Boston Review

America: Before the Last War


That said, let’s remain seated until the credits finish. Look,
this theatre was almost empty. We were almost moguls.

The doors are glinting. Which exit did you choose?
God only knows how Johnny Barber, so-called gaffer,

got his union card. He must be someone’s nephew.
That said, let’s use the remaining minutes to talk about us.

What was it Misty said? In that scene at the bungalow?
Let’s get empirical? That’s the stub. Let’s get empirical.

Who will bear me, the man with the juju hands? Oh,
did you know that Willem Dafoe turned down the part

of Mojo, the fanatical celibate hit-man? He’s envisaging.
I’ll miss the ambiguous spiccato of your nails against

our empty popcorn box. I’d like to meet someone, I have
an idea for a movie about bookended forethoughts.

It’s hard to believe that a filmstrip this vital is only now
receiving its official release. Listen, it sounds like rain,

at dusk, impinging the skin of a Cape cranberry bog.
It sounds like a substitute. I feel like ducking, covering.   


—Peter Jay Shippy

Peter Jay Shippy teaches at Emerson College.

Originally published in the April/May 2003 issue of Boston Review




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