Nebraska 28: ‘Subtitle’ by Weldon Kees

We present for you this evening
A movie of death: observe
These scenes chipped celluloid
Reveals unsponsored and tax-free

We request these things only:
All gum must be placed beneath the seats
Or swallowed quickly, all popcorn sacks
Must be left in the foyer. The doors
Will remain closed throughout
The performance Kindly consult
Yours programs: observe that
There are no exits. This is
A necessary precaution

Look for no dialogue, or for the
Sound of any human voice: we have seen fit
To synchronize this play with
Squealings of pigs, slow sound of guns,
The sharp dead click
Of empty chocolatebar machines
We say again: there are
No exits here, no guards to bribe,
No washroom windows.

No finis to the film unless
The ending is your own
Turn off the lights, remind
The operator of his union card:
Sit forward, let the screen reveal
Your heritage, the logic of your destiny

1935/36

[‘Nebraska __’: a slow, long series on this blog featuring poets/writers from Nebraska, associated with Nebraska, who mention Nebraska or similar, the State of my birth]

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