Christopher Salerno


Filmed on daylight savings after it snowed. When we usually built
things. I saw my mother under a different dark sky. “Mom,” I said,
“there is no action here.”

I ate the piece of hail she handed me. Can a poem behave like a

She said, “Be stupid to it.”

I almost understand. The film happens outside the film. I remember
because I had an injured neighbor who died that May and I found his
work boot lying in the street. This footage is from around that time.

We’re there and there is no one else outside. I’m no longer into my
neighbor’s trampoline. I had already been weightless on film. On film
there is only middle, however imperceptible. On film everything very
near gets in.

You will want to clear your mind of the microcosmic. But where exactly
do you put it? That’s what I liked best about being a child. I wasn’t
uneasy. And so there is a fantasy in this film that’s not in the world.


I will film and you will star.
You decide not to dye your

hair for the shoot. We see
you walking. The office park

woods are silent. A few geese
standing in spring snow. People

are gone. I switch lenses for
matters of scale. The film

happens outside of the film.
A dog coming up to you

and the security guard’s car.
I carry snowballs in a bag

from Saks. Mom, there is no-
thing like working. When I

shout ACTION , you tear 
your coat open making wings.


How do you direct a mom
waking up? She agrees to act

in my low-fi film. At least for
ten frames in the park.

Nineteen Ninety One. I know
you’re not listening.

Daisies bloom their pussy
ass mouths. The park is occupied

by swans that all live
together. The poem speaks softly—

I mean the film. Our VCR
gives everyone green

eyes, green tongues. I crave
flavored ice in the sun. So many

things I want to film. A gorgeous
dead swan on its back.


A different demographic this morning in the park
because of the strike.

We write out the ending:
who will speak, will have spoken.

I film two white terriers discovering
a GAP bag full of plums,

an ambulance dazzling gradually.
What really happens is

something’s destroyed the focal length. Near 

is now really far. 
This is how the sun whitens objects 

dramatically. Some light you
can’t work with, is too dark/confessional.

Look at me, I can’t tell
what’s deluxe anymore.


Some nouns            so what           no syntax           anymore

lull/lol        the ducks       interrupting     the mayflies

at rest                   on wavelets            you hear          in movies

everyone, places         I did that      then a man       mother
         was standing

         in our sideyard   a news                helicopter sort of

overhead                         that summer dad sent me iron-on

patches from all   over the country  even one    from town


An economy still
in recovery
I trap ants in Dixie
Cups with sugar
packets and spit
a beam of light
I am not the one
waving goodbye
I’ll rehearse with you
another scene
it’s you die and all
your clothes
go to Goodwill
all at once


I could sell subscriptions
to my mother’s dream
of moving
the peonies around
the park
her hand leaves
her silver hair
all the money in the world
My Mother
My Mahler
we won’t do this again
on film
on a white


Christopher Salerno

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Christopher Salerno

Christopher Salerno’s books of poems include Minimum Heroic, winner of the 2010 Mississippi Review Poetry Series Award, and Whirligig. A chapbook, ATM is available from Horse Less Press. Recent and future poems can be found in journals such as Fence, Boston Review, LIT, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Currently, he’s an Assistant Professor of English at William Paterson University where manages the new journal, Map Literary.