If My Life Were More Like the Movies

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Stephen Kampa

If My Life Were More Like the Movies


      In yet another spectacular public shootout,
           Our difficult ex-Navy SEAL or diffident spy—
      Whichever’s our hero—goes galloping through a depot
           Or gallery opening, and man, the bullets just fly,

      They ricochet off the fake plaster pillars in flake-bursts
           Like desperate jokes at a laughterless party, they ping
      Off the staircase’s guardrails like bells being rung for service,
           They spiral through air and wind up in everything

      And everyone, since everywhere heads are dropping
           As though people were instantly falling asleep at a speech,
      And although a part of me knows I’m really supposed
           To root for the hero rocketing out of reach,

      I can’t help but look at the bystanders crumpled like napkins,
           Fulfilling the roles they snagged at the casting call,
      Where there’s plenty of room for bodies and little for big shots.
           It’s hard not to see exactly where I would fall.