Who knows what we wanted,
from those hustlers and nobodies,
sealed in their digital eternities
as Second Zombie, Tattooed Bandit
Bearded Killer, The Mighty Vood.
‘You could have had the world
but instead I’ll have your eyes!’:
there’s an epigraph to prodigality,
and a couplet to define those days.
That careers were spun from the gutter
beguiled us. We’d change our tastes,
go mainstream, and they’d appear,
providing an incongruous rhyme
to their grungier line, looming
over Brando’s shoulder, or tugging
at Barbara Bach’s shift. Old friends,
calling out from locations long spent:
refugees of static cameras, jump cuts,
buckets of fake blood, dark as treacle
(some of it actual treacle). They ignited
our cinema nights, like cheap cigarettes
lit from the burnt stub of another,
and lurching through their canon,
we held onto a faithful, naive ideal:
if these hacks could find a way to thrive
maybe there could be hope for us.
The open windows invited summer heat
and moths attracted by the light.
They circulated after hours, chewed up
our daydreams, ambitions and dust,
the limp, tangled fabric of our lives.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including Atrium, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, and Under the Radar. His chapbook Arboreal Days is published by Red Ceilings Press.

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