by Sy Roth

When did we become antiquated chronicles,
quaint gray-scale images of times ago?
So new to me
those snapped frozen moments,
accompanied by giggled refrains
over long hair
hirsute splendor,
bell bottoms striped in red, white and blue,
wildly floral, rayon shirts
oversized collars,
Edwardian foppery
and a toothless smile
intimating decline,
nefarious imp,
illness of the living cowering in eye clefts,
genetic mile-markers on the road to decline.

Not my age–
Live-forever buffoonery
in spite of the march of time.
We’re the Inuit and
their seal-hunting photos
sealed in obsolescence in their igloos,
icy tomes of time marched,
chuckling at the quaint mukluks.
Frozen time,
and Matthew Brady’s gas-engorged corpses
littering cannibalistic fields;
cyclopean mounds of shriveled Hebrews
plowed into the earth,
Kodaks oozing eras into the inkiness.

Reluctantly joined to the eons in a
Decade-long Bataan march.
Shriveled points of reality,
cockeyed time engorged with
the last laugh of antecedent ages.

2 thoughts on “Snapshots

  1. An eye-opener. You think at first it’s about photos of the late 1960s, but no, it ranges far and wide, and back to the first photography, linking the camera with death, not preservation. Striking imagery, appropriately enough; my favorite: “Kodaks oozing eras into the inkiness.”

  2. A poem that starts with Days Of Yore imagery like this can often pull the writer into a predictable ending; whether it concludes with positivity or tragedy or a blend of it, there’s often that “Tra-la-la-my-life-has-meaning-even-though-times-have-changed” bullshit that grinds.

    I won’t say that I prejudged this poem after a couple of lines and started rolling my eyes or anything like that, but I loved the way it just kept spiraling into that kind of bleakness that rings so logical and true it doesn’t even make you feel sad anymore, and you just laugh.

    I feel it’s a credit to the poem that it’s not even that long, but after having read it, I feel it has been hammering away at me for a very long time. I agree with Randall in how it deceptively reaches far and wide (Nice one on pointing out the author’s linking the camera with non-preservation too by the way. Cool concept I didn’t consider). Thanks, I love this kind of stuff.

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