(after the 1968 George A Romero film)
Boarding up all windows and doors, using whatever we can find. Breaking up furniture. Lock ourselves inside the house. An excuse to break taboos. The sick little girl turns into a zombie, consumes her dead father’s flesh, then stabs her mother repeatedly with a cement trowel, killing her. The moral to the story: don’t make fun of the dead, especially in a cemetery. They have us outnumbered. Tom & Judy burn to death when a gasoline spillage causes their car to catch fire. Zombies feast on their barbecued flesh. Recall a fast food advertisement, the glowing family trying to out-excite each other across the table. If you’re waiting for the real enemy to show up, damn it, you’ll be waiting all night. If we lock ourselves in the cellar there’ll be no way out. What, you think it’s sexual? The deep, glossy black of blood in black & white films. Reflective liquid. You won’t find a better man than a black man. Trust you to mistake him for a zombie… Disaster in the middle of nowhere; a haunting lack of sirens. There’s always a token naked zombie whenever we see them marauding as a group. Not even thinly veiled. The radio & TV emergency announcements are so, so camp: “Thousands of office and factory workers are being urged to stay at their places of employment, not to make any attempt to get to their homes. ” Shoot on sight. A situation where ‘anything’ can be justified, or where justification is moot. We see a slap across the face on screen; it matters that it’s simulated? She’s hysterical & therefore of no use to us. You have to laugh: it’s a horror flick. The zombies massing to devour the woman, leaning in, stretching their hands through holes in the wall. We know a ghoulish hand when we see one – but how? The zombies are hideously slow, but strong enough to overturn a car. Thankfully they can be fended off with fire. Walking political allegories. The men have an argument about the best options for staying alive until help arrives. You call these survival instincts? An abject failure of the system.
A previous version of this poem was published in Otoliths 14, August 2009.
Night of the Living Dead on IMDb.