Posted in Unexpected

In Camera

My father always said money came at the wrong end of life
W. C. Fields, or Mark Twain, or George Bernard Shaw
said youth was wasted on the young.
Popular cynicism
always attributed to Twain, Shaw or Fields
the best being W. C. Fields on alcoholism
about not drinking water because fish fuck in it.
Dad’s was less prosaic
and more practical
about inheritances, partnerships, share market buyouts
coming after boundless energy was gone.

We were young. All.
Travelling
yet to be caged by suburbia or capitalism – ambition postponed.
Modern day nomads
moving between countries and cities
stretching two pieces of string that never join – wish list and funds.
Hitching rides
eating instant noodles
and skipping coffee
to pay for must-see attractions
$20 per day for backpackers in the 1980s.

Jean did better
better food
better clothing
better standard of travel
always taking the coach, train and occasional flight
and never having to choose : doing both.

Curiosity once asked
expecting family wealth or high flying career.
I work as I go she replied
photography
nude – select – well paying.

Was she afraid of after sales recognition?
Or accidental evidence later?
She smiled – tolerant and indulgent
the smile of an atheist hearing a child speak of heaven
“it’s not my face they photograph.”

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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.