What’s in the Photograph?
The photographer sits on the shoreline in the sticks and seaweed, with no blanket, and watches the pip movements of birds like wraiths across a mirror. The world is fixed and solid, sublime to the core, in the cold. A querulous goose demands a vantage point. A falcon perches in native grass.
Sirens, too, dwell upon the waters, near the surface, halfway between swimming and flight. Who is real? Those violent vigilantes, those prodigious shriekers, their unmodulated enthusiasm?
A photograph is splash bait, superactive in the spindrift, and memory attracts what floats back. The camera is on a tripod. The photographer catches and filters the beauty of wild nature, films its progression. Eventually, a sunset. Sunset privileges ether, diminishes the belly body; in so doing, it distorts the unity of light and mass. Sunset shoreline is a queer sanctuary. Precious discoveries, irreversible sound, conservationist soldiers reinforcing the material of wind.
The ocean resonates with the exposition of noble theories, including some guided by strange personal interests, with a few that are even correct. Human logic streams in rivulets of half-formed names; the curved part of the self falls toward zero. Despite drudgery and hum, clash and erosion, the essence is harmony, one blended chant. The arena is full of stunned metaphysical beasts. Fish are torn apart by sharks. The trolling-line goes dormant. Sirens flap their sodden wings and crash under the green waves.
Far back from the shoreline, the asphalt city makes demands of transformation upon its own heavy structure. Hundreds of enterprises trace those motifs, the improbable recurrences, the mixed patterns of love and attention, a whirling renewal of culture. These geoterrains have been known for pre-theoretical ages. The once-wilderness engulfs a person in silence.
The photographer is urban but the tree resin is still in the veins. The light shifts orange throughout the horizon and the photographer’s feet are gravity-socked. Now: the faint astonishment of tasting a drop of one’s own blood, moving back through time. There is no camera in the throat. There is no photograph where there's no camera. Sorcery happens in the dark.
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Tucker Lieberman explores villainy and hallucination in his books Painting Dragons and Bad Fire. His poems are in Rockvale Review, Across & Through, Marias at Sampaguitas, Little Dog, Esthetic Apostle, Déraciné, Neologism, and Defenestration. He and his husband live in Bogotá, Colombia. www.tuckerlieberman.com Twitter: @tuckerlieberman