Posted by: cousinbrandon | April 22, 2011

Versus: The Poetry of Cousin Brandon

Today’s post marks not only a return to Versus — which has obviously been on hiatus for a couple months now — but a return to, well, writing. New writing, that is. Today’s poem is one-hundred percent new, meaning it’s not been read, workshopped, critiqued, commented upon and so forth. I actually wrote this draft Tuesday morning while I was hold for 50 minutes, meaning I was strangely productive during a rather irritating bit of time. Inspiration’s kooky that way.

On Monday night, my girlfriend and I watched an indie flick called Monsters. It followed a budding romance between a photographer and a “rich girl” he was trying to bring home to her father in the states, as the two of them were stuck in the “infected zone” of Mexico. The monsters in question were — well, I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say they were rather creepy. On the whole, the movie was actually decent despite my lousy description of the premise. What’s more, there was a particular scene in which the photographer was shooting film non-stop from a moving train. It got me to think about the idea that, when you shoot everything, you see nothing. That is, in trying to preserve something in a stasis, of sorts, and never once stepping out from behind the camera to look at anything, you never see anything for what it really is. I couldn’t stop thinking about this idea, and, well, I kind of wrote a poem about it.

From Inside the Train, I Study the Photographer Two Seats Over

When I watch him screw
the new lens
into the gaping hole
by the old one,
I assume it is the lighting
or a distance he is
trying to capture that,
for the first lens,
won’t do. I watch him
cock and angle
his head into positions
alien to me, though to him
a usual turn –
an art class model
remembering his pose.
He presses and holds
the shutter release
as I listen, transfixed,
to the clickety-click
spit like bullets,
capturing and preserving
instead of shredding it
all to pieces.
He shoots everything.
He shoots the purple sun
winking from behind
the distant hill. He shoots
what sounds like crows
clawing at each other
before peeling themselves away
and flying off someplace further.
He shoots the scrub brush,
wildflowers, stalks
of blossoming corn,
the grain silo, tractor,
and what must be the farmer
and his farmhouse, smoke
billowing from the chimney
and floating off
into the nowhere,
beyond the approaching hill,
beyond the sky
and hint of cloud cover.
He shoots and clicks
and devours everything,
preserving it all
in its perfect posture,
the whole time shooting
with his good eye obscured
behind that black,
delicate lens, the other eye
squeezed shut, seeing nothing.



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