Glossary for the Fragmented (Part III)

Gary Hartley
3 min readSep 11, 2023

Note for users: None of this should be taken as read. Cross out any sentences you don’t like. Use margins for insults. Feel free to read parts I and II.


The wellspring of contradictions. We love the light and we hate it; we love to be seen and we hate it. We judge the covered as we cover up. Let fabric cover our mouths before we spout those foul views and infect others. Collectors of dust, losers of colour, hiders of sin, beloved of the prudish. We have come a long way, but see no reason to leave curtains behind as a curio. Contradiction is as inherent to the species as it is to the curtain. Forever ancient, forever modern. Never given much credit but never truly ignored. There ever remains that possibility that one day they won’t open, limiting us to the shadow taunting fandangos of the light from there on in. Shutters are widely accepted to be better, but that’s not all there is to it. Promises of insulation and softening of contours invade our thinking and we dream of premium rings and little details on the stitching that only we will ever notice. No matter how firmly shut, a blade of light will always creep in.

See also: BANKS, SLEEP


Almost every large thing you could possibly imagine looks better from it. Zlatni Rat, one of Croatia’s most famous beaches, is entirely mediocre to be actually upon, all standard pebbles and poseurs on rented lounge chairs. Take a photo from a helicopter and it’s something else entirely, a sweeping ‘V’ of white against brilliant blue, an arrow pointing to encroaching destiny. They fooled me, those helicopter snappers. The Parthenon when viewed from the nearby Hill of the Muses is breath-taking; when you’re standing there among the pillars of the ancients, it is a selfie-stick jousting contest amidst scaffolding. We expect modern inventive gimmicks to die within a few years of their appearance, but the selfie stick flatly refuses, in spite of any logical prognosis suggesting a precipitous fade-out around 2017. It’s success, you can only assume, due to the subtleties of the human form exposed by the distance provided by a cheap arm extension of plastic and metal. To appreciate distance, you must stand where the marketers are, but resist what the marketers show.



We would like to hide our decay but cannot. Specks of skin glide and fall, glide and fall, mingle with hair, insect exoskeleton and minute soil particles. We reside with the moths, though they, in contrast, do little to disguise a body made of dust. No amount of expense on furnishings or ultra-high definition screens will shield them from being landing spots for the edges of our bodies. Some folk strive to achieve the impossible nonetheless, such is the general human wont; with every swish of the duster, every savage sucking follows dust waiting to hit a so-briefly pristine surface. Without the aid of surrounding machinery, this is the closest we get to flying, to immortality. A dynamic death with a life of its own, sunlight teasing its constant presence. The failure to acknowledge beauty where it is found is all-too common.




Gary Hartley

Writer of different things. Come for the insects, stay for the odd literary works, or vice versa. @garyfromleeds