Analog Reincarnation

(Written in response to a series of prints by Indian photographers Madhuban Mitra and Manas Bhattacharya at the San Jose Museum of Art)

Through a distant lens darkly captured,
the archaeology of absence, the analog of
reincarnation, passed on through cousins
in the East. From a factory of dust in the
city of joy, you and your lens, they will
conjure the image of a man long gone.
But now that he lives on, through me,
I can say, thank you, yours truly.

To you, this man, someone that I never
knew, a photograph is all that I see, you
are now me and I am now you—the cousins,
they tell me this is true. Your profile reflects
mine, as I hold it to the light, I see it shine,
secular and sublime, that faded brown photo
from decades ago. This, they tell me, these
cousins from the East.

Through another lens, over in the West, the
library that I never knew, inside these walls,
the books grew and grew, their music available
for review, their stories passed on to me from
you. And thanks to you, I began to read at the
lowly age of two.

As the dust began to settle and feathers of
plaster fell from the ceiling, in a factory
abandoned of any meaning, the imagery
started singing, while the lens opened,
wide and panoramic, enigmatic and true.
Reproduced by f-stops and shutters and
screws, the past emerged in multiple views.

Now, I arrive here today from a soul darkly
captured, through a camera snap, through
a lifetime and back, through the lens of death
and birth passed on from the womb, from library
to museum rooms, here in front of me, a mirror
of archaeology. Through this poetic lens,
past and present depend on cause and effect,
a life passed on from me to you, this poetry,
it shall continue.

Gary Singh is an award-winning travel journalist with a music degree who publishes poetry, paints, and exhibits photographs. As a scribe, he's written nearly 1000 works, including travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry, and short fiction. Every week for ten years, he's penned the "Silicon Alleys" column for Metro, San Jose's alt-weekly newspaper. Currently, he is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy. His website is:

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