You who always saw straight through to the heart
Do not forget your visions or accept the fictions
Of the fearful
All that’s changed is the path got tangled up
That’s the way of things down here
On a blue planet
Having nothing still means nothing
And though each new layer brings you closer
You feel the weight but would not have it
When the time comes you’ll relax your grip
The light undiminished, and everyone there.
Award-Winning Photographs I’ve Never Taken
The first award-winning photograph I never took
Was of a man in his sixties sitting cross-legged
On cardboard under the eaves
Of a derelict mansion behind Av. Paulista.
He had the kind of face – thin lips, hawk nose
And eyes like tumbled agates – that I’d expect
To see atop a khaki coat, behind a countertop,
Doing some skilled job I know nothing about
And am therefore intimidated by. Someone,
In short, to whom I’d usually defer.
But there he was in the damp garden
With his empty cans and his hessian sack,
And an expression that was frozen now
Forever, halfway between anger and pain.
The second award-winning photograph I never took
Was of the desperate housewife I passed
In the street as she aired out her Peke.
Rich and golden she was also, somehow,
Brittle and frozen, a lacewing trapped in the amber
Of years no intervention absolves.
I would have taken my shot just as
She saw I was coming, and looked
Pre-emptively away in disgust at my leer.
(Or was it panic that it might not appear?)
And my photo would also have caught
The way her dog, by some freak of empathy
Or canine instinct, followed her gaze
And turned away too, as if faintly appalled
By the eye-watering smell of humanity
And men that are lower than dogs.