Home Movies (Day Seven, Again)

(A bonus NaPoWriMo piece, because I wasn’t sure about the last one.)

Home Movies

My grandfather
suffered from depression
that he cured through
creating his own entertainment
using huge black Magnavox cameras
a two-VCR editing setup
and family members as actors
in scripts he created after
long days at the glass plant
writing out each scene on
a yellow legal pad with
a cheap blue Bic pen
and shooting after church let out
every weekend until he had the film
spread out over dozens of tapes.

They were Westerns, mostly,
illegally using trademarked characters
from the TV show Gunsmoke
placing them into his own stories
which revolved around him
as Blackie Burdette, a ladies’ man
who played poker and
sometimes used a pistol if a
legendary desperado forced his hand.

There were cowboys and barmaids
the latter often attracted to Blackie
and occasionally compelled to kiss him
which always seemed awkward when
we would watch the dailies as a family
after Sunday dinner and
Grandma would grumble at
multiple takes of the romantic scenes
but it was for his health
and he would buy her a dress each time
so she didn’t fuss too much.

I was too young to get much work
either in front of or behind the camera
spending most of my screen time
as an extra in a schoolhouse scene
or playing checkers in the background
while two gunslingers exchanged
exposition-heavy dialogue about
Marshal Matt Dillon and Kitty Russell
and how they needed Blackie’s help.

Try as he might, my grandfather
was no Sam Raimi or Kevin Smith
and he never made a masterpiece
but the kid in the corner
the checker player with a feathered hat
that was more at home in The Mack
than post-Civil War Dodge City
fell in love with movies and writing
watching his grandfather
the low-budget auteur
fight his inner darkness
under the fluorescent lights
of a 19th century barroom
where he was the center of the world.

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About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
This entry was posted in family, history, NaPoWriMo, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Home Movies (Day Seven, Again)

  1. Judi Grewell says:

    Even as a child you had strong powers of observation. The admiration, and dare I say love,for your grandfather is evident throughout the poem.

  2. Mary Ann Bradshaw says:

    I absolutely LOVE this insightful, autobiographical revelation. You mine the depths of family and its influence so poignantly, leaving me in quiet thought and admiration.

  3. Your imagery was fabulous, I see the whole scene played out in my mind. another excellent piece, and thank you for sharing the tale.

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