Sunday, June 14, 2009

Guardians, Memories, and New Beginnings


They borrowed our dreams
Our guardians
Before we'd had time to dream them for ourselves
Those for which our forefathers toiled and died
Those for which we were destined
Our true inheritance
Our brightest thoughts filtered through the ages
The diluted essence of our universal aspirations
They dreamed-up more convenient dreams for us
Our guardians
Ones in which we sit in little boxes with headsets
Talking shit
While line managers count down the minutes we take to piss
Logged-in to machines that record the minutes of our lives
Snacking against the clock
Reconstituted meat
Wrapped in processed bread
Bleeding sugar and other
Multicoloured additives
From cardboard luncheon boxes
Our eyes glued to screens
Our bodies hostage to debts they invent
Our minds junked, lest we recall what we were meant to be.

-- Mathieu Cambier

The poem speaks to what Cambier calls "the idea of thinking beings with proud cultural histories reduced to being automotons." His concern is that "the path forged for us by our cultural ancestors has been usurped/corrupted by post-post-modern society with its empty commercialism, empty messaging," etc. and feels that culture and spirit are closely bound, "so that if you damage culture, you inevitably damage the spirit."[correspondence].

His paintings are "a story of sorts, only you have to piece the narrative." He highlights the contemporary with "an increasingly distant past... until eventually there is no more present, only a chronology of pasts, a filament of memories, a piece of string sinking measuredly into the depths... a painted album of half-collected memories."[1]

Memories ... of faces, and places... of conversations; recorded hopes and dreams, realized or quashed, or yet to be fulfilled ...

I was particularly drawn to this one: The Wedding Dance. Enmeshed in a circle of love, of blended hopes and unmitigated joy, they twirl into the future, dizzy with anticipation.

I was drawn to it because ... the image was so familiar--I've BEEN in that moment, deafened by the music and one's own heartbeat, dancing to some internal rhythm, everything else a blur, peripheral--"outside"--wishing it could go on forever. In a sense it does ... it reappears, again and again, to re-live, at will, merely by remembering. (Thanks, Mathieu.)

~ ~ ~ ~

Mathieu Cambier has two novels forthcoming with Raider Publishing in the U.K., under the pseudonym Mathew Carter: Twelve Chesterfield, and A Perfect Day.

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