Gaumont Matinee

To a rattling choreography of bullets
The actors fly like acrobats, last-ditch yells
Ballooning on their wake. Out of range
The audience sit munching peanuts;
Before they need shout ‘Ambulance!’ or ‘Help!’,
The hero arrives dead-on-time to ensure
Bloodshed keeps a safely celluloid size.
Where is the villain but in some backroom
Stirring poisons? How innocent is his
Badness that knows nothing else although, yes,
The state-of-the-artiness of his weapons
(Test-tube tarantulas with radar,
Remote-controlled snakes, steel frizbies, lasers)
Superannuates the good old delights
Of hiss-and-boo. His face is a monotone
Of malice, accent calculatedly
Foreign with sharpened vowels. It’s hard work.
One snicker could be fatal, a volley
Of belly-laughter wreak more havoc
Than any missile. Yet at x dollars per second
Our hero is as cool as buttermint,
Distress his oyster. Demented violins –
Silence – A cineramic boom! As planned,
The whole set goes up in smoke. Foes scuttled,
He rides happily into the Ever
After aglint with the names of stars.

O that all endings were so spectacular!
The hero’'s triumph supplies a signal
For us to scour pockets for the bus-fare
   Once outside the coddled dark
Our eyes goggle for a focus and ache
At the stark pervasiveness of light –
Past Barclay’s Bank, Woolworth’s, Tesco’s
Narrative thinning out in all directions
Then back to where we were before...

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Nigerian Nocturne