Poem #23: Alone at the Movies on July 16th

Alone at the Movies on July 16th

At a Bill Murray double feature show
I sit by myself in the second-to-last row,
just me and two bottles of beer
half-hidden in the gaping pockets of
my father’s old coat.

No takers tonight, so I’m alone with Bill
and spotted silhouettes, all solo,
strewn in anonymity throughout the
cool black sea of the movie house.

Antique trailers swell with nostalgia,
a parade of unforgettable films
trapped in time, celluloid scenes of
what could have been way back when.

I tear up during Meatballs
when Bill rescues Rudy from a diner.
“If you make one good friend a summer,
you’re doing pretty well.”

I used to make ten friends a summer,
but maybe that was too many.
I haven’t heard from any of them in a while.

I shush a kid three rows down
whose phone rings during Rudy’s big race.
(I wish the kid had cause to shush me back.)

My second beer is gone
ten minutes into Stripes and suddenly
I don’t care what happens anymore.

I drop my bottles on the floor, leaving
Bill behind. He’s got Ramis with him now –
what’s he need me for?

@NBF 5.8.2009


Winslow, AZ, 2007



Going to the movies alone offers a double-edged catharsis. On the one hand, there is the great escape of cinema enjoyed in total darkness, and the peace of being alone. On the other hand, there is the chance that you’re alone for the wrong reason, whatever that means.

Are you ever really alone when Bill Murray is in the room, if even as a persistence-of-vision illusion?

Meatballs (opening scene and titles)


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