We are scientists, we are anthropologists,
the twelve apostles, we are the savior,
we are hunters and collectors, astronauts
with every intention of bringing home
handfuls of the sand we found on the moon.
Vivian, maybe the secret was in your name,
a twisted code of semantics. Like the rest of us,
you were the food you ate, the girl and the candy
at the movies, the woman in The Supremes,
the hundreds and hundreds of rolls of Kodak film
you loaded and cranked forward, the reels of Super-8,
the little mic and recorded voices of perfect strangers;
you were in newspaper cut-outs, in the headlines
of crime, rape, kidnappings and horrendous events.
You were the hats you wore, the shoes, the dresses,
the political slogans of the badges on the overcoats,
but nobody really cared about you, Vivian,
the families you lived with and worked for;
even the Tooth Fairy lost interest in your collection
of baby teeth, tiny maracas out of plastic film canisters.
You got permission, however, to padlock your door
and kept the world tucked beneath your pillow.
On solitary walks on free days or afternoons or not,
neither pushing baby carriages nor kids by the hand
would keep you from straying off busy city streets
into alleyways to the trash and the dumpsters,
to capture the minutia and the marvels of our lives,
the makeshift cardboard shelters of vagabonds,
the industrial lots of slaughterhouses, everything
from the candy to the crime, from the grinning idiot
to fresh roadkill fell within your compassion.
We are poets, we are journalists; I am, suddenly,
in the split seconds of your reflection in glass doors
in the windows of cafeterias, in parked cars,
in public toilets, in the full-length mirror a man
carried out of a workshop atop his shoulder;
over 40 years of everything you were in cardboard boxes,
an otherwise miscellaneous menagerie of someone’s life,
scattered around the greater Chicago metropolitan area;
and among the snip-its and what-nots and useless trinkets,
100,000 negatives never developed, never printed, never seen
but once by you, Vivian, satellite of love, life on a given day,
your gaze beaming down into the tiny hall of mirrors
hanging from your neck,
your thumb, and
was you, always you.
~ Craig Martin Getz
Craig Martin Getz considers himself from LA but has been living in Barcelona since 1989. He is an English teacher, an ex-Governing Body member to the European Youth Parliament in Berlin, and a photographer, with several solo exhibitions in Spain.
‘Vivian Maier’ forms part of his collection, ‘A Mountain on Jupiter’.