Magic Lantern Review
Issue 1, Summer 2011 Poetry Clock Wrecked………………………………………………1 by Colin James Three Sweaters……………………………………………..2 by William Doreski Words and Things………………………………………….4 By Conrad Geller King Kong Moon at 4 a.m………………………………...5 by Gerald A. Saindon Of the City……………………………………………………6 by Gerald A. Saindon Twilight Zone………………………………………………..7 by Gerald A. Saindon The European Rest Cure (1904)………………………..8 by Gregory Robinson The Birth of a Nation (1915)……………………………..9 by Gregory Robinson Joan the Woman (1926)…………………………………11 by Gregory Robinson

Going Up……………………………………………………12 by Valentina Cano Plaintive Attacks………………………………………….13 by Valentina Cano Fatty…………………………………………………………14 by Ann Eichler Kolakowski The Method Act of Marlon Brando……………………15 by Daniel Shapiro The Arbitration Gallery………………………………….16 by Ben Nardolilli Film Writing Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011)……………………..17 by Joe Weeks Rambo (2008)……………………………………………..21 by Mr. Majestyk


Clock Wrecked
Colin James
Filming lovers whose time has passed requires precautions. Cameras are placed behind mirrors otherwise soundless worlds occur verbatim. Edits of dripping chocolate, B.A.S.C. contortions. Like con artists these lovers kiss even during long panning approach shots. And their looks are no more handsome than.



Three Sweaters
William Doreski
You’ve knitted three sweaters for me: green, black, cobalt blue. Wearing the black one, I smell raw earth turned over for a famous man’s grave. Mourners shuffle with downcast gaze past a mountain of flowers rotting in weepy perfumes. Relatives mutter about details of the will. The marbled sky promises a storm powerful enough to sever the grieving from their grief. I join the party; but a scene from a film by Ingmar Bergman recurs, and like one of his characters about to kill himself I laugh, and everyone stares at me, shocked. In the cobalt blue sweater I walk on a long winter beach with the sea lapping and lapping with doggy persistence and sand whirling in a stiff north wind. I’m following Thoreau’s footprints—

bare feet, long stride, bowlegged like a sailor. They lead nowhere I want to go, past a lighthouse toppled when the bluff gave way, past the carcass of a right whale, ending with a heap of camp fire cinders. I kneel at this shrine with the wind desiccating through me; and when I rise I’m wearing the green sweater and clutching a glass of whiskey and you’re gazing into my faraway expression with your entire brown depth exposed. Thank you for these sweaters. What if I wore all three at once? Your stitch is dainty and flawless, and the luxury of the yarn you’ve chosen assures me you care.


Words and Things
Conrad Geller
Shriek is shaped like a baked potato, the long kind, Or a pontoon holding up a rickety bridge. The word (but not the thing) looms precisely, Indivisible, a giant molecule. No wonder we are frightened of it daily. Picture this: Girl in a party dress, Teenager, foolishly left the prom. Night. Tries every door in the deserted town, Useless, runs to the middle of the street, Screams and screams. We do not see the ending.


King Kong Moon at 4 a.m.
Gerald A. Saindon
All hail, all white steadfast beam, clouds flying, not worrying much, your sure eye in my dream. Or am I awake and this scene lends my insomnia a crutch? Or a somnambulant echo? With a big monkey’s hand like a cloud brushing below, like a wink, though finally no drag on the brilliant, grand delight where twin towering popples rise to you as jungle guides. My dark brain reels and topples in joy. Going home with broad strides shaking the earth, on ape feet I ride.


Of The City
Gerald A. Saindon
The city grows cheap weeds where grass stoops to moss patches raw dirt in green swabs working coolly in the dark. The city loses good bricks in corners beyond her eyes swim in clay pools roiling a hot eighty or ninety feet up over her dreams. The city strings helpless paths to stations singing what to her noise of thonged feet slapping a witless chastisement of this city’s final impudence. The city smokes dry eyes that all day dust sought small eyes dream-scathed from always living this city living this sleep this dying.

Twilight Zone
Gerald A. Saindon
This poem concerns dim light and sudden stars – telling birds to hurry homeward, pack up the music and sit tightly on spring eggs: their offspring to crack from, and otherwise earn some light. But that brings me back into the thought of light’s price: the onslaught of night and the many terrors, parasites, all affixed to the exteroceptors I flail and grope in doubtful self-defending. With night rides the fatal malefaction: no smiling dybbuk to assume me.


The European Rest Cure (1904)
Gregory Robinson
It is the gravity of elsewhere, the lake isle, the disappearing path, the Boeing gassed on the runway, all pulling all calling all aboard and au revoir. Hearts aren’t absent, they just hate where they are. And so you take them somewhere else and they hate that too. But the idea of elsewhere is a tidal wave that can be neither resisted nor ridden. The light flashes on. All around, it isn’t the plane, it is the world, dropping. The pilot calls the storm slight turbulence and you say, reassuringly, I’ve lived a good life, and on the screen inside you’re kissing the blarney stone, doing Paris, climbing the alps, one misadventure after the next in Italy, Egypt, and Germany. Everyone has to go sometime, you say, because you saw it somewhere and where else can you learn to die if not at the movies. Thing is, you land. If this is your final destination, emoh teews emoh, there’s no where else to go. We know you have choices and we are glad you chose us. Beware that luggage might have shifted during the flight and Life: The Movie can but rarely does end. For this you are quietly grateful, mildly miserable.


The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Gregory Robinson
This is for you. The ushers in Civil War garb, for you. The rows of red velvet cushions, crafted for girdled backs and porcelain bottoms, for you. The Birth, a new history formed because you didn’t like the first one, for you. A plea. We do not fear censorship, and we demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, so we might illuminate the bright side of virtue. We demand it with our hands. In the quarters of the Majestic, the best boy first saw light under his sheets and found it was his own: thin beams streaming from his palms like light shooting through a pinhole. All over the studio lot, workers woke to the same stigmata, the gaffers, the cutters, the key scenics, and the set designers, waking, wondering, keeping their arms outstretched as if they held fire and wiggling their glowing fingertips like someone ready to ascend. The beams grew stronger by salary and status. The cinematographer, a policeman’s flashlight. The director of photography, the light on a freighter’s mast. Just off the lot, still under the storm of luminance, D.W. left a dream to find his palms gone supernova. He reached for his wife

in the adjacent bed and cut her in half, along with the wall behind her and the foundation of a neighboring house. This is the product of those hands, all for you. This palace built for no other purpose, this birth, a world re-written with lightening, the bright side of virtue slashing the old world to ribbons.


Joan the Woman (1926)
Gregory Robinson
I ask her to take her chain mail off, to stay for a while. In the hammock at night, we are far enough from the city to see more stars. I trace the lines of constellations that I’m making up on the spot, and making up mythological stories. She points to the stars nearby, the ones that tell the future. The war, she says, won’t be over this year or any year. She turns and tugs at the crossbow bolt still lodged in her side, winces and lets it stay. She says it hurts worse than it looks. Somewhere armies of men carrying flags chant Joan, Maiden of France, again and again. In the distance, their cries are audible, armies of men pounding their spears into the soil in a war rhythm, chanting Joan, Maiden of France, we’ll follow you to victory or to hell. But I’m asking her to stay anyway. Not like the bolt, like the stars.


Going Up
Valentina Cano
Edges of colors close in on her, a tangle of tails, bright, manic greens that seem to fold her in like egg whites, keeping her stiff, swallowing her whole. The colors move in lines like scarves, one giving way to the other, until her eyes can no longer tell them apart. Reds become whites, blood seeping out, drying out to a husk. Grays become oranges as her days swim in flames. No sense in her little fluorescent snow-globe. The colors swirl in a chant of images as her eyes twist off like dried-up corks.


Plaintive Attacks
Valentina Cano
Instead of looking at her as if she’d thrown her hair into the fire, ask yourself why she’s dangling from a chandelier of words. See if you understand the lines of gunpowder she’s been snorting. The burn in her throat lifting off with wings of sulphur You see nothing. You care nothing for her crackling eyes that plead for a lie dry as cotton. She’s just a doorway to you, something to step through, to bow out from. Air in a vague shape with bones of wood to hold it up. Wake up. She’s holding the scissors, running, crab-like towards you.


Arch Brown

Ann Eichler Kolakowski
Saturday nights are best, with Fatty on the starched white sheet at Town Hall. Fatty wears a lady’s dress and throws two pies at once! His dog’s a movie star, too. Wish I had a dog. Marian says Chaplin’s funnier But he wears Fatty’s pants, I say. Just like a girl, she don’t believe me. Tonight they were both in the show. Their wives were mean, so Fatty and the Tramp stole money and got chased and stole a rowboat and rowed to the middle of a lake and guess what happened then! They laid down and went to sleep, but the boat leaked and they never woke up. Fatty didn’t throw a single pie. No one laughed when it was over.
"Fatty" references The Rounders (1914), which paired Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle on screen with Charlie Chaplin. The poem is excerpted from a manuscript-in-progress that chronicles the lost mill town of Warren, Maryland, which was destroyed and flooded in 1922 to expand the Loch Raven Reservoir, the primary source of Baltimore’s municipal water supply.


The Method Act of Marlon Brando
Daniel Shapiro
You never had my children. As a boy, I learned to give birth. I permitted wind to tutor me. Invisible, I danced within husks. I delivered the rows you bite, the cob you twist to repeat. You think you knew me as the real man who lived among mobsters, rapists, sinister miners of unrequited love. To play them was to live them. The day I died, that orange that lay in my mouth hid the teeth of youth, green corn of abandoned Omaha replaced by stolid skyscrapers grown beneath my bloodless clouds.


The Arbitration Gallery
Ben Nardolilli
I have stripped away the walls, But you fogged up the windows With a clarity I didn’t ask for, I tried to add in hallways And you bent them out of shape, When I tried to light up the maze, You dimmed all of my lamps, Now all the neighbors know of us Is a pair of shadows boxed in.


Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011)
Joe Weeks
When Werner Herzog makes a documentary, you better believe he’s found something you’re not that interested in and that he’s going to turn it into a film you’re fascinated by. A big part of it is his eclectic fascination and love of unusual topics, talents, and people, and the obvious enthusiasm with which he presents his subjects. But the other part of the appeal is Herzog himself, who is equal parts philosopher, artist, deadpan comic, and German weirdo. His films are intensely interested in his subjects, and yet they feel like deeply personal statements from this inscrutable man at the same time. Somehow, even though he doesn’t talk a lot about himself, the films seem reflective of his own unique perspective, loves, fears, and obsessions. I believe he’s written and narrated all his documentaries since ECHOS FROM A SOMBER EMPIRE in 1990, and that fact alone makes them a subjective experience from the point of view of a very curious individual. Sure, I want to watch the fuck out of some 3D cave art, but if I have to choose between David Attenborough’s lightly informative prattle and Werner Herzog’s quasi-mystical philosophical musings, it’s an easy choice. Whatever the topic, you bet hearing Herzog’s voice over is gonna make it infinitely weirder and more interesting. Among what I’m certain are many areas of philosophical agreement and professional respect between Herzog and Michael Bay, both have expressed their distaste for the proliferation of 3-D films and both immediately made their next film in 3-D. While TRANSFORMERS 3-D is still awaiting final cut approval from the Dark One, Herzog has taken his shot at 3-D by turning it on the dimly-lit walls of Chauvet caverns in France, where exist the oldest known paintings in the world. While Herzog and James Cameron may never see eye-to-eye on this 3-D thing, anyone who experiences CAVE in 3-D has to see immediately that this was the occasion to use it, if ever there was one. You’ve seen these images before; there aren’t really all that many and most of the major ones qualify as pop art by this point. But what you haven’t ever seen is how stunning they look in their natural state. There’s a reason it was worth it to go see the Paul Gauguin exhibit at the National Gallery. There’s a reason my pulse quickened when I got to see an exhibit of the original art of Dr. Seuss. You can see these images, easily, online, often in insanely high resolution. But when you see the texture, the layers, the whole dimensions of an image, it comes alive in an entirely different way. It suddenly puts you in touch not just with an image, but with the whole piece as a physical object. It connects you with the artist’s hand and movement, with the fact that you’re looking not at some lines on paper, but a physical link between two people across space and time.

And here, the people on the other end of that link happened to live some 30,000 odd years ago. Herzog uses his 3-D camera to explore these surfaces that they traversed, trying to imagine what they thought, how they moved, what it meant. He’s reverent but probing, examining and reexamining each little line with an almost erotic intensity. It’s not lost on Herzog that these humans lived lives which are almost completely unknowable to us at this point. Some tantalizing clues remain, even through the gap of tens of thousands of years – but it’s like trying to get to know someone from three random items picked from all their possessions through their whole life. A ballpoint pen, a high heel, a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” with an inspirational message from an irritating relative written on the inside. You can use these items to get a sense of time and place, the kind of resources that might have been available, maybe the basic things which might have been important. But you don’t want to know that. You want to know the person. Who they were, what they loved, how they thought, what they aspired to, what they dreamed of. Herzog turns to scientists who can speculate on what kind of tools they might have had, what their basic routines might have been like, but it’s all a tease. He wants to know their souls. And if art is indeed the expression of a human soul, he’s picked a subject which might tantalize us with the earliest known glimpse into the human heart, rather than the human brain. This may well have been the birth of the human soul, that subtle but staggeringly important line between Cro-Magnon man, who created art, and Neanderthal Man, who created tools, but not culture. Both were still alive at this time, incidentally, living side by side in these valleys and caves. Imagine that. A second species of humans walking amongst our early ancestors. Were they humans in the sense that we are today? Can we say that Cro-Magnon man definitely was, because of the clearly abstract quality of the icons they left behind? Is that the line which measures humanity? If so, looking at these early but already rich expressions of that human soul are about as close as we can get to identifying the spiritual difference between man and beast, if indeed there is one. There’s some basic scientific mumbo jumbo, but Herzog's quest is to try and look into the spirit of humans over a gap of 30,000 years. Everywhere he looks, he finds signs of human playfulness and seriousness, of personality – from thousands of years in the past and from the people all around him today. Some dullard American scientist suggests that archeology is no longer an adventurous, outdoor activity, but rather a painstaking chore of dirt farming and computer modeling. Herzog, with his typically inscrutable deadpan wit, cuts to a bearded, slightly insane looking scientist with the suitably badass name Wulf Hein (I think his on-screen title may actually be “adventure geologist”) gamely dressed in his recreation of Aurignacian period fashion and playing his heart out on a recreation stone-age flute. If they had flutes, they had music, and now you have to wonder what they played. Significantly, he notes that the flute is in the right key to play “The Star Spangled Banner,” which he coyly demonstrates. Did some Stone-Age flautist pick out that tune 30,000 year ago, not realizing that ancestors separated from him (or her) by an incalculable span of time would attach

their own meaning to it? Herzog doesn’t have to say it aloud to know you’re pondering it. He can’t help but be interested in modern spirits too – he includes a bit where he asks a pony-tailed scientists about his former job as a circus performer, and an interesting but irrelevant tangent about a master perfumer who literally uses his nose to look for hidden caves (what the fuck, that guy gets to go inside the cave but I don’t?) – but it’s the ancient ancestors who are the star of the show, and Herzog does everything he can to try and help you see through their eyes (the crews’ ever-moving lights and shadows hint at the way the paintings must have been originally experienced by torchlight), listen with their ears (during a long quiet stretch where the crew stand perfectly still and let the otherwise imperceptible audio of the cave become the star), feel with their hands (through his penetrating use of 3-D), and even smell with their noses, thanks to our friend the master perfumer cave-smeller. I’d bet my life there’s a deleted scene where he talks to some hunter or chef about the taste of raw cave bear meat. He wants us to have every possible tool to try and imagine their lives, their minds. But as much as it is tantalizing to imagine, the more you think about it, the more alien and mysterious it becomes. They might be humans, but trying to understand them is like trying to imagine what a baby is thinking. Not because they were primitive, but because their context and way of thinking about the world is just so entirely unknown and unknowable. Just to put it in modern language would probably destroy any truth you might find. In a way, this is a perfect companion piece to another excellent, poetic documentary from Europe, 2010’s INTO ETERNITY. That one is ostensibly about the nuclear waste repository being stuck at the very bottom abandoned copper mine in Finland, but actually it’s just as much about communicating across an unimaginable amount of time for a human being. You see, once we store that nuclear waste, it’s going to be dangerously radioactive for 100,000 years. Yes, 100,000. Meaning that we have a responsibility to communicate to our descendants 100,000 years in the future that this site is dangerous and must never be opened. It goes without saying that no human sociological structure has ever survived that long (or even come close) and neither will this current one. 100,000 years from now, any tiny remnant of our current human societies is likely to be as mysterious and unknowable as the cave paintings are to us. Perhaps just as primitive. If the human soul has evolved from ancient paintings of horses to the music of Lady Gaga in a mere 30,000 years, imagine what our ancestors in the year 102,011 CE will wonder about our wants, out dreams, our values, our souls. Our minds can’t comprehend that span of time and space in human terms. Maybe someday millennia from now, a descendant of Werner Herzog will be reverently ultra-3-D-smell-o-visioning the few remaining copies of O

Magazine and trying desperately to imagine what kind of humanity he shares with people that far removed from himself. He won’t really be able to know, but maybe it means something just to imagine. Anyway, hopefully he’ll get the hint that he should stay the fuck out of caves in Finland, regardless of the primitive art he might find down there. As it is, modern-day Herzog is always a worthwhile watch. Here, more than perhaps anything else he’s ever done, he’s committed to arming us with as many tools as possible to fuel our imaginations, and challenging us with perhaps the ultimate question about the nature of the human soul. This would be a stunning documentary were it a purely visual piece alone (Herzog is showman enough to structure his film in a way which organically escalates the power of the paintings and the way we get to see them, and he effortlessly utilizes Ernst Reijseger’s stunning score to great effect) but the heart of the film is that this beauty and mystery is being explored by this particular Baywatch-referencing German oddball. It puts a human face on the mystery of humanity itself, and makes it seem all the more remote, and yet all the more vitally compelling. For reason I can confidently say I don’t entirely understand, Herzog also chooses to end his film with this image. I think he may be meditating on the inevitable evolution of humans from one thing to another, with the single thread of our common humanity uniting us but still allowing for startling distance between our minds, if not our souls. But possibly not; I’m open to suggestions.


Rambo (2008)
Mr. Majestyk
Unspeakable awesome. That's the only way to describe the new Rambo. The weekend I first saw it, I walked around telling anybody who would listen that Rambo is the greatest movie ever made. I said it without hesitation, without qualification, and for damn sure without shame. But now that some of the initial elation has worn off, I have to amend that statement. It's probably not the greatest movie ever made. It's only the absolute no-contest best action movie since Terminator 2. The lukewarm and/or condescending reviews this landmark in no-nonsense action cinema received from mainstream critics mystifies me. I don't know what's up with these people. It doesn't seem like they saw the same movie I did. Maybe it's just that they grew up in some parallel universe where justice always reigns and hatred doesn't congeal in the bone marrow, so they're missing that hard chunk of black diamond that the rest of us carry around in our hearts that makes us scream for violent retribution against an unfair world. But for people like me, Rambo is 100% emotion. It angries up the blood in the most beautiful, life-affirming way. Rambo is not a complicated film, but it is a powerful one, if you can allow yourself to experience it on a purely emotional level. George Lucas once said that engaging an audience emotionally was easy: Just strangle a kitten on camera. (Too bad he didn't follow his own advice. A few kitten-stranglings might have injected some life into the prequels.) Sylvester Stallone agrees, so the whole first half of Rambo is just one metaphorical kitten being strangled after another. Then the second half is Rambo killing the fucking shit out of those dirty kitten-stranglers. Simple. Basic. Primordial. The plot: Rambo now lives in self-imposed exile in Thailand, running a riverboat service and catching deadly cobras for snake shows. He fucking hates everybody and has lost all faith in both himself and the world. Then some Christian do-gooders come to town, asking him for a ride into Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar). I don't know if you know this, since Lady Gaga's wardrobe choices seem to take up a lot of space in the papers, but there's been a bloody civil war going on over there for over 60 years, the longest in history. It's basically a genocide, with the Burmese government using profits earned from crystal meth trafficking to systematically eradicate a tribe of independenceseeking rebels, the Karen. So these Christians want to bring food and medical supplies to the Karen. Rambo knows that passive resistance won't do shit against a methed-up

army of killers trained to see their enemies as subhumans worthy of extinction, but he lets himself get talked into it by the foxy blonde of the group (Julie Benz, once again playing the female companion to an unstoppable killing machine). I don't see a lot of sexual tension going on here. I think he's just reacting to the earnest idealism he sees in her, as opposed to the self-aggrandizing "My morals are bigger than yours" dickswinging of the other missionaries. Community service as masturbation. A lot of people in the theater were laughing at this part. I think that's part of Stallone's plan. He lets you chuckle at the over-baked dialogue that asks the philosophical question: Is it enough to merely do good, or must you also destroy evil? This question is posed in as blunt a manner as possible, as befits a Rambo movie. It's not ironic. It's not post-modern. And it's definitely not cynical. As he proved in Rocky Balboa, Stallone doesn't have time for cynics who keep themselves insulated from both the darkest and brightest aspects of human nature by a buffer zone of cosmopolitan irony. Stallone isn't talking to them, because they're not listening anyway. So he lets them laugh at the beginning of the movie. Ha ha, isn't this corny, the way this weird-looking old man discusses age-old ethical quandaries in the rain. Thank God I'm young, middle-class, and white so I don't have to actually give a fuck about anything. But nobody's laughing once the killing starts. At about the 20 minute mark, there's a massacre that shuts everybody the fuck up. It is absolutely punishing. Body parts blown off. Women raped and executed. Babies bayoneted and thrown into burning huts. It is the hardest action scene I have ever witnessed, and it hurts. This isn't fun action, with exploding arrowheads and pithy one-liners. This is man's inhumanity to man. This is war, and Stallone shoves it right in your face. It's like he's saying to the skeptics, "Why aren't you laughing now? Isn't it funny? C'mon, you fucking hipster, laugh this shit off. I dare you. Laugh." Lots of people have a problem with the fact that Stallone is showing this shit the way it really happens. They think it's wrong for him to portray real-life atrocities in his cheesy action movie. They'd rather have him fight the Russian mafia or Eurotrash mercenaries or even not-explicitly-Muslim-but-probably-Arab terrorists. Because that's safe. It's just a campy good time at the movies. They don't have to suffer the indignity of being forced to think about stuff while sharing space with the unwashed masses. It's like when South Park introduced Timmy, the mentally retarded kid. He was the singer in a band, and his spastic verbal ejaculations were both hilarious and catchy. The audience loved it and he himself had a blast. But nonetheless, the townspeople protested, saying that Timmy was being exploited. But it had nothing to do with protecting Timmy. It was just that the liberal townspeople would rather have retarded

people locked away where polite folks wouldn't have to feel guilty about the fact that they make them uncomfortable. That's like Rambo with this Burma situation. Critics may bitch that Stallone is coopting a real and ongoing tragedy, but the fact of the matter is that this movie will raise more awareness of what's going on over there than a dozen newspaper articles and documentaries. So how do you think the actual Karens feel about it? Do you think they feel exploited by Stallone, or do you think they're just glad (like Timmy) that someone is finally listening? Rambo clearly isn't a message film (it's too unpretentious for that), but Stallone knows that Rambo is a mighty worldwide icon, and he has chosen to train this symbolic power on a situation that desperately needs it. This no-holds-barred approach also performs a vital storytelling role. The more evil Stallone makes the bad guys, the more righteous his eventual payback. It's simple physics. The farther you pull back the bowstring, the farther the arrow goes. Well, since he's Rambo, Stallone pulls that motherfucker back until it damn near snaps, and when he lets it go, that arrow flies several miles and stabs right through some inhuman cocksucker's face. And the people in the audience who aren't dead inside cheer and cheer. I cannot describe the emotional catharsis of the last act of this movie, when Rambo leads a group of mercenaries into the woods to rescue the Christians. Rambo is like the Roman Coliseum, only nobody really gets hurt and justice prevails in the end. And it prevails in the messiest, most jaw-dropping way imaginable. This is a weird thing to say about a movie this gruesome, but the feeling I got from watching it was love. I felt like this movie knew me, accepted me, and loved me. It's never been a secret what action movie fans want, but for some reason, Hollywood likes to pretend that it's a big mystery. They think we want smirky prettyboys swinging around on cables, bicycle-kicking generic henchmen. They think we want techno music and villains who bleed dust. They think we want our violence to have all the viscera and gravitas of a pinball machine. But Stallone knows better. He listened to our pleas and gave us the action movie we've always wanted. When people get shot with a .50 caliber jeep-mounted machine gun, they don't just fall down, clutching their torsos. They break apart. Pieces fly off in clouds of blood. Just like in real life. It's not pretty, but my God, is it awesome. It is an unholy wail of rage, and if you've got the bloodlust in you, the uncivilized caveman fury, then it is absolutely exhilarating. There was a moment at the end, when Rambo is about to waste the main bad guy, and he stands up into frame in slow motion like a fucking mountain rising through the earth's crust, and I found myself releasing a roar of triumph. It was a goddamn battle

cry that bubbled up out of my warrior place, my don't-fuck-with-me place. After 236 individual onscreen deaths (half good guys, half bad), I felt punch drunk, blood simple, shell shocked, and kill crazy. I felt alive, invincible, and unashamed. And if that ain't loving me, then God didn't make the little green apples. I've never seen a movie like Rambo. I've never seen a movie that combines the entertainingly cheesy with the legitimately hardcore in such separate-but-equal measures. It's a feel-good movie for people who don't usually feel so goddamn good. Maybe some of you can't relate. Maybe you have nothing but goodness in your hearts and can't understand how watching an hour and a half of heads exploding can be an expression of joy. If that's the case—honestly and without sarcasm—I'm happy for you. You're lucky. Most of the time, this rage that people like me carry around is a curse. Unchecked, it locks us in a shell of resentment and prevents us from evolving. But properly vented, it can be a powerful motivating force—and a fucking rush. People like me spend our whole lives looking for an opportunity to use the power of our rage for something positive (as Rambo would say, "Live for nothing or die for something."), but most of us never find it, and our anger eats us up inside like stomach acid with no food to dissolve. Because we know that evil isn't just a concept. It's made flesh every day by the actions of misguided men and women, and there isn't much we can do about it. But Rambo can. And that's the secret. That's why Rambo has remained a hero in the Third World to this day, while we Americans grew soft and weak, reimagining our heroes as video game avatars who fight simply because it looks cool. Rambo is going to be a fucking phenomenon in the Third World, especially amongst the kind of persecuted peoples that those liberal critics are so eager to protect from big, bad Sly's exploitation. Oppressed people from all over the globe are going to love it, because the poor and disenfranchised know about that hate inside, the one that needs to be vented. They know better than you or me that there is no justice in this world. But there is Rambo. And sometimes, for an hour and a half at a time, that's enough.


Colin James has a chapbook of poems out from Thunderclapp Press. He is a great admirer of the Scottish landscape painter, John Mackenzie. William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, andNatural Bridge. Conrad Geller was born in Boston, spent much of his life in Westchester County, NY, and now lives in Northern Virginia. About a hundred of his poems have been published, electronically and in print. Gerald A. Saindon is married 41 years to a dear beautiful wife; they have 7 children, 8 grandchildren and live on 5 acres in northeast Wisconsin. There is wildlife aplenty to love, to study and to shoo away. It's taken him about 45 years to get started on this poetry path. But he’s enjoying the walk immensely. Gregory Robinson lives in Boulder City, Nevada and is working on a project about silent movies. It is tentatively entitled Speaking with Silents. There are 50 pieces total, along the lines of the three published here. Since it is tough to pay the bills with creative writing, he works as an English Professor at Nevada State College. Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time either reading or writing. She lives in Miami, Florida. Ann Eichler Kolakowski, a Baltimore native, is pursuing a master's degree in poetry at Johns Hopkins University. Her recent work also appears in Baltimore Fishbowl, Little Patuxent Review and Blast Furnace. "Fatty" references The Rounders (1914), which paired Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle on screen with Charlie Chaplin. The poem is excerpted from a manuscript-in-progress that chronicles the lost mill town of Warren, Maryland,

which was destroyed and flooded in 1922 to expand the Loch Raven Reservoir, the primary source of Baltimore’s municipal water supply. Daniel M. Shapiro is a schoolteacher who lives in Pittsburgh. He is the author of the chapbooks "Trading Fours" (Pudding House Press, forthcoming) and "Teeth Underneath" (FootHills Publishing), and he is the co-author of "Interruptions" (Pecan Grove Press, 2011), a collection of collaborations with Jessy Randall. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Gargoyle, Oyez Review, and Forklift, Ohio. Ben Nardolilli is a writer currently living in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, Super Arrow, Grey Sparrow Journal, Pear Noir, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, and Yes Poetry. Recently he published a chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained with Folded Word Press. He maintains a blog at and is looking to publish his first novel. Joe Weeks is a real stand-up guy. Mr. Majestyk is a writer and editor in the magazine industry, where his encyclopedic knowledge of the works of Renny Harlin has not proven as useful as you’d think. He was raised in Connecticut on a steady diet of sleazy action films, many of them set in the decaying post-industrial wasteland known as New York City, where he has lived for the past 11 years. He has an MFA in fiction and his favorite moment in the history of cinema is when Conan punched the camel.