Cambodia Bladed (3)

DSC_0010- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

On the precipice of usability. On the edge of the excitement. I bathe in white light through an appreciation for shadow. For an appreciation for heat, there is always the cool. There is always the calm. There is always: an appreciation. An aperitif before destruction. Things build. You keep your eye trained. Get into that calming plaster of light. The way the light shines down and keeps you still. Like statue or tree. Like a battalion in formation. We are in formation. We are on the verge.

DSC_0011- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

There are significant cradles and there are significant plans for expansion. I do cry as I wonder how I may contribute. In what formulation do the sprouts spring? Sprig of lemongrass with my chicken as sharp as knives for stomachs needing sticking. Sprig of ice in my coffee tasting like fuel for a parade of motos. Passersby and I am oblivious. We are meeting. We are channeling. Every image, every sound, every smell becomes the temple. This is all temple. This is all monument. There are no tears here. Just breaths.

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Be I the craziest for being the outsider? When I look through hanging sheets and meandering legs and long hair like brushes devoid of paint, and the caking beams of light create ridges of muscle and trained systems, I leap into a mode. I press buttons of my devices. I sidestep the weariness I keep with me. For I am weary, and I am sorry, and I never communicated the love the right way in these voids of such long movements. You do not know movements until you know the buzz of the motor of a bike that will nearly clip you as your heart rises out of your chest like a beast emerging from its sewer lair.

DSC_0031- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Come at me in maze of humidity, maze of opportunities and openings. Come at me as pest or pedestrian. We are all law here. We are all individual bounties. Sink into the sag of the writer gaze. Walk as follower through the torrent of dust. We are all dust here, we are all onlooker with cracks in our toes and deeper cracks in our toenails. We all want what we want because it’s represented everywhere. The calm of being finished. The identity of those who have labored, and have succeeded in finding their worn palms are worth it.

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What stuff your soul brings to me in the flashing waves of nausea and protest. Or dear city, is that me to you, the invader and the gospel, the gobbler of images, the monster devouring the blood of the chickens, or the brain, as chalky as cream cheese before chop stick. Lovers of refuse, we are united and calm together, pacing, breathing, understanding our own waves of cheer. Each step will bring you forward and in each step you forget the last, but you will never leave out the formal examination of a walk as a whole, and that is the spirit of the market. Visitations.

DSC_0045- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

For we let sit upon coal that which we had come to love but wanted warmth to love more. I take the care to remember the stillness of objects made every day. Carefully prepared, displayed, and sold. How have I been sold, we ask. How have I sold too, we ask. The exchange is a retribution. A reattribution tickling the throat and that which is just beyond, and there are no bodies here except this body, and there is no love and hate here but this love and hate, and we are all waiting for what’s next: an open hand offering the rate, or an open hand offering an excuse.

DSC_0050- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

I know the performance of my own and I shy away, casting quick grim slip of cut of smile and jaunting into darkness, where we are binding, where we are learning how to tighten. The best people of my generation are those who have come before or after my generation. I know the smiles of the performers who will pose before my device. Before my capture. Is this imperialism? Is this a grueling pain in the stomach that won’t let go, like a leech, like a later encounter, like a former encapsulation? Is this imprisonment? My mind beams thoughts like shackles and I touch my shoulders with my ears as though I am defeated.

DSC_0055- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Have never considered the chiming resolve of metal before springing my own hand as though it were jacked into an orificial entrance. Portal of time through sound. The heavy weight of pleasantries. What do I do here, and who do I trust, and how do I learn: questions before the void, questions along the tip of the sharpest object in existence. Trimmings and cuttings. Slicing and shanking. A mesmerizing effort to curate memory. Shaking off the pounding length of discomforts, my legs, and shoving away merchandise like villains on my heels.

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It is not easy, this abstract representation. You don’t understand. I sit here in complete silence trusting that my tipping over of the vat of water will wash away the grime collected over the course of the day. A coarse anticipation of what I hope will bring a luxury of happiness. I sift through nameless plastic bodies, featureless except when the focus is too extreme for denial. I am stripped, conflicted, and punished. I am desiring more than I had before. There is a stillness of a space this hot. We will all melt, but why hasn’t this one melted yet?

DSC_0059- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Fountains of sweat. Fountains of focus. Rumbling within a den of shadows. Hands placed upon money. Fingers placed upon direction. Touring we are locals or not. We are natives. Or not. There is a journey. Or not. Only you will know what is, or is not. And then the answer will not present itself. We have used words like uncertainty. We have felt vague and mysterious. We have understood distance and difference. I am trying to help myself. I am trying to know this place. The pressure an undeniable rapture. Lance to the mouth near the jaw’s delicate line.

DSC_0060- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

And why should we agree to be so forthright? Why should there be some substantial equation or bellowing out? I prefer my discomfort in whimpers and a lock of silence. A performance of displacement, but cornered, trapped, underneath metal sheets and wooden beams, surrounded by faces that will never know how to pronounce “G” or “Gr” or. Tumbleweed. Fixatives. Blasting of heat. The waves of heat. Death of heat. Challenge me. Throw my keys and make me run for them. Make me drop something and freak out. Let me create a list of all the reasons I am about to crumble.

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Strangers that keep on lifting the heaviness out of our eyes. Strangers that walk the paths more than me. That keep me from getting stuck. The worn and the faded. The used up. Extend the mind and feel the illness. Feel fatigue and know exhaust, or exhaustion. We came here on a mission, but what was it for? Where are the limbs I called limbs once and the eyelids I knew as opening and shutting? Such rupture. Such freezing in a place that makes you sick with heat. Fluttering like the insects that land close to us. You see the rats. The roaches. The carrion. You see us here? We’re in shambles too.

DSC_0066- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

There is no guilt, only innocence. There is no victim, only naivety. There are grimaces that leak out of cheeks as though torn through with childhood. The world is not a playground. Oyster. Conception. Frivolity. We sit on plastic. Who is we? We walk forward and glance downward. Who is we? Or are? No sound here but steps and clangs of boxes and pans. Small gifts being bought. Medicine, odds, ends. Loves and hates. There is shadow here. How much for that length? For that sale to be complete? How much, how much? Please, give me the price, don’t just tell me to look.

DSC_0068- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Secrets. I finally remembered. I dragged them in here to join me to find secrets. The hidden gems of our superstitions. The mythical born into the present. The last glances no one would ever take. The last picks. Pictures of decision, of true confidence. I dragged them in here selfishly, and nothing is my fault but own ambitions. Trust in your gut, which is diseased, forcing you to move slow, an elephant, hardly as powerful, and there is no end in sight to the number of threats of stagnation. Or there is a blossoming of beauty, and the secrets come through on your side. Allies. That may be the case. That maybe be what you receive, if you’ve been a good boy.

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But definitions of goodness in the eyes of the monsters. But throughout the long channeling we are blind. But before a fragment we have a sentence and I do look at the roof and I do look at the innards and I do feel like I am inside of myself, echo of a Kingdom of Wonder kicking me in the spine as I stoop to pick up that which I have dropped. No shadow, no crawl. This is not the Kingdom of Wonder, but my own Kingdom, grotesque and eliminating, chewing into my core, coughing up aluminum and plastic, bending circuits through each slow bite.

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Through Cambodian sizzle, we choose to focus on the death rather than the life, don’t we? Kroma wrapped around my neck I wipe the sweat off the nose, off the ears, off the eyes, off the forehead, off the chin, off the neck, off the shoulders, off the temples, off the cheeks, off the lips. We choose death. Choose life. We choose death. I’ve chosen what is closest to me, and perhaps I am mistaken. The Khmer might say both are as valuable, or they might honor a history that looks like fear but is, in turn, respect.

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Your exotica is a consultation, I think, sweeping the room. Nameless fruits and vegetables to me have vast vocabularies to another. I look in gray scale to purge interior desire. I do not want. I do not want to want. I want to sink through the time that has afforded me and click into an arousal that is fleeting, flickering. I prefer this. I prefer the liminal context, an almost clinical attention residing within the fingers. I move. We all do. We are all swirling in this together. We must not stop, even for each other.

DSC_0079- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

The librarian in me would apply tags and create labels, appraise batches and assign organizational methodology. The librarian in me is passed out beneath a blazing sphere so hot it will make your ankles ache and your vertebrae crumble into ashen slumber. Slumping. I look for furniture and I see none. I look for a safe stoop and see none. I sniff for clean air and everything is 100% Phnom Penh. 100% coated. These are the sprawls and this is the coughing and my body open and I want to grab and hug and roll but there is only the cart. My ecstasy flutters in the wind like flag bearing strange symbols and markings and colors.

DSC_0080- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Worn. Yes. Calm and crawl. From facial crevice to finger’s tip there is a love of the trial and error. Splendor and fever. I have held hands like this. I have worn pants like this. I am experienced. They lead me past such strange objects of excess. Knowledge as excess. Where does the waste go? How does it get removed? How does the fat get trimmed? When the jeans you have set out to sell go unsold, what do you do with them? Don the decayed dolls, mannequins of malevolence, with your undefinable product and pray the day is almost at a setting down.

DSC_0081- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Perhaps too tired for strength but in resemblance or at least appearance may muse that it is valuable or insightful or at least can become curious and reticent but about to spill over still as though we’re back at square one but each new vision there’s new squares and triangles and the connectivity regardless one of these polygons is enough to be matched back to the original vision the original action and it has all become as thick as stone at this point. We are all underlings to our process at this point. But there is no we. They have fled and now it is just me and the muse-scape.

DSC_0082- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

And then: strength. But we are not too tired and we continue to focus and we are together again. Only we become I and I becomes me and I am not as tired as I thought. Every day. Every, individual day. This goes on. Tell yourself. Become part of the ambiance and remind thyself that this is the daily for so many breathing hearts, lobing minds, frenzied limbs. Mechanics. Mechanisms. Systems housing millions. And you cannot even grip yourself and your own strength. You are quivering, like a fool. I am quivering, like a fool.

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Don’t blame yourself for getting lost in the abomination of the overhead. You have the sun to thank for your malice. You have the sun to thank for your fear. You have the sun to thank for a muted nihilism that seeps through your pores and soaks your clothes. The every day has precision. I have found it and it is balancing so many variations of beautiful. Minute instrumentation. Flavors of conversation. The romance of existence from top to bottom. Our planet has it all, this all, and more. I have seen it. Stumbling around like white madness I have seen so much care and I have ignored it.

DSC_0086- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

Ignored. That’s what you did. So go back and do it better the second time. So go back and do it better the third time. So god back and do it better the fourth time. The fifth time. The sixth time. How many times must you enter a place to see it correctly? How many times must you breathe in the environment through the funnel of your nose? When will you find the channel you’ve been looking for? When will you remove the graininess and accept the clarity that’s been present all along? I ask all of this, say it all, and I am joined.

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And when joined there is nothing to do but let out the gasp. The breath is a type you’ve never heard or felt before but I know it well, because I do it each time I see myself in front of me. I liken the experience to that of seeing a ghost or a haunt, but that is not the case. This is a simulation, a mimicry, a doubling. This is a coupling and it is damning. But it is my damning of and not yours. And if you find yourself as I find myself, the exhaustion dissipates like a morning haze, and there is only clearance waiting to be found. A clearance as an arch.

DSC_0089- Greg Bem - Toul Tom Pong

It will suck itself inside of you like food or drink. I have felt this. I have seen it. I have become full on it. It will sink inside the pit of you like a seed buried beneath clay. It will not grow, but it will fester, and you will feel its weight through your own wound. I know. I have felt it. I have understood its pain. But it will be bigger than you. And you will come to accept it, and you will find the strength your body has saved. And you will be pushed away from it. As I move, I blink, and that which floods in is gated out. This is the autonomy. No matter what resolution awaits, there is the capacity to expel.

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And like the flickering of ghosts the echoes are gone. I am left with a positioning down additional rows of sellers, different displays of things I will pass as I pass everything. I am left with an ending. I am left with a memory of the scent of grease and oil. The kind of substances used by mechanics. That realm of existence. I am left with the visual memory of women handling a tire. They are sitting and talking, their Khmer slower than the other vendors. This is a passion. This is an art. A lifestyle that is not my lifestyle, but a lifestyle, and is beyond the display. It is beyond every moment of mine and I love it for its separation. I love it enough to not attempt to capture it, or grow disappointed in its distinct absence.

End of (3)

Part 1 and Part 2

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