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Image by Philip Simic

Cameo Appearance

Cameo Appearance

I had a small, nonspeaking part
In a bloody epic. I was one of the
Bombed and fleeing humanity.
In the distance the great leader
Crowed like a rooster from a balcony,
Or was it a great actor
Impersonating the great leader?

That's me there, I said to the kiddies.
I'm squeezed between the man
With two bandaged hands raised
And the old woman with her mouth open
As if she were showing us a tooth

That hurts badly. The hundred times
I rewound the tape, not once
Could they catch sight of me
In that huge gray crowd,
That was like any other gray crowd.

Trot off to bed, I said finally.
I know I was there. One take
Is all they had time for.
We ran, and the planes grazed our hair,
And then they were no more
As we stood dazed in the burning city,
But, of course, they didn't film that.


From Selected Poems (Faber and Faber, 2004), copyright © Charles Simic 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Charles Simic Reading from his poems

1Butcher Shop

2Cockroach

3Fork

4The Partial Explanation

5Prodigy

6Shelley

7Factory

8Folk Songs

9Country Fair

10The Clocks of the Dead

11Transport

12Reading History

13Cameo Appearance

14Ghosts

15At the Cookout

16Club Midnight

17Pastoral Harpsichord

18The Soul Has Many Brides

19Unmade Beds

20The One To Worry About

21Cherry Blossom Time

22The Altar

23My Father Attributed Immortality to Waiters

24Views from a Train

25Serving Time

26Cabbage

27Paradise

28In the Library

29The Tiger

30Evening Walk

31The Old World

32Empires

33The Tower

34Late Call

35Emily’s Theme

36The Friends of Heraclitus

Books by Charles Simic