The American Century as Seen Through a Brick (extract)

American Century

The American Century As Seen Through A Brick: A sequence of poetry based on ‘Academy Award Winner for Best Picture’ winners. The remaining poems can be found here.

 

Cimarron_(1931_film)_posterCimarron 1930/31

Isaiah fans white folk from the ceiling,

One nation indivisible –

An empire pillared by pioneers

Counting notches on their pistol grips…

 

Time will mellow hearts

Say: America

Hide me in your love.

 

 

 

Casablanca 1943Casablanca.jpg

The speech of the refugee is the living breath.

Let them speak of their roads:

… Through Europe we have travelled

Fleeing tyranny and vultures,

 

The devil has us by our throats,

The ghettos burn and displace our children,

You must remember us…

 

 

 

Ben_hur_1959_poster.jpg

Ben-Hur 1959

This country was built by slaves

– It still is –

There are no guilty faces

Just    conquered people

 

Oar weary on the galleys

Air wary on the gallows

Fire       environs       us       all

 

 

 

In the Heat of the Night 1967Heart of the night

– No Vietcong ever called me a Nigger –

For Virgil, hell is in police officers,

The detail in the dead and suffer;

Tweezers, toothpicks, thermometers.

 

Just what they know about the King’s insomnia,

The wet cemeteries in the state of Louisiana,

The struggle when fear is attached to color?

 

 

 

70_pattonPatton 1970

If it takes a bloodbath

Our blood, his guts

Blood in Chicago

Dams of blood ready to flood

 

Foreign blood stung in battle

The prayer’s spittle, blood pour.

Enlightened absolutism – War

 

 

 

 

Out of Africa 1985Out_of_africa_poster

Alleles of eloquence

Cradled at this rock

Bear the scorn/pity of aids

And are nothing more

 

To marionettes

Than the withering victory of:

Blood/safari/diamonds.

 

 

 

SchlindlersSchindler’s List 1993

Show/er of darkness

Give me strength

For I am lost in the weakness of others

Their cracked house cruelty.

 

… Light dimmed in interrogation,

Held hopeful, eternal,

The fractal lobe.

 

 

 

 

No Country For Old Men 2007No_Country_for_Old_Men_poster.jpg

There is no greater me than you;

The birds will die, the trees too.

The flesh of fish will foul

And the song will lose its soul.

 

I will be hot, you will be cold;

The sea’s of what’s coming,

The intensity of the plunge.

 

 

 

Birdman poster.jpgBirdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 2014

I don’t exist

, This representation is an act

– An intervention. A medium

Of absence, contradiction, negation

 

. When I am killed again with impunity

, My autopsy transfigured as found poetry

, again I will’ve been defenseless/muffling… I can’t breathe

 

About the poet

Asim Khan is from Birmingham, England. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in various print and online journals. He blogs on www.photoetric.co.uk. He Tweets at @photoetric

 

Want to see more great poems like this in your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter for everything creative! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s