The revolution has been photoshopped



The revolution has been photoshopped




The revolution has been photoshopped

for Eddie Woods

The revolution has been photoshopped:

it began with a square

masses gathered to shout slogans

messages and pictures were sent in thousands

celebrating the people power eruption


soon the revolution could be seen

day & night via live stream

capitalising on events culture

the media outbid the masses

for story and image control


lately the crowds on the square

revel in their spotlight place

the world’s eyes watching their rebellion

they can’t be persuaded to go home again


till the dancing on the square

turns to running

teargas clouding cameras

helpless protestors choking

water cannon flooding

truncheons beating

red smoke everywhere

riot control takes command of the square


cue: first shots are fired


repeated scene: bloodshed

burning buildings

freedom banners in flames

incendiary devices, carnage

body bags, makeshift coffins

massacres & lamentations

we watch the terror rise on every screen

follow the ticker for the death toll


#aftermath #empty square #barriers

the restoration of a new status quo

in retrospect seldom better


the stuff of legends in video games

youtube clips, smartphone albums

the film of history today

directed by the bosses

recorded by the masses

stored for future media use

before the epicentre shifts

to a new square


They’re photoshopping in

the next protest, cloning mass demos

from image libraries

(every era has its archive crowd pics

waiting for keynote anniversaries)


we the spectators

thrill to the suspense

the battle for top dog

politics as reality show

a tug of war on main square

concealing the forces that always win

beneath a narrative of surface pictures


Who wins the contest

for the most viewed

iconic image of the conflict?


How does it feel to be a hero of the hour

and a loser the rest of your time?


The people from the square

manipulated out of real existence

embedded in a giant wave of romanticism

— that ends, for some, at the morgue —

stare at the pictures they made

ask who stole the spirit of the moment

and wonder why they called it spring


                               © Karen Margolis 2014




Thanks to Richard Livermore and Chris Aziz for comments on an earlier version of this poem.




Text © Karen Margolis 2014

Posted 26 February 2014





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