In the movies, it happens all the time –
The hero and his girlfriend running from danger,
Just as there is an explosion, and a ball of fire expands
In their direction, but they are running so fast and so urgently
that they escape the licking flames by inches.
I am always happy that they escape, because the entire movie
Up until this point has worked to form a bond between
The man, the woman, and the people eating the popcorn.
It would be terrible if, instead of escaping,
They were set on fire and we had to watch that sorry business.
But come on – that’s not how explosions work.
Instead of chasing people for a second or two or three
through a mineshaft, or a skyscraper, or a space station,
explosions are instantaneous – there is no "second or two"
during which your legs can whisk you out of danger.
It also suggests that the problem with explosions
Is the flameball, and not the merciless shockwave
That crushes tissue – skin, skulls, eardrums, lungs,
the gooey stuff that comprises what we are.
Still it’s pleasant to imagine that running fast and being virtuous,
And having a beautiful blonde girlfriend in one hand
will keep physics from doing what it does to us.
But we should post a warning, for the sake of the young people.
Don’t try to outrun C–4, a volcanic eruption, or a nuke.
Embrace the blonde and consign your spirit to the fire.
Mike Finley has been writing angry poetry since the mid-1960s, when he spent a lot of time in detention hall. In addition to art writing, Mike has been a daily newspaper editor, TV talk show host, storefront minister, videographer, fashion designer, political campaign manager, aerial photographer and hot lead typesetter. He frequently appears as a storyteller and entertainer at Twin Cities venues. His latest print title is VICTORY THROUGH SONG, from Kraken Press. He lives in St. Paul and writes legal marketing copy for a living.