Lesser Known Photographs

Posted by Erik Moshe on Monday, May 4, 2015 Under: Poetry
My grandparents lived through the days of the grey Crayon
and had nothing to show for it but their true colors
A seventy-five year old man, no trade, as I knew him
wondering what factory he labored at, soot-filled hands
Farm strangled knees buckled, sitting on a Bronx stoop
in the thicket of the thirties when industry choked
on the fumes it had produced in vain

Economic water sacs burst due to a hailstorm of sock puppets
A poor man's odds of surviving in the fold
determined by the conduct with which a spade was wielded
In the card game of War, slapstick humor prevailed
so he laughed off the lack of liquid courage
that drowned the feet of arthritis stricken grocery clerks
Bank tellers, cotton-pickers, grubby work horses
putting in that long haul but seeing no cent of it

Empty wallets common as haystacks
needle to the American dream on vinyl
scratching Anglo-Saxon passions
camera lenses blotched from wear
flashes of childhood and the impact of adulthood
abandoned wedding recital halls
albums untouched for decades at a time

Rarely are the down-and-out generations recalled
since our eyes, still processing film, are also developing
film of their own in a post-Great Depression world
who can't escape the cataracts

Lowering ourselves, in limbo, to the darkroom's amber water
the lessons of our forefathers glimmering below the surface
Penniless, a few of them with copper teeth
some managing a flint stone smile,
playing tricks on the monochrome child's reflection

When he's old enough, maybe he'll be wise enough
to propose a toast to the calcified photo-prints before him

In : Poetry 

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