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  • 200 Words

Poems and Short Quips - 28. Kodachrome

Spent a few days in Texas with my mom, and she had me bring out the family photo album...

Flipping through an old scrapbook --

Tattered now, falling apart at the seams

Carefully retrieved from inside its dusty box

After countless years tucked away in hibernation


I slowly turn over each large page,

Somberly aware of how the brittle paper

And faded photographs of childhood

Mirror the unkempt conditions of our familial bond


Memories rush back to me like storms:

Winters spent in the orange toboggan,

Summers spent around the campfire,

That hideous strawberry wallpaper in the kitchen


And those relatives now gone from me,

Smiling from small squares of Kodachrome

Were they ever really a part of my life...?

Too much time has passed to feel much now


Yet, still, the emotions arrive in waves

Spreading across me like a fissure

Splitting the flesh, releasing the steam

Cracking me wide open


These discolored photos in my hands

Are but mere illustrations in a storybook,

Depicting the outer layer, the pretty version

Of a much more divergent existence


For now, I will close the cover on it,

Place the family heritage back inside its dusty box

And leave it there to hibernate once more

Until it's time for the next resurrection

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 MacGreg; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

I would imagine most of us have been under the spell of old photographs. Your poem vividly brought that to life. Not to compare apples and oranges, but I think my photo album journeys tend to make me happier than the journey expressed in your poem. If it wasn't so late here, I would get out the album I inherited. Thanks for sharing your poem. There is a lot of food for thought here.

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The array of emotions I felt with each stanza, you do a great job of evoking the right emotions so that we readers can feel what you have felt. Thanks for sharing this intimate moment...

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On 5/13/2018 at 1:31 PM, BlindAmbition said:

I really appreciate and understand this Sir. Reflection is a powerful thing. It holds our pasts and lays foundation for our future. I can only hope that reflection was good for you. Thank you for sharing this moment Sir. The emotion is greatly felt.

Thank you, jp. It was an odd experience looking through that album. I felt outside of it, apart from it, like the me in the photos wasn't me at all, but some made-up character instead. And the various family members weren't really my relatives. A total disconnect, yet also melancholic. I had to write it down. Thanks again for reading, boy.

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On 5/13/2018 at 1:43 PM, Reader1810 said:

Your words bring back kodachrome memories for me as well, Mac.


I really like this, especially because it’s so relatable. 


I wonder, who else remembers those little triangle corners we used to affix our memories to album pages?

Sure, I remember those little triangle corners. It made it easier to remove a photo and slide it back in. Looked decorative, too. As for the Paul Simon song... it crossed my mind more than once while I was writing the poem. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and the video, Reader.

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On 5/13/2018 at 2:03 PM, AC Benus said:

Mac, this poem is pretty amazing. My mother sent me almost all of her photo albums a few years back, and last November, I received the rest. There were hidden photographs there, mysteries I'll never get to have explained, but the saddest one of all to my eyes was in her wallet. Even though her parents disowned her when I was conceived, there was their picture. For decades, from wallet to wallet it went, a sign of her unchanged love, until it came to me.


See the emotions your wonderful poem raised in me...? Well done, and thank you.  

Your post on top of my poem is a whole other level of emotion, AC. That your mother carried that photo around in her wallet for so long is beyond moving. Thank you for sharing that story with me. I'm very touched by it.

Edited by MacGreg
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On 5/13/2018 at 2:40 PM, mollyhousemouse said:

this was very emotional for me Sir, and yet, i've now read through it 3 or 4 times.


when i took the kids to Arizona last summer to see their grandparents, she pulled out the albums.  when she retired, she spent hours, days, organizing them, about 500,000 photographs i think, lol! from black and white ones when my siblings and i were small, to some of the grand kids  actually.

it was bittersweet for me, to remember the happier times from those pictures to where we have ended up.

this stanza especially:


These discolored photos in my hands

Are but mere illustrations in a storybook,

Depicting the outer layer, the pretty version

Of a much more divergent existence


thank You for sharing Your words with us


molly, I appreciate your candor. I think you and I share some similar bittersweet views when it comes to family and familial bonds that disintegrated. Even so, we can find the good memories in there. Thanks for reading and sharing with me.

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On 5/13/2018 at 4:47 PM, Mikiesboy said:

Sir, this is a lovely poem of remembrance.  I'm not sure how i feel about it personally, i'm not referring to the writing at all. It is effective and evocative. I have no pictures of my relatives so, i'm not sure based on what you've said how i would feel if i did.  Maybe in some ways it is for the best.

thanks for this wonderful poem Sir xo

There is both good and bad in not having a family photo album to flip through, in my opinion. Some of the memories that surface are better left untouched. But some of the memories are fond. I guess you just have to be willing to face both elements. People who look through family photos with nothing but love and joy are the lucky ones... but I wonder how many people can really do that? Thanks for your comments, boy. 

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On 5/13/2018 at 9:58 PM, MichaelS36 said:

I have a nieces and nephews who will inherit all of the, old country pictures, and the new as well. That's the thing being gay, with no children. ..what do you do with things?  Great poem, you stirred everyone's memory banks.

I bet your family has a lot of memories to share. That's great that those memories will be passed on to next generations. I'm not sure if my nephew will inherit our family album... but probably so. Who else? Thanks for reading this one, Mike. Cheers.

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On 5/14/2018 at 3:13 PM, Parker Owens said:

This poem touched a chord with me. The image of hibernating Kodak prints, dormant until memory brings them life again, is perfect. I love this poem. Thank you for sharing it. 

Thank you, Parker. It's true, isn't it, that photos are just pieces of processed film until someone looks at them. A very poetic way to put it. Thank you for offering up your perspective. Always a pleasure to hear form you.

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On 5/14/2018 at 6:24 PM, Defiance19 said:

First at my grandmother’s house and more recently at my aunt’s we’ve found albums upon albums. Looking back and reliving memories was bittersweet, funny and everything in between.  In others, there are people captured in time whose names we won’t know now but they are part of our history.  


I love this poem - it gave me all the feels. 


What a shame to see faces of people who must have had some significance, but the names are gone. I imagine your family has a large collection of albums. I only have the one. But it's more than enough. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Def.

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