Why do you make me look like a gargoyle? She asks him as if he had answers.Why do you have to reveal your soul in my camera? He responds as he has before, hoping to find in words what has been lost in place.
She hates most of the photos he takes of her, he having taken so many he can no longer count the photos, the days, the years now having accumulated, tumbling over from their pile. Her eyes, the world full enough of . . . he wishes he has the words that could say what her eyes have meant to him . . . her eyes, a kingdom of photographs for her eyes, falling into her eyes, he has told her he falls into her eyes every time he looks into them, the gaze unfurling, petal by petal, beneath the heavens of her eyes, roses, he remembers, a shower of rose petals from an open sky, he imagines, as he has tried to mean time and again, no gain the method meaning toward madness.
Putting pen to page, a blank unlined page in a leather bound notebook she had bought for him for his birthday . . . the rose he buys for her from the Algerian Berber man selling roses by ones at Bistro Jules, a bottle of Haut Margaux between them on the table with venison filet mignon.Candles all about us, the tables around us, the votives lit, a waitress from Lyon, table to table, broad hips into the backs of chairs, reflections off glasses, off the mirrors behind the banquet, in all directions.
I recall waiting to wait for her, waiting for the one who says she loves me more than anybody could, or so I think, imagining she does, as she says, words themselves never saying, to mean at something, how to say what we want to say never at, ephemerally, everything off our lips, my lips to her cheek across her nose to her lips, open barely lips to lips, or so I will then think I remember us having done, me having said she had said, or so I say I see she thinks I think she must believe.
They flicker, the votives, they do, flames, they waver, yes, I peer through the shadows. I look about and see the dance they dance on the walls, off the walls across the table-tops and the backs of chairs and the shoulders of women, soft I think I should think, imagine touching. Shadows wavering, cross-hatching the corners of Jules. My eyes move about, all about one-hundred and eighty degrees from the banquet. I turn my eyes to her, peering into her eyes, pouring them over her, directly, sight tumbling over sighted, I feel myself swoon, the soul imagines co-existing with mind with body these limbs I see stretched before me to her, toward her, now fingers to tips of fingers, at such times, obliquely, the looks, the recall once having counted the blinks, her eyelids done only the way she can, I think he thinks–who he is, I know, the one I am as I am when I am other than I am . . . how many am I? I have asked, I ask again, I am we is not a stretch.
Other women have no idea how to make up their eyes. Why do I even consider what other women can or cannot do, to do or not to do in face of saying what is to be done, what there is to be or to become, never the twain, these latter two.His eyes open other eyes, my eyes have opened her eyes, my eyes into other eyes across from eyes sitting opposite, her eyes facing my eyes, the dim about them, Jules with Jazz, low light, my AE-1 set at f/1.4, another portrait in chiaroscuro.
I recall Da Vinci’s technique, sfumato. Do you know this, I ask as I imagine he asks, I say, No one can hold what I can, as steadily as I can, the shutter speeds I use slow slow, at 1/15 of a second, you know how slow that is?He looks how he looks at what he sees I see when he watches how I watch what I convince myself I see . . . now her right hand hovering the basket of bread on the table, I say he meaning me, a third-person cropping of the scene, what I do as I did he has done.
Another photo I take, I took, my forefinger and thumb about to pinch a piece of crust, as she had pinched a piece of crust from the bread we like, a photo I have of her hand, black and white, low light, the bread here is fantastic I say, he has said. A piece of crust, her forefinger to thumb, frozen in frame, an album I have at home, black and white, low-light, shutter speed at 1/15th, I’ve said already, everything ready, the aperture set at f/1.4, a fifty millimeter lens, the butter here is fantastic.
She arrives through the door, sight is created by the eye, my mind, another doppelgänger, her legs long, they’re long, I have said, in her cunt how I am another me, beautifully lined legs, in heels and skirts how short, gorgeous legs, yes, she has nice legs, nice does not say it, their line, nothing so difficult to execute as a line–Yes, mi amigo, Pablo.He cannot draw her legs, I say; I cannot, I know I have admitted it makes me appreciate them more. I love them more–there could never be more than this–what am I saying, to say or not to say, how words are off my lips, now on the page the screen, another Wayang to perform. Fingers adroit under her skirt, hooking her panties, I bought them for her birthday, silk, a present for me . . . into her eyes, the world is full of enough sorrow, I have imagined saying, have not said to her that her eyes, the world is full of sorrow.
Sorry not to be able to say what they are, words fail, not always suiting them appropriately. I ready my camera for her unsuspecting. I took I take yet another photo of her legs and feet and the floor at the bar at Jule’s, standing as they do with our aperitifs–I am we, we are they and she is I and I am her . . . living in Bistros, another Friday before sitting on the banquet and yet another bottle of white burgundy, Puligny Montrachet or a Meursault with duck breast or duck confit, the former medium, never well . . . he does not always wish he had words, I say, when he does not have words, I say that I want to say at saying, how it has helped me to have words when words are necessary?
Knowing when and when not to say has helped to have words when . . . no one can with words what I can, he thinks as he takes other photos of her, I know, he knows, she does too in ways she tries to avoid saying or recognizing. Of Jules, of the Jazz band from Marrakesh . . . words just will not do. Of course words and pictures, the right word is worth a thousand pictures, of course you have to know, no photo worth a thousand words–no. One right word, a thousand pictures.
Why then the thousands of pictures I have taken, the boxes and boxes of them in the closet–closeted?