March 28, 2006

Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Museum, a school converted into rows of now empty rooms. Except for a cold metal bed frame, placed in the middle of yellow tiles. The light poured in from the far, barred window with bright green banana tree leaves waving in the breeze. Above the bed was a rough black and white 30-odd year old photo of a person chained to the stiff contraption. He lay flat in an uncomfortable position. Underneath was a black circular pool on the floor.

Isles of 4x6 portraits showed expressions of sadness, helplessness and fright. They dared not scream, cry, laugh or disobey. Brick walls slanting creating narrow cells only a couple feet wide. Silence is defeaning, ghosts not resting. Reflections of myself and a photo behind, blends into the wide eyes of a young girl. Bright white patterns from the holes in the walls, subtracts parts of faces. Blood stains still existing on the floor. I find art in the numbers and lines painted by the doorways. The coils of barbed wire and holes in the doors. Today, grass grows and white flowers speckle the trees. Yesterday in the past hopefully never to return. P

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