M, (Fritz Lang, 1931)

A. Van Jordan

m movie poster 3



Although it’s quite dark now, the city
invites me to look for you. The people
disappear, for the most part, into homes


or taverns or into one another, into the night.
You know, white space proves most dangerous
at night. Bodies stand out like museum pieces


to ogle. I love museums, even during the day,
when women, filled to the brim with beauty,
walk through the galleries, staring


with such curious intent. I love staring, too,
at how the most public spaces turn
intimate after dark. Why do the trees look


so alert under moonlight? Almost as
if they witness my every move. I love
trees; they never give up, do they? People,


clouds, buildings–the trees don’t care
about what anything else does, they simply do
what they came here to do. I’ve learned


so much from their example… And, yes,
I know you in the audience wonder when
I will say “Sie machen mir das wasser im mund,”


in my broken German, but Peter Lorre
couldn’t be here tonight, so I come,
proving a worthy understudy. Perhaps


it was his penchant for the young you were
hoping to witness, like an accident you didn’t
cause but of which you still feel a part,


a natural penchant to play voyeur. My tastes
differ, preferring to watch the mature at play,
learning from their adventures. But, please,


here I am, no translation necessary. Allow yourself
the freedom to imagine, to fantasize as you wish;
feel in me, hand by hand, each guilty,


God-discriminating touch come to a chord
struck beyond your body’s will, facing
an opportunity only guilt could keep you from taking.