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and Vintage Rug Company
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10 post(s) found

Chaos and Old Rugs in Tehran

04-29-2011  |  By: Erica |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Chaos and Old Rugs in Tehran
After rounds out in the city of Tehran, Jamison is upset. Priceless old rugs, antique rugs, have been damaged. Museums have been looted. People have been shot. Jamison takes some shrapnel to the shoulder (no big hes okay), Cole pushes him into a munitions closet like theres an explosion. Hes not cool, hes angry. Hes up close, his eyes are wide, hes breathing like he sprinted here.
This is not what I was trained for, Lieutenant. This peacekeeping is not what I am supposed to be doing. I was made to create violence, not prevent it, I cannot attempt to sympathize, I cannot, I want to- I want to level this place, Jamison hears. Agrees.
 Its okay. Good news. Bravos not going out on rounds tonight, or for the rest of the tour. Im going with Charlie company.
 Cole grabs the front of Jamisons jacket. Do not.
Excuse me, Sergeant? We have our orders. And good. Jamisons sick of sending his men out into the streets in the dead of night to get shot at for no reason. Sick of being helpless to keep them safe because commands not on the ground, doesnt understand the conditions.
No, Lieutenant. I you must not. You might get injured.
Jamison laughs hard like M-6 rounds. I might get injured? Its a war, Sergeant. Cole is taller than him and broader than him and older than him and Jamison cant believe what hes hearing.
Then I will volunteer to accompany Charlie-
Are you out of your mind?
You know as well as I that these missions are inefficient in the extreme, Lieutenant, I refuse to allow you to-
Are you listening to yourself, I cant just-
-the moment I let you out of my sight you find a way to get shot at-
 What, Patrick? Get yourself on lock or-
Cole finally rears back and punches the space to the left of Jamisons head, sends boxes of bullets flying, knocks Jamison back into the shelves.
I cannot!
They go silent a moment, the insubordination dwarfed by the sheer impossibility of this outburst from iceman Harvard.
Patrick, Jamison says, and gently grasps Coles arms where hes holding his jacket because maybe this was supposed to be a fight, maybe Cole wanted him to take a swing but all he can think is that his point man is unraveling and he needs to keep him together. Cant do it without him.
 I apologize. I simply. I find it difficult, Lieutenant. He struggles for a moment, puts his hands back on the front of Jamisons flak jacket.
You make things difficult, Nate, Cole finally says, puts his forehead to Jamisons shoulder, right next to where he took the shrapnel.
I know, Jamison says. Puts a hand on his point mans head, tries through force of will to keep all the brains in the seams of that skull. For two minutes in a storage closet in the middle of hundreds of marines in the middle of Baghdad, Lieutenant Nate Jamison keeps his point man stitched together.

Journal of a Oriental Rug Maker

04-22-2011  |  By: Azaad |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Journal of a Oriental Rug Maker
This is a passage found in a journal written by a swordman and an oriental rug maker's apprentice:

My cautiously built wall is so fragile and thin not at all the strong fortress of truth, self-understanding and peace I seek, desire. I can hardly block my dark thoughts, the evil memories and the drumming of old sayings that I have never managed to purge from my mind.

The strong live and the weak die.

I barely contain inside of myself my own emotions. My smile, my ever-present mask, is no longer the salvation I once believed it to be, the cage I had sealed all of my own guilt, confusion and pain within. Designed only to fool others, and it was effective in its purpose. But now...there is nothing can save me from my internal ache, my suffering.

 I never wanted to
Oh but I did, didnt I?

     Day to day, month after month, walking, wandering, an endless cycle. Never have I come close to even the slightest bit of deliverance from this insanity, my journey all the more futile as I continue. I drag myself from village to village forest to forest. Never even setting a steady pace of footsteps, unable to steady even the simplest of motions.
Why didnt you save me?
Where were you then?
The strong survive, and the weak die.
But thats not true. The strong must protect the weak?
Maybe thats true.
But its not my truth.
Where is the truth? Where is the peace, the acceptance? Where is the relief from the ache in my heart, the turmoil of my mind? Looking inward, I know that the constant thing, the only steady beat, rhythm, stable wall, is one, not of comfort, but of my past, my masters teachings, my own thoughtless slaughters. The ever-present reminder of my past torture, past upbringing.

Antique Rugs in Family Drama

04-21-2011  |  By: Erica |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Antique Rugs in Family Drama
   And what are you doing up at this ungodly hour?
    Sally dropped her boot in surprise, and it made a hollow tap on the hardwood floor, flopped over onto the old rug. A soft, dry chuckle sang in her ears.
    Couldnt sleep, She said shortly, but not unkindly.
He didnt respond. Didnt have to. He just stood behind the new couch and watched quietly as she finished bundling up. She slipped her white gloves over her clammy hands and sat back, exhaling.
You sound tired. His voice was not pitying, but tired in itself. She nodded, but didnt turn around. Instead, she pulled a white knitted hat over her wildfire hair, gently smothering it.
She stood up to face him, and gave him a dampened smile. He didnt smile back.  
Ill just be outside for a few minuets. Not past the gates, She said, like she was fifteen again.
He tilted his head to the side and gestured to himself, and when she gave him a quick nod of assent, he reached for his own boots and jacket, fallen amongst the others scattered across the worn antique rug.  
She didnt wait for him. The door clicked shut behind her, and she made her way through the frigid air to the bench under the tree. The world around her was black, but for the circle of white where her cell phone lit the way.
Her bench was entirely unremarkable: not an ancient thing of beauty, nor decrepit enough to be interesting, but shed been sitting in it for years. Shed had, if not her first, then many subsequent kisses while perched there. Shed sniffled and pretended not to cry there, had late night phone conversations, bathed in the sun.
It was as familiar to her as her childhood room, and it still stood while the rest of the house had been remodeled when she moved out.
She didnt sit, but instead slowly brushed the snow from the arm rest, the wet seeping through her cotton gloves and numbing her fingers. She stared at the flakes she held on her fingertips, her eyes wavering in and out of focus. She brought the white to her lips just as the crunch of boots arrived.
She watched him watch her eat the fresh snow, and she smiled slightly, holding out another taste for him. He didnt take it. She lowered her hand and looked at him for the first time since their mothers funeral.
His hair stood out stark against the white without a cap to cover it, and his face glowed pale like a little boy. She suddenly felt like crying, felt the build behind her eyes and in her nose.
He inhaled to speak, wearing the expression he always wore when he was about to say something that would hurt.  
Hey, Sally? I-
She shushed him quietly, then brushed off the rest of the snow on the seat with her sleeve. She gestured for him to take a seat. He did.
They sat together in the silence, their cloudy breaths mingling, spreading through the clear air like frosty mist. The white speckled their clothes like magic dust, and Sally pulled off her cap so her hair could be sprinkled, too, like dewdrops on a rose.
She said, Lets never talk about it, and he didnt argue.
Simultaneously, they lifted their faces to avoid each others, and let the snowflakes perch on their lashes.


Old Rugs in a New Age

04-15-2011  |  By: ESP |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
All about old rugs and their place in our new world

Oriental Rugs in Japan III

04-13-2011  |  By: Azaad |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Oriental Rugs in Japan III
Immediately he strode all the way back to the town and asked after the boy with the village constable.
    What boy? We havent had so much as a stray cat.
    Piko spun and sprinted down the road with the unnatural speed of a master of the Hiten Mitsurugi, lungs gasping for the first time in years. But when he got there, the dead bodies were gone, the boy was gone, dirt had been tossed over the blood. His heart lurched harder than it ever had before. There, in a clearing:
Crosses. Bamboo tied together over mounds of earth.  The boy stood before a cross with beads around it, and an old oriental rug lain before it. He didnt turn around as Piko stood behind him. Piko gazed down at the head of shining light hair, the tiny, filthy hands. Had he dug seven graves himself?
    You made graves for the robbers as well as your family?
    They werent my family. They were slavers.  But now theyre just bodies.
    And who is that? Piko waved at the beads.
    Sakura. From the brothel. I wanted to find her flowers, but he shed trembling little-boy tears, its n-not spring anymore, but he stood tall and straight.
    What is your name, boy?
    He finally looked up at the swordmaster. Haruto Sorame. Sir. His eyes were like the morning sky.
    Sorame is too soft for a swordsman. You will be Ryuken.
    Dragon sword, he breathed, eyes lighting, sounding like a child for the first time.     
    You will be my apprentice. But never forget this, your first lesson. He put a hand on the kids head, the sun finally lifted fully over the knife-edge of the horizon. A sword is a weapon. Kenjutsu is the art of killing.

Oriental Rugs in Japan II

04-11-2011  |  By: Azaad |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Oriental Rugs in Japan II
    Piko Seijiro was the twelfth master of the Hiten Mitsurugi style and found killing men easy. Especially in the early autumn when the moonrise was orange and made his sake taste better. Piko traveled all along the Tokkaido, watching seasons change, and everything else staying the same: men killed each other, women cried.  And one night in early autumn, Piko came upon a ring of highway raiders laughing uproariously at the little boy between them, trying to lift a man-sized katana to defend himself.
    Piko slaughtered the men with a few easy slices. He said to the boy, wiping the red out of the dragon engraving on his katana: do not linger, but rejoice that you have survived. And then he walked away. He vaguely wondered, as he passed through the flickering moonshadows of trees, taking a pull of his jug of sake, if the boy would find refuge in the village down the road. But he didnt really care one way or the other. Was protecting the weak good karma, if Piko didnt feel anything?  Could he really stop killing by killing? Should he even try? Maybe hed be reborn as a dragonfly.
    That night,  Piko went home and stretched out on his meditation oriental rug and willed himself to sleep, he dreamt for the first time in years. He saw, painted on his lids, a golden sun in a dark night sky. Millions of small red sakura petals, crushed and seeping under his feet. Sails, and old rugs, and: a sky-blue dragon, hanging silently in the air above him. The dragon opened its fangs wide, and swallowed the bright sun, smoke curling from its nostrils. It glowed blue like a glass lantern, lit from within. Its snout was crossed with red flames. Sensei, it said. Master.
    No, I dont know anything, I cant be a teacher.
    Piko looked down and saw his muscles withering, his wide chest shrinking, his long hair graying.  His hands seemed to melt where they clutched his sword. The dragon breathed over him, and everything went white.
    He jolted awake. If he were a lesser man, hed be gasping.

Ancient Legends Depicted on Rugs

04-07-2011  |  By: Azaad |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Ancient Legends Depicted on Rugs
   This is a legend that is often represented on antique rugs, especially really old rugs.

It was the first winter in the world, and all of the animals in the forest saw their first snow.
    Oh, its all white and fluffy! Said Rabbit.
    But after a while First Winter stopped seeming magical and started seeming cold. It was cold all day every day, and Sun hardly ever came out. Soon, all the creatures in the forest might be buried in the snow.
    Wise Owl came up with a plan.
    We must send a messenger to the Sun Spirit, so that he will send us a part of himself to keep, and ward off the Winter Spirit. Someone must step forward to do this.  He held out a stick with his claws.
    Well, I cant go, Turtle said. I am far too slow. We would all freeze!
    I certainly cannot go, said Wolf. For Sun Spirit would not believe my cries.
    Finally, the most beautiful of the birds stepped forward, his feathers shining all the colors of the rainbow. His bright, melodious voice rang out: I, Rainbow Crow, shall go.
    It was a long journey, three days up into the sky. Rainbow crow carried the stick above trees and clouds, past the Spirit of the West Wing and the Spirit of the North Wind, past the stars. When he reached the holy home of the Sun Spirit, he was nearly blinded with its glory, and he opened his beak to deliver the most beautiful song in the world.
    With what shall I reward this serenade? Asked Sun.
    Please, Sun Spirit, I  ask for a piece of you to bring to the land and save the forest.
    As he finished his request, the end of his stick burst into flames.  It was the hottest thing Rainbow Crow had ever felt.
    Now fly, said Sun, before it burns out.
    As Rainbow Crow flew home, the fire drew closer and closer to him. It billowed hot smoke into his lungs, threw soot onto his wings. The heat made his eyes sting. By the time he descended from the sky back to Earth, Rainbow Crows feathers were all black, and his voice was left an ugly caw.
    I have brought you fire, he croaked. For keeping warm.  All the animals in the forest rejoiced.
    And when Man came to the forest, he never hunted Crow, for his flesh tasted of soot and his voice was not worth caging. But if you look closely, when the sun shines on the feathers of a crow, you can see all the colors in the rainbow reflected on their surface.


Antique Rug Interviews

04-06-2011  |  By: ESP |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Antique Rug Interviews
So today I embarked on a new project to see what the general opinion is on antique rugs. It's not really a topic that people tend to think about all that often, if you think about it, but I bet that if you ask, you'll find some pretty interesting takes. With this possibility in mind, I set out to ask as many people as I could about their views on rugs and carpets in general. It's always good to start with a sort of general opening question, and then move to more specific interrogation, if you will, later in the conversation.

But that opening line can, in itself, garner some interesting reactions. (Mostly it's that people don't know quite how to respond at first, but then eventually they warm to the question.)

"What do you think about Persian rugs?" I asked one young woman as we were waiting for a stop light.  She looked at me, surprised.

"Um? What?" I had to repeat the question. After she got over the initial shock of my asking her anything at all, she looked thoughtful.

"Well, I guess... I suppose... hmm. I guess I'm pretty neutral on them, really." Then she crossed the street.

Well okay. Not everyone is super cooperative.

But I found if I carried a clipboard around instead, and tried to look more official, I got more positive reactions. Some people waxed poetic n the topic, in fact. For example, one guy went on and on aout a Persian rug he had in his childhood home and how much he loved it. Another woman turned out to be from Iran and had some very strong political arguments about production and factories in her home country.  One young man seemed to be an expert. Their responses and more will be in posts to follow.

Antique Rugs and Metaphors

04-03-2011  |  By: Azaad |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Antique Rugs and Metaphors
    When Im thinking well, everything stands for something else and nothing is itself. A gold wristwatch is half a pair of shackles and a necklace is a chain. Bus stop benches are deathbeds and alone on a winter night, a final bottle of whiskey is a ticket out of this place.

Metaphors are neuron connections in your brain, tangled shining threads between words and sensations, semantics and emotions. The place where you feel icy sprinkles and smell wet concrete is connected by glistening twine to the place where you say rainy day. Sometimes the connections are thick, obvious: the sea is saltwater and saltwater can be sweat and tears, and trickling tears are like rainfall washing into the sea. 

Sometimes, you didnt know two things could go together until you drew out their edges, spun them each a new filament, and wove the tiny ends together.  All the sudden a goldfish is a princess and a castle is a fishbowl. You can drag your fingers through these lacings and tug whole worlds into place, like weaving an antique rug. Sometimes you never fully figure out how things connect, and youre not sure that they should except for the feeling somewhere in your body that tells you they do. Sometimes you dont even use words for this.

    When I read, and when I write, I gather the those spider string metaphors in my hands and then I eat them. I slurp down sticky cobwebs and feel the phrases in my organs. There are drizzling motifs and stonework themes that drip and clunk through my insides. They make me feel. It is so unpleasant.

    I love for things to be unpleasant. A reader should feel anxious or enraged or suspicious or feverish or hopeless or bereaved. Basically I want to make people feel terrible. And burn things to the ground.
I dont feel bad. Guilt is an old dusty grit that gathers new layers every year. Once you accept that things get dirty it doesnt bother you so much and you can draw pictures in the ashes.

Oriental Rugs in Japan

04-01-2011  |  By: ESP |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Oriental Rugs in Japan
Haruto Kotori gave birth on a syrupy night during her sixteenth summer, tsked over by the brothel owner and an old crone from down the street, sweating on a bed of old Oriental rugs. She named her son Sorame, because every single idiot who saw her baby was going to call him that, anyway. Sky-eyes at least had some poetry in it. The other girls at the Akabeko tutted that it sounded like a girls name, but agreed to watch him.
Kotori couldnt bear to be out of work, and went back too soon, half-useless and thick-waisted. Nobody called her little girl anymore. Every night she went to the docks and swilled saltwater, and every morning she came home and cried it back out. Sorame cried with her, out-cried her. Sometimes she buried her face in her antique rug, sometimes she wanted to bury him. By the time the sakura were blooming again, Kotori was dried out.
By his fourth Tanabata festival, Sorame had a mop of lightish hair and his last willing babysitter was the boy-whore Aijirou. Kotori saw them, at sunset as she left, folding a few bits of paper for lanterns and playing with whichever bugs Sorame had found that day. In afternoons she tried to teach him his kanji and hiragana, but her own lessons were hazy.  
So whats this one, Sorame? She kneeled in her worn house-robe on the worn tatami in their room in the Akabeko, chewing on an old fishbone like the sailors did.
Come on. What is it, its not that hard.  The word was sword.
Outside, Mama? Outside?
All he ever wanted to do was dash along the harbor, or tumble through the woods by the graveyard, whacking at things with a bamboo stick. Well, she didnt want to work either.
Fine. Wait for Mama to get her kimono- He tore off to the garden. She let him, and sank down to take a nap. She never seemed to be awake, anymore.
She dreamt of sails and flags with crosses on them.