Revenge obliges
dull men with guns
threaded with mysterious devotion

You think the world
needs a scene or two

a notable thing
the dead partner

Make that wealthy irritating realism
sway the guilty cop out
for a visit—

If you are observed
it is another excuse
to fake your death

Looking for revenge causes marriage,
visits to the strip

This is observed
with an inept bust-em up eye.

Your family believes
horrible preposterous

You: werewolf
You: hook-handed killer
You: alcoholic detective

And you show people
how in mercy’s name
you have crossed ruthless
and entered martial


The easy police
strip the crime
of its scene

I have watched less
lose more

You want some of it?

The agent is against
industry (sic) indestructibility–
He works for the rivals

Both sides
are mainly names
you kill
in the clear

As far as unrealistic goes
this might be for you

Is it possible to save your money
with swordplay?

Who knows,
in this year of unnecessary cuts

Not that we need
another excuse for things to blow up


War succeeds as an exercise in memory
slight horror, a record of loss
score, dramatize, follow

Nothing is slight, except the score
These are corroded tone questions
punctuated by friends and soldiers
They ask what does it mean to stop fighting,
what does it mean to stop anything?
How can it be stopped, second reel?
Some call us heroic villains. Truthfully
we are just background noise–

the subject is worthy
I imagine we look good from a distance,
gold, bronzed, touched by the sun
kissed by God

But nothing feels concrete,
not even dancing the waltz
God went from bleach

to blonde,

and the waltz loses as it gains
I’m overwhelmed by the hemming of the hands,
eating furiously at my fatigues–

We are with the war as history lesson
There is no history lesson
History does not teach,
it sco—

Twenty sips and he remembers,
telling it, with the simplicity of wit,
“It was exotic and sublime”
however impressionistic the images


The money may be still,
or it may monkey in drugs,
satchels, socks, or bedrooms

The mayhem of trying
to find it
causes better landscapes
and better crime pictures

Many problems
were perfect
set pieces;
cobbled ennui,
invested tones
between tragedy
and comedy
mapped us
back to civilization
in films.
The money
faced with getting
trying to get with the plan
and got with the plan

My true love
keeps me exploited for spectacle.
Which makes our crossing-of-paths
all the more heart-rending:
Who’s in charge of character?
What’s my motivation?


The backwards-meticulous eye
scripts aging
and turns a lifetime
into grand pain

Dancing through their sand left me with this durable motto:
The gold bullet gets you when it gets you


This film
shows sex innocuous as a sitcom,
laughs miscalculated,
and borderline offensive
And yet it tries to redeem my cheap heart.


Despite what seems like a dreamy ocean
they cut the big budget
and the movie revolves around
tension as aggression.
Something brutal and classic.

Yet something’s missing
Maybe you got that famous feeling,
the ironic ending
of embrace as assault
where perception blames the difference
on the distance of those involved


[Stray Reels] is a prose-cutting of capsule film reviews I wrote 2007-2009. I excised large chunks at random and manipulated the remaining words. As best as I can remember, the films are:

Resurrecting the Champ
The Kingdom
Into the Wild
The Mist
No Country For Old Men
The Fall
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Fired Up
Let The Right One In
Waltz with Bashir
The Darjeeling Limited


Chance Dibben is a writer, photographer, and performer living in Lawrence, KS. His poems and shorts have appeared in Split Lip, Reality Beach, Horsethief, Yes Poetry, matchbook, Hobart, as well as others.