Lawrence Upton

Lit-Mag #37 
Myself & Others

Five Pictures


They’re striding somewhere, quite fast. She swings a retailer’s carrier elatedly, though it seems half-filled.
She’s looking down and laughing, perhaps contented, perhaps amused; but he’s looking hence, eyes raised, a man surveying a territory to be penetrated.
His arm is around her. He’s almost dragging her along.

Snap 22 June 2005

Three men pictured beside and leaning on
the chill store ice machine. Two are fishermen
and one is an architect whom they consult.

You may identify each profession
with some certainty, by the clothes it wears;
and the look of expectant deference that two
have for the one, who is all alone
on his side of the chill store ice machine.

They put their weight on it; he rests his hand
and looks down, at it, as might generals
upon relief maps. It carries meaning,
part of what he says upon this press day;
and, with his right hand, he seeks for a thought
almost near his heart but, it seems, floating
upwards. This is rhetorical. He shall
secure it; and, opening the hand, flutter it
into a startling flight before the men –
One already looks a bit surprised.

The architect sees no frozen water.
He looks out of himself into his space,
walking the surface of his inner thoughts
of divets and of concrete, earning fees.

None here is saying words. We’re in a gap
between uttered sounds, one of many
tableaux persisting for a news vision

Snap, not taken

Two ladies climb, slowly, a hill of steps.
She that’s in front is large, with a cruel gaze;

chopped top, cheapo pensioner mode; cross-faced.
The one behind, much older, is quite slim.

Her clothes fit her. Her hair, lifted by a wind’s
belly, buzzing them, holds the stylist’s shape.

She passes, her face kind and intelligent.
I wait for the other to stop clambering, and turn.

But she is ceaseless. At the hill’s brow – walks
out of sight quickly without looking back.

A picture of a picture from Palestine

A woman is crying profusely, an expression of despair, clinging to a heavy gate.
A photographer, taking the crying woman’s picture, is looking unhappy, an expression of sadness.
The Prime Minister, watching a video of the scene, is teary in front of an ambiguous expression.
It is unfortunate.

Four figures

Four figures, each looking into the camera.
Father Christmas, most of him obscured by identification, has one eye kind and one eye tough. He’s pissed off, but not greatly.
Jonathan, who is old enough to believe it all and to believe in the efficacy of lobbying, sits upright, his lips thinned by the physical pressure of hope, eyes full open for full information retrieval, as attentive as a dog at its own gate.
The younger child, I forget its name, does not know why it is being photographed, warm and comfortable and next to Father Christmas, sitting on Zoe’s knee. The eyes have a general focus, taking a lot in but most of it going unused.
Zoe’s fine. She’ll have her picture in the newspaper.
All of them are clean. None of them is ill. Everything is timely. The photographer has a number of calls.

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