Monochrome Series: Friends In High Places

I have friends in high places

Like the bear in the photo 

Climber he is of dense trunks and riotous branches

Trees are blotters of the sky

In Darkest Peru

He pads by night quietly over leaf litter

Seeking odd jars of marmalade

And sometimes his sensitive snout draws him to other places

Like England, Pret Cafe, our table

The acne-faced teenagers in the puffer jackets roll their eyes,

And they snigger, whisper

But he rolls his sleeves up nevertheless

And climbs and climbs and climbs some more

My bear doesn’t care

He knows that he is rising towards us

Like dawn and waves and the beginning of time

Did I tell you that I had friends in high places? 

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | UK 2018

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Monochrome Series: Rowdy Friends (incl. Paddington Bear)

Inspired by a recent exploration of the black-and-white photographic archives of George Lucas and Rian Johnson on the making of their respective Star Wars films, I took the plunge and began my own first ever serious experimentation with this distinct mode of seeing and cataloging the world. So accustomed to colour have I always been, as if it were the sole essence and definer of perception I was, to confess, a tad prickled by the prospect of omitting it completely from the frame. If light was the mother of optics then surely colour was the crowning blossom, that which the eye was designed to seek out and luxuriate in its infinite varieties.

I was wrong.

In my maiden foray into a world extracted of colour I learnt that far from this preconceived notion that I was about to eviscerate the very lifeblood from visual phenomena, I was instead met by a gasp of discovery. I had arrived in a world that spoke through contrast and lines and textures, where the self-administered hibernation of the visible spectrum of colour awoke in its place a new kind of interpretative fluency in the deeper dialects of nostalgia and reflection.

There are no rainbows in black-and-white because there is too much of its arc and wire, the raw and resolving and celebratory poetics of a creative Universe.

Words & Pictures: © Mazzy Khatun | UK  2018    

 

 

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To Mr Porter, The One Who Crossed The Lines To Carry Me

“Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do?
I want to go to Birmingham
And they’re taking me on to Crewe…?”

Fortune, small as it was, glistened on my side that dreadful, foggy, colonial winter’s night
For Mr Porter was The Fat Controller, a chap famously known to be polite!

“It’s alright my dear Hobbit girl, Her Majesty’s soldiers won’t find You here”
And pointed he did swiftly to a gap to blend in, to disappear

Jumperless and cold, skin shivered to whispers of ice
The Fat Controller pitied and he pulled out something nice

“Take this, my dear! Furry feet You have though nothing to wrap on top
This jumper to keep You warm until You reach Snow Hill Station’s stop.”

Holding his hand in mine, my frayed fingerless wool mittens
I thanked my friend with my eyes as endearing as a pair of kittens.

Looking out one last time, then hunched on cog-bones of metal
Sighed out to stars above, how I wished for tea and kettle

Chug-chug the coal-hearted lizard wrote along tracks into the seamless unknown
Over via-ducts of bricks, by new rivers, sidling dark forests groan

Peril at my heels but I sought hard to lean back to contemplate
A good thought to mind came about the nature of a Soulmate

For I bear a Ring of Power that to Snow Hill Station I must take
A folly’s errand, I would have failed, please at that make no mistake!

If it were not for God to appear as He did that colonial night of nights
Who carried not the Ring but the Ring Bearer herself so to reach my destined rights

He’s just a Porter to the world, no one seems to notice, or to him give any care
But to me he is my fatty Soulmate, who saw my Destination outweighed the fare

“Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do?
I want to go to Birmingham
And they’re taking me on to Crewe…?”

AFTERWORD: My Birmingham tribe are well versed in my eccentric interests, they have long ceased to question why I am the way I am or poke fun at the myriad passions I hold for things that traditionally do not fall into the remit of the mindset of an Asian lady. Steam locomotives of olden times are one such artefact, as You have come to know by now, and I suppose there cannot have been no more an affectionate a gesture my family of the Middle Lands could have made than to have organised a whole day of sightseeing at their city’s impressive ‘ThinktankScience Museum where a dedicated gallery exists on the subject of the golden era of travel! When I heard the news the ecstasy and delight overtook my little hobbity feet like an invasion of excitable ants and I demanded that we made haste, a single moment could not go to waste! I was yearning to be re-united with the wheels of the olden times!

It was there that my jaws crashed to the ground as I found myself stood in front of the massive black wheels of the former Great Western Railway’s glory, a preserved Castle Class Locomotive! I boarded the vessel and even, in my disorientating madness, stuck my head into the furnace where the coal used to be shovelled and chucked into by soot-faced servicemen! Before boarding off I noticed a wall of antiquated signs from Birmingham’s Snow Hill Station that had been preciously collected and preserved for display. One small section spoke about the hardships that were endured in the life of the railway porter, carrying the whole world on his back so to speak. I was immediately overwhelmed by the unifying thread that linked the responsibilities of the Porter of the real world with that of the mythic task once long ago assigned to an unassuming and little Hobbit of Middle Earth. Destiny manifested in the most beautiful of expressions, I smiled as like Frodo had done, peacefully and quietly, assured that I was never at any point abandoned to loneliness in my quest, there is another like I, a Visionary chap, and even at present I am not quite sure what he REALLY looks like in this lifetime… ♥

But to end for now, Ladies, Gentlemen & Children, I offer up this poem puffed out of my imagination and whose fare You have paid me satisfactorily by Your taking the time to read it. I trust You employed the Admiral telescope to inspect the written text on the wall… :)) :)) :))

The world follows my Words, yet in the end only ONE will persist to meet me
Always Your Loving Riddle,
Mazzy xxx

To Mr Porter 1

“Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do?
I want to go to Birmingham
And they’re taking me on to Crewe…?”

To Mr Porter 2

“… It’s alright my dear Hobbit girl, Her Majesty’s soldiers won’t find You here
And pointed he did swiftly to a gap to blend in, to disappear…”

Photography & Poetry: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Birmingham Thinktank Science Museum | Birmingham | Midlands | UK 2015

 

Travelling Light Years With My Telescope!

A white classic of optics, my TAL pal is Russian without a six-pack
We are the spy of the stars, quiet gypsies travelling umpteen light years back
Achromatic refractor, the fruits of scholars Netherland today vigil in my hands
I wonder if You’re spying on me too – yes You – from distant Tatooine sands…

EPILOGUE:  On October 24th 1982 a pioneering sci-film was aired on British television that would go on to make ground-breaking cinematic history. It does not matter if You are not a fan, You will have guessed it right anyway: STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE! In terms of my own evolving story, this was to be the single fundamental experience that sealed my Destiny with the field of astronomy forever. A love affair sparked to life, and soon afterwards my bookshelves were brilliantly filled to the summit with texts and manuals on the subject. To my Amma’s (Mother) prickly annoyance, the walls of my bedroom were not spared, they were outspokenly embellished with star charts and film posters of every space movie to grace our screens! My watch, my lunchbox and flask, my pencils and pens, my t-shirts were all conscripted into the Alliance! While other little girls were playing with their dolls and concerned themselves with dresses and make-up – perfectly nice things of course – I was far more at ease camping out in the garden with my arcane interstellar charts, looking up at the stars… :))

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTNJ51ghzdY

Travelling Light Years With My Telescope!

“… Achromatic refractor, the fruits of scholars Netherland today vigil in my hands
I wonder if You’re spying on me too – yes You – from distant Tatooine sands… “

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2015

My Love Bears The Weight Of The World

My Love knows who I am: the One who’s escaped the grin of clock’s black panther
O savage distance, your withered jungle I know how to decanter
If the cruel absence of my flesh, the crown of my spirit, haunts him day and night
To have storied stones rise, dark celebrations of tree branch, a sight of fright
From his small red heavy heart then, know this, my pen towers too, rubs nose with the Pole Star
And when he reads my words, the weight lifts, a fresh new world and he a Victorious Shah…

My Love Bears The Weight Of The World

“… From his small red heavy heart then, know this, my pen towers too, rubs nose with the Pole Star
And when he reads my words, the weight lifts, a fresh new world and he a Victorious Shah… “

 

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | May Half-Term Getaway | British Museum | London | UK 2015

Winchester – Tokyo: A Reunion Of Two Cities [I]

Herewith follows the beginning of my photographic quest for this year: the search for loved ones separated by the unseen and unsparing hands of time and place… : ))

Nearly a decade had sneakily slipped past without ever seeing my good Japanese friend and sister, Sachi, and her little sparkle-eyed boy, Alex, that my mind was decisively made up and that there were no two ways about it – a reunion there shall be and I would make it happen one way or another! I planted the firm resolution in my heart at the start of the year that I would once again see them but, alas and alack, it would be an accomplishment of no easy stock for I had lost all contact details thanks to the devastating loss of my old email accounts and address books of yesteryears. You see, dear reader, I knew Sachi from a time when I had no Facebook and I know she had never opened an account because the prospect of having one never appealed to her in the slightest. However, I refused to let the absence of a trail cloak and cloud my visions of a happy reunion. When I channel my energies into a goal I set to it with every pea-sized atom of my pint-sized heart and soul! Thus began an epic detective story consisting of following haphazard leads and clues, some of them took me to a dead end cul-de-sac although, that hardly posed any grand sort of bother on my nerves as it simply meant that I had to turn around and re-orient my wits and nose on an alternative trail.

Finally, the glow-worm light which I had desperately sought tentatively appeared at the end of the tunnel! I had an email address in my hand and not a moment was wasted, I tell you! With swift haste, I found myself in front of the computer, tap-tap-tapping away at the keys as if my fingertips were the parched lips of a desert nomad and the buttons, glistening, akin to oases whom to travellers shimmered with the allure of thirst-quenching jewels. A telegram style message was quickly composed. I was well aware that a lengthy letter written with devotion and careful effort might boomerang back onto my face if the email did not send properly so, I preferred to err on the side of caution this time and post something whose disappearance into oblivion would not cause that much of a stir or annoyance under my skin!

Within 24 hours news of the happiest kind was returned to me!!! The message had reached my friend and she had written back with no less surprise and awe as that of my own! Perhaps the magnitude of my achievement could only be described as when one, after endless hurdles and torments, finishes writing the last word in the masterpiece of their life! Might reaching the summit of a majestic mountain feel like this? I would be terribly surprised if it were anything besides! I swear I knew how to fly for a moment or two as my eyes eagerly slurped in the warm and kind expressions that had always been very much characteristic of Sachi’s style of writing and, which in turn, excellently mirrored her sincere and generous nature.

I sat back in my armchair, a sigh of relief let loose off my chest and I knew exactly what had to proceed now. I was to go and visit them. Ticket and camera packed, I set off on a most scrumptious adventure over the miles, the likes of which I confidently propose no decent bourbon biscuit or prestigious Victorian sandwich cake has ever heard of! My dear friends, I shall be presenting to you in days to come a few of the fondest photographic montages I have ever had the pleasure and blessing of chronicling in the time since I have paired myself with the lens and pen.

Today’s offering will have your eyes see our spark plug chap, Alex, creating a buzz and attraction in his stead because this little one is well endowed with an excellent creative licence in his pocket! Constantly poking me from the back and cracking jokes at each other, Alex and I got along like a house on fire! Poor Sachi, at times, had a hard time telling apart who the child was and who was the 36 year old teacher!

The photographs in today’s collection tell the hilarious story of our time in a soap shop where I encouraged the assistants to put on a good show for our little man and, since I am a scientist who always enjoys a spectacular chemical reaction, I told them to ensure that there be plenty for the eyes to indulge in! Off they went to work – a teacher’s charm always a handy piece of kit to have – and thus, in went the ice crystals and the ‘bath bombs’ and ALAKAZAM!!! A simple stainless steel bowl transmogrified into a cauldron! How amazing is that?! Ahem ahem, sorry I tend to get carried away when a science trick goes according to the dictates of the Periodic Table!!

Our second haunt that day was at the good old pottery café where Alex slapped on an apron and began painting away on a pre-made figure of a ceramic lizard! I do recall quite affectionately that he pretty much exhausted all the colours provided on the palette – and quite rightfully so for we couldn’t possibly paint a lizard in its normal scheme of colours could we, that would be an inadmissible balderdash! I provided the glass of orange juice, as you can see stood propped by the side: a signature of my Orange Vision, denoting the colour of happiness and joy at feeling blessed to be alive and present in the company of people that many assumed I had lost forever. Dear reader, it does not have to be so.  If you can be courageous enough for your heart and faith to grow a mane as deep orange as a lion’s locks then watch how Destiny stands on your side – like my glass of sweetest OJ – and behold as what was once lost is found once more…

Winchester - Tokyo: A Reunion Of Two Cities [I]

“… Alex slapped on an apron and began painting away on a pre-made figure of a ceramic lizard! I do recall quite affectionately that he pretty much exhausted all the colours provided on the palette – and quite rightfully so for we couldn’t possibly paint a lizard in its normal scheme of colours could we, that would be an inadmissible balderdash…!”

Photographs & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winter Reunion Series | 2015

You Came For Me…

O my beloved Orpheus, do not look back lest I disappear forever. Have it in your heart the Faith to console you that my Love that I have carried since the birth of time is of such incorruptible and inextinguishable substance that not even by the monstrous lusts of Hades can it be waned or destroyed. You are engraved in my soul. Now hurry, the clock is ticking and the doors of the Underworld shall shut down upon us soon. Do not look back, I am walking behind you. Go towards the Light my Love and free us both, once and for all…

You Came For Me...

“… the clock is ticking and the doors of the Underworld shall shut down upon us soon. Do not look back, I am walking behind you. Go towards the Light my Love and free us both, once and for all… “

 

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London Waterloo Station | London UK 2014  

The Mother Of Roses

When my Amma (Mother) gently holds any rose in our garden she does so in a manner that I believe would convince any flower that it were the very last of its kind on earth.  It is here that I am able to witness in the flower’s great unfolding of satin valleys and feminine undulations the song of its joyful vulnerability because it knows how purely it is Loved…

 

The Mother Of Roses

“… I am able to witness in the flower’s great unfolding of satin valleys and feminine undulations the song of its joyful vulnerability because it knows how purely it is Loved…”

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2014

When Physics Missed A Spot…

By virtue of my role as teacher – not the sort of stiff-lipped starchy variety I should add – I think it would be extremely useful at this point that a preparatory practical be undertaken by your good self so that the things to follow later will fall nicely into place!  First things first, step outside and lift your head up and survey the ginormous sky above. I do apologise if after carrying out this order you have become painfully aware that your old neck isn’t as supple as it used to be! Bag of frozen peas should do the trick! Now, before re-entering the house, I would like it very much if you could inspect carefully where your feet are at. Please do not shake your head, just do as I say! Well done, my nameless apprentice! One final bit of observational assessment from you and I promise the whole ordeal will be over. Make your way to the clock in your house and count – yes count – how many numbers circle round its face. Now, now, wipe that twisted snarl of incredulity off your own face, it shan’t make things any more easier you know!

So, now that you’re back in the safe fortress of your tartan armchair or, indeed, on top of an ancient mountain in Ladakh – and why not, my words are after all travelling on strings of shooting light, they are free to roam the earth and as such free to be read by anyone listening – let us now gather our findings. What did you discover? Ah, yes, I can hear all your voices reaching my ears with crystal clear definition and my word, some of you are rather disgruntled and disappointed by what has appeared to you as a pitifully mundane activity! For instance, there is one who is rolling their eyes around and puffing out the words like a chuntering steam train, “For god sake, the sky is blue!” Oh, and there’s a lady who has slouched back onto her chair and is muttering under her breath, “What an insane writer! Everything falls to the ground, feet included!” I had to save the best till last, that of the livid chap – thanks to me – who now has a mind to bash the clock on my head! He is chiding me, “You idiot, if the last number is 12 on a clock why would I need to count each number!” You should know something about me by now, dear readers: to expect the expected is as extinct as the poor old dodo bird when one enters the circus of my world! You see, what I have proved to you is a very sad fact of the so-called mature adult brain. I know that none of you followed my instructions and, with enormous certainty, I am willing to bet that consciously or otherwise, you all IMAGINED undertaking them in your mind and, each one of you felt compelled to abide by the Laws of Physics in this place of all places. You saw a blue sky because that is the colour of the atmosphere as it interacts with the light of the sun. You shook hands with gravity and thus accepted that your feet would be glued to the ground. You saw 12 hours neatly positioned on the face of a clock since that is how they have always been manufactured, in compliance with the conventions of time-keeping.

 

When Physics Missed A Spot...

“… to expect the expected is as extinct as the poor old dodo bird when one enters the circus of my world! “

 

Why does our imagination suffer as we grow older? Why does the gateway to the circus of endless possibilities succumb and disfigure into a servile imitator of reality? Why cannot we give ourselves the permission to deny the Laws of Physics entrance to certain sacred parts of our inner world?

Ah, now wait a minute! What do I see here? Did someone just conjure up a purple and orange polka dot sky?! Oh, look, a world where people float! And, yes, a clock with 12 hours but when counted there’s always 11 because the final hour is the one in which you take your last breath in. Does it not feel strangely pleasant when Physics misses a spot…?

 

Photograph & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Travelling Circus | Southampton | UK 2014