about the author

Benjamin Selesnick is a student at Northeastern University and a reader at Memoir Mixtapes, an online literary magazine that promotes poetry and creative nonfiction about music. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Ofi Press Mexico, Parhelion Literary Magazine, and others. In 2017, he was the runner-up for the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize.


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Seconds and Centuries

Benjamin Selesnick



         || Gary Cooper—Jean Arthur || Sylvia Sidney—Oskar Homolka ||
                                 William Powell—Judy Garland ||
                                    8:37 . . . 8:38 . . . 8:39 . . .


For the Reality We Miss in Our Imagination
We sit on a couch that’s covered in a plastic sheet; there’re six rows of couches; each couch appears to have been acquired at a yard sale; the front of our bodies are illuminated by the screen at the front of the theater. Silhouettes slouch onto one another, morphing into a single shape—shadows converge. Each minute, a different movie clip appears on screen and the time shown or discussed in the clip matches real-time.

                                                 —————

         || Sharlto Copley—Jason Cope || Jim Carrey—Jennifer Aniston ||
                                    Irene Dunne—Cary Grant ||
                                    8:40 . . . 8:41 . . . 8:42 . . .

For the Sounds We Ignore
Andreas leans into my shoulder, closing the distance between us, shifting hips. ‘Do you recognize this one?’ he asks.
I put a finger to my lips.
He sits back, stares ahead.

                                                 —————

      || John Lennon—Paul McCartney || Jack Nance—Charlotte Stewart ||
                                  Gregory Peck—Brock Peters ||
                                    8:43 . . . 8:44 . . . 8:45 . . .

For the Passing Faces We Refuse to Acknowledge
A security guard paces the perimeter of the theater. He points a flashlight at a couple who snuck food into the theater. They try to hand him their food but he ignores their offering and keeps pacing, as though he’d forgotten why he shined a light on them in the first place.
Has he seen all 24-hours?

                                                 —————

           || James Franco—Seth Rogen || Eric Portman—Sheila Sim ||
                                     Ice Cube—Chris Tucker ||
                                    8:46 . . . 8:47 . . . 8:48 . . .

For the Willingness We Drop on the Pavement
Andreas leans over again. We’re in the front row. The rows behind us watch our silhouettes converge. ‘My dad introduced me to Hitchcock,’ he says. ‘Psycho.’
I don’t respond—I blink twice.

                                                 —————

         || Linda Blair—Max von Sydow || Doris Day—James Stewart ||
                               Roger Moore—Christopher Lee ||
                                    8:49 . . . 8:50 . . . 8:51 . . .

For the Beliefs We Forfeit
The security guard shines a light on the couch besides Andreas and I. Andreas nudges me—I flinch. His touch still feels unfamiliar.
He gestures toward the corner of the theater and mouths: let’s go.
I shake my head.
He mouths, this time in a frigid posture: I’ll be outside.

                                                 —————

           || Brad Pitt—Madeleine Stowe || Meryl Streep—Amy Adams ||
                               Gabourey Sidibe—Paula Patton ||
                                    8:52 . . . 9:17 . . . 9:44 . . .

For the Memories We Allow Ourselves to Forget
I leave after a clip from Cocktail. Andreas had texted me an hour earlier asking where are you? and then again thirty minutes later saying I’m going home.

                                                 —————

      || Robert Bengini—Steven Wright || John Travolta—Uma Thurman ||
                                 Fred Astaire—Ginger Rogers ||
                                 10:17 . . . 11:22 . . . 11:54 . . .

                         This is for time and those we lose in it.


Credit: Christopher Marclay, The Clock (2010)





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