Watching Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy in an East Village theater

Watching Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy in an East Village theater, I become so distressed that I leave before the final reel, and step on Ben Affleck’s foot as I do
by Steve Swartz
First of all, until I looked down to say I was sorry,
I didn’t have a clue that Ben Affleck was sitting in my row
Then, after what he said to me (I’ll get around to that later) I didn’t apologize
In fact, at the time, I felt Ben was lucky I didn’t sock him in the eye
I don’t know how many years it’s been since that incident
It’s been a few
And it’s not like I haven’t tried to write about it
I’ve tried
On a train from Chicago to Albuquerque, I wrote maybe a thousand words on an Amtrak napkin
In a motel in South Austin, I spent hours writing an apology to Affleck, trying to explain what happened that night, while first one hooker then two then several rapped on my door
Asking for then finally demanding I give them some money to buy beer
I wrote and wrote in the back of a fifth-grade classroom at the Albany charter school where I’d been hired to give remedial reading lessons, as Governor Pataki stood at the front of the room and, a tear tucked into his breast pocket, apologized to the children because no one had come up with the great idea for charter schools until right now
I’ve tried to tell you,
Before you became my wife
Maybe it’s because you’re Russian
And when we met you only had two English words
Hi and Goodbye
But you didn’t want to listen
I’ve tried to email Affleck
Have done so time and again
But I keep getting my mail returned
By whatever the hell that thing is –
The reason I ran out of Chasing Amy
Had nothing to do with Affleck
I like Ben
I like Jason Lee
I like Joey Lauren Adams, the woman who played Amy
I ran out of the theater that night in the East Village
Because the movie was, for me,
Like cartilage on bone
It hit way way way too close to home
See I was once in love (am now, to this day)
With a woman who is gay
Her name?
Willa Cather
And I never (don’t now)
Stood a chance
Never had a prayer
But if you’ve ever read her books
Like O, Pioneers
My Antonia
Shadows on the Rock
Death Comes for the Archbishop
If you’ve broken up a seven-year relationship to chase Willa’s dreams
To Santa Fe
If you’ve stolen your mother’s car to drive through the night to Quebec City
To kneel upon Willa’s shadow on that magnificent rock
If you’ve driven a thousand miles out of your way in deepest deadest winter
To breathe the air she breathed waiting on a railroad platform for the repertory company to arrive from the east in her beloved Red Cloud, Nebraska
If you’ve done those things
Then, Ben,
You just maybe would have a clue
You just maybe, when I stepped on your foot running out of the theater
You just maybe would not have screamed “Fuck you”!
You just maybe
Like me
Would not have known what else there was
To do

0 thoughts on “Watching Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy in an East Village theater

  1. Mr. Steve
    This is really entertaining. I held on to it until the end, even though I was a little thrown off about the hookers and the part about the russian wife. This, to me, is a solid little of prose broken up into poetry, as if (like you said) you tried to write it out many times before and finally screamed FUCK IT!!!!! and this disjointed gem spilled from you like vomit.
    The title is great. Who wouldn’t want to read it?

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