nodding obsessively, waving at the bodies as
though they were trophies, expecting us to applaud him.
God, I can still smell the stink ...
He puts the negative back quickly and moves
to the next box. But they are just more pictures from the magazine
Cambodia. Vietnam. Palestine. Ethiopia. The Sahel.
Nicaragua. Indonesia. Angola ...
Famine. War. Rebellion. Hurricane. Plague ....
Angry, proud, terrified, anguished, dead faces,
in rows, piled in corners or spread like dropped laundry down empty
Dead faces all look alike.
A row of guerrillas stand in the hills of some
forgotten third world dictatorship, Commander Zero or Blanco, Arawasii,
Mchebe, dead center with his scarf covering his nose and his AK-47
(always an AK-47) cocked on his thigh, a
blood-thirsty twinkle in his eye. And his lieutenants, most
of them teenagers on a lark of blood and rifle oil, anarchy, hormones,
and mayhem called the revolution.
An unknown pair of eyes - thousands of unknown eyes
- skim the images he has taken and published in a thousand magazines
and a thousand newspapers; they frown, they wince ...
What are they thinking, what are they feeling
-- disgust, anger, pity, fear? Indifference? Boredom?
They flip the page.
Did I have any effect? For good or bad? Were
the pictures I took shocking or irritating or enraging? Were they
entertaining? Did they fill an empty moment in the dentist's waiting
room? Did they distract someone from the thought of the awaiting drill?
Did they have any effect at all?