Poetry



Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


Cinema Xanadu
Kieth Flynn


Reality is privileged, and for the cinephile,
it is not enough to make love to Rita Hayworth;
it must happen in black and white.
Peeling back the layers of the dream,
how could reality possibly compare?
Seeing life inside a frame intensifies its effect.
Is Art content or form? The decisive moment
is rendered less dramatic by the character actors
scurrying away across the street to their cluttered
apartments and heating bills, like some French
New Wave film, underexposed and lit badly,
revealing the schizophrenia and compulsion.

Visionary experience is neurosis, or is it?
Does the cat lead the bell around its neck,
or is it lead? What is normal? Does the
treatment of psychosis entail the tamping down
of intense experience? What filmmaker would
be a party to that? How many homicides are
constructed by the crunching popcorn, or the
cell phone that continues to beep? In dreams begin superstitions, and suspended belief bolsters the frail
body against the everyday exhaustions.

These are not front row people.
The book will never be better than the movie.
The real reason that the characters die is because
God is jealous and has not managed to create perfection.
Thus the theater traps the beautiful fluttering minds
in its assorted gelatins. The nightmare will not be
recalled for its damaged aspect ratio.

The Elephant Man in the makeup chair is not interesting.
La Dolce Vita cannot happen in Japan. The Taxi Driver
in South Africa will not stalk the presidential candidate,
or forswear his allegiance to a 13-year-old prostitute.
His ticket stub will not be saved for posterity.
The pleasure dome that Kubla Khan decreed
in Xanadu was a movie palace with servants
dressed as Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot,
Gina Lollibrigida, and Marilyn Monroe.


*****

The Terrorist As A Shakespearean Character
Kieth Flynn

(A monologue minus the Elizabethan language)


Good news, Mother.
I have disfigured your finest products,
grouped all trademarks and obliterated
their communist intentions by granting
them a better future. I want to watch
the ignored software go through the roof. 
Father is subscribing to the nexus
of a second day of worship, making
Monday hot with religious fervor
and Sunday its reluctant precursor. 
What do you think, Mother?  Let's set it off.
I am so full of health (having bucked
the universal system) that I get
more for the same money every time,
high as Ben Johnson in a hundred
yard dash.  I've stashed fewer images
in my video web.  I have opened something
NEW, and in this world, NEW IS NEWS
and hundreds of thousands of millions
of sex-soaked souls may make their
lives better because of my discovery.
I feel like Jacques Cousteau astride
his stream-lined Calypso bearing
down on a herd of Belugas.
It's easier than you can imagine,
Mother; it's fast, economical, uncomplicated,
simple even, and poses no risk to our
liver or river.  I trust you will
keep this to yourself until no patents
are pending, but feel free to celebrate;
redemption is at hand.  You know
that marriage can turn on a dime
into corrosive loathing, but the best way
to hurt people is to destroy what
they own, then they stop living inside
their heads, Mother, and stop their
desperate seeking.  I am a silver streak
of peace right now, without the
requisite longing that nature injects.
You know what I mean?  I once
watched a male cane toad attempt
to mate for eight hours with a
female that had been dead for
several days.  Pole to pole, men are not
their brother's keeper; their lives are
harvests of shame, and they blame
everyone else, Mother; the burden of
their dreams blasts their brains out
in a cold slow motion blue flame.
I know you can hear me.
Now I lay me down to creep and prey
on the Lord, my soul is steeped,
and if I cry a mighty earthquake,
I prey on the Lord, my soul is staked.
Waving and drowning at once, I offer a
lifeline to the clown force on the shrinking
shore.  I've come through, Mother, taken my
hits and can see you rising toward me bit
by bit.  On the ramparts, the lamps of American
hypocrisy are brightly lit.


*****

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