Adam Perkins

The Blurred Man 

Have you ever heard the tale of the blurred man? 
It's a lesser known story but it goes back 
almost 200 years. All the way back to the early days 
of photography. Have you ever flipped 
through a history book and noticed a photo of an important 
event, where everyone's face is clear and easy to view, 
but in the crowd is one blurred face? 

I'm sure you've just written it off as a fluke. 
The man must have moved at the last second 
and the photographer didn't notice. 
But what if ?
What if it wasn't a fluke? 
What if this man didn't want 
his face to be seen. What if it was too dangerous 
to reveal himself to history? 

The crash of the Hindenburg. 
Titanic survivors returning to New York.
The Civil War.
World War I.
World War II.
The assassination of JFK.
Vietnam. 9/11. 

Has it ever occurred to you 
that if time travel was ever invented 
the past would be littered with travelers from 
the future making trips to historical events?

Wouldn't we have seen these travelers? 
Would they have stood out like most tourists do? 
Unaware of customs during that time period?
How to dress and behave, so as not to direct attention? 
Would we…or maybe not?

The ramifications 
of letting the world know 
that time travel is possible would most 
certainly be dramatic, perhaps deadly,

I'm not saying every blurred face 
in a dusty photograph is someone from the future 
visiting history first-hand, but some 
of these blurred strangers have 
one thing in common. 

A ring. 

You have to look closely, 
at just the right angles, 
magnified and sharpened,
and sometimes it can't be seen at all, 
but every now and then you'll find it. 
A dark ring on the middle finger 
with a bright center, like a reflective stone,
or something mechanical

Now maybe this ring 
acts as camouflage, or some such power. 
Any photograph or video taken of the wearer will 
distort so as to hide his face
Hidden in plane sight. 
Maybe it's a coincidence. 
Maybe I’m just mad.
The light from the ring could just be 
the reflection of the flash. The blurred face 
could just be a fidgety bystander. 

But what if? 

The question of whether 
this is the result of some future 
technology worn by a time traveler 
doesn't make me nervous. 
What makes me nervous is the possibility 
that all these blurred men are really just 
one individual. 

One lone time traveler who keeps popping up during 
world-shaping historical events, and I can't help 
but wonder if he's simply just a passive observer 
or a prime mover. 

Could this man be influencing the course of time? 
Has he used his power strictly for academic 
reasons, or something more sinister, 
and to what end? 

Perhaps it is madness, just in my head, but I’ve seen
the photographs, and I can't help but wonder 
every time I see a blurred face
in the worn history books if I'm 
not looking at just another face in the crowd 
or a human god playing chess.

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The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!