"Eighteen Ways of Looking at Magneto Destroy Auschwitz in X-Men: Apocalypse"

Aaron Kreuter

Aaron Kreuter is the author of the short story collection You and Me, Belonging and the poetry collection Arguments for Lawn Chairs. He is currently writing a novel that takes place at Jewish sleepover camp.

www.aaronkreuter.com

  • Twitter

"When I first watched X-Men: Apocalypse, I was blown away by the audacity, the visual crassness, the absolute splendid wrongness of this scene, and I knew I had to respond to it in one way or another. As often happens, that way ended up being a poem—perhaps the longest poem I've ever written. I knew right away there would be eighteen different ways: 18, or chai, is the Jewish number symbolic of life. Slowly but surely, the poem came into the world."

          One

    You get it, right?

    Auschwitz is a symbol.

    It's that symbol he destroys.

    No, it doesn't matter what

    it's a symbol for—

    I can't believe you'd even ask me that—

    because in the context

    of the movie it just makes

    perfect narrative sense.

    Do you get it? Auschwitz is a

    symbol. It's that symbol

    he destroys. A symbol

    for, for...for something or other. How

    many times do I have to

    explain it?

 

        Two

 

For this shoot we need balance. Balance, balance, balance. And insane carnage swaddled in massive symphonic music. Now Michael, who are you? Yes, you're Magneto. But you're also Eric. Eric, Magneto, Michael. In that order. And Ian. Can't forget old Ian. Your young Polish family was just murdered by incompetent policemen in a freak accident in the woods, let's not forget this. Use it. You were tortured here, your mother was killed in front of you, here. Remember? Remember? Use it. You ate a terrible eggplant parmagiana sandwich yesterday? Use it! You're doing this for them, for the dead, the tortured, all those horrifically murdered eggplants—I mean, dead. Horrifically murdered dead. Alrighty? Great. And—roll camera!

 

 

        Three

    The movie? Terrible.

    The scene? Horrendous.

    The acting? Laughable.

    The genocidal shark? Jumped.

    My ire? Raised.

    The special effects?

    Spectacular.

        Four

    No Nazis were harmed

    in the making of this revenge fantasy.

        Five

    Can you be a misanthrope

    if in their eyes

    you are not even human?

        Six

    The rabbi is dead.

    The tribes have recalled their ambassadors.

    Your answering machine is full.

    Still, I'll go on.

        Seven

    The dream of revenge.

    The reality of mutation.

    The nightmare of power.

        Eight

    What would my grandfathers (never met) think of this?

    What would Herzl think of this?

    What would my Palestinian cousin in diaspora think of this?

    What would Hoss?

    Maimonides?

    Rachel?

    Someone not wearing these meshungena

    3D glasses?

        Nine

    Of course it should be destroyed.

    Of course we are complicit.

    Of course those buildings should be ripped

    from the earth like so many blighted trees,

    not to mention that museum.

    Of course Auschwitz is an idea

    and like any idea once brick-and-mortared

    will remain in trace amounts

    in the air, in the soil, in the seas,

    no matter what mutant's rage.

    Of course, of course, of course.

    Or, not.

        Ten

    This is the furnace

    in which I was forged.

    I will burn it down.

        Eleven

    The folly of furnaces.

    The human folly of furnaces.

        Twelve

    A chess game with the professor

    might calm you down.

    A world that makes sense.

    Where nothing is hidden,

    nothing lurking,

    festering,

    waiting.

        Thirteen

    Don't forget Oscar Isaac.

    He's there too,

    behind those matte car doors.

        Fourteen

    Leaving the villa in Wannsee,

    my whole body electric.

    How can I resist telling Evie?

    Both of us stunningly alive,

    alive, alive. Alive in History.

        Fifteen

    Leaving the gift shop,

    a sickening realization:

    you forgot to buy

    the Crematorium II keychain

    for your nephew.

    Oh, what a world!

        Sixteen

    Dreams of steel and tin.

    The pull of the moon.

    A neutron star humming.

    Something unseen,

    gathering.

        Seventeen

Concentration camps. Death centers. Killing fields. Auction blocks. Displaced persons camps. Residential schools. Urban ghettos. Blast zones. Destruction radii. Fallout. No men's land. Museums. Memorials. Plinths. Pit mines. Strip mines. Vertical shaft single stage hoisting mines. Ethnic enclaves. Islands of plastic in seas of nuclear waste. Sound stages. Green screens. Movie theaters. Smart screens. Supermarkets. Checkpoints.

 

        Eighteen

    She rustled in her sleep.

    She murmured in a language thought dead.

    She sighed deeply.

    She dreamed on.

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle

^ get in on the con ^

longconmag@gmail.com

© Copyright 2020 long con magazine. All rights reserved.