The Face in the Pebble

She came from a pet rock that has been sitting on my desk for many years. I used the egg-shaped stone to weigh down notes and papers set aside for necessary action on my behalf. Its base had a flat area and suited its task perfectly, besides it had a sculptural quality to it and reminded me of a work by Hans Arp. I never thought much about it, used ii as a necessary tool. But at the end of a working day, when most papers below its handy shape had been dealt with, it appealed to me in a different light. It must have been the sudden process of the change from light to dark in Southern Africa that made it appear different to me at that early evening, when darkness progressed entirely within an hour’s time. I took it into the palm of my hand and it felt smooth like a woman’s knee. Besides, i being a piece of art sculpted by nature, its age might be millions of years.

Her voice surprised me, as it came from within the smooth pebble, my pet rock. it sounded like the voice of a woman I once knew. At first I rubbed my eyes having worked all day hard and that also meant that my tested mind played tricks on me. However my curiosity with all mystical matters of the spirit and soul made me stop what I was doing and I listened, concentrating on the piece of stone in my hand. This is impossible I murmured, as a woman like an elf appeared in the transparency of my pet rock. I held my stone steady, afraid if I would move the slightest, the illusion might disappear. The pictures that changed were a magical display of high art.

The pebble sat in my hand like an egg, still warm from the afternoon sun that had touched it, or was it my imagination that her voice created such a warm feeling in me? The moment her face appeared on the shaped surface, the spark of initial warmth spread from my belly to my torso. I felt elated, stirred by this tiny face with geometrically shaped brown hair and a soft glow across her symmetrical face. It reminded me of an Art-Noveau design with the stylised flowing lines of body, face and hair. Like a jewellery box, I murmured and the face moved its lips talking back.

Initially in the shock of surprise, we talked a lot about our way of living. My mind said: If life is an illusion, when make it worthwhile, painting beautiful pictures.

“Are you a spirit of my late wife?” She paused.

“I am a geologist,” she said in a low tone, as if this would not be self-explanatory, living in the realm of stones and crystals.

“But how come you are here in this pebble?” I replied, my curiosity at its height.

“It is a long story,” she said.

“What is your name?” I regrouped my thoughts.

“Elena,” she said, I noticed her intelligence oozing into me from her eyes.

“That is like Helena, Helen, the Belle Helene,” I carried on murmuring. She smiled.

“Thank you she,” a slight rosy expression rushed across her face. I had not noticed how time passed. A pink dusk had settled over the courtyard outside. The noisy warble of the Hadedas-Ibis called for the end of light in the high plains of the capital in Gauteng province. Another day settled into the air-polluted evening, which announced itself with lower temperatures and snowfall in the Cape Province.

“So where do you originate from?” I wished to know more about Elena.

“I am from the Ural,” she replied, enclosed since millions of years in rock. If I am lucky I will become gold and when a new life will await me.” I swallowed, recalling the furnace that liquefied rock from which the yellow metal would flow.

“But then you would be -”

“- be burned to death?” she completed the sentence. I shuddered, what is all this about?

“I rather have you here with me like this,” I replied. “You look so pretty.”

“Egoist!” She shouted, “don’t you have any compassion?” I cringed, doubting my sanity. I wanted to call it quit.

“It’s all a dream,” I put the answer off. “Or what?” I recalled my favourite pastime, when at the beach in Monemvassia in Greece, collecting pebbles with interesting shapes, moulded smooth by the millions of years rolling at the beaches in the surf of the sea, battered against other storms like in a shake-box by torrid storms. Observing the pebbles for a while, I became engrossed with my imagination, seeing imprints of faces and figures. I started collecting some and painted their faces and figures and body parts on them, just as my inner flow of consciousness lead me on to do it. I followed a Greek tradition of artists who have done ot before me and who still do it today.

I had a bad time during my last stay at the coastal village of Porto Rafti, an hour’s drive from Athens toward the eastern part of the sea. Having collected regularly pebbles that seemed to lead my mind on to work on their shapes, I created a set of faces and bodies together as I worked on them and soon enough they started to talk to me, like in a play. To keep them apart and avoid infighting between them I had to act decisively. But when I did, Mrs Aleta, my protagonist died and she rolled down the hill from the marble terrace, shouting at me what in the wide world had I done” to her. “You don’t love me any longer?” I protested and tried to catch her, but I missed to grab her in time and she had rolled into the flow of an angry sea and disappeared forever into Poseidon’s domain. I stood mesmerized with a deep anger rising from my belly. “You ungrateful woman, I respected you and your antics, your beautiful words of poetry and your story telling. I loved you and you used me to satisfy your sexual needs -” The rising wind swallowed my words.

“I cannot hear you,” her voice said, “but cast a wish of what kind of companion I should send you -”

“An intelligent woman,” I shouted intuitively into the breeze as the scurrying clouds shaped into her beautiful body, now claimed by a greater force. I heard her sarcastic gasp and giggle, time’s up a dark voice hollered in me. I turned and left, moving slowly uphill with my head bent down.

“I will never be able to write my play,” I mumbled. Who will ever want to see a play like this one? I remembered Elena in the pebble and having placed her into my pocket as she had suddenly disappeared. I removed her from my pocket and faced her again.

“I had never compassion,” I admitted to Elena. Her face ingrained into the  crystalline pebble that sparkled like a diamond, I ran my hands over it and felt close to her. My fingers played with her head and I felt her nose. I placed her closer to my eyes and my fingers stroked her nose and ran their tips across her eyes. She felt like skin and the natural warmth from having her in my pocket, enticed my fantasy, resurrecting my illusion. But I saw her face in the crystalline pebble, embedded in the rock, pale and as if it would be resting on a cushion, eyes closed as in a peaceful sleep. I slipped her back into my pocket, hoping she would come to life later, perhaps she would be curious about my life and how I looked with my clothes off, as I put my pyjamas on. I smiled, my mind carried on painting pictures and from now on she had taken the place of Aneta, all of a sudden. Has Aneta kept her promise?

 

The Face in the Pebble

She came from a pet rock that has been sitting on my desk for many years. I used the egg-shaped stone to weigh down notes and papers set aside for necessary action on my behalf. Its base had a flat area and suited its task perfectly, besides it had a sculptural quality to it and reminded me of a work by Hans Arp. I never thought much about it, used as a necessary tool. But at the end of a working day, when most papers below its handy shape had been dealt with, it appealed to me in a different light. It must have been the sudden process of the change from light to dark in Southern Africa that made it appear different to me at that early evening, when darkness progressed entirely within an hour’s time. I took it into the palm of my hand and it felt smooth like a woman’s knee. Besides, i being a piece of art sculpted by nature, its age might be millions of years.

Her voice surprised me, as it came from within the smooth pebble, my pet rock. it sounded like the voice of a woman I once knew. At first I rubbed my eyes having worked all day hard and that also meant that my tested mind played tricks on me. However my curiosity with all mystical matters of the spirit and soul made me stop what I was doing and I listened, concentrating on the piece of stone in my hand. This is impossible I murmured, as a woman like an elf appeared in the transparency of my pet rock. I held my stone steady, afraid if I would move the slightest, the illusion might disappear. The pictures that changed were a magical display of high art.

The pebble sat in my hand like an egg, still warm from the afternoon sun that had touched it, or was it my imagination that her voice created such a warm feeling in me? The moment her face appeared on the shaped surface, the spark of initial warmth spread from my belly to my torso. I felt elated, stirred by this tiny face with geometrically shaped brown hair and a soft glow across her symmetrical face. It reminded me of an Art-Noveau design with the stylised flowing lines of body, face and hair. Like a jewellery box, I murmured and the face moved its lips talking back.

Initially in the shock of surprise, we talked a lot about our way of living. My mind said: If life is an illusion, when make it worthwhile, painting beautiful pictures.

“Are you a spirit of my late wife?” She paused.

“I am a geologist,” she said in a low tone, as if this would not be self-explanatory, living in the realm of stones and crystals.

“But how come you are here in this pebble?” I replied, my curiosity at its height.

“It is a long story,” she said.

“What is your name?” I regrouped my thoughts.

“Elena,” she said, I noticed her intelligence oozing into me from her eyes.

“That is like Helena, Helen, the Belle Helene,” I carried on murmuring. She smiled.

“Thank you she,” a slight rosy expression rushed across her face. I had not noticed how time passed. A pink dusk had settled over the courtyard outside. The noisy warble of the Hadedas-Ibis called for the end of light in the high plains of the capital in Gauteng province. Another day settled into the air-polluted evening, which announced itself with lower temperatures and snowfall in the Cape Province.

“So where do you originate from?” I wished to know more about Elena.

“I am from the Ural,” she replied, enclosed since millions of years in rock. If I am lucky I will become gold and when a new life will await me.” I swallowed, recalling the furnace that liquefied rock from which the yellow metal would flow.

“But then you would be -”

“- be burned to death?” she completed the sentence. I shuddered, what is all this about?

“I rather have you here with me like this,” I replied. “You look so pretty.”

“Egoist!” She shouted, “don’t you have any compassion?” I cringed, doubting my sanity. I wanted to call it quit.

“It’s all a dream,” I put the answer off. “Or what?” I recalled my favourite pastime, when at the beach in Monemvassia in Greece, collecting pebbles with interesting shapes, moulded smooth by the millions of years rolling at the beaches in the surf of the sea, battered against other storms like in a shake-box by torrid storms. Observing the pebbles for a while, I became engrossed with my imagination, seeing imprints of faces and figures. I started collecting some and painted their faces and figures and body parts on them, just as my inner flow of consciousness lead me on to do it. I followed a Greek tradition of artists who have done ot before me and who still do it today.

I had a bad time during my last stay at the coastal village of Porto Rafti, an hour’s drive from Athens toward the eastern part of the sea. Having collected regularly pebbles that seemed to lead my mind on to work on their shapes, I created a set of faces and bodies together as I worked on them and soon enough they started to talk to me, like in a play. To keep them apart and avoid infighting between them I had to act decisively. But when I did, Mrs Aleta, my protagonist died and she rolled down the hill from the marble terrace, shouting at me what in the wide world had I done” to her. “You don’t love me any longer?” I protested and tried to catch her, but I missed to grab her in time and she had rolled into the flow of an angry sea and disappeared forever into Poseidon’s domain. I stood mesmerized with a deep anger rising from my belly. “You ungrateful woman, I respected you and your antics, your beautiful words of poetry and your story telling. I loved you and you used me to satisfy your sexual needs -” The rising wind swallowed my words.

“I cannot hear you,” her voice said, “but cast a wish of what kind of companion I should send you -”

“An intelligent woman,” I shouted intuitively into the breeze as the scurrying clouds shaped into her beautiful body, now claimed by a greater force. I heard her sarcastic gasp and giggle, time’s up a dark voice hollered in me. I turned and left, moving slowly uphill with my head bent down.

“I will never be able to write my play,” I mumbled. Who will ever want to see a play like this one? I remembered Elena in the pebble and having placed her into my pocket as she had suddenly disappeared. I removed her from my pocket and faced her again.

“I had never compassion,” I admitted to Elena. Her face ingrained into the  crystalline pebble that sparkled like a diamond, I ran my hands over it and felt close to her. My fingers played with her head and I felt her nose. I placed her closer to my eyes and my fingers stroked her nose and ran their tips across her eyes. She felt like skin and the natural warmth from having her in my pocket, enticed my fantasy, resurrecting my illusion. But I saw her face in the crystalline pebble, embedded in the rock, pale and as if it would be resting on a cushion, eyes closed as in a peaceful sleep. I slipped her back into my pocket, hoping she would come to life later, perhaps she would be curious about my life and how I looked with my clothes off, as I put my pyjamas on. I smiled, my mind carried on painting pictures and from now on she had taken the place of Aneta, all of a sudden. Has Aneta kept her promise?

 

Alienation.

Alienation

By ZJ Galos.

 

He writes in the morning when the thoughts are fresh and his senses are sharpened by the nights rest and the continuous workings of his mind yield the right words without any strain.

She bumps into hi study, her emaciated body frightens him. Who is this ghostlike appearance talking down to him, interrupting his flow of prose?

“I do not know you,” he replies to a barrage of her mumblings in a language that is foreign to him.

“You have lost your memory,” she raises her voice, as if his presence has annoyed her.

“Who are you, colourful dressed spook?”

“You wish to insult my fashion?”

“I just wish to have my peace, in order to write my own thoughts down.”

And what about me?” He raises his head above the edge of the desk lamp and he recalls her eyes to be familiar.

“Oh gee!” He tries to soothe her word explosion down to get rid of her, but it seems to anger her even more.

“I have been in another world, where this man with a dusky mask is about to fight the golden knight with the blue shield and …

“You are nuts!” She shouts and throws a sketch to his laptop. A dress that is short with geometric patterns like framed medallions.

“What’s that?”

“It’s my design for new fashion shirts.” He looks at it and slowly he recognizes that he had met her last time in the hall of their house. Damned! She must be his wife, he did not recognize her. She had lost half of her weight in just a few months, since they had agreed on separate bedrooms and working spaces. “I’m sorry,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“I am looking at the patterns you chose, and they are familiar, but looking strange in these geometrical framing.”

“It’s my design for the fashion conscious, but I see you have no taste.”

“I am sorry I wish to finish my work, besides please do not barge in, but ask me to meet you.” She is annoyed. Her arteries show on her temples as she raises her voice.

“You are just jealous that I have ideas of my own.” He finds this ridiculous, but says nothing in return. She is visibly upset.

“I want to know why you ran away last time, when I asked you to drink a glass of champagne with me?” He frowns that she jumps around in the past.

“That was months ago and I had no taste for champagne, when I can hardly afford some real food.”

‘But for Val you had time, offering her some too?” His heartbeat raised he yells back at her. “Don’t be ridiculous she is just a young lass.”

“Yes she is crafty and she tries getting into your pants.” He discards her words with a smile.

“Please leave now and draw up what you want to design and I will look at all later.” She steps forward and then back.

“I warn you, how you treating me.” He feels his anger giving way to sadness.

“Please leave now, I will talk to you later. She lowers her head and steps outside closing the glazed door to his study. It has become impossible to discuss anything with her. He noticed that she used his designs to make her own fashion accessories. Fine, he says to himself, if she would just get on with the business and leave him to his own quality time.

He feels like having swallowed a bitter pill and it stays with him. His mind plays a flashback of happy times with her. Sadness closes onto his heart and he feels the air being pressed from his lungs. Is this how it’ll end for them?

Since she stopped taking her medication she has changed 180 percent. There is nothing he can do for her that’ll suit her, as she competes with him for creative work. “I hope, she will be successful and sell more fashion items than he could sell his own work.

‘I am thirsty,” he mumbles, gets-up from his writing desk to fetch a glass of cooled water.

The Thumbnail Portrait.

The thumbnail portrait.

By zoltanzelan (ZJ Galos).

I saw her face for the first time some weeks ago, perhaps even a month or longer. I do not recall the exact time span, as this unusual thumbnail of her face had engraved itself in my mind. I commented on one of Amara’s regular postings on my facebook page. She is a friend, teacher and literary Muse, whose writing workshops had honed my own literary efforts and inspired to write my first novels. I call her Amara, the beloved one, as a Muse deserves to beloved from a poet and writer. She had inspired Helen too and we are part of Amara’s expanding network of writer friends. From commenting on Amara’s postings, we commented on each other’s writings on a follow up conversation. We talked as well about art and she referred me to a website where I could exhibit my paintings without spending too much on admission fees, or even free for a basic exhibition. Helen had inspired me and turned the light on that shone from one of her attributes. She reminded me of Greek goddesses with a host of attributes that were apportioned to them by humans who detected aspects of their personalities.

Helen! The writer, her face leads my imagination to see her transparent, like illuminations of her bodylines through the morning sun and her mind awakened by the warm rays embraces renewed creativity. She appears like a nymph of great inner longing for beauty, in all what she does, with her thoughts, her writing, in the way she lets strands of her soft hair fall across her face, the way she speaks and moves. I fell in love with her through this image that shaped her physical presence in my mind. A portrait I sketched into my book of concepts some time ago. Perhaps if one searches one’s mind for an expression in love or emotion, having experienced it with a beloved woman, one will find it in one’s memory storage. And if one thinks about it often enough, on a day like this one, it resurfaces like a painting of my favourite Renaissance artists, or even related to various modern artists. The unusual expression of a portrait in an upward movement has disclosed secrets of her attributes and personality make-up. It flows into each other like a cocktail of colourful lines and touches of nuances, like my merging of favourite paintings. I recall the artist’s name and not always the name of the paintings: Magritte, Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Klimt, Schiele, and Rothko. Of course there are many others to detect anew and in a certain mood of perception. I am thinking of many exceptional galleries and well-designed containers for art.

Helen with an unusual presentation of herself, in an upward stretch movement of her torso neck and head, sinewy and streamlined, like a racehorse. A silver art-deco figurine on a Duesenberg classic car shoots like an arrow into the sky. It brings the picture of Anna in love as an overlay to my mind’s eye, her stretch at the moment of climax. It also compares to an expression of great pain, as lust and pain are close neighbours on the scale of emotions. It brings up the facial expressions of Renaissance’s greatest drawings and frescoes, artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. They observed human emotions in expressions of the face and body. I have Leonardo’s studies in a book nearby with faces in joy, anger and lust, besides the angelic faces and humble expression in a Madonna’s face.

I asked Helen if I may use her expressionistic pose as part of one of my paintings. “Yes, as long as you do not use it in any rude way”, she replied.

“Of course not, I am not a copy artist, or a villain.”

“Fine.”

“I am using the idea of the stretch rather, as I like it.”

“Sure.” She said and we went on to literature.

After some time, meeting at one of Amabel’s web-postings, I noticed that Helen had changed her thumbnail portrait. Her new face appeared less expressive as a frontal view, humble and transparent like porcelain, but with a fine strand of hair tangling in front of her left side toward her lips. It moved me differently, with a touch of fingertip-erotic, as if she invited me to touch her hair and move it to the side in a face to face closeness, a prelude to a kiss, which I did, but have not told her, except that I write it. Perhaps she might come across this journal entry which I have extended into a short story and read it react to my expression about her portrait. I wonder if she has researched my writing a bit and sampled some of my free pages available from all my books I have self-published on the Internet.

Helen! She fascinates me, besides she has given me good advice for seeing my art-video that Greg had done. She is quite right with her critique, but I have not interfered with the budding videographer’s second sketch of my art filmed at preparing ‘The Apollo Frieze’ paintings for an exhibition at the gallery of the Fine Arts School of Athens. Well, perhaps I will paint the Mysteries-series for Eleusis and we will think of a new angle of introduction, where Helen’s advice would be spot on, or so do I think. Diving as artist into the Great Mysteries and the mystical world that is all around us, like her first portrait, a ‘Duesy’, as the saying went for something ‘cool’ in the thirties. I like it, the elegant stretch as a symbol for innate sexuality. At present it’s the fine angelic one, pretty but less expressive and it talks with a different language to me. In spite, it’s a good face, intelligent, a poet’s face, demure and mystical, an overlay of alertness and a touch of uncanny behaviour, a cocktail of a personality, different to my first impression. Despite, it also attracts me, like a melodic inner calling.

I have read Helen’s article on WordPress.com and it touched me as a well written impression of her world, with a natural flow structured in fine sentences. It showed to me her delicate urge of her passion for writing, even if it did not touch my expressive nature. It did not stir in me the same emotion as her photographic portrays, to which my inner world of a poet responded. Her style of writing matched well to her second portrait she’d placed on the Internet. Immediately I recalled her words: I am not an Amazon. I had to smile. She definitely has an uncanny edge I would like to explore further. Perhaps one day, when I made the funds necessary to travel to Italy and see my favourite cities and their art. I am intrigued to see her face to face and talk endlessly about subjects that drive us forward in our efforts of self-realization. Besides, I wonder what she thinks about my poetry and novel writing in general and about my explorations of the erotic world.