Fatslug wonders how people dreamed or daydreamed
before the movies infiltrated their thoughts.
He himself has become his own Steven Spielberg—
or, depending on his mood of the hour,
his own Hitchcock, Bergman, Eastwood, Scorsese.
A jump cut to escape an angry boss
or lover, a stop trick to remove the same,
a tracking shot down a much-loved place
real or imagined, or—strictly as needed—
a battalion of bullies cut down by wizards
or chewed by CGI dinosaurs:
Fatslug’s won twelve Oscars in his mind.
But what of those who lived before even Chaplin?
What fraction of people even saw live actors
on flat stages ranting and boxing the air?
Fatslug wonders if the pages of mauve exposition
in novels, the fancies of sonnets and odes,
the tales of ghosts misting through the dark
provided the images for unwired minds
and their imaginations did the rest.
Jump cuts and stop tricks would have been of the Devil;
could anyone admit to these before
Georges Melies gouged out the eye of the moon?
Did movies bring these tricks to humanity
or merely unveil them in the literal world?
These are things Fatslug ponders, remote in hand,
as his TV feeds him news from blighted places
beyond movies or novels or even ghost stories,
where the men setting houses and children on fire
are as real as tyrannosauruses.
To Fatslug, the World is a Voynich Manuscript
Surrounding Fatslug, the unreadable:
puffy letters melting into each other
on the sides of rail cars, hip-hop hieroglyphics
sprayed onto random walls and sidewalks.
Growing between the cracks of this alphabet
are weeds of uncertain growth and scabby bloom.
No botanist has ever acknowledged them.
No sane one would even try.
Fatslug emerges from his doorway crevice
into a street filled with cuneiform faces,
gazing at concrete as he tries to hide
the strange, indecipherable growth of his heart.
Miles David Moore is founder and host of the IOTA Poetry Reading Series in Arlington, Va., and the author of three books of poetry. In April 2016, the Arlington Arts Council gave him an award for his services to poetry in Arlington County.
Image: By Allied Artists – Wikipedia in English, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4286859