Flooded in Endless Circles

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Uploaded 19 May 2008 — 105 favorites
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© seanie blue
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

I listen to a song by Cat Power about a boxer, called “The Greatest.” The woman singing is named Chan, which was the name of a jaguar in Belize I once loved and mourned his killing by poachers for years, until I stopped dreaming of revenge.

The singer sings:

Once, I wanted to be, the greatest

. . . and I listen, wounded to the bone, adding my own second line:

Once, yes, I wanted to be the greatest,

And now I just want to be me

Because I am stuck on a ride I cannot quit, pursuing hopeless quests, stupid dreams I have carried for too long in my pocket, and my sister waits in Oregon to see me while I am scheming. To her I am already the greatest, never mind my plans, because I keep dreaming.

My sister Nicole translates Spanish for the courts. In a hospital to talk for a man who lost his arm cutting meat or canning beans, she hears about a little girl who is **** and abandoned. Her mother disappeared three days ago. The mother might just be working a field nearby, and will come back, but something makes Nicole walk to the fifth floor to check. At the nurses station, she is told: “Oh, that little girl’s not all there, hasn’t spoken for three days, just sits there and stares.”

What does a child do but wield silence when there is nobody to cry to?

Nicole sees the babe in pigtails, and sits and smiles. And the girl stares, vacant, terrified of another concerned face, but this one suddenly talks in a dialect from Oaxaca, the green hills the child carries in her bones, and Nicole sings a song for little girls from Mexico and three days of hope spills from the body of this silent cherub, ignored because of fright, and in ten minutes Nicole is playing patty-cakes with her, the Mexican version, and they are singing, and Nicole’s neck bristles like a jaguar’s sensing hunters: she turns to see four nurses in the doorway, watching in astonishment. They have been worried more than they will allow, and now two nurses smile and two nurses swallow sobs.

Nicole storms from the hospital, or maybe she sits in its stairwell and has her own crisis, I forget, but she tells me the story later as a professional who cannot quite remember that you are supposed to forget the maims and bleeds of an accident.

My sister’s face is scarred with the lines of this carnival ride. Small circles of pain, but endlessly repeating to become the deep cuts of personality, and she often sees people stuck on the ride, in endlessly repeated moments of lonely fright.

Whether we are the greatest, or stuck in a spin, somebody watches in admiration or worry, stitched in alarm.

Maybe a dream never dies, but the scars on the faces of the people I love testify that sometimes they wound deeply. Maybe this is why I no longer look in mirrors, except at the fair, where my dreams are twisted into harmless fun, jokes to toss up like confetti.

40 responses

  • Geir Danielsen

    Geir Danielsen gave props (19 May 2008):

    good tone and perfect !love this

  • Konrad Ragnarsson

    Konrad Ragnarsson gave props (19 May 2008):

    Excellent tones in this picture,well done as useal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert Sand

    Robert Sand said (19 May 2008):

    My palm upon your forehead.

  • Gary Fudge

    Gary Fudge (Deleted) gave props (19 May 2008):

    I was attracted to this image instantly Seanie. I love your combination of story and imagery which comes as a complete package. Although this is still the case, this image has blown me away. The B&W image with deep contrast and highlights blows me away. I'll have a rasterbated version to go on my wall. This is one of my all time favourites.

  • Christine Casano

    Christine Casano gave props (19 May 2008):

    wonderful photo

  • Anne Mcginn

    Anne Mcginn gave props (19 May 2008):

    Wonderful picture and story. BTW, I too am a Spanish Interpreter for the courts. Small world...

  • Frederic Frognier

    Frederic Frognier (Deleted) gave props (19 May 2008):

    Love the energy!

  • Respect Nature

    Respect Nature gave props (19 May 2008):

    You write like Jimi played guitar - you make it seem effortless, to incredible affect.

  • Chris Whitney

    Chris Whitney said (19 May 2008):

    Seanie-for me, "greatest" is an external measure of accomplishing something. It sounds logical to focus on the end result, the external proof that we have succeeded in life. I think this is the quickest way to repress our inner vision and lose the real value of our dreams. Those inner dreams, and the enjoyment of pursuing them without external reward, keep us alive and are the real measure of success.
    Your sister's story is wonderful. You can sense her inner vision and committement to life just by the way she helped that little girl, while others trained do so did not understand how.
    You have witnessed much, and with that knowledge comes the burden of understanding. Your ability to convey your understanding to others certainly makes you one of the "greatest" in my book. I appreciate your ability to merge words and images and portray places and people I have never met.

  • Long Vy

    Long Vy gave props (19 May 2008):

    beautiful tones...B&W so good.

  • judy fouse

    judy fouse gave props (20 May 2008):

    I like the analogy of the ferris wheel and lives caught in a spin. So many of us are. I, surely have been. The insurance train had me captive, though I derived my small pleasures by helping those who travelled with me. I love your belief and your dreams. Continue to inspire me, please. You make me think I might do more, be more. Thank you.

  • Laura Boston-Thek

    Laura Boston-Thek said (21 May 2008):

    OOOoo Good a new one...I will show restraint and save it for tomorrows morning coffee....always a great way to start the day. Night!

  • Laura Boston-Thek

    Laura Boston-Thek gave props (22 May 2008):

    ...so worth the wait. Now I shall go wander and ponder your prose...am I the "greatest" or just stuck in a spin...I don't know...I just try to be the best Laura I can be. Thank you again for the gift of your images and words.

  • Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid

    Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid (Deleted) gave props (22 May 2008):

    Fanstic movement and tones!

  • Kim Hall

    Kim Hall said (22 May 2008):

    Wonderful photo - beautiful story!

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (23 May 2008):

    Strong, dynamic image seanie.

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever   gave props (23 May 2008):

    another extraordinary image and story.

  • Emma Brahas

    Emma Brahas said (24 May 2008):

    great work!

  • Rachel Mckinnie

    Rachel Mckinnie gave props (25 May 2008):

    I am in complete agreement with Chris, Judy, and most definitely Polly.

  • Laurent Chantegros

    Laurent Chantegros gave props (29 May 2008):

    Love it! excellent shot!

  • Joseph Rotindo

    Joseph Rotindo said (3 Jun 2008):

    a wonderful concoction of smells from popcorn to kids with cotton candy and carnies...
    this photo will always be nostalgic and full of reminiscence, and that is why it is amazing.

  • Jessica Martinez

    Jessica Martinez gave props (4 Jun 2008):

    Wonderful Capture!

  • Jim Robertson

    Jim Robertson said (11 Jun 2008):

    I know these carnival shots are common but I love the foreground in this. The story of course is told as only you can tell it. I'm there brother.

  • patrick conaty

    patrick conaty gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    exhilarating

  • Kevin Duane

    Kevin Duane said (25 Jun 2008):

    The reality is of course that we are all both! Consider that no-one is the greatest at everything and everyone has something that they do better than the rest of us. Thus there are aspects of each of our lives where we revolve endlessly just like there are situations where we can be a hero. What I think so many of us fail to recognize is that there will be injustice in our world until we learn to work together. Because it’s only through working together that we can bring sufficient heroes together to defeat all the world’s demons.
    Beautiful work Seanie!

  • Jit Ray

    Jit Ray said (11 Jul 2008):

    have seen many of these... but ur work has it's own edge.... super super super.

  • Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson gave props (12 Jul 2008):

    The exposure is just slow enough to be perfect for the mood. Nice!!!

  • Kiwi ana

    Kiwi ana (Deleted) gave props (24 Jul 2008):

    Seanie I missed you and came by to catch up on your work. I am forever inspired by your professional and artistic photography and your words woven to match. Thank you

  • James Leocadi

    James Leocadi gave props (23 Aug 2008):

    um.....wow!

  • Melissa Thorburn

    Melissa Thorburn gave props (4 Sep 2008):

    Great motion shot and great camera skills!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (20 Sep 2008):

    Oh yeah! It rocks!

  • _AGJ_

    _AGJ_ gave props (1 Oct 2008):

    wow! perfect! my vote obviously

  • T. Graham

    T. Graham (Deleted) gave props (1 Oct 2008):

    awesome b&w!

  • Mayukh Goswami

    Mayukh Goswami gave props (20 Nov 2008):

    what a terrific composition and capture...great !!!

  • Jerome Crouse

    Jerome Crouse gave props (27 Dec 2008):

    awesome

  • Alan Franz

    Alan Franz gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    And around again... beautiful work.

  • Antje Woolum

    Antje Woolum gave props (4 Dec 2010):

    That is a really cool shot!

  • Chris Jennings

    Chris Jennings gave props (21 Jan 2011):

    Wonderful image, beautifully complemented. I hope you are still making photographs and writing.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (2 Feb 2011):

    Oh YEAH! Rad!

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