|At 'The Oriental'
Six Buddhas dwell in this theater,
three, in their east wall niches, and
across an expanse of seats,
three more golden statues
reside in the west wall,
meditating night and day,
decade after decade,
rubies glowing in their foreheads,
sublime smiles illuminating their faces.
These Buddhas may date from the silent era, or
at least the premiere of 'Casablanca,'
(which was fifty years ago,
according to a poster in the lobby).
Positioned along the sides of the ornate room,
they gaze benignly at the audience,
rather than toward the screen,
seemingly more interested in the crowd
than in watching movies, though
I imagine they catch the gossamer action
out of the corner of their eyes, and
in fact must be devoted film buffs:
why else would they live in a cinema?
But perhaps their surveillance
is not so benevolent;
maybe they’re beaming something
with those hypnotic red lights:
a subliminal message
to buy lots of popcorn,
with plenty of butter and salt,
washed down with jumbo Cokes