Michael Katakis

About Michael Katakis

Michael Katakis is an award-winning photographer who is also known for his travel writing, his cultural commentary, and his work on Ernest Hemingway. Currently he divides his time between Paris and the Carmel, California home he shared with his late wife Kris L. Hardin, an anthropologist with whom he frequently collaborated. They were honored for their work by the Royal Geographical Society in 1999, the year Michael’s collaboration with Ernest Hemingway’s son Patrick led to his designation as the manager of Hemingway’s literary estate. A Thousand Shards of Glass, his latest collection of essays, was published in 2014.

Following the Leader in the Age of Donald Trump

Image of Dorthea Lange's photograph of Japanese internment

The Leader

I believed the leader
when he said I wasn’t free
all because of the people
who didn’t look like me

I followed my leader and became
his tool and helped break the
back of the golden rule

I did nothing when the truth
was murdered by lies and silent
when the children screamed and
died

I did what I was told
I took down names not
knowing someone else was
doing the same

I followed my leader when I
knew it was wrong because I was
afraid of not going along but now
in this room with no door or light
it is me they accuse of not being right

I followed my leader until today when
they walked me up to my freshly
dug grave

Socrates had it right, Will and the Buddha did
too, follow no one, question and to thine own self
be true

Photograph of Japanese internment during World War II by Dorothea Lange