Fred Pollack: a poem



Roles


You have to stand, talk, move,

insofar as you can move, in front of it.

Tend to glance at, lose yourself in

its green, floating,

fluorescent vastness. They tell you not to do that.

You insist you can't act. Cheerily,

they say anyone can. Then they wrap you

in a sort of mesh, with lights, and explain

how movement is recorded and transposed

to other forms. So you might be

a lissome, doe-eyed alien bluer than Krishna,

or a giant metal goblin

contracting to a wheelchair, unfolding into

a red-eyed city-wrecker, falling apart.

The prospect is unattractive. But from the screen,

which you must pretend or believe

isn't there, children erupt,

their screams and laughter resembling instructions

("notes", the professional term). A suburb,

gregarious and prosperous, blooms

in 3D. And when the aliens,

their politics determined by the studio,

arrive, a hero must save it or at least

patrol the rubble with a dog. By now

you've reached the last stage, acceptance.

This too art thou, as the Gita says.



Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. His other collections include A Poverty of Words (2015) from Prolific Press and Landscape With Mutant (2018) from Smokestack Books (UK). His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Orbis (UK), Neon (UK), Bateau, Main Street Rag, Manhattan Review and Prick of the Spindle