A Brief Analysis of Maria Izaurralle’s Photo of RE – The Remix [A prose-poem by Thomas Sayers Ellis]

Hard to resist a good photo
even if the symbolism surrounding the image
is better than the actual aesthetic value
of the photo. And we writers
have to keep the scene honest. We are here to lift it,
to see it clearly and creatively.
Let’s consider the composition of the shot.
Five framed guys. Familiar faces. Faces you know.
The wickedest Go-Go pyramid alive.
Think power. Think visual checkmate for a band
that might have been losing its audience.
Think legacy, think loss, think purpose.
The only person in the shot (really) in focus is Whiteboy.
Is that a metaphor, a digital decision, a fault of auto-focus,
the birth of a new Godfather, finally, the real new Godson?
A person from the inside of Go-Go
would never have let that happen––an unfocused D. Floyd (never),
unless it was a subtext and a veiled critique
of this current RE move and maybe it is.
They are all also wearing sun shades at night,
hiding their eyes, their intentions, their souls, all except Andre.
He’s allowed, by the photographer, vision
and to look straight into the camera, into the audience, us.
He’s allowed a light colored jacket, straight muscle, da bidness.
They look like all the President’s Men.
They look like a Hit Squad, come to assassinate the past,
the past with blood on it, mostly their own.
If you zip Shorty’s hoodie, the signature “red” is gone.
They look like they are on a bridge, “the bridge,”
not about to “take it to the bridge” but about the blow the bridge up
so the Feds, haters and other bands can’t catch them.
They know we are watching. They know we are listening,
trading winds, and now we know (after all these years) how to read them.
Read them visually. Welcome to the RE “Political” Party.
Shorty endorsed Gray and Floyd appears on a Fenty poster.
Is their a Brutus in the blur, a Shakespearian back stabber?
Who will it be? Maybe, in the middle of a show,
the back line will just stop playing for being left out
of the photo––two RE’s within one?
The blurring hides the tension––will it work?
Will the money be divided evenly among them
or divided based on seniority?
Can Floyd remain “wicked” and “Wind it up, Chuck”
at the same time? Can Shorty continue to film and sing?
Bojack is back but where Bojack be at?
A good photo lives beyond its own borders.
Andre has eyes in the back of his head
and eyes on the back of his head.
They look like they maybe holding bags loot,
still getting busy loot, from the heist
and are waiting for that famous white truck,
for someone to fence the jewels and PA CDs.
Guess who’s driving the truck, might be James Funk,
might be Brady. The photo lacks a Kim or a Kiki
because the “honeys bring the hustlers
and hustlers bring the money and the money brings more honeys.”
I walked behind the Male Diva himself,
James Funk, leaving the hotel room, after the Reunion,
smoking cameras in hand, and almost took a photo of him
carrying the duffle bag down the hallway. It was Ocean’s Eleven,
but on the Potomac so I resisted taking such an easy shot.
I like this photograph. They look like they are
about to be “in the socket” again
and “in your pocket” again,
so put your money in the air and get ready for…
They look like Positive Black Men.
They look wallet-sized.
-Thomas Sayers Ellis

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