Backwards Through A Photograph

Manfredi Gioacchini

Connor Fisher

Rich Sweet Mesh


You would have named
the inside of an apple 
“less supple” than its round outer skin
and expected no rebuttal
from the rich, sweet mesh
inside the sphere of fruit

as if several young women
admired a field through their
car window and noted its symmetry,
or saw a photograph
crossed with lines to map the mesa
onto axes of width and depth——

use that phrase as a seed 
to construct a panorama
of nothing but apples, lit alternately
by floodlight and sunlight
which each viewer would prefer
over her alternative: investigation  

of the 1,000 sordid images
which would sit, tightly bound,
alphabetized, ordered and filed
in the trunk of a car you
would have overlooked, driving
into the light, the purple, the blue.




“The Inside of an Apple” is a poem by Joshua Beckman in a collection of the same name. The second and third italicized lines are borrowed from poem 73 of Laynie Browne’s Daily Sonnets.

The Telling Image


You would decide to
omit the telling image
of a truck from the
night photo but admit that
in the thick black,
beyond visible edges, there may

lurk essentially a collection 
of longer legged photographs,
as if a black background
otherwise called “empty” could
contain numerous, greater
mysteries, perhaps of women

clearing ground with
tractor or threshing machine,
digging holes for fence
posts and laying wire
so that the photograph
would feel over-ripe, saturated

with other implicit images
in dark space, with overwhelming
presence, like a surface
of beautiful pocks full of 
spiders that are smooth and 
weave the soft black texture.




Italicized lines are borrowed from poem 124 of Laynie Browne’s Daily Sonnets, titled “Sonnet of Aristotle.”

Only a Wall


You would use
a word like “classic”
as a bandage to
reduce the pairings
of windows and cacti
to something like an icon

but forget to imagine
what rests behind
windows or hidden
in any back seat
since our secret worlds 
are crucial to all  

our public meetings,
as if the wall
in an image were only
a wall, unattached to
others like itself, no
ceiling or floor to

add up to a structure
a man could live in,
who instead would learn:
a photograph shows you 
nothing and turns away
its three flat textures.




Italicized lines are borrowed from poem 101 of Laynie Browne’s Daily Sonnets, titled “Chance Meeting Couplets.”

Common, Public Space


You would refer to
the lowlands of an image
as “the foreground” as
if your word labeled
some common, public space
like an intimate bed,

shared by scores of
strangers every night—
but mistressing the 
world takes fifty 
years to learn, [and] is 
worthless—besides, think

of bird flocks which see
landscapes as nearly flat
from the crest of their
y-axis, or a water beetle
whose whole world forms
a flat surface it skips along;

you can’t go backwards
through a photograph:
you’re in all of it suddenly
like a blanket that your
maudlin children once
cocooned themselves within.




Italicized lines are borrowed from the section of Alice Notley’s Disobedience titled “I KNOW YOU’LL MAKE FUN OF THE CLOTHES THE MAGI ARE WEARING.”

The Word “Only”


You would realize
that looking ahead
and behind at once
breeds suspicion of
place or of what
we call “direction”—

picture a woman who
flips thorough an 
American West of 
colored plates in an
antique shop, then
looks behind herself

and admits: there’s 
nothing else here right 
now; all my mysteries 
are up there—she waves
a hand towards cacti,
trees, clear and warm

skies which feel as
comfortably worn as
the word “only”
suspended in white, not
casting a shadow, not
appearing behind you.




Italicized lines are borrowed from the section of Alice Notley’s Disobedience titled “NOT THAT PERSON ANYMORE, MITCH BEING EVER FAINTER.”

The Way Your Eye Roves


And I realized then,
not that the word
“symmetry” has a bearing

on the way your eye
roves over an image,
but that a different  

economy would balance 
the colors red and gray
and would allow

these women to step
off the page or computer
screen and into

your house where they
would occupy two
distinct points in space

(the difference between 
here and here) while you
would take their place in

the image and look
with wonder at real
signs of daily life

until the spell breaks and
the outside rises up 
into the bright blue sky.




Italicized lines are borrowed from Rosemarie Waldrop’s The Road is Everywhere, or Stop This Body.

Raise Your Hand


You would resist
the common impulse
to project yourself
into the photograph—and
to imagine participating,
working your legs,

hands, and eyes in a
scene warm with real
textured color—
the child would tell
you that we live in
a world of motion,

that distance, growing,
drifts between our
words, that language
and time move ahead,
that on pleasant after-
noons old selves seep  

through my skin—
you do not raise
your hand; there is
no ring, there is no mirror;
there are no tires,
windows, towels, streets.




Italicized lines are borrowed from Rosemarie Waldrop’s Streets Enough to Welcome Snow, “The Ambition of Ghosts,” part 6: “Leaving.”

Manfredi Gioacchini

A New York– and Los Angeles–based photographer with a great passion for the arts, Manfredi Gioacchini found his form of expression in portrait and documentary photography. These disciplines made him understand the importance of documenting the actions of the human being in relation with nature. On the West Coast generally and in Los Angeles in particular, he has found a particularly compelling symbiosis between modern man and nature. He is currently in collaboration with several different international European and North American publications.

Connor Fisher

Connor Fisher lives in Athens, Georgia. He has an MA in English Literature from the University of Denver, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is working towards a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. His poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The VoltaRain TaxiDreginaldWord For / WordTarpaulin Sky32 Poems, and Typo.