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Celluloid Suffering
by Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier

("Celluloid (is)...colorless...used as a
substitute...for materials such as ivory and amber.")

"I do not speak for My People, but I tell you this:
A law passed in 1914
said you couldn't kidnap natives, put them on exhibit.
Meaning in the flesh, but

You went ahead,
Hung the pigment,
Framed,
In your dining room.
Stretched another in your bedroom, eyes wet
one big tear falling
on brown cheeks
or two brown nipples
hard as coconuts.
Hard for you, loving your walls.

I do not speak for My People, but I tell you this:
More than any love I couldn't get, I grieve
the love I lost when I saw how you saw me.

Then didn't you look away
Brush
And hands clean
To find new subjects
New ways to capture what you could.

Didn't we, unseen, go way past tears trying to see
ourselves some other way.
Didn't we, unseen, sometimes go dry and sometimes
Crumble.

Then here you come zooming
Suddenly seeing everything
Wrong,
Fixing
Everything wrong.

Close up to sorrow seems to make you suffer.
Turn your lens around.
Set yourself free."

© Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier
     painting by Waway Linsahay Saway



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Celluloid Suffering

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