Marine water and smoke out of the vial that darkens down to black fountain pen ink, dirtying up sea foam. Algae blooms, delicate green, strangely organic and chemical at the same time, with big juicy sillage. The ambergris rises to the surface an hour later, making it even wetter with ocean spray; benzoin sweetens it, turning it fresh again.
Six hours later and it’s still there, chaotic, never seeming to settle down to one depth; yet it’s oddly comforting and beautiful.
Gov’t Mule does a terrific jam cover of Jimi Hendrix’s 1983 (A Merman I Shall Be)–from Electric Ladyland–that goes deep under water around the 4:15 mark.
Camel is that delicious import shop halfway down a dark alley that greets you with dried roses in enamel vases and sticky dates on brass trays when you walk in the door.
Cedar boxes of incense, the animal musk of raw silk tapestries… The shopkeeper has smuggler’s eyes, and you laugh when he tells you there’s a djinn in the bottle but you buy it anyway because he’s so incredibly sexy.
Triage at a burn unit.
Scorched rubber tires, plastic bandages, charred flesh. An hour later, it rests painfully with a smear of aloe, and then fades completely with an ominous gasp of sweet lilies.
It’s tragic–and yet still kind of gorgeous.