failure of romance

i quit every other day and the other days i don’t even bother. i should’ve been a poet or a painter, or even smarter, taken those automotive repair classes in high school or got a good job at the shipyard like everyone else. maybe i should’ve went to a vocational cooking school, or better pestered my mother into buying me an electric guitar when i was twelve so i could’ve run away at fifteen to a southern california suburb to star in an angry punk rock band. instead what i’ve got are cameras, film, a darkroom i can’t afford, chemicals and paper. yet even with these riches i scarcely manage to fit any one thing worth your whiles to the confines of the material, never mind the unending erosion, for better or worse, of my very own wiles. it’s a feeble medium and it’s not keen to forgive. on my best days i think to tell the world important things, but let’s be honest, i cannot. it doesn’t work that way. it’s the cameras that do the telling and the most they ever tell me is what i’m in need of knowing. i scratch out the bits and pieces i remember and do what i can to smuggle them out to you. i try my best. i try to guess where you’ll be. i try to pronounce the languages you might speak. i try to carry on the mannerisms that might make your mind. i don’t know. the cameras don’t care what they do. the cameras don’t need to be used. there are long lonely days when i think the cameras are just fine by themselves as if maybe i should’ve been somebody else. like what i should’ve been is a clerk, a conductor, an electrician. some kind of catalyst. pure and invisible.