Sunday, December 17, 2006


Thanks for reading this blog. Have a safe holiday season and a great New Year 2007.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The petticoat blue

It was then that I came to a great realization and sense of purpose in my life. I knew that my destiny was tearing me apart. I had two lives, my life with her, and my life alone. My life of pleasure and the never ending nights lounging with the sea-horse tattoo girls at The Gin Palace and my ordinary life. I was perpetually crossing to the other side. Running. I was constantly running from something. I fled myself every waking hour and then there was always the war, the entrenchment, between the life I wanted to live, and the life I was to live. And they were never going to meet.

So I wandered in and out of time. Moments of happiness came, but greater moments of dispair and deception, came as well. I went beyond. My life was searching, for the impossible. Love. The unrequited dream. The girl in the picture. The life we dream, and the dream well spent. I was the last Edwardian.

So the story begins at the end. The day I die. It is March. That much, I remember. The year, 1917. The war drags on. I am in a entrenched somewhere. They call this place Passchendale. I call it hell. It is cold and the sky blue. The petticoat blue.

I have been lying in the mud for sometime, staring up towards the eternal. Could it be Wednesday? I think to myself. Or does it even matter?. I'm dying. I can't feel my body anymore. I live with my final thoughts and I treasure them. They will never come back. So where will my memories go, when I am found and hauled onto some horse-drawn cart to be indexed, filed and buried ?.

I was struck down. By a bullet, you see. I saw it coming. It was a day in slow motion. I heard the crackle of the gunners, at close range in the St Jeanne forest and then, I snapped, like a twig. I fell on my back and there, face up in the mud, I have remained, until the end.

It was strange to die. It happened in a flash. I grabbed by rifle and starred at the mud, the mud wall and the mud caked ladders. It was time to go 'over the top'. Today, was my day, to die. Soldier of the British Expeditionary Force, tag number 557893. I don't remember when I was born, but I remember the day I died. It was a beautiful day. Then the blast of a whistle, and over the top we went. carpe diem.

I rose out of my darkness and stormed the wall of the trench. I saw a forest and ran towards it. There were birds, strange black birds, flying overhead. Crows, maybe. Larks. I began to run, but my boots dragged me down, to the ground. The mud was deep. Everywhere I could see them fall. One by one, we all began to fall. And then it hit me. There was a burst of light in my head. I lost control. I was shot. Near the heart, I believe. I never actually saw the wound. But I bled. It took me a lifetime to hit the ground, and then it all came back to me. Everything. Everything I had ever thought, I began to think again. Every dream, I ever dreamed, I was dreaming again. They were my final dreams. The nightmare over. This was my end. And then, as I looked up towards the sky, I saw that it was still blue and the cold morning air crept over my face and I thought of her one last time.


I first laid eyes on her in summer. Walking on the rightside of the left bank. She appeared in a book merchant's stall in black and white. A picture postcard. Lepage sold pictures of the many pretty girls to been seen and had, in Paris and his collection of daguerrotype cards - Les Nuits de Paris-the nights of Paris-and he always clutched them for quick viewing. So I purchased the girl in the picture. I held her in my hands as I browsed my eyes over her chestbnut hair and pale skin.

She lay on a bed in a sunlit room. Her legs curled up against the dying light. She had broad shoulders and well developed lips. She had been photographed recently, probably in one of the studios near the Pigalle. Many foreign girls ended up on the hill, as entertainers of the wayward Englishmen and their glowing bottles of gin.

I looked at my dark angel and imagined her as an aspiring painter, poet maybe. I searched for every meaning and detail in the picture. Her hips were white and soft like the first november snow.
I placed the picture postcard on the ledge by my window. There were women in the street down below, and the air was damp. The white washed linens turned our street into a ship. I remembered The Calcutta.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A dance in time

The School of the Body. El Colegio del Cuerpo. Cartagena, Colombia. 1999.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


children refugees in a camp in northern Angola, during the civil war in 1993.

French Foreign Legion

Racing down a river in southern French Guiane with new recruits into the French Foreign Legion.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

eyes wide open

The End

Let me meet you
among the dying light
where men still write
poems of love
and the end.

Let me show you
my heart and its
broken fragments
like a sonnet
and the end.

Let me wander through
the gallery
of your soul
and stare into your eyes
one last time
and the end.

Let me meet you
among the dying light
where men still write
poems of love
and the end.

-BOGOTA. November 2. 2006
Photograph: London. 1990.


Life is hot dogs
and cha cha
rain and moon shine
chasing time
with the wanderer
walking hand in hand
through the rain
to the end of pain
on cold and empty streets
where strangers meet
in bars beneath the stars
shining for you
and I
like serendipity.

-Bogotá. October 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Seven Seas

where shall I sail, if not to you?
where shall I pray, if not to you?
in dark caverns of my soul
or at the edge of the seven seas?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Angel on a Rickshaw

From where I stand
I can see an angel,
riding through the night
on a carriage of light.

If I could love you
just one more day
I would walk away
from my angel
on a rickshaw.

On these dusty streets
where strangers meet
for a moment
a dream
empty words written for
my angel
on a rickshaw.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The unknown fighter

A member of the AUC paramilitary groups stands in a field in northern Colombia.

Rios by Emblin

FARC commander, alias Ivan Rios poses por a portrait in the eastern plains of Colombia.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lost in Translation

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they're blowing
As free as the wind
And hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this - there is nothing
More than this - tell me one thing
More than this - there is nothing

It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like a dream in the night
Who can say where we're going
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this - there is nothing
More than this - tell me one thing
More than this - there is nothing

Monday, August 14, 2006


Emerald miners underground in the Muzo mine in central Colombia.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's about the choices we make
and the places we take

It's about the love we feel
the words that heal
as we move across
the ocean
and the sea.

It's about the peace
we give and the lives
we live
as we map the distance
of the soul.

It's about the choices we make
and the places we take

Friday, August 11, 2006

An unbearable 'lightness' of being.

It's shameful. It's pathetic. It's beyond understanding that the leading newspaper in Colombia EL TIEMPO, has done nothing during the last month, than to open up with pictures of Colombian President Uribe on its front page, as well as, carnival and bicycling races in this country and beauty pageants, while the world stands by and watches the Middle East go up in flames.

More than a thousand civilians dead between Israel and Lebanon, and all we get on the front page are stories about obesity and how wonderful the next four years will be under Uribe and his star-studded cast of brilliant Ministers. If the news trend that we must read here is 'light' then the newspaper has become an 'unbearable lightness of being', to coin the words of Czech author Milan Kundera.

Where is the news? Where is the criteria?. How sad, and mundane that El Tiempo, the only newspaper in Colombia that's 'fit to print', has been reduced photographically to a rag of ridiculous photos during such a critical time in our common history.

I needed to get this off my chest. And for those of you at El Tiempo who pass through this blog to check up on what I am doing...please stay away. Thank you and goodnight

Monday, August 07, 2006

child labor

A young man crouches in the corner of a coal mine in central Colombia, near Angelopolis.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mutton Street

As I walked down Mutton street
I thought of Goya and fresh cantelope.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The model

This negative recently surfaced. Taken in Bogotá, during a cold Saturday morning fashion shoot, the model stood in the doorway, while I snapped this moment. She now lives in Berlin.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Alpha 66

An anti-Castro fighter from the Alpha 66 fighting force sits in his hide-out in the Florida Everglades, with his loaded rifle.

Gabriel Garcia Marquéz

Colombia's Nobel winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquéz of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the time of Cholera fame, during a press conference in Bogotá.

Friday, July 28, 2006

the white horse

A member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - FARC- talks with a young boy on the way to the market in San Vicente del Caguan, Colombia.

Catalina Acosta

Portrait in B&W by Richard Emblin. Punta Iguana, Barú. Colombia 1999.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

emerald miners

Emerald miners in Muzo, Colombia work the black mud looking for precious stones.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Foreign Legion

A soldier recruit from the French Foreign Legion swims across an estuary in the Amazon as part of his initiation into this elite fighting force.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

God save the Queen

Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II rides towards Westminster down the Pall Mall in her black carriage. Photo first published in The Independent UK.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

the road

Somewhere near Bombay, India, I came across this scene by the side of the road.