Smoke From an Unseen Fire
Smoke From an Unseen Fire
Photographs and Poetry
London is a place of dissolution and renewal. The city caught fire during the Pentecost of 1135 and was rebuilt, until the Great Fire of 1212 consumed the city again. Four hundred and fifty four years later the city experienced a third inferno during the hot summer of 1666, reducing the city to smoke and ruins and forcing the hand of British author John Evelyn to write “London was, but is no more.” Another three hundred and fifty years later, British author Iain Sinclair is explaining in his new novel, The Last London how “London stalls, revives, suffers and renews itself all the time.” Despite forces of continual destruction, London has revived itself time and time again.
Throughout it's history London has come face-to-face with it's own identity in the form of fires—visible and unseen. Now, as it has before, London is burning from the inside out as a result of external pressures. We observe a global city that struggles to make itself affordable to its own citizens, a capitalistic powerhouse, a city of ads overshadowing the facades of history. Exiting the European Union has put many of Britain's internationally-hailing citizens in limbo, uncertain of their future and their place in a country that now seems to reject them. These pressures appear to foster a reclusive culture in it's people, where externalities like news media and the online social world become the invisible epicenter of a vast urban sprawl, forcing an irreconcilable change of value onto a city whose conscience, like most cultural centers, has been long rooted in how London sees itself from the inside-out.
Teeth-tight totems anchor
your arm to torso to
arm to LED moments on the District
Line toward Monument.
Twitter grip ritual grating. Contemplate
a nod to a tin tourist, or turn your Tinder knuckles
white. Flint fingertips and the strain of sudden stops–
That photo of the sundial
by London Bridge–it's for my fashion blog.
Please see yourself past the Bureau
desk and through
the two iron doors on your right.
The receptionist will receive you
at the top of the stairs.
We should take the kids to Ireland next
weekend–I'll have off work then.
Horses for courses.
You really believe those lies
propagated by Theresa Maybe
and the mainstream media?
Out here living
my best life.
"Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;/
Our stern alarums changed to merry
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures."
People are starting to notice
–something is going on.
Teeth, totem, copper wire, more teeth.
Another meeting at half two.
"I apologize to any
woman who felt
Before th’ stone mines
I used to help my parents sheer
Cotswold Lions in spring.
Teeth, totem, flint, copper wire, more teeth.
Steve won't give me back
my phone until half four.
Last night he ran the pavement and hit
a postbox. I can't recall a
time when we'd both laughed so much.
They’re still there. I don't know if I'll
be able to go back for them
until we start seeing signs of
musha ring duma-doo-duma daaa, whack
foool de daddy o whack fool
de daddy o
in the jar.
the eclectic, Boccioni critiques
the tradition ally heroic, as he
seems to suggest that the speed
and power of a figure
is what gives it
rather than an identity rooted in myth.
Smoke from an Unseen Fire
Photographs and Poetry by A.J. Weber
All images ©Andrew Weber 2018, ©A.J. Weber Photography 2018.