A Movie Theater in Homestead, Pennsylvania
by Adam Reger
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Al Jaffee, for
I walked past the storefronts under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the neon displays.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon movie theater, dreaming of your enumerations!
What thrillers and what rom-coms! Whole families dallying in line! Cashiers leaning on their counters! Ushers whisking popcorn into their butlers!
I eyed the box-office boy. Are you open, I asked of him. I am open if you are ready, said he.
Where are we going, Al Jaffee? The movie begins in six minutes. Which way does your beard point tonight?
One for Scott Pilgrim, I said.
Do you mean Scott Pilgrim versus the World, he asked of me.
Where are you tonight, Al Jaffee, with your snappy answers to stupid questions?
Yes, that’s the one, I murmured, and felt absurd.
Will we walk all night through solitary streets, Al Jaffee? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely and fail to produce timely zingers to inane questions.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past black SUVs in strip malls, home to our silent apartments?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Alfred E. Neuman quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?