5min pressing a day (#619)


At the camera shop
just as they were going
to close the doors

Natasha announced

That she would like to have a look
the pentax

To see how it works

I’d like a look inside the other one too
if possible

Phil said that they had never been
to get it open

It seems to have some mysterious force
keeping it closed

Nobody knows how it works

I would imagine that is full of elves
all painting away
when they are given the
to paint

They rush at the task
with great gusto

Like they have been drinking
I ask

Yes says Natasha
like they have been drinking

She lets out a squeal

Phil has very thick glasses

Natasha asks him how
is he able to take photographs
with those thick glasses

I can’t
I only like cameras
he says
popping-open the back of the pentax

All he can see
is a small circle of stuff
directly in front of him

And even that
with very little detail

To me
the world generally looks like
a pizza
he was once quoted
in the local newspaper

He had been interviewed
about his hobby

Propogating dendrobiums

And yet
here he is
taking cameras apart

Pointing out all of the parts
what they do
and how they were made

Natasha imagines a man
with thick glasses
and a laboratory coat
carefully cutting out each part
from a block of solid metal

But where do the feelings go
says Natasha
that they might be lost

Nothing is lost
says Phil

When we clean them
there is always some green stuff
left on the toothbrush

Many of them are impressed
in the image

That is how we do it
we clean them with a toothbrush

Natasha looks at him

when looking into
the workings of a camera
I see everything

Only then


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5min pressing a day (#618)


Wendy had been talking
for hours
to Natasha

Telling her about her
and her subject

When Wendy began
Natasha was interested
but slowly the interest

It wasn’t that the topic wasn’t

It is just the Wendy
didn’t know when
to stop

And why doesn’t she use
her proper name
Mrs Klutzenhoof?

She can’t just call herself

Natasha was particularly interested
somewhere early in the monologue
when Wendy
Mrs Klutzenhoof
had been talking about how
she had been able to photograph
as they coursed through
the body

I don’t make them drink
radioactive liquids
she says

It is a matter of what we do
to the film

I would simply ask the film
to depict emotions
and it would happen
Natasha thinks to herself

Mrs Klutzenhoof
is too far advanced
in her study
to have her efforts
cruelly laid waste

Natasha instead admires a painting
of crocusses
all leaning towards the sun

Wendy continues talking
seemingly to herself
that she was ably to view them
under a specially-made microscope

Her husband
who is good with his hands
made a microscope
using parts from an old gramophone
and a couple of milk bottles

Her daughter
who is studying design
at school
drew them out
the emotions
as schematic drawings

Just like maps of the metro
thinks Natasha
it doesn’t actually matter
where the terminal points are located
in space
or otherwise

Mrs Klutzenhoof
was quiet shocked
when Natasha commented
talking to herself
that the subject
his feelings had hardened
then crystallised
into angular shapes

Damage by self abrasion
says Natasha

Damaging to himself
and everybody around him

Wendy had never told anybody
of her conclusions

Perhaps it is more like
in the head

Natasha ponders

When he first came
he told me
that he had been
Secretary general
of the United Nations

Said Wendy

Then when we found out
that he wasn’t
and never had been

Then he told us
that he had been an engineer

Specialising in
the remediation
of earthquake damaged
parking buildings

Said Wendy

Then we found that that wasn’t true

Natasha notices
that there are matching crocusses
under the elm tree

Just like the ones in the painting

He is here
he has problems

She says

That is what people with problems
are like

When the opportunity
to participate in the study
came up
he enthusiastically took it

At the camera shop
Natasha had been concerned
that the subjects might
be caught
in the grid on the viewfinder

Just like this

She would imagine
stretching them out
to cover the whole grid

Lumpy emotions
would be quite evident

You could dissolve them
in teardrops
that is what her mother
had always said
then iron them flat
she thought

With a satisfied smile

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5min pressing a day (#617)


She had copious notes
taken throughout the duration
of the study

Marty said the psychiatric drugs
that he had been
to take

Made is eyes go

When pressed for clarification
he said
everything had become

A quality that he was able to
with great accuracy
in his photographs

It became his trademark
slightly fuzzy
slightly wonky
slightly funky

Pretenders of every type
would imitate them

But they never looked the same
as Marty’s photographs


He once described how
the medications affected him
to Wendy
during one of their interviews

It is thick and gooey
it seems to congeal
all of the wiring and connections
in his brain
filling every crevice
a new malaise

He agreed that it was slightly
than the previous malaise


Every photograph that he took
was able to capture it
but nobody was able to do anything
to help

He knew the study wouldn’t help
but he liked talking
to Wendy
he doesn’t meet many people
these days

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5min pressing a day (#616)


There was a whole group of them
and left
at the same time

‘Rude ladies’
Natasha had quietly said
the moment that she saw them

They will be like a herd
of elephants
walking across the keyboard

When the composer
had called for

When they left
Jasmina said that she could
overhear them
from the store-room
out the back

I could hear them
even when I was in the cafe
with a large group
of noisy children
having lunch

Said Natasha

We couldn’t find the jewellery
said the rude ladies

They don’t know
do they?
that the jewellery that you find
in an art gallery
is generally different
than the jewellery
that your grandmother left you

All of those fuzzy images
good for blind people
said the rude ladies
each annoyed
that they had set the alarm off
when leaning in for a closer view

One by one

Mrs Campbell would have gathered them
and coaxed them to dance a jig
or a square dance

Depending on whether the sky was grey
or sunny

It all depends on the sky
said Natasha
as they walk out the door

They might find themselves
in a tangle of string

She seems to be thinking
with her mouth open

Natasha went to the counter
to read the comments
left behind in the comments book

The whole exhibition had been like
a dramatic confession

Said a comment from

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5min pressing a day (#615)


In some places
seems to travel in whispers

Passing through solid objects
disintegrating only
with time

That is what
Natasha had said
when Mrs Smith
asked about her weekend

We all thought that your weekend
would be one glamorous event
after another

Gallery openings
deferred from Mondays
to suit your busy schedule

Launching ships

Embassy receptions

Fine dining
followed by the proms
or ballet

Whichever happens to be on at the time

That is what Mrs Parker told me
when we were talking about…

Natasha looks away

Mrs Smith looks anxious
tell me
your life
are your mornings full
of the smell of
sheep poos in the grass
like ours?

Of course they are
or they were when I was young

My weekend was dedicated to cleaning
cat vomit
off the walls in the laundry
and off the washing machine too

He is an old dear
but seems to be getting
a bit
with age

Us too
my tongue has a mind of its own
says Mrs Smith

I’d have it removed
says Natasha

Make life easy for yourself
and others

Surgically is the best way to go
Dr Griffin will do it
Thursdays is his day
for removing
unnecessary body parts

And other annoying features

Looking out at the white roses
smiling on a sunny day

I like white roses
I like apricot coloured roses too

There was also food on the walls
it seems to spray out
when you open it

Mr Smith looks out the window
without saying anything

I quite like
says Natasha
trying to sound

It is a cheaper
more nutritious

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5min pressing a day (#614)


In the colonies they drink tea
much weaker than we do here

Mr Sharples can be heard muttering
‘We’d call it dishwater’

They reduce the quantity of tea
by half


His wife
Mrs Sharples
Marjory is her first name
but most call her Mrs Sharples
including Mr Sharples

Mrs Sharples
elbows him in the ribs

You have put all of our savings into this
you paid Andrew Button
to get a PhD

I hope that will make you happy

If it settles this matter
and only then
will I be happy

First I would like to thank our patron
Mr Sharples
who has been most generous with his funding
without which
none of this would have been possible

Get on with it
grumbles Mr Sharples
cut the guff
straight to the conclusion man

Andrew Button ignores the interjection

First we began by examining the preferred
types of tea
weighing the quantities of tea used
per brew
per person
per pot
per coin of currency

We had to search the world
to find
a social scientist
of determining
and quantifying
qualitative differences
in palette

We wondered if the variation in
was caused by climatic conditions
the generally benign conditions
enjoyed in some
but not all
of the colonies

Or the general lack of
in their diets

He’s just going to go on and on
without ever reaching the final point
isn’t he


Mr Button!

Were you able to find a classification of what constitutes a cup of tea
a proper cup of tea

Or not!

And did you
Mr Button
present your findings
to The Royal Society

Or not!

And were they
Mr Button
able to have that
colonial drink

By another name

Or not!

Any name would do

Any name but tea

Mr Button
you never informed me of their response
even though I frequently asked

The same ingredients
different proportions
different drink
different name

It should be obvious

That is what we paid you for

Andrew Button seems uncomfortable
Mrs Sharples seems quite embarrassed
Mr Issacs
from The Royal Society

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5min pressing a day (#613)


Swishing up and down the aisles
a pirouette at the end
then returning
on the other side

Taking items off the shelf
touching them lightly
stroking bits that protrude
delicately returning them

You would think it is a
I whisper to her

She seems to ignore that comment

Eventually Phil will leave his place
the counter
and offer
his assistance

Natasha whispers
that his knowledge of cameras

Even with an onslaught
of a tide
of clever young things

Can I help you madame?

Natasha feigns confusion
it is my lenses
are failing
I need new lenses
a new viewfinder
a new way of framing
the things that I see

lenses and viewfinders are two aisles over

Not noticing Natasha
admiring the proportions
of a universal head
she touches it
without making contact

Phil offers two items

One is engineered from a single block
of titanium

Pentax SLR
very nice
he says

The other looks like a
a black plastic pancake

This one is a phone
and does the same thing
as the Pentax

it does much more

He shows
the Pentax has a removable cannister

Antique and quaint
I say to Natasha

It is for film
says Phil

There is a grid on the rear viewfinder
a grid on frosted glass

It is for those that like to measure
their proportions

Like incompetent chefs
measuring quantities
says Natasha

But I like this one so very much

Then with the slightest
of harshness

What if the subject becomes
in the grid

Unable to escape

Phil cannot answer that
looking at the floor

Will it catch smells?
she asks

Will it catch
the birds chattering?

I add
on behalf of Natasha

Will it catch

That will be her next question

Only if colour is removed
says Phil
recovering some composure

Natasha looks
but says

How about departures?
Natasha says
almost inaudibly
looking out the window
at a jet


How will it depict departures?

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