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This poem is taken from PN Review 264, Volume 48 Number 4, March - April 2022.

Dead Deer and other poems James Womack
Cold

It was a smug film, smug on its own evil, fat with it,
the actor-king so smug, the direction, allegedly so cold, so pure,
in fact only smug-drunk on its ambience of slush and nicotine,
springtime and grey city light and all the poor beige suicides,
the camera always moving, side to side, more fear, more broken
people, the surrounders, who indulged their man’s brokenness,
the always sense of a wink to the camera, of men complicit in their
acting, their actions. I want to know nothing – this is not grief,
this is a teenage boy’s, an Italian’s fantasy of grief, how to weaponise
grief, grief as the royal road to a woman’s body – and we tell the
audience that she is unsatisfied, and she keeps coming back
doesn’t she, she’s asking for everything that is filmed and shown,
and the great statue, Brando collapsing, Brando shouting,
the reason for all this, the centrepiece, his grunting
the audible sign of a great actor, just how close can you approach
a full contempt for the audience and still pivot on their love,
...


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