In dedication to all the lost film of the world

Before I knew it the picture was taken

 

that was it

the moment came

the moment passed

we go on  

we forget

 

but I wonder,

what ever happened?

At how things got

to be, the way that

they became to

be

 

Images record history

so that we may see

how things used to be

instead of believing

all that was written,

a photograph can show

you more-then

 

And when I think

back to that day

on that day

I remember

so well

 

Clear skies

early spring

wafts of jasmine

linger in the breeze

 

but there was more,

more that I cannot

remember

 

So I turned to my journal,

and read aloud

 

“On the first of May we mated”

 

I flip through

licking my thumbs

wishing for no more

paper cuts

 

next ten

next twenty

 

I find the page

with the tea stains and

a single brown leaf

aged by pressure

and flattened

with time

 

I continue

 

“What do the changes of season mean? Unforeseen and spinning, I am forever wondering, in ebb and flow of some greater mystery. How can I know what I do not know?”

 

I stop myself

 

There were 24 tiny, 1 inch by 1 inch black and white photographs from that contact sheet I developed last March. (Kodak ISO 400 analog film)

 

I flip the page

 

“A splash of water at our feet, with all the I wonders that could be, sun-dried and wondering, are our memories more than silver-gelatin-salt?

 

My notes on the process read something like this:

 

Developed on the emulsion side,

with an f/8

for two and a half seconds.

Developer for two minutes.

Stopbath 30 seconds.

Three minute fix.

Water bath 30 minutes.

 

I ponder by the ancient pond. And think about our blood in tiny frames, ornate and plain, hung about the house, with tiny grainy-faces that smile black and white and forever.”

 

I do not have a picture-perfect memory,

I am limited by my capacity to remember

all that I see

 

aren’t we all?

 

In words and in colors

how can I tell you about

the black ant crawling

or the way the light

felt in the morning

(when our eyes were

crusty with dreams)

and it’s not birds

outside that sing

but cars and horns

and people

buzzing

 

why should I tell you

If I can show you

 

So I bought a camera

and set aside time

to hold the thing to my face

and see the world in

a frame

I read more

 

“Forever as long as we may last, as materials degraded, skin sags, the image fades, decomposes, decays. We play child-like spring, in the stillness where past & future meet—greet, the photograph as a single moment—never to be again. I contemplate the changing weather. I forget things like names, but could recall the numbers;

 

Shutter: 1/60th

F-stop: 1/16

ISO: 100

 

(the measuring of light,

the sensitivity involved)

 

It saddens to lose your precious moments to careless mistakes.

I’ll never forget Madrid, Barcelona, Spain.

All film lost to a broken plastic developer lid,

light leaks to oblivion—

I didn’t know what I did until the filmstrip dried,

and I could see right through to the other side,

blank and picture-less.

With the bitter knowing that I will never see

what I saw again.

 

It’s the kind of lost that

only those who create

could understand

 

 

I get closer in

 

 

In every town we built alters,

rapped verses of inspired jubilance,

& all the quite images from them,

it’s as if they never happened

never existed

 

Conversation becomes mute,

dark, forgettable—

 

 

lost forever

to a defective plastic lid

letting the sunlight in

burning all image-memories

to oblivion

 

with all my

“i wonder whens” &

“in which way did it begin” ?

only to be reminded of

the end

Shit.

 

The darkroom is a careful process,

It requires a lot of time, patience

and self-discipline.

 

To spend hours on end

just so that you may see

the moments you saw

again.

 

It’s a lost practice,

patience in the dark.

 

Mediating on the stillness,

I contemplate the changes

within and all around me.

 

Water gaze

chemical-haze

some call it

alchemy

I call it

my own

secret

thing

of

image

burning-

dodging-

developing

 

how many hours

how many prints?

 

The question arises as

the possibility vanishes,

in what could have been decades

to have and to hold,

mere seconds—

 

no more

&

no after

 

eyes blink

 

Do we now know

only what we can now see,

or has our memory

formed patterns?

 

To remember 

light and dark

color or contrast,

the feelings and the

thoughts forever

attached

 

If only by some spider-thin

string in our brain

the smell I will never

forget

but the images

cease to fully remain

 

Expect in some weird

playback dream

of smeared Vaseline

and name-recall

memory

 

But,

with all that there be,

blank film with no

light nor dark reads

expressionless and

transparent

 

 

I continue

 

“I remember the way

you used to feel,

but you’re fading

and I’ve no photograph,

no time instilled

nor black and white I can

grasp”

 

 

I closed my journal and let out a sigh

there were more things to consider

and a lot to let go

 

With all this non-linear circling 

with no clear-cut story to place in a frame

makes me wonder about what it means

the photograph as record

the photograph as a second-moment

a second memory,

clearer than what we can recall

with words, the images in our mind

the photograph is our

“Forever” on repeat

 

But only

temporarily

 

“Forever”

existing in the

moments we can

remember,

in the moments

that we are

present to see,

 

or hold

or take

or to

be

photo-

graphed

 

Our tiny deaths,

the still-living

 

to have a picture

taken

used to mean that

a part of your soul

had been

captured

that a part of your soul

had become

entrapped

“forever”

 

But what can

really last forever?

And how could one

even begin to measure

such distances

 

What do I have that

I could call forever?

I do not know

because I haven’t

gotten that far yet

 

And anything and

everything else

(that are the materials

of life)

have aged,

decayed,

or transformed

In someway

or another

 

The lost rolls of film

Were transfigured

Into the ghost image

Afterlife of a

photogram-photograph

 

Anew image last

where the old

ones vanish

 

In memoriam to all the lost film of the world

lost to light

lost to dark

to elements and time

lost to people and pets

to flashfloods

and bad bets