Poetry: from Dying at the Movies by Jonathan Hayes

from Dying at the Movies


I don’t think I’ve made good movies. I’ve just made some movies more disgusting than others.

— Jesús Franco, filmmaker




Eating strawberries and watching Suspiria


— blood on the fingers



Watching Okja as the bad guys try to capture the super pig


— its only defense is farting and shitting on them



Sitting in an empty movie theater in Boston

that reeks of vomit while watching 3-D Parasite 1982


— my stepfather hungover and sleeping in the seat next to me



Eating a Baconator from Wendy’s

watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre


— ketchup everywhere



With my mother at Chestnut Hill Cinemas in Boston

not remembering the name of the movie we are watching


— only, the horror of her empty eyes staring through the screen



Watching The Stepfather pour milk into his Rice Krispies

he smiles putting his head down to the cereal bowl listening


— murder for breakfast



1981 watching Sleepaway Camp

with my father at a matinee in Manhattan


— questioning my gender



Alone in the Egyptian room

at the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley watching Total Eclipse


the mushrooms start to kick in



Lux Aeterna

Beatrice and Charlotte watching me


— burn at the stake



Watching The Omen in Manhattan with my father at Loew’s 86th Street Theater


— in the restroom I check for the number of the beast on my head



Watching X while it rains outside


— O, Mia Goth and your pudgy nose



Watching Godzilla at the matinee

submerge under the ocean to recharge


— the power goes out in the theater

Jonathan Hayes lives in Oakland, California.