The Camera and the Wrench

The Camera and the Wrench

Everyone wants power,
And this is not a sin —
The strength to lift your furniture,
The speed and skill to win —
Everyone wants power,
For those without aren’t free,
But though all seek its feeling,
Few possess its key;

When I was in my twenties,
A screen before my eye
Displayed a man of wit and courage:
Power, by word’s supply;
The camera gave his visage
The wings to span the world
And so into the camera
My strength and soul I hurled;

I twisted and I twirled about
And learned to sink or swim,
In that strange world of appearances,
Of jumps and cuts and trim,
Of snark and of sincerity —
In perfect balance weighed —
And felt myself, by slow degrees,
Ascend the camera’s grade;

But this was an illusion:
The power from the lens,
Which fooled me, made me think that I
Could warp the thoughts and trends,
The minds and views of others,
This power, I could see —
Its hand stretched not above their heads,
But reached instead for me;

The strength I saw upon that screen
So many years ago,
Was power not created,
But drawn up from below,
From people eyeing stardom
And the power it could bring,
Submit themselves to outside rule
In hopes of being king;

This power lay in others hands,
From bottom to the peak,
If what is said does not appeal,
The strong becomes the weak;
The camera’s power seemed to me,
No gain in strength at all,
But only its appearance
In a rise before a fall;

Within the camera lay the clue
That showed a truer path,
One which was not subject to
Some democratic wrath,
The man who makes the camera
Has power for himself;
He has no need for their assent —
Their thoughts are not his wealth;

The maker’s power lies within,
And not among the crowd,
Though often forced to cede his skill
Their money makes him proud;
His worth is made objective
By the function of his works,
Not hanging in anxiety,
For smiles or for smirks;

In my mind, the wrench ascends,
The camera falls away;
I turn my eyes from slanted brows,
And lips that ‘yay’ and ‘nay,’
Between the camera and the wrench,
The former draws more eyes,
But it is the latter path
That’s chosen by the wise;

Everyone wants power,
And this is not a sin,
But not all roads are equal,
And you’ve only got one skin;
From one who’s made of writing now,
Familiar with its stench,
Put away the burning lens,
And seize the silver wrench!

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