Sleeping Beauties

'Did sleeping beauty wake up with bags under her eyes?í

Descending into dissent. Here I am landing in LA again. The plane is taxiing to a stop and I feel like I'm being wheeled, on a stretcher, into the biggest operating theater of all time. I thought I could be done with this place  - at least for a longer stretch of time than this.  It's only been 7 months since I was released from its greedy grip and finally safe in the sane embrace of Manhattan, where - I was able to recover my sense of self. I know LA will never have that hold over me again.

In the same way that a woman knows who she will marry, I always knew New York = Home, the place where I would finally 'settle'. My frivolous meanderings would meet their end. But knowing that only fed my fear of commitment and facilitated my meaningless relationship with the town of big cars and strip malls - a city that could never own my heart. I was safe. At least I thought so - to come and go as I please - and so continued this mostly unfulfilling affair. Until the everyday ordinary weather of Los Angeles, the passive drone and fumes from the boundless freeways and the wearisome uniformity gradually lulled me into a semi-comatose state. I fell asleep in the hard bed of a city with which I shared very little affection. That's what happens there. And one day you wake up and realize that everyone is simulating sex from a porn movie and ten years have gone by.

It was Woody Allen who was my unlikely prince charming. A short old, Jewish, duck of a man. Not the tall dark alpha male that I'm genetically drawn to.  An opportunity to meet this pasty skinned icon was what it took to motivate my move. Saved from slipping into an even deeper sleep in LA -whereon one day I would wake with nothing to show for the lost years but sagging breasts and droopy eyelids. Though - to a prisoner in these city walls - already anesthetized by time, LA could be seen as the hero and savior, armed with scalpel, ready to set you free. Ready to buy back your youth by fixing your every physical flaw, the enemy becomes your only friend.

To consider altering one's natural state comes with the territory. Gradually over time as time changes you, you inevitably change. Time pacifies you. Your staunch views on things - like driving the 8 cylinder Land Cruiser to the gym five doors down or plastic surgery, gradually become 'lax'. It's all there at your fingertips and your resistance slowly wears down. I may have without any conscience - if I had have stayed in LA any longer  - perhaps in the same way that a recreational 'user' may become dependent, slowly surrendered - going from a simple injection of Botox to a full-blown Face Cut and Paste. From Duck to Swan overnight - on the outside at least.

No wonder Woody rejects all LA stands for.  He is Duck through and through. And we all celebrate it. And in New York, the city that never sleeps, these sleeping beauties stand out like sore toes; their overly plump lips, their oversized breasts. And we, Aliens and New Yorkers alike scowl and furrow our brows and screw up our noses at these magazine cutouts, these Stepford Wives. We know that though they've voluntarily had their face muscles paralyzed, and paid big bucks for their botox and facial surgeries, that deep down they are struggling to express themselves.

This sleeping beauty woke up and the bags under her eyes were packed.

 ©Max Sharam


*.Alive In My Own Shoes

*.The Luminary And The Luddite.

*.Big Sur, CA

  'Oxygen' - I cried.

We drove thru the hills -
high altitudes then came upon the coast
a blanket of clouds stretched out at our feet
and waves tossed and rolled a stones throw below
.. out there under the blanket of clouds was the sea

We  wound down windows wound down through fields
we wound down
to our little wooden hut among the trees on the banks of a clear stream
and slept off the long day in peace
'oxygen' - I cried.

Then the next day we hiked for an hour to a secluded beach
a sacred, spiritual place
littered with driftwood -
logs, strays, adrift from the lumber yard
washed up on the beach,
driftwood blocking and barricading the mouth of the river like teeth
stumps and limbs from trees
- the ones that got away-
from the logging plant in Oregon
only to find themselves crippled
washed up
cast aways
upon a deserted sandy shore
to bleach and rot beautiful yet tragic
like bleached beached wooden whales

someone had built a humpy.
I added, piece after piece
log after smoothly
and oddly shaped log -
it became a wooden igloo
we slept in it
the waves crashed in my ears all night
we cooked
deaf I swam
I ran
naked along the shores
I think I got more freckles.
'Oxygen'  - I cried.

 ©Max Sharam

*.SOAPBOX - Pull The Plug On TV

I think I could quite comfortably say that I'm one of 'the other half' of the Australian community that, for a good slab of the year, is deprived of the right to watch television on weekends.

This disturbs me because sport on every channel (allow me a slight exaggeration for arguments sake) doesn't only imply - "hey we're a sports mad culture!", but sends the message that 'the blokes' - (being the sole  bacon bearers during the week !?) have earned the right to all 5 channels of the television
and  the remote control for the whole weekend (Mum's too busy mowing the lawns to watch the footy anyway). Maybe what is shown on our televisions says a lot more about our cultural consciousness than we realise. Or do the  programmers  enjoy insulting us young ladies?

My opinion of sport is irrelevant, I do wonder, however,  is television  following the status quo or driving us into the brick wall of submission? How different would Australia be if  the  News/Weather/latest is Sport  became News/Weather/latest in Music?
If  it's the  spell of the almighty  'ratings'  God that they are under then "Dear God  please  can  Australian Arts/Music  get a free plug every News segment!?"  At least then we  may have a chance of playing in this competitive game.

 ©Max Sharam

©Max Sharam.  All rights reserved.