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FURTHER READING
Poems by Josh Bell
Our Bed Is Also Green
Poems About Movies
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)
by A. Van Jordan
A Score for Tourist Movies
by Mary Austin Speaker
After the Movie
by Marie Howe
An American in Hollywood
by Frank Bidart
Au Hasard Balthazar
by Stacy Szymaszek
Ave Maria
by Frank O'Hara
Brad Pitt
by Aaron Smith
Chaplinesque
by Hart Crane
Daffy Duck In Hollywood
by John Ashbery
French Movie
by David Lehman
Heroic Simile
by Robert Hass
Homage to Sharon Stone
by Lynn Emanuel
Old Boy
by A. Van Jordan
On the Waterfront
by B. H. Fairchild
To the Film Industry in Crisis
by Frank O'Hara
Trigger Guard
by Joanna Fuhrman
When There Were Ghosts
by Alberto Ríos
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One Shies at the Prospect of Raising Yet Another Defense of Cannibalism

 
by Josh Bell

"You can't kiss a movie," Jean Luc Godard said, and this is mostly true, in that you cannot
initiate the kiss. The Movie could initiate the kiss if The Movie wanted, as it is so much taller, 
leaning in, no way to demur, you would be too polite anyway, and, as the Roman poets have 
stressed, there is always something porous in the decorous. So there can be kissing between you 
and The Movie, and it would be amazing, better the more incoherent The Movie is and the more 
you had to pay to see it, though in the movies it is said that prostitutes don't like to kiss as kissing 
is too personal, though I disagree, as sometimes the human will make a show of locating you 
with a kiss, almost to prove to you that you are a real person with a face and that, absolutely, 
they know where the face is and the face isn't, and this is how you know, for sure, that both of 
you have been paid. But I don't want to make you feel bad here, and I apologize, for you are 
entirely kissable, as I have watched you through windows and keyholes even though, up to this 
point, you do not appear in movies. Often you appear holding a book in your hand and with God 
knows what playing in your head—I imagine you repeating to yourself, over and again, "the 
horse knows the way, the horse knows the way"—and remember: even someone as learned in 
film as Jean Luc Godard got it a little wrong. You can kiss The Movie, if The Movie wants to 
kiss you. It's just that The Movie, finally, isn't all that interested in your mouth.
About this poem:
"When I lived in New York, I spent a lot of time in the AMC megaplex on 42nd street, hiding from crowds. If I went during the week and picked the right movie, I could be certain of sitting in an empty theater. To excuse the days I wasted like this, I wrote during the movies. According to my notebook, this poem came out of lines written while watching the 2011 remake of Straw Dogs and the Anna Faris movie, What’s Your Number?"

—Josh Bell






Copyright © 2013 by Josh Bell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on November 21, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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