A camera is a little cave
Where a spider lives. The photographer
Puts his eye to the cave’s mouth and
Pushes the button. The spider comes out and
Bites the eye, which swells, turning into
An organ of his dead body, which floats
Beside his living body. The eye is the heart
Of the dead body. This is how colors
Come to occupy the space
About trying to remember
This visible world
Everything we see we see as if we are gone.
(They fear the camera not because
It will steal their soul but because it gives
The imaginary body of death a living heart.)
This crude and tasteless length of street
Daylight like voodoo powder scattered
On it, the way blurry people from far off
Look like movie-stars.
It is an interior experience.
That’s why the buildings
Look so cheap when everyone is so rich.
An interior experience: Hands in jackets, eyes
On pavement, unspeakable thoughts,
Incredible wealth. Everyone looks ghosted.
Unperson chic, how Big Brother used to release
The newly enlightened prisoner to wander free
For a few weeks before killing him out.
And everyone on the street pretended
Like he wasn’t there. That was in the 80’s.
When we still had roller-coasters built
On the outside of the people’s skin.
Michael W. Clune's books include White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, and Gamelife.