Jedediah Smith


I suspect Fulci knew that zombies are metaphors,
that we are always running from death
and the fear that we might live forever

like Tropicália bitches who marionette
down the beach, weeping maggots from their brows.
He could see that hunger is hate in its strongest

form and that we have come to worship it.
This we know: we eat of the flesh, raise the dead,
idolize agony, and open the gates of hell every time.

A priest murders a child or hangs himself
or blesses a Duke who rapes his own daughter and
the next thing you know the dead are walking the earth.

And always watching, little Lucio at his camera, feet
swollen with diabetes, fingers twisting the zoom
to black beads of rosary blood, to eyes when they’re

screaming, making a dialectic of consumption.
As blood soaks a scaffold, he watches, as a woman turns
inside out, he watches, vowing never to look away

or flinch. He watches as a raped little girl
is betrayed by men in power and he shows us
images to release the savage under the skin

with blood, blood, so much blood the lens drips
scarlet Lucio, crimson Lucio, red Lucio.
Like a troubadour all he could do was tell stories

of women, his Beatrice, trapped by corrupt hands
and devoured by creatures with unspeakable hungers,
women he could never touch or save but only bear

witness, only make symbols of resistance.
He sacrificed an eye to his vision
a splinter piercing the last taboo, that last

less than sacred piece of flesh, no cutaway
from the image, because the dead always take our eyes
which I suspect he knew is a metaphor.

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