“First Writing Following the Newest Movie Theater Massacre,” by Sam Sax

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Poetry by Sam Sax from our Summer 2017 issue.


but what about the soul that grows in darkness,
embossed by silvery images
–Frank O’Hara

beware the moving picture
the cylinder of film sprinting
through its filter, the light
that tears the frame
from its brothers & makes him
dance. beware the still image
moving. the stilted, distilled,
the still dead—metafictive requiem.
regicide & the silence that fills
a theater where the slain celebrity
walks again. all the reds made
redder in post. all the close-ups,
close. the crow bledded then
resurrected, the joker & the sad
comedian. every hollywood
backlot riddled with collagen.
every carpet made redder
than red. never forget the night
the dark knight rose a white man
murdered a whole audience
in aurora colorado. & this evening
when a man hard as the moon
stood in my dark room
to have me applaud the blank
screen of his stomach, it happened
in frames. i threw myself upon
the mercy of my knees, sticky pop,
abandoned hard candies, sweet
secreted below the balcony seats
where every naughty ontology
is born. my life flashed before
my eyes, how bored i was,
how sad it was like a movie.

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Image: Simmons, Laurie. “Walking Gun.” 1991. Gelatin silver print. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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