Monday, 15 February 2010

Why Can't We Help But Look?

The starving in deserts, the casualties of war, victims of terror, of tragedies, and natural disasters... They're on the T.V., in our newspapers, every supply and demand.

What is it about these images that keeps us looking? ...and going back to look again? And buying a book? And watching a documentary? And making a movie? And what do the subjects of these images feel? I find it fascinating enough for poetry...

A Comment on Graphic Journalistic Photography

I understand you
at me,
but why so
morbidly? Without pity,
or grace,
or reddened face –
how dare you stare?

How dare you imagine
Profess to care and understand
as you hand the image
on, agog?
“Oh, God!”
“That’s terrible!”
You’ll only ever feel the sting
of vague humanity –
you don’t
care about me –
go home! Turn on your TV!
I know you can’t get enough,
that’s it; buy a book;
take a hundred and seventh
look at my misery!

Vulture! Scavenger! Vile carrion!
In a moment you’ll cast me off
and carry on with
your daily life – pick up a knife
and slice tomatoes for tea.
And in a week,
after you eat
your fill of tragedy,
it will be as though you never
gauped at me – mangled and crushed
and mauled –
just as if you’d never
cast eyes on me
at all.

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