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Photography: Mockingbirds

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  • Photography I: Mockingbirds
    Fall 2011
  • This fall I took an introductory black & white class in order to learn more about taking photographs and manually processing them. As a final project, I was given the freedom to explore any topic I wanted, so I created this collection of images—almost like a story board—inspired by spoken word poet Rives’ “Mockingbirds“.


    Pitch: “Hush little baby, don’t say a word—
    wait for the [two] with the mockingbirds."
  • Mockingbirds are bad-ass.
    Mockingbirds are the MC’s of the animal kingdom—
    they listen, and mimix and remix what they like,
    they rock the mic.
    Outside my window every morning
    I can hear them sing
    the sounds of car alarms
    like they were songs of spring.
    I mean: if you can talk it,
    a mockingbird can squawk it.
    So check it:

  • I’m gonna catch mockingbirds
    I’m gonna trap mockingbirds, all across the nation
    and put them gently into mason jars
    like mockingbird Molotov cocktails.
    And as I drive through a neighborhood, say,
    where people gotta lotta
    I’ll take a mockingbird I caught in a neighborhood
    where folks ain’t got nada
    and just let it go, y’know—
    Up goes the bird, out come the words:
    Juanito! Juanito! Vente a comer, mi hijo!!
  • I’m gonna be the Johnny Appleseed of sounds.
    Cruising random interstates and city streets,
    rockin’ a drop-top Cadillac with a big back seat,
    packing like thirteen brown paper Wal-Mart bags
    full of loaded mockingbirds.
    And I’ll get everybody.

  • I’ll get the nitwit on the network news, saying:
    “We’ll be back in a moment with more on the crisis.”
    I’ll get some asshole at a watering hole
    asking what brand the ice is.
    I’ll get that lady at the laundromat
    who always seems to know what being nice is.
    I’ll get your postman making dinner plans.
    I’ll get the last time you lied.
    I’ll get: “Honey, just give me the frikkin’ T.V. Guide”
    I’ll get a lonely little sentence some real bad judgment in it:
    “Yeah, I guess you could come inside—
    but only for a minute.”
    I’ll get an ESL class in Chinatown, learning:
    “It’s raining, it’s pouring…”
    I’ll put a mockingbird on a late-night train
    just to get an old man snoring.
    I’ll get you ex-lover wishing someone else good morning.

  • Cuz I’ll get everyone’s good mornings,
    I don’t care how you make ‘em:
    Aloha. Konnichiwa. Shalom. A salaam malaikum.
  • I’ll get uptown gurus, downtown teachers,
    broke-ass artists, and dealers, and Filipino preachers.
    Leaf blowers, bartenders, boob job doctors,
    hooligans, garbagemen, your local Congressman
    and the spotlight guys in the overhead helicopters.
    Everybody gets heard, everybody get this
    one honest mockingbird
    as a witness.

  • And I’m on this. I’m on this ’til the whole thing spreads
    with chat rooms and copycats and moms, maybe,
    tucking kids into bed, singing: “Hush little baby, don’t say a word—
    wait for the man with the mockingbirds.”
    And then come the news crews, and the man-on-the-street interviews
    and the letters to the editor-everybody asking:
    “Just who is responsible for this citywide,
    nationwide, mockingbird cacophony?”
  • And somebody’s finally gonna tip the city council
    of Washington D.C. off to me
    and they’ll offer me a key to the city,
    a gold-plated, over-sized key to the city,
    and that’s all I need, cuz if I get that-
    I can unlock the air.
  • I’ll listen for what’s missing—
    and I’ll put it there.
  • Miscellanous:
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