King (a poem by Matthew Dickman)

I’m always the king of something. Ruined or celebrated,

newly crowned, or just beheaded. King of the shady grass

and king of the dirty sheets. I sit in the middle

of the room in December

with the windows open, five pills, and a razor. My life long

secret. My killing power and my staying

power. When the erection fails, when the car almost hits

the divider, I’m king. I wave my hand over

the ants bubbling out of the sidewalk and make them all knights,

I sit at the dinner table and look into the deep

dark eyes of my television, my people. I tell them the kingdom

will be remembered in dreams of gold. I tell them

what was lost will be found. So I put on my black-white

checkered Vans, the exact pair of shoes

my older brother wore when he was still a citizen in the world,

and I go out, I go out into the street

with my map of the dead and look for him,

for the X he is,

so I can put the scepter back in his hands, take the red

cloak from my shoulders and put it around his, lift the crown

from my head and fit it just above his eyebrows,

so I can get down on one knee, on both

knees, and lower my face and whisper my lord, my master, my king.


The Loud Eater At The Movies

Last night I went to see the movie ‘Like Crazy’. I went by myself, because I wanted to be alone. I wanted quiet, I didn’t feel like socializing or talking to anyone. I went in the theater and it wasn’t particularly busy. As is the custom these days, I had to sustain ten minutes of loud previews. Then the loudness passed and the movie started.

‘Like Crazy’ is a quiet movie. What you hear is low-key dialogue, as opposed to loud explosions and cars crashing. Unfortunately, the quiet tone of the film was interrupted by the loud eating of the couple to my left. These people were eating their pop corn with remarkable vengeance. It was as if the pop corn had inflicted major pain upon them and it was revenge-time. They were attacking the paper bag like it was the last available food on earth. And do you know what happens when you attack a paper bag? It makes a loud noise. And do you know what happens when you are munching pop corn? Yes, that’s right, you are very loud and the person to your right is wishing you would choke on it.

At some point I thought my spell was successfully cast, as the guy started coughing. “Oh, wow, he is choking”, I thought to myself. But after gulping some soda down, he stopped. He resumed eating like a pig. It felt like it was the endless bag of pop corn. There was always more for these people to attack.

After an hour or so there was no more noise. They had successfully devoured everything. They stopped. I rejoiced. At last I was able to enjoy the movie with nothing to annoy me. At some point the guy from the loud couple got up to go out. In the process he managed to knock over everything in his way, as well as stomp on the pop corn paper bag he had placed on the floor. I just wanted to turn and yell at him “What the fuck is wrong with you?”. But I didn’t, I remained civil.

While the loud eater was out, the movie ended. This was a movie exploring a long distance relationship. It was a sweet and understated movie. The ending was particular emotional and touching. Not because something extraordinary happened, but because of the way it showed how the two characters had changed, and what the relationship had morphed into after a year. It was an ending fit to the overall mood, yet powerful. The boor had missed the ending, pretty much the best thing in the movie. Oh, sweet silent revenge.