November 29

1963 – The Warren Commission established

 

Outside the Frame

 

How many times can you watch the same man’s head

explode?  Try adjusting that frame (number three thirteen)

against the audio, counting backwards to pinpoint

when the previous bullet begins to drill

into the president’s back then out his throat,

tumbles sideways through Connally’s shoulder, wrist,

then thigh — an improbable trajectory —

to rest there until it rolls out hours later

pristine on a hospital stretcher.

 

Consider

how the head snaps back; check for blurring

where (you think) the cameraman was startled.

Fire a round of test shots at cantaloupes

wrapped in duct tape. Then satisfy yourself

that it really could have happened as they say.

 

The camera doesn’t lie, but it limits.  For years

you heard rumors that along one side of film,

next to the sprockets, the fog of peripheral vision

might be lifted.  Now computer-enhanced,

these unprojected slivers tell you…    nothing.

Even if you could put yourself in the scene,

you’d only peer through thick wire-framed glasses

like a rifle-scope or a camera’s viewfinder

that catches subjects with occasional skill, more often

a  twitch, or accidental turn of the head.

Work with what you’re given. Adjust the focus,

slow things down or enlarge part of the image,

study the picture’s edge — but you cannot

change the frame.

 

And what you need to know

will be always, always, outside the frame.