Justin Runge
POEM


Small audience
for this matinee.

Movie screen light
like a holy door’s.

Like a blonde girl’s
hair in a sports car.

By the sea, dead
teens do The Frug.

(Radios pick up
ghosts, supposedly.

Mumbling ones.
Mute lamentations.

A camera can pull
soul through the eye.

(Pneuma: That which
is breathed or blown.)

A dog in a scarf
runs past the teens.

Their dance is soft
in the sand, silent.

An umbrella is swept
toward the waves.

A few fruggers
go running after.

Someone points,
not to the sunset,

but to a place where
it can best be seen.

The bonfire flutters.
The dog is asleep.

The lovers all leave.
Ushers in the wings.

Phones start to buzz,
play little melodies.

The theater lights
rise, not as holy.





PRESERVATION


     The end is built into the beginning.
     – Charlie Kaufman

III.

Some prefer the disintegration,



and a document of time. Damage




the film over and over, each



slash of dark standing for shadow.

In the film, the sleepwalker walks



again. A dust mote on the frame.




II.

Some prefer the disintegration,

the film as a document of a time

and a document of time. Damage

can be printed into the light.

Still, the preservationists restore
the film over and over, each



actual shadow cast on a painted
slash of dark standing for shadow.

In the film, the sleepwalker walks

alone in a room, over and over

again. A dust mote on the frame.
Splice. Censor. The dirt, saved.




I.

Some prefer the disintegration,
the decay as part of the image,
the film as a document of a time

and a document of time. Damage
can last seconds. A mote of dust
can be printed into the light.

Still, the preservationists restore
the film over and over, each
rescuing a bit of face, a detail

swallowed before by vignette,
actual shadow cast on a painted
slash of dark standing for shadow.

In the film, the sleepwalker walks
to the edge, collapses. Is found
alone in a room, over and over

again. A dust mote on the frame.
Splice. Censor. The dirt, saved.
When an actor dies, he’s archived.




Justin Runge lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where he serves as poetry editor of Parcel. He is the author of two chapbooks, Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012) and Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014). His work appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, Portland Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. He can be found at www.justinrunge.me