A Street Apart: Essaouira, Morocco 2018 © Jillian Edelstein
It’s an odd time and I have been rooting around my archives and I came up with the idea of making little movies of my ongoing Affinities series (Creative Collaborators – people who met through and because of work) – looking at togetherness/collaboration in a time of separateness. Although this image of Essaouira is not part of the Affinities series, it immediately spoke to me of social distancing because of the appearance of these negatives side by side. The alleyway feels desolate and there seems to be a disconnect between the figures and the urban setting. This reminds me of the atmosphere of lockdown, which feels furtive, as if we have to scurry through our normally safe, familiar and habitual landscapes.
by Anna Giangiordano
Into the street then, quickly, with this bundle beneath my arm.
I wrapped it in green; it seemed right. Fitting. Grass green knotted around heat and dust.
I touch the same spot on the wall as I do everyday, feel the shine of cold stone, burnished by every hand that has been pressed here for reassurance, and I am briefly reassured.
But today I pause longer. I look up, follow the line of the corner where it crests between my fingers and rises in an uncertain line to the overhang of the roof, three floors up.
Someone, in shadow against the brightness of the sky above, pulls back quickly.
Connect with Anna
A Street Apart
by Shyama Laxman
Today when you leave home
To go to the shops
Stop outside my window
Stamp your feet three times
I will be on the other side
Listening out for the sound of your ankle bells
Counting down to ten before I follow you
You will turn around to check and
In that moment, I will take in your face
Like a parched one running towards the oasis
The surma in your eyes, your brocade lined hijaab
Cherry tinted lips that I can’t kiss
Our steps will be timed so we are two metres away
Like the lawmakers want us to be
At the end of the street
Take a left that leads to the deserted alley
Where we have stolen ten minutes and broken rules before
And not just the ones that say
That we should be two metres away
I will meet you there
And say how you have been
Ask after your husband and children
Hold your face in my hands
Taste your cherry tinted lips and soak in the smell of your attar
The one that we got from the souk
Two nights before your wedding
I promise I will then let you go
I will count down to twenty
Say your name between each count
Follow you again, this time remain
A street apart