Celluloid Seance (Poem)


[NB: This is based on a wonderful film project by Guy Maddin called “Seances”. The premise was to recreate lost and destroyed movies from the first half of the 20th century based on only the titles or ideas…. and then rearrange and rework them into brand new short films that would play just once, without pausing, before being deleted. To see the project itself, click here, and to hear Kyle Kallgren explain it much more eloquently than I can, click here.]


Join hands, you privileged few
(the necromancer beckons)
we’ll awaken the dead—
a celluloid séance
for one night only—
don’t those mercury waters
look inviting?

Dip your toe, stranger,
and watch the world ripple.

A janus-head at the threshold
presiding over time and movement
as a lost generation
five-hundred strong
learns, haltingly, to speak—
negatives and phantasms
frayed at the edges
bleeding, breathing,
a perfect likeness of dreams.

Turn up the lights
and watch them smoulder
cauterise the chemical rot,
pick the bones clean,
hang new skin on the ivory frame—

a monument to decay.


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