Freaks

by Savannah V. Derien

At the screening of the 1932 film
We sit, poising
Our cigarettes under our seats
Between shouts of: Put That Out.
I hand a light to a kid —
He couldn’t be twelve!
And what’d he do, say to his barber:
Give me the Hat Look?
Passing Scope
To his friends. And they’re drinking it.
The freakin’ Jesus Squeezers,
Rowed in multiples, chant: This Theater
Is the Mouth of Hell. But now,
On the screen, Godzilla’s teeth chomp down
Again and again ’til the film burns.
I wonder, briefly, if some brilliant mind
Did that on purpose. Subtle,
The refuge of genius — but I am distracted
By Bill (cultivating a neck beard).
I can’t hear what he’s saying.
A local D.J. is exposed behind the screen
When the light goes out.
No one looks. The guy next to me
Offers candy on a string bracelet.
I eat some, then he says:
I found it on the floor.
We pass it down the aisle,
Some Technicolor Communion.
I look to the floor and score a rubber toy.
A fox. The guy other side of me
Bends its tail to look like an erection.
Big laughs. Then the screen lights —
Music — drowns out the talk,
The laughs, jokes, shouts,
And all faces fall white-silent
Under the strumming that rocks our seats.

Publication Credits – Savannah V. Derien

Her first published poem received the Poetry Award from “The Iowa Rag.” Since then, her poetry has appeared in many midwestern publications and she was also a contributing editor for a Chicago-based literary review. Later, two of her poems were selected as finalists in the “Missouri Review” Editor’s Prize Contest. A Petrarchan Sonnet was published in “The Lyric,” and her work appeared most recently in “Potpourri,” “Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review,” and “The Wisconsin Review.” She has begun work on her second novel, and the worldwide publication of one of her poems is forthcoming in “The Atlanta Review” in Spring of the year 2000.