Found Poem*

This re­flux is as­ton­ish­ment

The im­me­di­a­cy of their ter­ror short-cir­cuit­ing
even disavowal?s de­tour–
This too is but a train of shad­ows.
The un­gras­pable phan­tom of life.

A strange flick­er pass­es through the screen
and the pic­ture stirs to life.
A vac­il­la­tion be­tween be­lief and in­creduli­ty–
a ter­ror­ist mood set­ter,
like a fair­ground bark­er,
caused women to scream and men to sit aghast.

The ele­phant is led on­to an elec­tri­fied plate,
and se­cured.

Smoke ris­es from its feet and
af­ter a mo­ment
the ele­phant falls on its side.

The lust of the eyes
end­ing in per­ver­sions of mag­ic and sci­ence.
Equally du­bi­ous in­tel­lec­tu­al cu­rios­i­ty,
lost sight of now af­ter decades
re­cedes in­to the flat sur­face
and the de­cep­tion is ex­posed.

Shock be­comes a strat­e­gy
of a mod­ern aes­thet­ic of as­ton­ish­ment.
The hol­low cen­tre of the cin­e­mat­ic il­lu­sion.
Na?ve be­lief in the re­al­i­ty of the im­age–
a train of shad­ows
freight­ed with empti­ness.

*from Tom Gunning?s ?An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)credulous Spectator?

2 thoughts on “Found Poem*

  1. heh. i found that es­say to be one of the more com­pre­hen­si­ble that i read in my film the­o­ry class. and when i went through what i had high­light­ed, i de­cid­ed to slap ‘em to­geth­er and call it a po­em.

    which i then sub­mit­ted as my week­ly as­sign­ment in my po­et­ry class [giv­ing cred­it where cred­it is due of course].

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