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Robert Currie


Later on the manager would say,
“It was really nothing at all,” his voice
calm as our living room couch,
but when Gene Autry strummed his guitar
the whole screen crackled with static,
something wrong with the pot belly stove,
the bunk house filling with smoke,
the kids in the front row beginning to cough
though Gene kept singing, the cowboys
grinning and coming in on the chorus
till someone yelled, “Fire!” and everyone
fought to get to the aisle, the kid behind
clawing to get by me and I must have
elbowed him in the gut, almost falling
when he gave me a shove and I slipped
on something spilled on the floor, but I
jammed myself into the aisle, kids
wedged shoulder to shoulder, pain
in my heel, someone trying to climb
over me, but I wouldn’t go down, I grabbed
for the big kid in front, got his belt and hung on,
the two of us upright, driving through the mob,
noise all around, yelling, screaming, someone
stepping again and again on my heels,
and then the lobby, there was room
to move, and we pushed through the door
and outside--fresh air--we sucked it in and
I looked down at my sore heel and the shoe
on my left foot was gone, the kids still
shoving, some of them crying, the manager
telling us to settle down, it was nothing
really, we should let our parents know
it was only a little smoke, the manager
standing firm in his sock feet.

© by Robert Currie.
Used with the author's permission.


Robert Currie went to university to become a pharmacist, but he admits that his favorite class was a fourth year elective in creative writing. After two years working in a hospital pharmacy, he returned to school and became a teacher of English and a writer, eventually serving two terms as the Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan. Robert is the author of ten books, most recently the novel, Living with the Hawk.


Post New Comment:
Robert is the real deal.
Posted 06/30/2013 08:40 PM
I really enjoyed this poem. Good rising action and a great ending.
Posted 06/29/2013 09:01 PM
My favorite line: "calm as our living room couch" . Part of the fun of poetry is finding a unique turn of phrase. Thanks for all of it - from a fellow Gene Autry fan.
Posted 06/29/2013 01:23 PM
I'm out of breath just reading it!
Posted 06/29/2013 12:10 PM
Going to the movies with the Gene Autry generation was an awe-filled, sometimes creepy experience...sticky floors and all! Great poem!
Posted 06/29/2013 08:55 AM
Glen Sorestad:
Well done, Bob. The tension in the narrative is taut and compelling.
Posted 06/29/2013 08:52 AM
good poem, good story!
Posted 06/29/2013 08:31 AM
I love this!
Posted 06/29/2013 07:56 AM
Posted 06/29/2013 05:05 AM
Love the way goes full circle—calm manager at the beginning, and that oh-so-telling last line. A story within a story. Good one.
Posted 06/29/2013 02:03 AM

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