The Armor to Survive
*in kindness to Bill Cunningham
The surprise that a fashion photographer of New York City
goes to church every Sunday.
What does he need it for, after all, when he is in New York!
The city of the demigods.
You ask, and pester him with questions,
at which he can only bow his head in answer.
He had studied the armor of God, how the different pieces related
to each other
and whether the laces were made of leather or silk.
The helmet of salvation, he found in the ladies hats he sat behind.
We all need armor to survive.
His face crumples like a paperweight
has fallen into his mind
a secret spring and hidden door touched
and he cannot bear whatever quiet-kept years
the question unfurls.
You try to get between a man and his god.
His whys and wherefores and the how-tos
of how he keeps his life in tow
and whether he chains the past and whatever guilt it may contain
to the seat of his bike when he is out.
The camera’s eye may not always see straight,
but it will tell the inhospitable truth
that a man is still a man, and just a man,
that the things worth defending are outside ourselves.
He who seeks beauty will find it.
Goldenrod spikes into loneliness and
I’m counting the crashes of the deer
in the brush beside me
spider webs weaving the path together.
The tinkling of glass can sound even on
grass, and dirt
and the molecular walls of someone
You know my name but a stretch
of rain could mist your eyes
and the aftersweep would not remind you of me.
Is a crescent moon or a whole moon better?
Does it matter when the sky has only been a sliver
black trees climb into the sky’s white tomb?
I was sculpture and you were the earth
I was planted in
rich with the autumnal privilege of caregiver
of all things, magnifying the density
The highway flows like a ribbon,
one long luminous trail stretching
itself toward the sunset.
It is a herd inching forward, a
fishbowl of anonymity, a brain
inside of a brain attached to a body
that can’t be controlled.
I want to buck my way out of the
situation, grab two steer horns and
veer into the next lane, dart in and
out between all those grazing
cattle, snorting air.
An animal hunched forward, eyes
glowing, ready to spring trying to
escape the dark before the dark
swallows us, before the only trail
left vanishes like a butterfly.
Rebecca Jacobs is an artist and creative living in the Charlotte area. She received her BFA in Photography from Winthrop University and has spent time as a web designer, a barista, an okay cook, an epidemic worrier about all things universal and philosophical, and (hopefully) a decent human being. Her work seeks to capture and amplify the taut, fragile emotions that lie beneath the surface of existential occurrences, and to form a sense of self in their passing.