Lamp 172

Lamp Post 172

By Russell Whitehead.

In the silence of the early morning the grass beneath finds the clear morning dew, as the street is hazy with a thick white air. The street and road will soon become busy with moments of light with a patter of sound yet for this instance everything is motionlessly silent. Where there is a reflection and transparency of glass; forms a condensation from a white night frost only perpetuated until a warmer glow emits surrounding the air. At this time the people appear from their homes with heads peering high with a certain franticness restored from the nights rest. It can be observed in the brighter part of the day their energy dims, a continuous decline throughout the increasing light until lamp services are no longer required. When returning, the same return with faces often lower, often with heads leaning towards the ground. They sigh with lower postures making it difficult to see what true expression could possibly be observed. 


Engineer, do all engineers present the same dark blue clothes with black grease stains? Where as others, like the person besides you wear clean black and white clothes? Like the Businessman with you, whose voice seems more influential to your actions. Then there are countless costumes you wear in numerous colours and shapes. Is this due to the familiarity you all possess under these presentations? Do the colours of your clothes present your work effort, your mindfulness? 


In hearing many passing by conversations, many of them anyone would fail to comprehend. The language you use is vast and full of double meaning. The difference between what you say, mean, and see is something alluding to the separation of these terms. One of these most prevalent themes revolves around the term referred to as, ‘the sea’. One could interpret a mountable series of questions and wonderment about this curious scene. It seems to be something you constantly desire, often spoken with pause and careful consideration. From surmising, the sea is a vast open space of rough water with small fine stones before it where you rest in the heat and light. This big light you often refer to as ‘the sun’, the same one above us now no doubt; is something quite perplexing. Why do you need an open space to allow yourself to rest? So it follows the appeal for open spaces seems to be something admired, yearned, something that pauses you in your everyday routine. Is it a point of realisation or possibly an echo of thoughts you already possess? Over the way people often stand at the road edge where you can see over the vast green and yellow fields. They sometimes stand there for a long time, paused, interpreting the space, confused or euphoric it is impossible to tell. No words or conversation are present. In such empty space there could be little to muse, though your emptiness seems something quite opposite if there is attraction towards it. A concealed truth only attained through a revery of motionless action? 


The most overriding conversation seems to be one of the greatest significance yet confuses everyone that speaks its name or matters surrounding the subject. The enigma surrounding concepts referring to ‘love’ are vast and have great possibility of exuberant energy. This is the popular opinion as though it is as significant as the ‘Sun’. You describe love with the greatest of meanings towards fellow humans; though equally use it to describe items such as your favourite energy sources, such as bacon sandwiches. Never the less, love seems to be a conductor of a great energy only existing with very particular parameters. Yet once harnessed has the capacity of insatiable kinetic bond. Hesitating to pause in this line of conversation, we are drifting from your point of inspection and is something we must correct. Was it not that you gave with a certain distinction of service, a new white light to test? Was it to test dedication? Learning the ways of people, it perplexes with numerous feelings how you are capable of making decisions. Engineer, you have taught and guided with such a shrill validity, an invaluable service but was that all you intended? Is this a trial? If failing may have consequences unknown. If Businessman is asking about engineers value of service. Well the question compels to serve him with a just forthright answer. Engineer has placed more emphasis of Lamps opinions more than his own. If it would be better to conduct learned ways more successfully would it not be better for him to demand stricter importance of himself?


So to continue. Most of the night, according to new saving procedures, light is non redundant of use and Lamp services are no longer needed. It was a wonder why Lamps continue to shine all night when nothing occurs. In this time you recharge yourselves though it is noticed that not all of you do at this routine. In the early hours of dark, sometimes there are staggering ones troubling to function and presume they must be deprived of a light energy, which Lamps fail to substitute. Then tiredness seems to be an epidemic to your kind with slumping bodies and slurred voices. The stars are shining though an angle of perspective that makes it hard for Lamps to see them. Rumours have it that you are making new Lamps to shine down and not so high so you can see these far away lights in the dark.  What astonishing energy they need and what great service they receive to shine so bright so far away. They are heroes as much as you humans seem to admire them. Lamps inferiority to the sun and the stars are something to be worked on, inadequacy is not admired.


Understanding the need for progress and redundancy is an absolute yet do you not realise Lamps are only awake with power on. If you find it adequate that this one remains, the fascination by everything that passes will continue. Each of your machines and passing conversations. Ever changing faces. From observation, you are all the same, apart from small differences in colour and slight structural proportions. Lamps differ in similar small ways also, this is something we share. Be this as it may, aren’t Lamps needed if you are to continue your function? Your admiration of light must be adhered!


Due to the limited Lamp cycle time, it was difficult to determine people’s regularities of function. The cycle of your own existence is apparent only recently. A new person arrived at number fifty-six many thousand nights ago. The sun was dimming, as this light was on to fill. Over the progress of many night chances she blossomed into an ever-increasing larger self. As she grew taller with her lavish long yellow hair, her dependency of small objects you call toys depleted. Her impressive sporadic energy to the point of excess became controllable with passing cycles. This achievement of balancing energy you distinguish as adulthood. She became a person of height and curves moving elegantly though one night in particular was noticeable from others. She and another were acting erratically. Arms and voices were raised with frantic movements and incoherent indecipherable sounds. The other left. She remained still and sat by the pavement for a long time staring into the light as you often stare into spaces, memorised. She was silent though it could easily be believed there was no pleasure in this for her. It was a wintery night and she was not wearing enough to prevent her from feeling it. Wouldn’t it be greater and more comforting if Lamps produced warmth in such a time? The other never returned. Though after a time others did return. As the cycles continued, she continued the regular routine of leaving early and returning when lights where on. It is something respectable for her to use her energy to produce more. All you people have a similar schedule as Lamps have theirs. You wake in the morning. All go to energy work, then come back just as Lamps are lit. The only exceptions are your newer or older versions. So it seems you spend important time making energy for yourselves. Though Lamps would make our own energy through the big sun if possible. Presumably, this is why Lamps provide an amber light to recreate the colour of the sun. Though the sun moves gradually into the horizon creating a sea of amber. It is presumably for a recharge though what source of power could achieve such a formidable task. How you all worship this descending movement. She was certainly no exception. As stated, you often name this magnificent light the Sun, though you also call some of your people Sun. Are these more important people compared to other types? Often conversations at this time revolve around another feeling you desire in the form of heat. The big sun provides you with not only a great light yet the astonishing exuberance of heat, often moving you to great levels of comfort. Lamps do not provide much heat, this much is obvious, and must be the reason for you not to admire Lamps in the same respect. Although after many thousands of cycles, she seemed to harbour less energy, at least in presentation as you all do. Her curves became less, she seemed to wither in size becoming less able to provide energy services until a few nights ago they taken her away in dark cars, never to return. You were void of usual colours instead preferred the black. Is this meaning referring to the blackness found in sleep, where you recharge for another day? Or is it the fear of the absence of light? Lamps no nothing of complete darkness. When Lamps are off we simply are nothing until needed again when your darkness looms. In your dark regeneration it is understood that you have illusions of thought and memory, Often conversations consist of dreams or nightmares where you lose your inhibitions and constrictions of physics. Sometimes she would come out in the middle of the night is such states of either threat or more interestingly a quite peace. She would always stare at light yet pause to enquire. Her silence was not silence at all. The significance of her view was not anything near.


The significance of this view is obvious is it not? The tree opposite is a power which admiration is great. It was here long before Lamps and has continued to develop in prominence though often goes unnoticed as most things in your path. Its branches reach out towards the sky like veins from the earth itself, grasping all energy possible. It is understood that this tree provides you with energy in the form of a substance you need as much as the service of light. In return, you exchange it with a different energy. This must also be the case with the smaller green stalks beneath which expel colour at certain times of the year. They seem to move in the wind in synchronisation, forming appealing colours that you admire and nurture, as do the smaller creatures that crawl and take their life energy provided in exchange. Even the little creatures you often have attached to you by a cable try to water me like the tree from their own bodies.


For Lamps, there are many things in which knowledge is clouded. Infused and trusted in an enticing void of wonder. Just as you treasure the open spaces that are only empty at first, are actually filled with appearances of thought and memory. This separation between your world of thoughts and actualities creates a distance of ambiguity, draining you though you only seem to be produced to discover it. There are many things that can only produce further questions needing to be resulted in an answer with extended questions. Often, the answer isn’t really something tangible, it is nothing that exists more than the real truth of light emitting from the sun, the stars and the moon in a far away existence we speculate in myth and reason.  Sometimes, usually in the early cycle before my services are terminated. The morning mist settles as normal though only once usually in three hundred cycles, it forms a thick white frozen mushy substance. Some of this falls from the sky in a familiar white frosted shape yet none are identical if seen in particular detail of course. The webbed circular shape of snow as you call it, resembles that of the tree over the way with a strong central point with veins reaching out in almost perfect symmetry. You also feel astonishment coming out of your dwellings with wider eyes. The smaller people of your kind seem ever more excitable moving erratically in the settled mist, sometimes throwing it at each other and the passing moving machines travelling on the road.





All At Sea

All at Sea – by Russell Whitehead

The archboard with fading words ‘Felicia’ adrift in the darkening sea without a notice of land. The small fishing vessel has seen its age in all waters with weathered encrusted barnacles smothering it’s bow. Faded red paint flaking with each voyage as the stern takes beatings against forbidding sea pressures. The crashing of the waves repeatedly thunder under familiar ears. Crushing sways in strenuous motions wherehence the tide drifts.

A great figure, stern at the afore draped in a strong dark green coat, twice his size. His wide over aged eyes, light blue, stare towards the infinite ceasless horizon. His face has the strength of a sea bearer. the spray embraces his tough skin though welcomes it. Nothing can faze this deeply carved barrier which has fought long seasons untamed, hardened indestructible. The apparent wind whirls through the vessel calling it’s ghostly continuous chant knocking his white long hair against his whiter beard. Yet his coat hood remains in place. Only does it stay in place through years of attempt made rigid, unmovable until tide over. His hands are as large as sandpapered clubs, stronger than the helm it keeps steady. He’s fought these moments throughout life, searching hard and fast. Never has he searched for aslyum harbour or yeilded much time among land for seeds to be sown. “Hold avast” Breathing shallow, sighing wearily as he does on land following as the crows fly. Land is to him is too much, unforboding, ceaselessly still, unpredictable.

In the helm there are others remaining in shadows shilloetted against dim lights. Fishing nets hang empty, planks lie worn trodden. Compasses swoon, radars flicker. Some peer back from where they came as if in secret between the devil and the deep blue sea.

There is a younger weathered face further at the fore peering over into the dark black blue. Excesses of white ferocious froth. Innocent eyes that are lighter than the other giant figure that almost over shadows anything fore. His slight hands grasp the edge of the ship less securely, often slipping with wet trepidation. His facial stubble is the dark of his hindesight, his hood often falling revealing his full brown wavey head of hair. The younger constantly forbodes the mal del mer* which is not only from rough tides thrown. He is helpless, eyes staring into the infinitely weighted existence caressing it’s power with tides fluttered, tsunamis thrown.

The stars are breaking through the clearing. Constellations that sea bearers live and desist by, pin holes in black, mirrored by melting erratic reflections below.

*mal de mer – seasickness

“When I began to write our story down, I thought I was writing a record of hate, but somehow the hate has got mislaid and all I know is that in spite of her mistakes and her unreliability, she was better than most. It’s just as well that one of us should believe in her: she never did in herself.” 

― Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Day 2

We started early and walked into the Kibera slum. I felt nervous as I was told it is very dangerous for a white person with expensive gear in my case a camera. Collins, one of the teachers carried my rucksack with my camera in for security as the social worker led the way with the children.

Kibera is made of of small homes made from sheets of disused metal and goes on for miles in winding dry muddy paths where litter and waste is often seen. The slum itself has a moat of rubbish and waste which is never collected.  It seems like a fence, to either keep them in, or keep people out.  We walk along a disused rail line, well i presume its disused though i’ll wait and see.

The first child’s home is a very small room with a chair and a bed where him, his mum and his cousin stay.  I am given my bag so I film him pretending to get ready for school and doing his homework for the video.  Rainbow suggests I don’t waste any time and keep the filming short not to promote my presence in the local scene.

We quickly move on passed hundreds of other homes with people selling whatever they can outside. There is an array of shoes, and often charcoal like substance in small buckets, which I assume is for fuel. I realise Kibera is a sight that not many people will ever see. Or would want to I guess, and feel very humbled and in a way privileged to experience such a way of life to contrast to my own. 

Back at the school, I am to interview the five children. Its not going to be easy as there are construction sounds all around although I want to film them in th playground for context.  Mary is the first, she is 11 years, very smiley and pleasant. She quickly tells her story of how her father disappeared and how she has been moved around east Africa quite a lot until she found sponsorship here. 

The interviews continue as it becomes obvious that they are orphans, either through the parents going by choice or disease. Either way they speak quite coherently in English and almost objectively which i’m surprised by. Is it that the camera is making them hide there emotions or is it that this is a common way of life here.    

I spend my evenings at the guest house, as it is too dangerous to wonder at night. I have been warned that Kenya changes at night into a much more dangerous place. Again, i’m not willing to take the risk on my own, so I make entertainment with the intermittent wi-fi to contact home. I couldn’t help think about the life of a business or alone traveller. Must be a lonely affair. I know that travelling as with everything in life is better when shared with a common heart.