why we go to movies

    There must be something these people know
    that I don't, the way they follow one another
    into darkness, and stay there an hour or so
    holding hands, not speaking, mostly attentive.

    I can see why our hero's breathless leap appeals,
    how air consents to bear his dance of swords.
    Spacious vistas burgeoning with cloud, a lone
    tree always in the foreground. Wafting petals.

    Perhaps the faces they stare at are truly beautiful.
    Perhaps explosions always seem more real
    than the harmless gossip outside, the rain.

    But emblems of who we are and cannot be
    are not what keeps the audience here, gets
    impenitent callers shushed by otherwise
    placid neighbours. Do you find courage
    because a woman's face locked in the mirror
    resembles your mother's grief?
    If streetlamps in a car chase flash past
    at the precise speed of your childhood?

    I thought not. Art doesn't work like that.
    You pay, you go in, you waste 90 minutes
    with light entertainment, drama, adrenaline
    and emerge, a little spent, but ready to go on.

    Maybe you'll talk about it for a while.
    Dream of how to change the ending,
    have the lovers kiss or not kiss, survive,
    set things right in the sequel. Tonight you
    may venture offscreen, behind the eyelids
    where I also love to sit. Holding the camera,
    telling everyone to look at this, and at this.

19 October 2001   16:23 hours
how we live { } song