Sofia, Bulgaria- September 2014
She stands on the periphery of the bejeweled and famous. Arms crossed and smirking. A distinctive tiara perched on her disheveled curls.
Tattoos adorn her flesh. Back alley artist scrawls that draw blood.
They accentuate her unpolished baubles.
The flaws are deliberate and worn with pride.
Even her edges have edges.
Packs of killer dogs prowl her streets. Children sniff glue in the murky underpasses. Do not wander her streets alone after dark. She is desolation. Stay away from her.
That is what the well-groomed, popular ones say.
Those whispers of warning are dispelled by her voice. It drifts through the thick rose-perfumed cigarette haze. Ancient melodies merged with modern banality. The result is charming, hypnotic. Intensely unique.
Heat flows through her veins. The deep, thirst-quenching fire of the Earth.
And the soul-appeasing warmth of faith.
If you observe her with a sharp, but respectful gaze, she may reveal her faded elegance.
And precious, rare softness.
Many have said that she has seen better days.
No. For this fierce, resilient queen, the best is yet to come.