Intermission (1963) and Mockingbird by Ross Thompson

 Intermission (1963)

after Edward Hopper


I love this tranquil moment: the intake of breath


before the house lamps dim and the projectionist

pulls off a conjuring trick by coaxing

an illusion of light, shadow and sound 

from a locked box and discs of concave glass.


The whole theater is embroidered, making

us moths in the warm glow of a triple

lantern, our rich lives soon to be shortened 

by the birth of the multiplex. We will 


all be forgotten eventually, 

gone like the duchess whose ghost still reclines

in her love seat, waiting for the first strains

of The Birds, Charade or The Great Escape


content as a cumulus in blue-tinged 

dress, ankle idly scratching the other

to placate an itch that will not desist.

Before we are eclipsed by the darkness


that fills The Saturn, we are precious pearls.


---

Mockingbird


i.m. Philip Seymour Hoffman


When the music stops, some of us, the blessed

ones, find warm, outstretched hands, kind eyes to smile

back to meet our own, palms to press against

beating palms. Others, gently pushed aside, 

will clutch at cold and vacant air, or slip

between crushed velvet curtains, revealing

an empty chair beside a broken glass

still ringing from the last lips it passed. 


But what did you see when you chanced

to peek behind the painted drapes that separate

the real from the fake, as autumn leaves part

on a rushing stream, as the day and night

are rent by the dream? And what uncanny 

melody did you hear on the journey back 

to the role you played before the siren

sang and the bell rang, when the circle closed,

when your blood ran cold, when you were led

alone through a slim light drawn needle thin

cracked just enough to let the darkness in?


---


Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His debut poetry collection Threading The Light is published by Dedalus Press. His work has appeared on television, radio and in short films. Most recently, he wrote and curated A Silent War, a collaborative audio response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is currently working on several projects including a second full-length book of poems. 

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