Ace Boggess – 4 poems 

FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS

VEB DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme, 1960

                                               

 

With props from our futuristic past—

cardboard, tin & string—how did we

break the alien code, learn

of an invasion force that never came?

We send a team, we rocket

through the roiling, radioactive clouds.

When we arrive,

we see that those who would destroy us

left their shadows on the walls.

 

Apologies, Mr. Stanislaw Lem.

Your message was garbled, or we were.

We might as well skip Venus altogether,

return instead to Solaris

where dreams come alive in ghosts of mind &

no one ever really wants to leave.


🍃

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN

                                                             

              Universal Pictures, 1971

                       

 

Another way of saying one bomb

welcomes the apocalypse—see,

it’s not the bug-eyed greenies that get us

but our will to split an atom.

 

How I used to love this movie

when it popped up on my Sunday channels:

first film to let me feel its tension

under skin like shards of splinters.

 

The virus is the story, I thought,

unwilling to perform an autopsy on narrative.

Watching today, I know the bad guys are

we: a mean bunch of dumbfucks &

 

cosmic cavemen first encountering

solar fire that sears our bones to powder.

We frighten ourselves, shout: Look!

There are monsters here. Now run.

 


🍃

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

                                                              

              Paramount Pictures, 1953

                       

 

tri-colored eyes the Martians have like separating lenses

of course we know there are no Martians

unless there are in which case….

sure some folks believed it when Welles put it on the radio

people like mutts who hear a tap at the window &

think the cat has come inside

excited over nothing

but that was sound & this is Technicolor &

what gets me: the breakdown

on those three Martian eyes: red blue green

not quite primaries but almost &

how the Martians see our world as if watching

a 3-D movie without glasses

dirty flat & nauseating

I’d want to destroy it too

I’d want to see it dead

although from the look of things I guess it is

 


🍃


NOSFERATU

                                                             

Jofa-Atelier Berlin-Johannisthal,

Prana-Film GmbH, 1922

                       

 

Never, never were things made to last so long

That what was chilling now seems more like art,

Although its writers got the story wrong.

 

Before Lugosi, Karloff, or the classic Kong,

It earned its shivers, gave the crowds a start,

A passing fright not meant to last so long.

 

The film, though grainy, sputters right along

As Mr. Schreck, who’s creepy for his part,

Does Orlok well but gets the story wrong

 

Despite so many silent voices & the organ song—

Not prime (producers of this version weren’t smart

About preserving music that wasn’t meant to last so long)—

 

When Orlok dies without a dagger’s prong

To slit his throat & pierce his soiled heart.

See how they got the master’s story wrong?

 

Still, this iconic image holds up well as any throng

Of Nietzsche’s phrases or the five words by Descartes.

I only hope that I might last so long,

& no one says I got my story wrong.


🍃

Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

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