Photo of Jack Powers © Bill Perrault

The Odessa Steps

of course film lies
crops and cuts, freezes moments
immemorially and stretches the simple
into the measurelessly implausible frame
by frame the movies go frame by an
impression in animation clicking
so decidedly
so film lies so what
the image adjusted for effect
face just after verdict of guilty
the shutter too fast for truth
too slow for what is humanly real
the continuum lost, always, just
a parade of encapsulated segments
and the credits running by too fast
to really read, and, in fact, all art lies lies,
deals in parts, focuses on the apprehendable,
the message, the libretto-¬~ artists are liars,
finally, and
what is truth is impossible once the
image gathering machine encounters the symbol
making machine and even Joan of Arc
was shilled, was neither witch nor saint
was mostly the nutty guy next door
with real and crazy dreams come to life
and final nightmare, so, it’s hard,
the quest for the absolute and
indivisible lost in the continuous cold
drizzle of evidence, and it never ends,
and so someone, even you when desperate or
bored or just lazy, settle for, oh,
a beautiful shot of the then young Senator
turning to perfectly meet the camera
and looking so Presidential we all
wet our pants, the way we involuntarily sob at
our first encounter with Potemkin.
Even this.
Especially this.


Jack Powers (1937-2010) was a poet and activist who founded Boston’s long-running Stone Soup Poetry reading series in 1971. On May 1, 2021, Stone Soup celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

Bill Perrault is a poet, photographer and a one-time videographer for Stone Soup Poetry.