Plot for Film by Jessica Baran

Alternately dazzling, oppressive and nuts, getting rid of Rita made life hunky-dory. It mostly came down
to that great problem of fatalism, how people are so familiar with it. Her story made sense to first-time
viewers; no one was thrown. The bet seemed to be: keep looking, and it’ll probably come true. Then it
definitely came true. Rearranging the room made a monotone palette monotonous. Officials talked about
special forces; long-held detainees were set free. What was needed was empathy — an enigma that could
be spotted from space. And belts — what’s their problem? A power pinch, one candidate’s mayday, pro-
fits that rise far above safety. Are you prepared for fire? Would Jesus wear sidearms? Recipes deserve
center stage, and should make other party-goers sweat. Let’s rally for a gentler war on drugs. Inside modern
love is a romance that’s extra zesty. Music to a cat’s ears. “What you see is what you see.” Really? The sheen
on your haloed progress is fading, becoming a soundscape of simple repetitions, quiet and tidy bows. He
dropped his pants for increasingly playful bravura. As recounted in the summons, his stripes broadened
into snake-like shapes. Somber colors brightened, flat fields turned flamboyant with bouquets. Real estate
followed, then poured molten rage and increasingly occupied time. Most watchers would have ideas about
how it all could have been different. Relentlessly, sometimes mindlessly, the wild flower fields got even
crazier. Maximalism. A clutch of blooms called the “baleful adulteress.” Getting through may be a
matter of deciding how long you can stick around. We have all waxed and waned. It’s hard not to be im-
pressed. A heap of bad karma yields bleak literary melodrama. Laboriously slow and measured, a proces-
sion of hopes and dreams. When things lighten up, what’s left is one questionably innocent moviegoer
pursuing a soundtrack that read: “Je t’aime.” “Your Lips Are Blue.” “Mary Ann Loves Frank.”

Jessica Baran is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Common Sense (Lost Roads Press, 2016). Her poems and art criticism have appeared in numerous journals, including Flash Art, A Public Space, BOMB and Poor Claudia. With Ted Mathys, she co-curates the 100 Boots Poetry Series at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, where she lives.