Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Christopher Soden: The Last Picture Show

They decided early that color was wrong
for McMurtry’s novel. Peter left his wife
after he discovered Cybil on the cover
of Seventeen magazine. He fired her
assistant, after she upset her by trying
to run lines. He fought with camera men,
grips, the rest of the crew. Cloris and Ellen
got sloshed every night, holding each other
through spasms of grief, unable to bury
their dying marriages. Tim, still hot
from his turn in Trumbo’s Johnny
Got His Gun, ached for the ingenue
goddess Peter kept all to himself.
Driving her in the 48 Ford Sunchariot,
black patch bandaging his wounded
eye, the pain comes off Tim in waves.
Raw performers, drenched
in disappointment and endless
hurt. The whimper of bed
springs when Sonny makes love
to Ruth Popper. Sam the Lion losing
his hold beside calm black water. Lois
in her cooler than cool killer black
sunglasses and scarf, flipping off
the town alpha. The longing in
Genevieve’s broken smile. An elegy
to hope: Hank Williams wailing
(he sounds too blue to fly) ice wind
and black dust swarming
like a spell. Crumbs thrown
to the hungry ghost of rejection.
You cannot have me.
You. Cannot. Have. Me.


Copyright 2018 Christopher Soden


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