110 Film

My eyes are old
Maybe failing now
I tend to recall days
Caught in the viewfinder
Of a bargain store 110 camera
Snapshots of summer picnics
Birthday parties and holidays
Until it, too, was lost
Long after it went out of vogue,
I choose to lie to myself
It actually went away in an exodus
Now, out of focus,
My eyes require corrective lenses
To read books and mail
In dim light, I stumble over
Letters and numbers
But my mind is fading, too
Overexposing those photos from
The effects of age
Until people are unrecognizable,
Backgrounds bleeding into question marks
It was so long ago, at a zoo, a fair?
I had my picture taken with
A costumed superhero
Someone else looking through the viewfinder
Yet it found its way into my mental collection
Like so many other things:
Glowing vacuum tube radios
Silent moving pictures
Walks along train tracks
Things that don't matter to anyone else
Because they don't fit anywhere but here
I'll keep them as long as I can
Yet, in the end, what the shutter captured
On rolls of plastic strips
Developed in the darkrooms of our brains
Decays like old celluloid films
We paid a dollar or less to see
Never expecting the intermission
Reel change to be the last time
It is played before a cheering audience

About this poem

We often look at life as a series of discrete events instead of a continuous timeline. Those things that really mattered, for whatever reason, are filed away for eternity. Yet as time passes, the fidelity of the memory becomes perturbed, distorted, or lost. We try to accept that version to be as near truth as possible, fading and all, because we don't want it to go away forever.

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Written on May 10, 2022

Submitted by n0qlt on May 16, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:09 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,236
Words 230
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 41

H. Russell Smith

I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and live in a small town in Missouri. In addition to being a poet, I am an electrical engineer, an avid Ham Radio Operator, and a New Mexico chile pepper fanboy. more…

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Discuss the poem "110 Film" with the community...

  • Jewoo525
    "They don't fit anywhere but here." That line really got me. Excellent poem. I sincerely hope you continue to write and compete so we can see more of your work.
    LikeReply4 months ago
  • amichaelewell
    Out of all entries, this poem stood out most in my eyes. It has no rhyme, rhythm nor pattern. To its credit, it also does not have an attempt to force an evocative response in the reader. Instead, it allows the reader to be drawn into the elderly speaker's mind as they compares faded pictures to faded memory, allowing the reader to ultimately find their own conclusions and personal connections. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • lovingempath
    The powerful imagery and melancholy sincerity were like a gut-punch. And this was not an easy month for voting...this poem was up against some pretty heavy competition!
    LikeReply1 year ago


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"110 Film" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 5 Dec. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/129027/110-film>.

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