Sand Drifts / Amy Bassin – Mark Blickley

Image by Amy Bassin
Text by Mark Blickley

I step off the flamingo colored bus and walk into the middle ages with mountains
hovering in the background while lots of vapors hit depending on which way you turn,
charcoal smoke, dried dung, piss, nothing remotely romantic as the universe you’ve been
living in has been flicked and brought you back to the time of camels and donkeys into
the back of beyond sans electricity but rosy glow kerosene lanterns show off local
vendors’ fruit in brown one story buildings down the dried mud thoroughfare where
small piles of oranges are arranged like pyramids of precious gems and lanterns put out
thin beams of shaky light so walking down the street into darkness you hear a clip-
clopping echo and see a flickering pin prick light and jump out of the way of a donkey
cart headed right at you with the driver sitting on top smoking kif next to a kerosene lamp
unable to see you in the pitch black air though you might smell donkey and driver if the
dung laced breeze blows up your nose as my body quivers with new found knowledge of
time so I pour sand from one hand to the other in order to anchor me to the earth and
settle into a leathery haunch and breathe in the remnants of the old ways through worn
slats of the oldest door in the world hanging in entrance of a mud compound where
bakers hook their flat dough pieces the size of small pillows with a black rod onto the
roof of a beehive shaped oven with a flick of their wrists bakers’ limbs having an
intelligence of their own needing no concentration after 1,000 years of repetition while
turban wrapped men pass as if in parade out of the bible faces not quite Asian not quite
European dark beards hollow cheeks gazing into space until throwing out pieces of
conversation into the air stepping past dried creek beds with cratered walls of sand on
either side of you the chaos of the crust of earth as if some mad god of sculpture
troweled along their rims in ecstatic abandon jubilating in the peculiar sense of sand
surrounding you in a protective snake shaped womb as you listen to the high wailing
voices from the tendrils of the wind a song slithering among dunes carved from alleys of
sand melody and lyric complete while a woman’s mating ritual of belly jiggling, pelvic
thrusts vibrate and stretch in filthy angelic writhing in the mud unleashing a gale of erotic
energy as drums carry her through different symphonies of movement causing the skin of
the soldier of peace to split like a serpent’s egg to reveal the tinkle of a goat’s bell.



New York interdisciplinary artist Amy Bassin and writer Mark Blickley work together on text-based art collaborations and experimental videos. Their work has appeared in many national and international publications as well as two books, Weathered Reports: Trump Surrogate Quotes from the Underground’ (Moria Books, Chicago) and Dream Streams (Clare Songbird Publishing House, New York). Their videos, Speaking In Bootongue and Widow’s Peek: The Kiss of Death represented the United States in the 2020 year-long world tour of Time Is Love: Universal Feelings: Myths & Conjunctions, organized by the esteemed Togolese-French curator, Kisito Assangni.

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