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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gathered Round the Flicker, A Poem by Christopher Luna for the 80th Anniversary of the Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA

 Gathered Round the Flicker
For the Kiggins Theatre’s 80th Anniversary

After the Thin Man. Absolute Quiet. Born to Dance. East Meets West. Follow the Fleet. Thirteen Hours By Air. Our Relations. It Had to Happen. Pennies from Heaven. Sea Spoilers. Showboat. Stowaway. Too Many Parents. The Moon’s Our Home. Where There’s a Will. Bullets or Ballots. Everything Is Thunder. Red River Valley. Empty Saddles. Border Fight. Silver Spurs. Ride ‘Em Cowboy. Go West, Young Man.

everything I know about life
I learned at the movies
how to love, how to
open my mind to new ideas
how devastating betrayal is
what integrity means

The Invisible Ray. The Walking Dead. The Phantom Rider. The Clutching Hand. Fury. Isle of Fury. Reefer Madness. Mysterious Crossing. Things to Come. Blood on Wolf Mountain. Devil Doll. Dracula’s Daughter. The Prisoner of Shark Island. 

like the audience
in Plato’s cave
we sit together
in a darkened room
and allow our greatest fears and fantasies
to overtake our senses

Three Smart Girls. These Three. Love Before Breakfast. Come and Get It. Freshman Love. Love on the Run. Anything Goes. Woman Alone. Flying Hostess. The Gorgeous Hussy. Don’t Get Personal. Private Number. Theodora Goes Wild. A Woman Rebels. Small Town Girl. Poor Little Rich Girl. The Luckiest Girl in the World. Wife vs. Secretary. Hearts Divided. Romeo & Juliet. Libeled Lady. Til We Meet Again. Forget Me Not.

gangsters, aliens, politics, sex
adventure and romance
writ larger than life
on an enormous glowing screen
together we become completely lost in a story
and forget our own story for a while

The Man I Marry. The Magnificent Brute. The Great Ziegfeld. The Bohemian Girl. The Man Who Could Work Miracles. The Man Who Changed His Mind. The General Died at Dawn. The Lower Depths. The Garden of Allah. The Story of Louis Pasteur. The High Command. The Singing Kid. The Desert Island. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. The Charge of the Light Brigade. The Vigilantes Are Coming. The Accused. The Accusing Finger. The Amazing Adventure. The Road to Glory. 

film images blend with memories
to become our history
our collective memory
these stories teach us how to
love, live, and forgive
to believe in ourselves
to follow our dreams

so many memories
connected to time spent
at the movies
relationships begun and ended
holding hands
frozen terrified
weeping inconsolably
synchronicity demonstrated
miracles made real

1936: Anthony Adverse. All American Chump. Cain and Mabel. Camille. Captain Calamity. Dimples. My Man Godfrey. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Flash Gordon. Charlie Chan at the Opera. Tarzan Escapes. Secret Agent. Sabotage. Whom the Gods Love. Men Are Not Gods.

watching Fantasia completely wasted
finishing half a pound of peanut M&Ms
out of sheer fear and anxiety during Aliens
being one of the only people to laugh during the decapitations in Sleepy Hollow
the blind date who fell asleep during the film
countless superhero bonding experiences with my son

seeing just how cruel we can be, and how heroic
realizing how important it is to remain on the path
being made fun of for crying during E.T.
crying together and clutching her hand

2016: Doctor Who. The Walking Dead. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Darling. The Golem. Back to the Future. The Hateful Eight. Theory of Obscurity. Room. The Invitation. Where to Invade Next. The Winding Stream. The Lord of the Rings. Love & Mercy.

life happens at the cinema
a complete imposition of another’s vision
upon the consciousness

after the best films we emerge into the sunlight transformed
and it takes a few moments to return to this world
and everything looks different
and the heart soars
and we know what must be done

Christopher Luna
Clark County Poet Laureate
April 24, 2016

Many thanks to Dan Wyatt for trusting me to commemorate this auspicious occasion, and for being a civic-minded businessman who frequently makes his landmark space available to the community. Support your local independently-owned movie house!

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