AMP. Always Electric.

Volume 2, No. 1

After All I Saw

Remember our friend
with the leather cap
inspecting the troops?
He looks so quaint now
in the black and white footage
shaking the General's hand
in the opera house, the prop room
stacked with false limbs
metal bones, glass eyes.

Watching TV sometimes helps.
All of them conserved on one side of history,
you and me, unknown, on the other.
All we can do is snigger
at the ones who can't help themselves
from doing bad things.

The extremes of helplessness,
like that time
you raised your voice at your wife,
that night she slept,
after lots of beer, with the General?
Nothing regret can't resolve.

I saw them, you know, the guys
with the orders and hand guns.
They slipped into the shadows
of rotting beams and fallen personalities.

And then they were gone.

Even if they had been caught
on my handheld we wouldn't have had a chance.
Though at least we would be digging up the bones
by now, and they'd be watching us, shaking.

Or do you think banning
electrons for a while would’ve worked better?
It is so difficult to decide between
your conscience and mine.
Oh, to be beamed up
on a dark and stormy night
for a date with the director
of this sitcom. Behind the tinted glass
of a bullet proof limo
the General in dark glasses
holds a rose, a rose, a rose.
And next to him, who is that?

I had come for them
through the shells and ruins
and find myself filmed
as the motorcade rolls by.
A rose petal was tossed from the limo
then a bud
and another and another
at the feet of expecting women
who could no longer bend from the burden
of not caring. I'm seeing it again now
on TV, I see the roses, I see myself, I see the camera.

Abou Farman

An anthropologist, writer and artist, Abou Farman is author of the book Clerks of the Passage (2012). He is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research. As part of the artist duo caraballo-farman, he has exhibited internationally, including at the Tate Modern, UK, and PS1/MOMA, NY, and received several grants and awards, including NYFA and Guggenheim Fellowships. He is producer and co-writer on feature films including Icaros: A Vision.