The Photographs of Photographers

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by F.X. MacKenzie

The photographs of photographers are
ungodly sights:
scowls or blank looks,
raccoons in headlights –
post-office portraits even when we “look nice.”

There is a reason we like to stay
on the other end of that
clinical, cynical, unblinking lens,
that mirror for monkeys
(frank as harsh noonlight,
unflattering as an ex-wife).

We squirm, tortured on the hooks of
pompous posterity.
Historians should have no historical significance.
We protest, arms flung up like
crucifixes to ward off the evil lens-eye.

We who capture the souls of natives
and the blur of butterfly wings
live in mortal fear of being pinned down
to the drying board of
1/125th second’s humanity:
one immortal exhibit of evidence that we
did anything more than
watch.

© Copyright 2003 by F.X. MacKenzie. Republished 2004, 2011, 2015.

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