the museum of americana

a literary review

John Wayne, Chasing his Toupée Into the Toxic Western Wind, Sees an Anvil Fall Upon an Angel–Poetry by Seth Garcia

and the holy whip of it. . . high, singing even, but nothing otherwise 
tacit or evil there floating. Yet, the ions feel conspiratory, consumptive, and
    though the sight of his unmasked head is nothing new 

       to him, he is overwhelmed by a feeling of being 
          stripped naked, alone at the foot of some strange 
             unpropitiated force, while the sun cuts 
               columnic against an incus cloud—But 
             around there are only cameras, a crew on 
          various errands each, the thousand arms 
       of moviemaking reduced to the credit roll 
    no one ever really watches unless some eluded promise 
lingers of an aftercredit tease, something sexual, held away 
until the sequel years down the line pretends the original never 
                                                                                            meant 
                                                                                     a 
                                                                                                     thing— 
The desert winds recall to him The Ten Commandments 
and Tutankhamun’s tomb, how, surely, DeMille’s ruins 
must also share the same curse, or whatever ripoff 
by which their relationality must comply. 
Something unspeaking but silent 
                       neither moves beneath the sand, 
his silk bandana somehow tightens 
around his neck like a forgotten promise 
unkept. Children will be named in his honor, 
he knows, and I’ll be played these movies countlessly, 
John never abandoning that smile. A hero, he’ll be called.

~~~
Seth García is an MFA candidate at the University of New Mexico, where he served as poetry editor for Blue Mesa Review. His work can be found in Alaska Quarterly, Zone 3, Terrain.org, Slipstream, Boston Accent, and Reckoning, among other venues. He is the recipient of a North Street Collective Artist Residency.