THE PAST WAS BLACK AND WHITE
It was all black and white then
So he would tint a photograph
Meticulously, by hand, bending over
The drafting table, brilliantly illuminated,
Rimless glasses reflecting deliberation
As he colored in what he remembered
Or maybe just selected.
Later on in Kodachrome, he forgot that passion
To restore the hues that the viewfinder
Recorded, that were ditched in the darkroom
Where acid trays delivered black and white
Versions of history. The colored ones
Looked fake despite the care he took.
The black and white studies were the ones
Salons admired. Stark or subtle
In that excision poets learn
To invoke leaving stern skull and bones
Or flitting shadows.
The blown-up prints suggest
The darkroom artifice
Presaging his intent to add
Blush to a cheek, blue to the air.
And it is these that we prefer,
That film noir of sorrow
Limned with menace. How
Every funeral should be shot
In black and white, 8 millimeter.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books, including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest books from Future Cycle Press —“Dead Horses.” and “Selected Poems”. ”Selected Poems” received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize. A chapbook — “Bittersweet” — is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in 2014.