People often ask me,
"Why do you waste your money
on those things?"
Flickering, faded bootlegs
Of failed filmmaking from
Japan or Hong Kong,
not to forget Korea, or
The European powers of Italy, Spain, France -
Perhaps even Germany.
There are always the Philippines or Indonesia.
And for the truly adventurous, Vietnam, Brazil, Argentina,
Or drive-in fare,
if not worse,
From our own country...
That surfaced somewhere in a chipped plastic clearance bin
Or a garage sale,
Or under that great, sun-faded beacon,
Probably written in magic marker on an excised scrap of cardboard,
It seemed hard to
justify at first,
Watching hungry, angry zombie heads fly out of refrigerators,
Seeing hordes of the undead that look just like the living
But for some cheap and inexpertly-applied face paint,
Hopping vampires from Asia,
Or plastic-fanged ones from Transylvania,
Giant man-eating rabbits
Or leeches, ticks,
Or anthropomorphic turkeys,
Satanic hippie cults,
Evil Nazi plots to genetically design an Elven master race,
The yapping zombie remains of a vivisected dog.
Movies lit by car headlights at night,
Movies lit by torchlight so ineffectual on film,
Movies lit not at all
That let the darkness be itself...
And make the television screen look like it's off,
Movies lit by the sun, that disguise daylight with "nightlike" blue camera
Movies lit by the sun that disguise nothing and script it as night.
The female lead might have been chosen for reasons other than acting,
And the male lead might be the producer's nephew,
And both might be in their thirties playing teenagers.
If the soundtrack doesn't sound horrible,
It was probably taken from the public domain,
Or stolen from another film.
The plotline might be a Frankenstein's monster,
Unable to conceal the seams
That hold together poor replications of better movies.
But these days when
I go to the theaters,
My feet sticking to spilled soda that stuck to the floor,
My wallet unmoved by constant pressure to buy popcorn and nachos,
Or even if I stay home and rent that film a year later,
I find that I don't remember much about what I saw
of the time.
I remember the ludicrous castration that was carried out
When a wayward biker urinated on Bigfoot,
And I remember that flying zombie head as it sprang out of the refrigerator,
Right next to a beer,
a hungry man first by surprise, and then by the throat.
And the man-eating monster that came impossibly
From "mutated" river silt.
At any time, I can call forth these mnemonic jesters,
And get them to dance and cavort
Unabashed as no overgrown sales pitch can.
And the smile they bring me grows stronger and wider
With the wisdom of growing experience.
But my inquisitors
are blind to the wonder.
"That's stupid!" they'll say.
"How could that ever happen?"
I say these things too, perhaps, but not the same way.
Then they go off to
watch "Music TeleVision" with little music,
Sitcoms that are malformed clones of each other,
Dramas and soap operas that make "histrionic" sound moderate,
Talk shows filled with yelling.
I wonder if I should
When my friends' taste in the absurd
Seems so much subtler than mine?