Ben Orlansky

These are my eyes. This is my city. Welcome to New York.

Some of my photos lie. Or do they? I capture microseconds of humanity. Look at that old man laughing. It warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. Well, actually, he was just picking his teeth, but the results and effects of those little micromoments remain the same. I may lie through my photos, but those lies have effected me greatly, and I hope they do the same for you.

It enrages me, this nonsensical notion that you can own a piece of the planet that is gracious enough to bear you, clothe you, and feed you, despite your astounding stupidity. How blind have you become, to spill the blood of your own brother in an attempt to own something that will never be yours? Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, coming from the same people that think they can capture the sky.

You think I don’t give a shit about you because I can’t remember your name. You’re sure I don’t care about you because I can’t seem to remember your birthday, and I keep telling you the same things over and over and over again because I’ve forgotten I already told you. You think I don’t give a fuck because the things you tell me about your day just seem to spin right out of my brain. But there are things I remember, things I can’t tell you, things that don’t translate into words. I remember the way you talked when you got excited, how you interrupted yourself mid-sentence because something about your first sentence excited you more, and three words into that sentence you interrupted yourself again, and I remember how you’d get endearingly embarrassed because you thought I was laughing at you. I remember how you did your damndest to never let your feelings show. I remember how you kept your voice level when you were spitting mad and your eyes cold when you spoke about heartbreak. And I remember catching you listening to someone else’s story, and those dead black of eyes of yours just exploding with compassion and hurt and that kindness you tried so fucking hard to hide. I can’t remember your middle name or your favorite color, but your smile is burned into my fucking brain. I remember the look on your face when you come, and though I can’t remember what color your eyes are, fuck, I remember losing myself in them. I don’t remember the things you said to me that morning, but I’ll never forget the way you looked at me like you knew you were never going to see me again. I remember that last kiss at the train station, and I remember seeing you across the platform through the train window, both of us straining for one last look. So fuck your name and your birthday - I remember you.

He’s not exactly beautiful, but she kisses him anyway. He’s not exactly attractive, but she takes him home anyway. She kisses him because his smile is a hundred times more real than all the gorgeous guys she’s kissed, and it lights up his not so beautiful face. She takes him home because he’s got a certain energy, a certain intensity, a certain goodness, a certain something that just drives her irrevocably insane. She kisses him again one fateful night and realizes that though his insides turn hers inside out, his outside isn’t doing it for hers. She wonders why she can’t see past his crooked nose and fucked up teeth, and she hates herself for being such a shallow shit. But she kisses him again - she kisses him one last time. She kisses him so she’ll remember what kissing a beautiful man feels like the next time she kisses a pretty one.