"These are our symptoms and our monuments. I want simply to save them, for what is ceremonious and curious and commonplace will be legendary."
–Diane Arbus (quoted by Gregory Gibson, in Hubert’s Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus)
I don’t know why I find the truth I feel
when I meet the pity of my nightmares.
I should look inward, I’m told, but by whom?
A voice in my chest breathing like fever.
Church bells drowning in their cacophony.
Musty tent smell of traveling side shows.
Stony fear in faces of those called freaks.
I can see all that and more in the night
inside a blind room, my own, no windows,
a door always locked when you lose the key.
Diane Arbus, I declare, hope she hears . . .
Is beginning her stroll through Central Park.
Likes to take pictures of all the strangers
she might grow to know if she were still here
and her ghost had more film to wash her eyes.
I don’t know why I give a damn, I’m lost
myself, this sunny path may lead nowhere.
Here’s a curious girl, a man and boy,
and there’s a woman with her scarred conscience
formed through years of blows by cowardly men.
Here they can all congregate in silence.
You were happy being among such dead.
Still, it’s the living beat the cold walls down.
(II: 5 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander