds a cold stethoscope above the heart
Each beat of it seems to reverberate in her eyes
She stares at me
Both terror and elation on her face
She looked terrifying and beautiful
Her face seemed chiseled of marble
A shadow falling perfectly on her face
Beneath the fluorescent glow
It sits up at a back breaking speed
Its eyes shooting wide open revealing
A massive black pupil in a sea of jaundiced yellow eyes
It's mouth opens wide
And a deafening scream tears through his throat
Reverberating through the two of us for eternity
And echoing among the dull fluorescent halls of the mortuary only for a moment
It's final word
*fate
Marquis Hardy Apr 2015
In My Sole
It was just a normal day that we happened to be together. Your hand in mine-us side by side, and then you broke away. You broke away to stare at something from far away so it wouldn't be self conscious of you peering into its soul. You stood there looking so intently at something I couldn't see. I couldn't see what you perceived for I couldn't believe that there was something you saw that I couldn't conceive. So I stopped...I smiled and I took a picture. I took this picture of you staring in the distance with this half acquired smile... a moment in time that I would be sure to keep with me forever. The moment penetrated my soul ever so deeply that I decided to keep the picture somewhere it could affect even the ground I walk on. I keep the picture in my sole... In the sole of my shoe so no matter where I go I'm walking with you.




Faded Photograph of a Photographer
In an old...
wallet
box
attic
was an old faded photograph of a photographer.
Meant to be...
left alone
put to rest
forgotten
it was since then brought back by nostalgia and the impossible life that was now to be lived without you.
You liked to be...
behind
smiling through
holding the camera
as you were the photographer but not this time, as you were the photographed...
In front of
smiling at
holding a pose
while I became the photographer, photographing you, the freshly captured photographer in the faded photograph.
In an old...
dream
heart
memory
you never faded but remained the still whole of a perfect silhouette.
The perfect photographer preserved in the perfectly faded photograph for...
love
life
forever.




The Imprint
I just stood there watching from feet away floating in a time that was once my own, and watching a moment form before me that I burned into my memory. I watched a much younger version of myself sitting with you in all of your perfect imperfections. I wanted to talk to you again, to hear your voice be directed toward me for one last time, but I knew that was something that I could not do for I had already had my moment. If I intervened everything could change, and I would be stealing away precious time from a younger me that would never be ready for anything shorter than forever with you. Instead, I kept my safe distance and watched as the two of you got up from our bench that we spent hours on talking or just sitting in silence. The look on his face-the look on my face was a priceless glance as the two of you walked with interlocked hands in a silence as perfect as a symphony. You then seemed to notice something out of the corner of your eye as you began to glance toward my direction. I drew back at first before remembering that I was not something that could be seen by you, but merely a ghost in time. You broke away from his hand and you continued toward where I floated, and you just stared right at me as if you could see me-as if you could feel me. With your half acquired smile I finally felt like I was home again, and I watched the younger version of me capture a perfect picture of you. With that I was once again in our old attic, holding that old photo, that was taken that old day, imprinting a forever timeless love. A love that would live on in my soul for...
love
life
forever.
My friends, I would like to present to you, 'The Imprint Collection'. This is a work that has been in progress since 2013. The first piece, 'In My Sole' was written with no ideas of ever having anything else follow it. The following piece, 'Faded Photograph of a Photographer' came along in 2015 and was meant to be somewhat of a sequel to 'In My Sole'. 'The Imprint' is the last bit to make it all go in a full circle and was finished at the beginning of April 2015. 'In My Sole' was inspired by a girl that has also inspired a majority of my work that has trended on my page and to her I extend a thank you and the dedication of this collection. I hope you take the time to enjoy this work as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Thank you,


Marquis A. Hardy
Amara Jan 2013
Keep in mind that I'm attempting to keep this simple
Today I realized that I'm quite bitter
I also realized that I'm a terrible quitter
But I also decided that when I'm feeling down
I'll make a compilation to get me off the ground
Of things I love, because I know there are many
I apologize if you don't feel like reading plenty
I shouldn't postpone this any longer
I need to make myself realize that I'm stronger

So, things I love.
I love hot long showers
I love photographing flowers
I love a hot steaming cup of tea
I love walking only 6 blocks to go to the library
I love the feeling of a cold pillow on my face
I love plugging in head phones & disappearing without a trace
I love it when a person plays with my hair
I love Chicago, did you know I'm moving there?
I love paper cranes
I love filling up picture frames
I love the smell of old books
I love walking around town, alone, finding hidden nooks
I love deja vu, which I'm actually having this instant
I love writing poetry, hearing your guys' opinions, even if they are ever so distant
I love the long drag of a skinny cigarette
I love standing by the back door after a sunset
I love marbles, elephants, old dusty cameras, & boba fett
I love finding lovely people that I've never met
I love going to sleep at a decent time, which feels like never at all
I love putting up quotes that make my heart flutter on my wall
I love reading books that make me feel changed after I'm done
I love cooking for everyone
I love doing things by myself, no matter how hard
I love the fact that I'll never own a credit card
I love that it makes me happy when I get compliments
I love, also, that if I'm insulted, I couldn't give a ****
I love the emphasis on curse words that comes with them
I love tasting words in your mouth again and again
I love websites that feel like the are created for me
I love whenever I can remember my dreams
I love meeting a handsome strangers glance
I love that even though I meet it, that I will never have a chance
I love taking breaks
I love when people don't know I know they are fakes
I love experiences
I love watching as someone dances

I love all of these things, and so many more
I'm sorry if you didn't want to read all the things I adore
This piece isn't meant to be elaborately written or read
It's only purpose is to flow & to solve some problems in my head
Maybe I sort of want to make the reader feel better too
Realize that the things that you love are full of value
Maybe I suggest you write some of the things you love
Before you push away everything good with a violent shove
I really hope that I helped you as much as a I helped me
Read these & appreciate the simple things, I hope you'll see

I think I'll do more of these in the future.
This was very beneficial. I feel so much better now. Writing is such a wonderful therapeutic tool & sometimes it is just so hard to focus on anything but the negative.
I’m a running kind of guy
Hopping through Bombay smoke with an open palm grasping
every cloud with my fingertips gripping
Nothing but air a
Fine man photographing
Tequila sunrises to send to his beloved waiting
Endlessly by the shore and he just
Can’t see why her phone is dropping drenched
Like his throat
(he only drinks when he wants to)
When the right time strikes never
Checks the time unless the hands hold wine and
Light his cigarette
A normal ****
Bumming rides and piling nickels thinking
The essence is different if
Spelled in french a
Running freight train aiming
For the hill for
Mullholland where
No one knows his name he’s
Alive kicking and
Screaming raging
Through the night and
Crying in the morning when
He lies sweaty and
Watches the sun rise says
**** *** to his shadow
And turns around
Just an *******
Enjoying his ****** life
mEb Jun 2010
In a quasimodo feat of not only myself but my inner sanctums. I’m in a shelter. A secluded shelter far from mankind. The bells rich **** spreads across a cold Philidelphia. I hide from the tourniquets of our kingdom. Hordes of documented secrets filibustering the excutivies of a blood famished nation. Where could a turning point conspire? Not here. Not there. No where vast of what only we know. How many times have you performed German heischen styles upon what has happened? Dialect informative, all lauguages and ethinicities could tell you. Corruption. Progestational hormones of all man and woman get the gist of secrecy, but why inquire it onworth still. Atomic bombs whiping out ten times the population of our fragile pathetic planet.

An ice rendered telescope at zero gravity with the script filled micro chips of new findings amongst our universe. This was an immediate spawn of hope towards who we are. At least for the sake of another life form, they would configure an easier derogatory and denigrating outlook of a human lifestyle. Maybe they could relate, maybe they would have emmerged in trade as our ancestors of the past 1,000 years and before had. With us, it would have been magnificent for the future to come. This era though, the only significance we know collides with a destruction of a super-catastrophic function that has been reformed thus grouwan. Grouwan, the origin of grow, growing or to increase in size, building up just as the magmata composes its liquid matter within the Earth’s crust into lava. Igneous rocks now form. Reaching the Alps. Frozen, a complete opposite of what they were once spawned from.

Still intact, an ice rendered telescope photographing galaxies not seen by a naked eye. They called it, “The Orbiting Gaurdian”, while we remained demonic and caught in ignorant reality conflicts. In small groups spread across the lands, combined as one, we are still undeniably small. I built this shelter with my own two hands knowing what would come, I wanted to overcome. Philidelpia was still so cold, very odd, quite eerie for a patriot New England city. Rot, Weib, und Blau. Rodt, Hvitt, og blatt. Shiro aka to ao. From Germany, to Norway, to the super advanced technologic Japan, they all recognize red, white, and blue. Maybe we are a leading nation, but who honestly gives a ****. All nation’s combined, worlds away, a lone planet of democracy. Darkness. The abcense of light above me, directly. No two-dimensional representation of an outline of any body form. No cutout or configurational drawing with a sun glimmering backrounded setting. We are inkligs with no hint of suggestion in the sea of blackness above. If you could have gone so far back in time though, you would have found a blackned quality on the most transparent and pellucid of days.

I race through my brain waves wondering if this concealment was completely ignorant. Was it full of extreme folly? Asininity? Ineptitude? I pondered the synonyms of stupidity. I was ravished to wonder if my last thoughts would be a mind race of the lacking self-esteem I hold. Sudden deaf struck. I no longer heard shrills of humanity above. I was deprived of my sense of hearing. Intimidated to look upward, I could not manage being deprived of sight as well.

What were those dangling seconds that I could not hear?

Were they little fragments of time that I could not notice near?

They stabbed at the back of my skull to leave this sheltered hole.

I find humor in how my poetry is merely past time entries that mean nothing. They once had been published, but now at the least, they did not mean a thing. I wish them to burn long and hard, fighting. Hardback covers and dusty library shelves vanishing in this dark mess of a world.

Pain, sharp municiple pain casted into my skin. Into my lungs, my contaminated, sickened lungs that had ciggarettes by the thousands over the years. I had started as a child. A stubborn twelve year old child wanting to experience any drug my hands could get a hold of. I did too, I don’t regret it, and I dont feel remorse from my actions and those many high nights when I could not walk or stand. I felt weary, weak, helpless and finished. My eyes, my mind, my pulse, my body, my so called soul, asleep or dead?
C B Heath Apr 2014
The dog who watched us take off our shoes
on the steps before the laying Buddha,
this is for you. You were at ease,
not guarding, panting from the heat, warming
your belly on Bangkok’s stones.
Our shoes in a bag, passports strapped to us,
photographing the twenty foot high
resemblance of the man who asked not to
be praised - cast in mother-of-pearl the
man who shook off possessions - I
suppose to a dog looking up,
gods and humans are the same, barefoot idols
shuffling through a hotbox corridor
looking up at another barefoot
human with an immobile face,
downy eyes and nearly a tear.

Later you found shade beneath an
archway at the end of a long
line of Buddhas, almost identical,
decreasing in age towards you.
Some ideas are so respected
they need repeating in the same
manner every year, the same sculpture
carved beside the last, an echo,
a silent chant, and you lay there
at the end, the chant becomes your
visible panting. For a moment
you look into my eyes because
you recognised my feet, because
you know you take the place of the
next structure, you know that busy
hands will build upon where you sit,
that where you go, humans follow,
as they do with gods, with shadows.
Mikaila Nov 2013
The night I met her,
She gave me a necklace.
It's silver. A pentagram. A simple little charm.
Two years later, I wear it still.
That necklace became the symbol of her.
People ask me if it's a religious thing,
And I answer no
But wonder privately if it almost is.
I hold it when I am sad, or afraid, or in need of guidance.
I've taken to...
It's silly, really,
I've taken to photographing it wherever I go-
A little silver chain on a park bench in the sun
Or the velvet cushion of a broadway show seat-
A sort of diary of my life, the places I've been,
In relation to her.
The places I've been
And still thought of her.
That necklace has rested on New York coffee counters,
Hung upon branches,
Floated in sandy shallows and caught the light.
I have held it tight during important auditions,
Felt its cold weight upon my chest during funerals,
Rubbed it between my fingers for luck on wide stages,
And pressed its mark into my wrist on lonely silent nights
(To be sure her impression was still indented in my skin.)
I have quietly kept her with me
Through every important moment of my life
And every unimportant one
As well.
People ask, still, sometimes,
Why do I wear that necklace every single day?
I tell them somebody I love gave it to me,
But that simple little explanation seems to fall so pathetically short.
I wear it because even though I hardly see her face anymore
I want to feel her fingers the way I did the night she hung it around my neck,
I wear it because its thump against my chest as I walk
Is a rhythmic reminder never to let her slip from my thoughts
No matter how far I may wander,
I wear it because there is a space in my heart
Just beneath it, under my skin,
That is that perfect, precise shape- a pentagram cutout-
And when I take it off
The hole echoes emptiness
Like the bell tower of a cathedral.
(Circuit Breaker)

You read somewhere that the rich get richer and richer
and sit on the yachts with staff in the kitchen
you apply for the staff and surprised by your inbox
you made the cut as a waiter to clean for the richest.

Buy the gear, take a ride, kick back on the boat
where you’re treated like a spy with a knife at their throat
the world keeps spinning as sparks fly down wires
but you're sick of this prison, where you lie ’til you’re tired.

Bottle up and float out to ocean, the back of your mind
is still hopelessly broken, one day you snap the wrong way
while this tax dodging sociopath sits laughing and lolling
the sun hides before him, you take the tethering rope;

snapped, ill, broken and bitten you rise to the bait
and run down to the kitchen, the chef chops away
you slip in behind him, chop chop away he doesn’t
bat a lid to you routing through the draws throwing

most to the walls, you find what you need and run
to the top deck, a suit tells you to step back
but you give them the slip, knee to the stomach
they flop on the deck, groaning and hunched

they step back up, a crack of the wrist, an almighty punch
over the railings they curse, yell, and cry for the boat
but the captain is networking about his lunch
you pull out the cheese wire and stroll to the pool.

The toff is surrounded, near empty yuppies
photographing themselves perpetuating the fourth
section of sinning ‘though shall not fool yourself
that mankind is winning' with the wealth squandered

here we could afford houses for the women and children
of the war your involved in, to fund the oil sales of the one
in a billion, so they can provide you with a classier
place to abstain from the real life and ****** up system.

Run over and clear the robots of richness, tell them all
'go ahead, keep taking your pictures’ while you strap the wire
around the neck of the fattest cat in business,
they all cry in horror as your grip tightens the purple

-faced smart-mouth shouts out for help but calls his helpers
a 'bunch of ill mannered sirens’ as they step back afraid
a single one daren’t come to his aid as that glint
in your eye shows the will to die to **** the tyrant

who’s gasoline fights killed your mum and your dad
and threaten your kids, you thank god that it’s over
though the system's corrupt, this wars been reinstated
reissued so that those above, know the people

aren’t fooled by their false promised lobbying.
Your death row grin comes back at dinner
as a copycat killing claims the next victim
you were the gush that unclogged the piping.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible
will make violent revolution inevitable.'

John F. Kennedy

— The End —