at the risk of seeming ridiculous…

Defamiliarizing the Familiar.

Posted in written thoughts by Charles on October 12, 2009

The Cipher.

The cipher is a circle.  The circle signifies continuity, motion and infinity.  A point on the borders of the  circle only makes sense in relation to the others that are in flow with each other.  A circle contains and frames something that is within.  In other words, a cipher creates another world.

The act of creation seems to be popularly viewed as something that arrives out of nothing.  Something that just drops down from heaven into the hands of a lowly recipient.  Perhaps this is true.  But if there’s anything that a picture can teach us, it’s that a photo merely places a frame around that which already is.  Thus creation is an act of bringing order to chaos.  However, when borders are loose enough to allow fluctuation and movement… when the form is dynamic enough to evolve along with that which is contained… you create a world within a world.  It’s almost as if you’re capturing air in a balloon, but the air keeps getting hotter, causing the balloon to expand.  It explodes.  More balloons must then be formed.

The cipher contains voice.  It enhances the poetic spewings of an ordinary subject.  The voice travels, bounces within the circle.  And the beautiful thing is… all are on rhythm.  The circle is constantly in movement.  Power is contained, bounced around and re-versed for the uplift of the whole.

The Familiar.

Some friends were in town for the weekend.  Did our whole going-out, drinking thing.  And unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for us, we were stuck outside the bar since all Boston joints must close at 2am.  Drunk people of all colors standing around.  Some are organizing folks for house parties, others waving down cabs, many spewing forth their dinner.  And us, mentally silent.


Any stillness is an opportunity for explosion.  A friend drops a beat.  T.Vu spits a rhyme.  A circle forms.  Just like that, people are vibing, dancing, feeling.  Random folks are jumping in.  People coming and going.  The cipher disperses.

We walk down the street.  T-Vu feels like Moses, John like Aaron…  She parts the oncoming pedestrians like the red sea… the people heed her poetic rhymes.  The march down Harvard Ave stops for a moment.  The following forms another circle, half of which bleeds out onto the intersection.  New people join the flock.  Cars irritatingly curve around.  Cops drive by glaring.

The beauty of such a scene is not what is said, nor the visual.  It is what is felt.  For a moment, we were agents… grabbing the world we saw, rearranging it and displaying what it ought to be.  We created a world by means not of nationality, ethnicity, class, gender… but of community.  We were family for that moment.

The loving hugs.  The affirming words.  The grateful looks.

We were family.  We created home.

Home was whatever ground we stood upon.
The movement of poetic nomads, that is what we were for that moment.


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