Thursday, 9 October 2008

From an email I have just received:

“Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog.
“Blogs engaged in this behaviour are called spam blogs and can be recognised by their irrelevant, repetitive or nonsensical text."

Oh dear. I read on.

“Spam blogs cause various problems beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own.

“You won't be able to publish posts to your blog until one of our humans reviews it and verifies that it is not a spam blog”

This communiqué has given me some food for thought. As it says – spam blogs can be recognised by their irrelevant, repetitive or nonsensical text. I must await judgement from one of the systems “humans”. My writing is to be assessed but, for better or worse, my writing often employs “irrelevant, repetitive or nonsensical text”. And what, in the end, is any kind of writing but the scraping of others ideas, “using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own?”

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

In Dreams

Once I set my laundry upon a clothes horse to dry next to the radiator in my room. From time to time I caught it with the corner of my eye and I imagined that someone was stood in the room with me, watching me, waiting for me to write something of worth. Since then I often I wake up in the middle of the night with the sense that someone is observing me. It only takes a few seconds for this apparition to vanish into the dark, or to resolve itself into a jumper on the back of the chair, but these few seconds are time enough for me to recognise the non-existent entity. Over the years I have come to be familiar with this vision, to the point now where I don't even have to look up to know that it is there, watching me, ready to dissolve should I lift my head from the pillow. And so, because I no longer need to look up, the entity remains for longer, it has begun to take on a reality - a reality of its own which is paradoxically dependent upon my not looking at it. I believe that it is grateful for my choosing not to stare it into nothingness. I have allowed it to form a rudimentary consciousness of its own. This consciousness is a reversal of the awareness that you or I experience (one in which recognition of the other is enough to formulate self-awareness). I want to talk to this creature, to ask it how it feels, ask what it is like to exist so precariously. Once I did voice a question. I asked for its name. It did not reply of course. I did not expect it to. Vocal chords are made of flesh and blood. I worry sometimes that if it were to answer me then I would be struck with the awful realisation that I am not the human in the equation, merely the phantom of a waking person and that to be noticed would be my undoing. Perhaps this is why I no longer look up at the apparition. Perhaps I avoid eye contact so that I may go on existing.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Those Dancers

I am convinced that it is the song of cicadas that regulate temperature and not the other way around.
I say, those dancers remind me of Buenos Aires, and they say, they’re not dancers, granddad, they’re statues.
But I see them dance.
In the shimmer of siesta I see their angles and elbows move, counter clockwise, and from between them, flanked by an ocho and a quebrada, come the men in grey coats, defined not so much by the colour of their clothes, but by their bodies ignorance of the music, the clumsy shape of their walking as they approach.
The music stops, the dancers break the embrace. Strong hands on my arms. The band is applauded and I know that Teresa is dead.
Windowless rooms, screams, the taste of blood.
Nothing they did to me could hurt as much as the hands upon my arms that day in the Milonga. The realisation that you were gone. My dear sweet Teresa, you knew the risk, but you were not afraid.
Are you okay granddad?
What? Yes. I am fine. It’s the heat. It reminds me of home.

Polaroid Art - Donald Ng

The ALL NEW Samaritan

Three robots were walking down a street one day when they came across a human lying in the gutter, there was blood on its head and it was unconscious.

The first robot said, “I am a StreetClean IV, model 5342. I was designed by the council to keep the neighbourhood free of rubbish. I shall remove this unsightly object.” It moved forward to lift the human.

The second robot stepped in front of it and said, “I am a Law Enforcer, serial number 4636291. I was designed by the government to uphold the law. I shall execute the legislature and remove this vagrant.” It moved forwards to lift the human.

The third robot pushed it aside and said, “I am a Gr8 M8 9-90. I was designed by the private sector to provide satisfaction and relief for humans. I see a human being in need. I shall revive it, care for it and increase its happiness.”

And so saying it bent down and treated the human, debiting its bank account accordingly.