Movie Magic

Mary-Alice Daniel

With camera tricks, the ordinary block replicates itself.

Rid of modern parking meters, thrust back to the 1940s, rerun

and generically reversing up into the hills.

Cars in vintage stereotype parked precisely

as the American Dream in spring … Shooting starts in April

because The Dream was never too hot, and so

made even the blue collars beautiful — slow

moving the way lucky people move. The past is here.

The future, here. One and the same in film,

depicted by the grain and gore — the body count and schlock of horror.

The blonde star, so symmetrical she’s alien, suffers

a staged car accident in the street.

Her body double and her own body slink to their chairs,

are done up from one rack, one palette,

before mimicking their own deaths — bad work.

The hull of the car carved to rest over her rib cage —

death doing something fake

to spare her, because ignominious or unglamorous,

film stars cannot die. Take Chaplin:

scuffling in the lobby of the mixed-income residential hotel,

($840 a month), his boxing ghost

now a selling point. Hollywood testing its luck, splurging

on chance, taking doom

stars upon itself. And we swallow: Hollywood

passing over to us the bad luck.

about the author