Photogenic Pain

Tilt your chin a little that way
so we can get the full shine
from the tears in your eyes.

Maybe you’re born with it?
Who cares. Hold the pose.

But we should check that background.
Life complicates the composition
and there is no time for color correction.

We only want the pain
that looks the prettiest on camera.
If you’re not picture perfect
get out of the way of the lens.



39 comments:

  1. When I got to the end of your poem, I thought, "It goes perfectly with the expression on the face of Shelle's piece. Perhaps because I was making the same face--disgust mixed with a healthy dose of fury, all aimed at the ones who preach of "picture perfect". What the hell does that mean anyway? I can't wait for the day when we crush lenses and kiss mirrors.

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    1. In this society we have very fixed ideas of what a "perfect" victim looks like, and any deviation from that idea means we don't have to acknowledge the pain as real, or even acknowledge that the ones experiencing the pain are worthy of basic human respect.

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  2. I love this one! I was thinking of pain in colors (mri,cat scans). Glad I read your post first. It's unfortunately perfect. Big Hugz, Rasz

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  3. Oh this is absolutely spot on potent!❤️ The entire concept of 'picture perfect' is flawed because being human we are meant to have imperfections. So yeah.. what the hell? Beautifully penned.❤️


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Right, and society has a way of invalidating the harm done to people because they don't fit into that idea of perfect victim.

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  4. No ugly crying either! Only attractive sobbing allowed.

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  5. That face. In that picture. Is speaking without words. And it's not pretty.

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  6. so spot on....so powerful and wise. Pissed me off, thanks, xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. We should all be angry that society demands that a victim must fit into a particular profile in order for it to acknowledge their pain is real.

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  7. Oh, THIS:
    "We only want the pain
    that looks the prettiest on camera."

    Goodness. So much power and truth in those words. Perfect.

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    1. And who defines what is pretty? That is also a big issue that needs to be addressed.

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  8. It's all about image...but you busted the perfectionists' mirror...thank you!

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    1. I wasn't exactly discussing perfectionism, as in a personal need to consistently perform at a top level in order to feel validated, but that could be another facet to this piece.

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  9. You are so right! We are so programmed about what II is to look perfect that we have learned to hide the real us. Trained to present that perfect picture to the people around us! Spot on!

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    1. I think society plans a hand in forcing this artificial concept of perfection in that it values some hurts over others. It is so difficult not to internalize that when its all around us.

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  10. Wow.."We only want the pain that looks the prettiest on camera." I never thought of it that way, but it is so true.

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    1. There is a certain disturbing voyeuristic quality to that as well, that is so disturbing.

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  11. Photogenic pain - yes, we only want the most attractive. This is a really brilliant poem.

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  12. So true, but seeing/knowing this sets one free

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  13. As I have always taught my son, beauty is an opinion, not a fact. It's devastating to observe the selfie generation getting swallowed alive by their constant craving for impossible perfection and external validation.

    I love your poem! Particularly the line:

    "We only want the pain
    that looks the prettiest on camera."

    Truth!!

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  14. Nicely satirical! I read it as a criticism of journalists in particular .

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    1. Yes! This was exactly what I was trying to get across.

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  15. I can't help but wonder if that apocryphal warning about photographs stealing your soul, may be more true than we want to believe ~

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  16. Beautifully empathetic words Rommy. If only more of us could see those tears are real. XXX

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    1. And that people don't have to meet some standard for their tears to be recognized as real.

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  17. Yes, prettiest pain only. How pathetic! Well-expressed, Rommy.

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  18. Picture Perfect... thinking this is WORD & THOUGHT perfect!! No photoshop required, you captured the essence of the distasteful requirement everyone demands... only the prettiest, whatever the emotion, others need not apply.

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  19. This makes me think of that recent trend "Pretty when you cry", a crazy concept in this new world of selfies.

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  20. Photogenic sad people in films kinda annoy me! I cry ugly!

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