! Backward Boys - Poem by Michael Shepherd
Saturday evening, the week's hired film, click-click, click-click
while we chewed fruit gums and shouted FOCUS!
from time to time when the reel changed;
and after The White Hell of Pitz Palu
or The Lost Horizon, and Mickey in black and white
and Corky the Cat; after the hired films
and the occasional black potato growing on the screen
when the celluloid caught fire,
the home movies run backwards:
and the world was a magic kingdom -
things jumped from nowhere into your hands
like the world's top ball player;
while you ate, the plate filled instead of emptied;
and the happy smiles-for-the-camera
became inane dissociated grins
as if you knew you were being totally idiotic
but had no control...
that life, on Saturday evening, did just that for real:
Saturday's trashy film would take on the solemn
inevitability of Greek tragedy;
shoplifting would be an act of humble charity
as one slipped the goods- blink-back onto the counter;
and we the older would look so eagerly forward
to childishness and irresponsibility
(as we alas will; but then more agile and more loved with it) :
like teenagers, go to bed alert and wake up tired...
and in the bathroom - no, let's not go there...
and then at midnight, Cinderella Time would revert to real time.
But under the covers as we blissed off to sleep,
a great big, wrinkled, toothy grin...
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