Reblog of Artsy Forager’s “A Curious Haunting” by Kisa Kavass. I like dark places that make me feel at home

Artsy Forager

I love a good mystery.  Not the throat-slasher kind, but the good ol’ Nancy Drew, Wilkie Collins, Daphne Du Maurier variety.  In this world of over sharing, there is something so magical and magnetic to be found in the mysterious.  The work of Tennessee based artist Kisa Kavass brings to life her own cryptic yet enchanting imaginings.

Kavass’ sepia-tinged images are full of misty light, curious shadows and haunting visages.  There is an other-worldly spell cast by them that though shrouded in enigma, we sense that in this world we are safe.

Though things may be as they seem, the mysteries are innocuous.

Like strange dreams from which we awaken not startled or scared, but wishing we could revisit with each slumber.

To see more of Kisa Kavass’s work, please visit her website.

Thank you to artist Christina Baker for introducing me to Kisa’s work!  All images…

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Full Wish Pt 2


Aylea and Jamison went to the masseuse to rub away the mental and physical aches before spending the evening walking through the community park. They entered the tent of newborns that was set up every spring for soon-to-be parents. Jamison said the babies always reminded him that new things were developing every day. Cradles of living life forms kicked at the sky. “You don’t seem like yourself lately,” Jamison pointed out.

Aylea shrugged her heavy shoulders. “I’m cool. Just adjusting to single life again.”

Jamison nodded sympathetically.

Couples perused through the aisles, their eyes examining the peach-soft babies with the air of shopping for a spring dress. “Did you guys ever come here?” Jamison asked.

Aylea stopped and put her hands on one of the cradles. She looked down into the cradles of bottles and blankets and nodded.

Jamison put a hand on her shoulder. “I understand. Look, if you couldn’t pick one out together, then it probably wasn’t meant to be.”

Aylea let go of the cradle and turned her palms up to her face. They were huge, like blocks of stone. She thought that if she had the hands of a man she could move mountains. She already had the heart, the spirit, the bravery to conquer everything. All she needed was the hands and she would move every mountain in the world. But she couldn’t move this one. There was a time, centuries ago, when she couldn’t marry Trinity if she wanted to, a time when the government sought to protect their idea of sanctity by not allowing people like her, people who were in love, to be recognized as a married couple. That time was gone, along with her great-great-grandfather. But back then a man, or woman could be in love with a big-bellied woman. They could be swollen with the seed of their love. They could witness its first breath. They could laugh and cry at the same time, emotionally and physically exhausted on the first day of the rest of their lives together. Now a couple could pick up a new baby on the way to get their dry-cleaning. Or they could just have both delivered to their doorstep.

“I don’t feel well,” she said to Jamison. “I think I’m going to call it a day.”

As Aylea and her sister, Dina were the same age (her parents had decided if they were going to go through the hell of raising one child, they might as well have two at once) they were given the “sex talk” at the same time. To her embarrassment, her father pulled out a shoe box containing two anatomically correct dolls that he specifically told them were not play toys. While their mother stared at them intently, her father started the speech, “When two people are attracted to each other, they have what is called sex.” He then inserted the male doll’s plastic penis into the female doll’s smooth plastic vagina. “Sometimes these two people get married and then they pick out little babies to bring into their homes to love and cherish forever. Sometimes they don’t get married, they just have sex a couple times, then become friends.”

“Friends can have sex with each other?” her inquisitive sister asked.

“Of course! Your mom and I were friends when we started having sex.”

“You and mom have sex?!”

Her innocent incredulousness caused an eruption of laughter. “Of course we do, honey. That’s how good friends show they care for each other. Not all friends have to have sex, but mommy and I choose to. You should never have sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with. And you should never do it until you are older than twelve.”

Later that night, Dina rolled over and in a harsh whisper, said, “Can you believe mom and dad have sex? Why would I want to do something they do? They’re probably having sex right now!”

Aylea was silent. All she could think about was the female doll, the way the light curved over the smooth plastic breasts, her face looking up at the plastic face of the male doll. When she went to school the next day she realized she wanted a Catalinia Cocharan to look at her in the same way. Aylea tried to concentrate on class, though all she could think about was Catalinia’s body beneath hers, smiling, waiting for their first kiss. When Aylea’s parents discovered her desire for her same sex, they were not just accepting, they were thrilled. They no longer had to worry about her natural urge to become pregnant.

“Full Wish Pt. 3:”

A photoclasm, a ramble and an important appeal.

postdigital photo

I’ve grown a little tired of Holga grunge, of double exposures and happenstance. I’m just a touch weary of double exposures and silhouettes and sun spangles. I want to plan. I want to direct. I want to boss models around.

Well, that was the plan.

A few months ago I approached a local model via Model Mayhem. Being naturally a little skeptical about glamour, and not being too glamourous myself, I don’t think the model, who kindly donated her time, knew what to expect. But I did.

Carefully thought-out pinhole exposures, using the model’s movement as a brush against the landscape. Beautifully distressed Polaroid shots, using that cranky new film. Maybe even some clear, crisp, classical portraits.

This is what I got:

So what happened?

My developing spool broke.

This just about drove me crazy. Then I remembered I had an old antique developing drum. I’d never used it. But…

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Full Wish Pt 1

“I wish I could make you pregnant,” Aylea said in the caressing darkness.

Trinity’s “What?” and the sudden force of hands pressed against Aylea’s chest stopped their love making.

“Nothing,” she said, but it was too late. In the blackness words were armored soldiers.

“No, I want to know what you said.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Aylea tried lamely.

“You said you wanted to make me pregnant.”

Their loins were separated. Their hearts hammered between warring worlds.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.” Aylea stroked Trinity’s hair back from her sweaty temple, but Trinity pushed her hand away. Their bodies were like two curls of smoke rising from diminishing cigarettes, one stream moved toward the other, which backed away before disappearing completely.

“Do you know how disgusting you are?” Trinity asked as she put her pants on.

“Baby, please-” Aylea reached out for Trinity as the yellow knife of hallway light hit her haphazardly clothed body, but it was too late.

“No. Fuck you. I should tell somebody about you. But I won’t. Because-” Trinity looked toward the light, toward humanity. “Because I love you.” Biting her lip, she left.

You don’t love me, Aylea thought. You’re not going to tell anyone because you‘re afraid of what they will think of you. Aylea grabbed the flabby skin at her belly and howled silently in the lonely dark.

With the sun came the rhythmic madness of responsible life. Aylea gave herself a sociopath smile in the full length mirror as she admired her muscular body. The doctor wouldn’t have given it to her had she not been an athlete all her life. “You see,” he told her, “I can only give people the sort of body types they are used to.” She had nodded, agreeing, but not really listening. She could only hear the sound of the light that came rushing through the newly opened door.

She conjured this emotion as she prepared for battle on the football field. Jones rushed at her. He wasn’t afraid of her giant body. He wasn’t afraid of her quick eyes. He wasn’t afraid when she leaned her two-hundred pound frame into his. In fact, he almost escaped her. They collided, muscle smashing into muscle. She wrapped her biceps around him, causing him to stumble, but for a fraction of a second there was a hopeful chance he would escape her grasp. Her business partner, Jamison, had been following Jones with his eyes since the hand off. He planted his foot to the right. The man covering him moved in that direction before he realized Jamison was juking left. The man reached out, pin wheeling, and lost his balance. He did not fall, but it was all Jamison needed in order to lean the other way and put his entire body weight on the ball carrier. The three athletes landed on each other and became intimate with the turf. “Good tackle,” Jamison said, slapping Aylea on her muscular ass as they headed back to the huddle of their team.

“He would’ve made it a couple more yards, at least, if it wasn’t for you,” she said, flashing white teeth above a square jaw.

“What can I say? We make a good team on the field and in the office.”

“Fuck yeah!” she exclaimed as they exchanged high-fives and chest bumps.

In the shower they exchanged their problems and triumphs with women. “Hey, no peeking,” she scolded Jamison when his eyes left hers.

“I just wanted to make sure I’m the biggest fish around here. The head honcho. Looks like I’m right.”

“You may be a tiny bit bigger, but mine gets far more use.” The locker room amplified the echos of their laughter. Only the executive who hired her knew her original gender. And, of course, Trinity. But it was against the law for a corporation to reveal a person’s original gender. Trinity could out her to her co-workers, but she would face social disapproval. Plus, that wasn’t the secret that Aylea was most worried about keeping.

“Full Wish Pt 2”

Long Live Bosko The Sock Monkey











I don’t know about stories, but I certainly have memories.  When I first started at the Big Apple Circus, he was the Spot Captain.  After a few months he was promoted, so I took his spot.  I knew it was big shoes to fill, but I wasn’t scared because I knew he was right there to guide me.

I remember riding the bike trail in Dulles, Virginia with him.  We had a show later that day so we had to turn around, but we almost made it the 20 miles to D.C.  He could’ve made it, but he had to keep stopping and waiting for my slow ass.  He still had the Nishiki at the time.  I was honored when he sold it to me, and I’m honored to say I use it often, as it is an excellent way to get around town.

I remember when he taught me to make sock monkeys.  All these tough gangster wanna-be dudes would walk into the cookhouse and see us two grown men sewing dolls and they’d be like, “What the hell are you doing?”  And Tchaka would be like, “If you can sew a sock monkey, you can sew a wound.”

We had headsets that we’d communicate to each other with during the shows.  Often I’d become bored and one day I decided to make nicknames for everyone.  The spot op to my left was “Jameson” because he dropped a brand new bottle of Jameson and shattered it.  The spot op to my right was “Iceman” because he was Russian.  Our boss was “Mother” because “You don’t want to make Mother angry.”  Tchaka was “Short Bus” for obvious reasons.  I didn’t know what to name myself, but Tchaka said, “For the PBS documentary I’m going to buy you a pirate’s hat with a giant sequenced skull on it and call you ‘Captain Sparkles.'”  The guys thought it was fucking hilarious and the name stuck.

I remember when he got his short bus.  He let me ride in it from Queens to Long Island because it still had seats in it.  People in other cars stared at us, so I put on one of Tchaka’s bike helmets and acted “Special.”  It was cool.  When we got to BAC headquarters in Walden, I’d go to the warehouse late at night to shower, and Tchaka would be in there, working on the bus.  When people ask me what the circus is like, I always tell them about the guy who gutted a short bus and installed bamboo flooring, track lighting, custom-carved cabinets, computer desk, etc.

One time the Head Electrician threw us a party.  Every time we’d go through a bottle of Tequila, Raul would come out, crack another bottle, and put in Tchaka’s arms.  I went light on the drinking and was the only one to show up to work on time the next day.  Our boss told me to go get the rest of the guys.  I went to Tchaka’s room (he didn’t have the bus at the time) and knocked on the door.  One of our spot op’s shirts was hanging on his dresser because the previous night Tchaka had been standing up next to the guy who was sitting, and vomited all over him!  I didn’t know this, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to make a gay joke at his expense.  I pointed at the shirt and said, “Oh, it was that kind of night, huh?”  “Fuck you, Jay,” he retorted.  “Hey, just because one Mexican made you sick (referring to Jose Cuervo)  doesn’t mean you have to take it out on this Mexican”

Every town we went to, BAC would hire temporary workers.  It’s a shame that it’s so hard for a person to get a full-time job nowadays, but one look at most of the temps that come through, and you can tell most of them don’t want to work at all, and love temporary work, because it is exactly what it is: temporary.  Anyway, we had these two mammoth-sized temps.  One of them starts yelling at the other: “You ain’t doing shit!  You’re doing absolutely fucking nothing!”  So they get into a fight and I look over and Tchaka is in the middle.  Tchaka is not a small guy, but at that moment he looked like a mouse between two elephants.  And Tchaka’s like, “Look, I know it’s tough, but everyone’s doing their time.  Everyone’s working, then we’re all going home, okay?”  And these two gigantic humans just turn and walk away.  If i had half as much bravery as Tchaka has in his left testicle, I’d be one courageous nut.

Time in the circus is not like real time.  A day feels like a week.  A week feels like a month.  A month feels like a year.  I spent two and half years serving as his Spot Captain.  I could do a hundred more.  Though I left the circus and resigned my official title, I will always and forever be Captain Sparkles.

A co-worker played this the other day.  It came from Tchaka’s music library.  I think it’s very fitting.