Quasimodo of the Multiplex

It’s faster than a mind can think,
       Flickering on the screen
Each second as the shuttle pulls
       Down a frame in between
The lamp and lens twenty four times
       And darkness makes the scene,

Light and darkness fused into one
       Image of persistence.
Cinema is already like
       Conscious experience,
Where the illusion of movement
       Arises like our sense

Perceptions into qualia.
       As the eccentric cam
Rotating moves the shuttle arms
        “I think, therefore I am.”
He speculates, threading the film
       To fit the next program.

This steward of the multiplex
       Roams the dim projection
Booth unseen above the theater,
       Like a custodian
Tending to the inner workings
       Of a mass illusion.

Operator of the machine
       Affecting spectators
Chained to the walls of Plato’s Cave,
       Asleep behind the doors
Of spurious eternity,
       Pawns in the psychic war;

A shadow play of unconscious
       Forces suggesting shapes
And forms, colors and symbolized
       Characters of escape
From a deeper reality
       Hidden in the mindscape

Of humanity. The mundane
       Duty of citizens
Is not so much to do as go
       To work for businessmen,
Squeezing dollars out of ennui.
       He was thinking again,

Boredom getting the best of him.
       Always sitting around
Made leisure itself a busman’s
       Holiday. Now the sound
Of spinning platters and shutters
       And flickers on the ground

Were synched up, so fast and steady
       Each individual
Flap blurred into a constant hum,
       And reflected the rule
Of time. Lording in this threshold
       Over the unfurled spool

Of my conscious experience.
       I’m the roaming shadow,
The projection of phantasm.
       I’m the Quasimodo
Of this multiplex. And he growls,
       Hobbling to the next show,

Seeing in ignorance the light
       Of faith. Mass refusal
To take responsibility
       And filter through the skull
Like Zoroastrian fire
       True goodness from evil;

He watched as I saw the conflict
       Between light and darkness
Resolve, rather than in my mind,
       As the actor confessed
On the screen. While true darkness hides
       In a subtler recess,

Sunk in the absolute divide
       Between outside and in
That doesn’t actually exist.
       The line is razor thin,
Where subjective experience
       Ends and the world begins.

Cooped up in the projection booth,
       The walls are celluloid
Frames that enforce this division
       Being time in a void,
Alienation that makes us
       All need to be employed.

He can’t even dream his own dream.
       His is as all the rest
A cogito shaped by the mold
       Into which it was pressed,
And shaped by the fear of losing
       What he thinks he knows best.

The illusion of persistence
       Or the fear of passing
Into nothingness, which Beauty
       Never can, is the thing
Which shields our minds from unbounded
       Time—so terrifying!

Vertigo of eternity!
       Nauseates us so much
We cling to the hand of Chronos
       Like a deified crutch,
And recoil in disgust at all
       That’s airy to the touch.

Worshipping Death more than one cares
       To realize, because one
Worships out of fear, and forgets
       To perceive of motion,
There’s no such thing as persistence
       Without dissolution.