The Death of the 50mm

I stuffed my 50mm lens—wrapped in a yellow handkerchief—into my left, 16oz boxing glove and placed the boxing glove deep in my 40L backpacker bag for safe keeping during transportation from JFK to the Dominican Republic. I thought I was so smart.

16oz of padding. Saving space in my bag. Genius, I thought.

It was over a week after arriving before I went to my bag, on a total whim, to pull it out. Maybe take the lens for a spin around the block on my new camera in this foreign place.

I unlaced the dark red glove and began pulling at the handkerchief wrapped lens, all the while thinking to myself I almost never use this lens. I shoot almost exclusively with my 30mm.

Just as these thoughts passed through my mind, the lens rolled out of my hand and crashed right into the tiled flooring.

Shit.

I stared at it on the ground.

Maybe it’s okay, I thought.

I scooped it up. Rattling. Crunching.

Shit.

I took off an end cap and glass and parts exploded to the ground.

And that’s how I came to shoot exclusively with a 30mm lens.


Dominican Republic. July 17, 2016.

Julie Campbell

The Best Sunsets

You would think a clear evening
Would produce the best sunsets
But I propose the sunsets
That leave me sitting and staring
Long after it’s gone
In awe
Are the skies with cellulite
Wrinkles and folds
Shit has gone down in those currents somewhere

184


This poem was in collaboration with Julie Campbell, who gave me the prompt with this photo of a gorgeous California sunset.

Saboteur

In truth,
My ambition drives me to success.

The hardest part—if I were to be really honest—
Is to not let my success burn too painfully in my veins
My skin suddenly too hot on my muscle. My bones.

That’s when I sacrifice it all
Start over.
Ever operating in extremes.
The self saboteur.
For no better reason than to control the destruction.

Success more painful than failure.

112

A Doctor’s Visit

Say “ahh”
Said the doctor
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
He looked at the city on her tongue
The gears in her teeth
The light in her tonsils
Movie playing real deep.
Looks okay to me, he said.
She nodded.
Maybe a second opinion, she thought.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a…

She woke up this way

Her voice was ragged and scratchy

Unable to speak.

The first time she opened her mouth

(It was to greet the doorman)

A moth fluttered out

It’s tiny wings flapping half-wild.

 

She snapped her jaw shut

Slapping her palm over her lips

Eyes gaping

Eyebrows pressed into her bangs.

 

She cleared her throat

Chm. Huh-Chm.

As she stepped out onto the sidewalk

Fingers now pressing into the space at the base of her neck.

She tried again.

 

It was a tiny squeak

Instead of a soundful

Hello.

 

Chm, she repeated.

 

She thought back to the night before

And the curse she’d cast on herself

In her sleep

The curse of silence

Unless she had something wise to say.

 

It wasn’t until many years later

After years and years of cursed silence

That she realized her wisdom to share

She sat in the park

On a peeling grey bench

Her blue eyes finally bright again

Set in a face of worried wrinkles.

She looked down at the squirrels

(They were the only audience who’d listen now)

And she began

Her voice clear as day…

 

Once upon a time,

In a land far away,

There lived a silly girl

Who believed a silly thing

About wisdom and voice…


This poem was in collaboration with Brent Lampier, who gave me the prompt “Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a…

I Miss the Sun

The darkness protected her
From being seen.
A shield
So they couldn’t make out her stripes.

They’ll love me
As long as they don’t see me too clearly.

And they did.

Her shields were up
And she was always a little blurry around the edges
But at least they loved her.

I miss the sun, she thought,
as the horizon started to turn.
As she went inside.

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

This poem was in collaboration with Ranna Bigdely, who gave me the prompt “I miss the sun”.

The day it went sideways

I can’t remember the first day

I started to go sideways

But I seem to remember

I was walking down the sidewalk

Thinking about the cracks

In the concrete

Spiderwebbing out in front of me

And then somehow

mid-thought

It all started to turn

A solid 90 degrees.

I’ve been walking on edges of buildings

And trees

Across parked car doors

And people’s faces and torsos

Jumping over windows and exit signs

Ever since.

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