The large corrugated iron shed – flaking
whitewash almost turned to grey – has been closed
and empty now since the last recession.
Some say the arcades of slot machines remain,
cobwebbed, darkened and muted, until
that last trumpet in an eye’s twinkle
resurrects their glare and the ring of money.
Visitors to the Plantagenet castle
opposite – driving up the corkscrew lane
from the coastal road – note the peeling plywood
nailed to the windows, and the fading sign
above the padlocked double doors up the steps,
where, beneath AMUSEMENTS, is the vestige
of CINEMA. Imagine, between the Wars –
on a stuffy summer night, the doors wide
for what little air there might be – the castle keep,
far, far above the sea, filled with sounds
from the rich arcades of Tinsel Town:
Laurel and Hardy singing “In the Blue
Ridge mountains of Virginia on the trail of
the Lonesome Pine…” – or Selznick’s Gone With The Wind,
and Atlanta burning.