I’m going back,
Back to the last century
When there were cords on telephones
And advertisements announced
That shows would be in color.

Tonight I’m going all the back
To whenever The Amazing Mr. X was made,
1948 if my Roman numerals calculation is on par,
Math got sketchy for me after calculators,
Which would have been the 70s for me.

So I’m back in it now,
The lighting is fuzzy, dreamy in fact,
Hints of romance in the sadness of a scene
Free of a green screen, without language obscene,
It’s a trip to a very different time.

I was told the other day
Libras are prone to artsy-fartsy stuff
Which might explain
How my music feed runs the gamut
From classical to rap,
Although the latter gets lost on me
Since auto-tune and the N-word took over.

Still, there are clues to my Netflix queue
Where serious mixes with documentaries
And occasionally hit with comedy
Just so I know that I do have a sense of humor.
Being a child of Speed Racer,
There’s even one series of anime, but it’s about Dracula,
But that’s okay, right?

Given the choice between hanging out
Or staying home and doing something with the arts
I’m pretty much keeping close to my haunts,
The most social I get being the time running with my friends,
Which has been taken away for the time being
Leaving me at the keyboard or on the screen
Contemplating a new life or wondering if coronavirus is Dracula.

Watching Rocky IV,
How many times is that, now?
Not as many as The Godfather,
Probably half as much
As Star Wars (circa 1977) or Animal House.

I couldn’t tell you what movies are out now,
I barely know who the actors are,
I’m at a loss for why,
My attention span?
Too much action, not enough actin’?

Were movies greater back then?
I don’t know,
I liked watching them better,
That’s all I can say.
No pain, no pain, no pain…

Just watched that Star Wars movie,
It’s either the third or sixth
Depending on how anal you are,
But so we are on the same page,
It is the one where Luke and Leah were born,
You know the one where Obi-Wan called
The soon to be Darth Vader,
The chosen one.
Earlier, Anakin, the soon to be Darth Vader,
Referred to himself as the chosen one,
And having great powers, and an empire,
And more power than anyone else, and
How come the writer didn’t think to put a scene
In a futuristic city with this budding despot
Telling everyone that he could get away
With everything, no matter the laws,
Despite the checks and balances from
Jedis, Senators, or the supposed power of the
Once again, cinema imitating life.

It’s tough getting it all done,
Marathon training,
Teaching, and
When I get home and Key Largo
Is on
At a time when I can stay up
And watch it.

It’s funny when #3 says,
“Does the black and white bring back memories?”
Yes it does,
So I made time to watch the movie again,
For what must be the one-hundredth time
All the while singing that song by Bernie Higgins
And loving the film like I had never seen it before,
The performances, the politics,
Bogie and Bacall…

Last night, I waited to find some inspiration.
I waded into YouTube,
The algorithm provided with nothing,
Nothing except for a good meditation
Which is usually good for some inspiration.
Not last night.
So I deep dove into Netflix,
Setting for a long-timer in My List,
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,
A movie I must have seen with my parents
Or on cable at some point.
I could not remember anything about the movie,
Not even this morning
Just after watching it last night
Which is either a commentary on the movie
Or where my attention span is at this point.
There are only a few days left of this
Vacation within a vacation.
I at the perfect level of peacefulness
Realizing the lack of need for most of what the
Routinized life has to offer.
Soon, I’ll be back in there,
Toiling in the mundane,
Jelly headed from reality
And whatever 1970s action flick I watch next.

We used to go to the movies because there was nothing else to do in Williamsburg. There probably was, but we thought it was cool to take a road trip down to Newport News or Hampton to catch a show. Most of the time that meant going to one of the New Markets. I’m not sure either of them is still there, but we saw a bunch of movies in those theaters.

On one occasion, we went to the Village Theater. If I remember correctly, the prices were cheaper because the movies were in the later stages of their run. On this particular night, we were going to see Risky Business because one of the dudes in our crew had a thing for Tom Cruise. I doubt there was anything to it, but my old friend, who would show up on my doorstep in the dark of night some twenty years after I last spoke to him (Thanks, Hub…) really had a thing for the Scientologist.

Getting to the theater was a challenge as another in our crew had to see a video by Survivor. He made us wait as the VJs kept promising that it was coming on, but like most teasers, it was way down on the playlist. Finally, the song came on and while it was good, it was not as unbelievable as the sleeveless, muscle man had claimed. With time running short, we hopped into the Grand Prix and raced down the dirt road from my house to the Village Theater.

The movie ended up being a teenage classic. Sometimes when I see it now, I think about going to the Village and how that part of Newport News seemed so different than the rest of it. It did have a village feel with its tree-lined streets and classic lampposts. Why that stands out to me as such a strong memory is a mystery. Maybe it was the area. Maybe it was the classic style of the theater. Maybe it was the way we ragged our friend for the Survivor video. In all, it was just a good time.

Then there was the drive-in. When I was a kid my family would go to the drive-in somewhere down there in Hampton/Newport News. I saw the greatest cartoon movie of all time there, Wizards. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the greatest cartoon movie of all time, but it had (has) an interesting message. It’s just a basic good over evil, small hero overcomes a tyrannic dictatorship…hopefully, we avoid that when we vote in a month… Back to the theater… The movie that stands out for me the most was Bolero. My Tom Cruise fan friend and I gathered up the gang and headed for the drive-in. I was the only one old enough for the show, but my friend’s brother had told us which ticket line to get in. Evidently, the dude taking tickets in that line never checked for identification. He would ask how old you were, but never desired to see any I.D. “It’s not a lie if you or they believe it.”

We followed the directions perfectly and there was our guy. Nervousness started to settle in for the young-ins in the car. When he asked us to roll down the window so he could get a better look at everyone, nearly every zit in the back seat popped. They knew we were busted and it was about as much as their pimply faces could stand. He gave us the once over and then said, “Enjoy, fellas.” With that, we were in. For what it’s worth, the movie was not very good, cinematically okay, but the plot…? Forget about it…

The last movie I saw in a theater was Star Wars whatever we are up to now. I had a recliner, chicken fingers, corn bread, and some of Kentucky’s finest. 3-D glasses made the screen jump through the haze forming as a washed my dinner down and the recliner nearly induced a food coma sleep. This time I was with my family and loving every minute of the whole experience, even the movie. There are a ton more options at the snack bar and the price of seeing a movie is way more than at the Village and the drive-in, but every now and then I still like taking in a film at the theater.

Good times in the ‘Burg…

The advertisement said,
And I’m thinking,

They were ultraviolent
With plenty of banjoes
To make any movie goer
Squeal like a pig.

Either, alone, was enough,
But together there would have been
A cringe worthiness making
The look-away-peek a standard viewing skill.

A Clockwork Orange, beautiful ugliness,
Deliverance, a good reason to stay off the river,
Both tapping into the darkest places
A mind can go.
What a double-feature…

Have you ever:
Heard the perfect song?
Had the perfect meal?
Watched the perfect movie?

For all who believe perfection doesn’t exist,
Try to be less literal.

What I mean
Is when those notes hit
Did you experience an enjoyment so profound
That it made you stop,
Or the food tasted so good
You sat back savoring the bite
Before shoveling in another,
Or stayed through the credits
Of a film so moving
That you could not stand to move?

That’s what I mean by perfect,
Supremely enjoyable.

I long for those moments,
The perfection that happens
At the most unexpected times,
But mostly when I’m hanging with my family,
Chilling with my friends,
Or taking stock during my free time.



For the record:

1. Lee Roy Parnell: On the Road
2. My wife’s crab soup
3. Animal House