Ephemera

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“Foam came after fog, then dust, then nothing. We saw our lives and our world vanish.” Mina Polen

Nothing lasts. Nothing is fixed or stable. The universe we live in is the embodiment of violent change. So are we, shaped and reshaped as we are by the violence of genes, hormones, relationships, our environment. But this should not make us despondent or negative; the ephemerality of everything is what makes it so wonderful, so impossible to fix in words or concepts.

Ephemera is not a poetic-pictorial essay on the topic of the ephemeral. It has no point to make, no philosophy to peddle. It has arisen from a freely creative collaboration between poet Mina Polen and artist Viviana Hinojosa. Mina’s elegant prose poems and Viviana’s gorgeous drawings take us into a dream world where familiar symbols are given new life, where animals and objects transform under our gaze. Words and pictures have a quiet, understated quality, behind which all is turmoil, restlessness, longing, violence. The effect is intoxicating.

There is an intriguing relationship between each text and its illustration. Viviana’s responses to Mina’s words are clever but playful; central images are elaborated on, enriched by a multitude of associations. Texts and pictures work well on their own, but achieve brilliance in combination.There is a more elusive (but no less compelling) relationship between the pieces in the sequence. So I urge you to read the book like a novel. Take each page in turn. Do not be tempted to jump ahead.

It will not take you long to read Ephemera, but its pages will flit like butterflies in and out of your mind for years to come.

You can buy the book here.

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Some things you didn’t know about Chimera Café

1. Your nearest Chimera Café is here:

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2. Chimera Café was founded by Karl Marx whilst he was under heavy sedation and having his wisdom teeth removed.

3. Patrons of Chimera Café are respectfully asked to leave their heads tethered to a post outside the premises.

4. At Chimera Café the baristas are bastard barristers who barter barbarously for barbed bananas and barking, barmy bartenders. They serve coffee made of crushed cockroaches. Dark Roach Roast is £13.13 for a tall, £6.66 for a grande and a penny for a venti. A single-shot espresso will cost you your soul if you have one or your mother’s if you don’t. You can also buy Kia-Ora orange with the faint tint of urine and bags of crisps three decades past their best-by date. Buy a can of Croak-a-Cola and the bitter flavouring of 1970 rust comes through.

5. Silk, the café chef, is tainted by fish people genes. Every slice of bread he touches tastes obscurely of the sea.

6. The ostensible purpose of Chimera Café is the retail of unpleasant drinks and snacks. Its real purpose is the derangement of the senses.

7. Once you have entered Chimera Café it is impossible to leave; the maze of tasteful sofas, tables and stools (defecated by the great gods of the South Pacific) never ends.

8. Chimera Café exists only in the mind of a dreaming chimpanzee.

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This piece originally appeared as a series of tweets by James Knight and another (anonymous) member of Chimera