Shahriar Mazandi Painter and Photographer


Playing with Fire – sample images from the original series 2009 – 2022

Pictures from a Garden Bonfire

By Shahriar Mazandi

A wave of flame, a wave of pain.

The initial blast knocked me backwards off my feet.

A sheet of fire engulfed my face for the eternity of a second.

In that second my mind observed a mushroom cloud from a front row seat.

Within the embers found its way something that shouldn’t have been there;

A pile of old floorboards, building site debris, an aerosol can?

Eyes protected by camera, it reached knuckles first with a terrific bang.

An intense hot gale rushed past, singing, singeing.

In hospital, the searing came through wave after wave. 

Injected with morphine, I flew on a journey to the centre of the Sun;

Each crest and trough of residual heat a little less before the next. 

And through the pain, I breathed calmly until this journey’s end.

Under bandages skin came off in sheets like edges off a glacier.

One morning at breakfast the dead skin on my entire lower lip came off in one piece. 

Beneath the mask, what sort of butterfly would emerge from this chrysalis?

There were warnings it may be necessary to accept a new image of the self.

The mask came off and a new self emerged that shed an old skin.

© 2024 Shahriar Mazandi Painter and Photographer

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