William Eggleston's Guide

"I am at war with the obvious."


I have seen banality like the pink blossom
of trees, toppling graves for Confederate generals,
the families of Tennessee and Mississippi,
the light of the Deep South, its heart of darkness.
I have framed men, women and children for
the crimes their fathers committed; to the culture
they inherited I bequeathed a quickened mortality,
like a kick in the gut from an eagle scout.
I showed a world of colour the Old Masters
never knew, uncovered the cruel majesty of objects:
cutlery, some kid’s tricycle, a burning barbecue;
the kerb-side girl with get-lost eyes wearing a navy dress.
I walked out to where colour split the world
and democratized the right to see. I bought voters,
their gas ovens, garage walls, green bathrooms,
I resurrected the south’s crumbling plantations, filled
for the tan dog a muddy puddle for drinking,
made of white bottles disparate clouds. I created
a new way to speak plainly that needed no words.
Just don’t ask me why I did it. I did it. That's enough.