Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Those damn kids today
will never know what it was
to go and rent a movie.
It wasn’t pressing a button on your remote
as an afterthought.
It was an event!
Your family would make a pilgrimage
to Blockbuster Video
(or its local equivalent),
and you would be able to choose
your own video.
The whole store would smell like the slick
butter-flavored topping of microwave popcorn.
And you’d first go to the wall of New Releases
at the back of the store,
where there would be 15 copies of Die Hard 2,
all of them checked out,
so maybe you’d choose Home Alone
or Pretty Woman or Back to the Future III.
And if you could sneak away from your mom,
you could peruse the covers of videos
she’d never ever let you watch at your age.
The boxes of horror movies
featured grinning skulls on the front,
skulls with eyeballs somehow,
or lithe actresses covered in fake blood.
Dumb 80s teen comedies and sex farces
were in the next aisle over,
but the real adult movies
were hidden in their own little room
separated from your pre-pubescent curiosity
by some kind of dark curtain.
You could try to peek through the gap
between the curtain and the doorway
and catch a quick glimpse
of the tawdry contents therein,
but if you stayed out of trouble,
you could ask your mom
for the movie theater-sized box of candy
conveniently displayed near the cash register.
Her answer, regardless, would be no.
You would walk out the door,
plastic box in your hand,
passing the notice that reminded you
to be kind, please rewind.

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