Two poems by Andrew Luft
It all looks too familiar. Like there was some explosion
a billion years ago, and the image of this place’s past
is only reaching us now. It has been a stream of film.
Reeling. Fluorescent yarn. You’ve seen the flashes and heard
there’s no such thing as a still picture. Only fixed moments.
Things invented by light and timing. There’s a stretch
of eulogies sprawled across a hemorrhaging sky; a spine
of stories flipped open, waiting to greet us. Who are they
waiting for? Who will forget them? There is no future
or past—only now. Billions of nows, stacked like ticket stubs.
Misremembering comes with practice, don’t you remember?
A century is the size of a keyhole. Sometimes we forget
it’s locked, remaining forever in a memory, or no, a room.
Chances are it’s just another back room; antique stories.
But what happens when you hear screams and see
light beneath the door disturbed by moving shadows.
The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. Why
then, do voices always tell the story first? Cutting in front
of images like they’re invisible, waiting in line. Polite and calm.
Perhaps there is some sort of race we do not know about
between light and sound. Sound moves more quickly
as noise, when it has urgency, like the ending of a film.
Will there be a final clip after the credits? The murderer has
just been caught. Is there time for justice before the sequel?
Give us catharsis before we wash ourselves in daylight.
Before they stow the reel away. No cliff-hangers. But
there’s a tear in the tape, the final scene makes it halfway
then repeats itself, while a man in the projector room fumbles,
cursing as the film unravels over itself, quietly planning to combust
behind a door marked “Employees Only,” only, the space is
already full of aging reels, more flammable each time
Powell: An affluent community
Wait until dawn, then go
out to the blanket of shade surrounding
your family’s new swimming pool.
There are trees enough for hiding.
Pick up a single stone
left there by a bulldozer, anything
you can place momentum behind.
Lob it up, test its weight—
consider the exit-wound
of the sturdy window you feel stuck
between you and the blonde
neighbor family. Wink at them,
let them know it’s all in good fun.
Just as you’re winding up, remembering
the glory of kid-pitch, you feel
the grinding tremors stretching
to the soles of your dusty sneakers
from beneath the gazing cop car.
It’s a canine unit, because, you know,
white kids can be dangerous, too.
Take out your smart phone—thumb around
until the cop leaves. Text your friend,
let’s smoke. Drop a pin as you sit
on the curb. Your mom’s hot
mom friend walks by with her yorkie-poo
in arm. Wave her away
with your poorly disguised erection.
Caress the phone’s screen, refresh
and refresh until you know some girl
named Emily is not actually interested
in your scrawny ass. Touch your lips
to the glowing screen, whisper secrets
to your one true friend—
feel yourself growing smaller,
folding into yourself until you’re tiny enough
to slide into the Sim card port, now
just another name, recently deleted
from search history.
Andrew Luft is a recent graduate of Ohio State where he studied English, psychology, and creative writing. His greatest influences have been Jamaal May, Tracy K. Smith, and Kelly Link. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he scoops ice creams by day and fights zombies by night.