When There Were Ghosts, by Alberto Rios

When There Were Ghosts

On the Mexico side in the 1950s and 60s,There were movie houses everywhere
And for the longest time people could smokeAs they pleased in the comfort of the theaters.
The smoke rose and the movie told itselfOn the screen and in the air both,
The projection caught a littleIn the wavering mist of the cigarettes.
In this way, every story was two storiesAnd every character lived near its ghost.
Looking up we knew what would happen nextBefore it did, as if it the movie were dreaming
Itself, and we were part of it, part of the plotItself, and not just the audience.
And in that dream the actors’ faces bentA little, hard to make out exactly in the smoke,
So that María Félix and Pedro ArmendárizLooked a little like my aunt and one of my uncles—
And so they were, and so were we all in the movies,Which is how I remember it: Popcorn in hand,
Smoke in the air, gum on the floor—Those Saturday nights, we ourselves
Were the story and the stuff and the stars.  We ourselves were alive in the dance of the dream.

poems.one - Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios