Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

 The Valentine Theater

 I was in my hometown recently and for the first time since the 1970s I went inside the Valentine. It is a church now. The screen is gone, replaced by a stage. The projection booth is now a small meeting room. The clickety clack of the projector having been silenced by technology, low profits and soft talk and prayer. The smell of popcorn is missing, as is the buzz of a couple hundred folks waiting for a movie to roll. But, all in all, the feeling of the building is much as it was nearly forty years ago.

 The Valentine Theater

The air in the balcony
lugged the thickness of puke,
the sting of piss and the belch
of decay to the top of the stairs
and heaved it against every face.
It punched like the old usher’s glare.
It was a sideshow,
with its booger-crusted arm rests
and, if rumors were to be believed,
soggy puddles on stiff velvet seats
waiting to be sopped up by the ass
of your  favorite blue jeans.
It was a main feature
of willing lips and anxious tongues
and fingers climbing the rungs
of love, to the beat
of a clicking projector.
And as a parting gift, a wad
of  Kleenex  for young men to stuff
over their noses and try to separate
the smell of perfume from the sweet
odor of boob.

The Valentine Theater originally appeared in Clapboard House literary journal


  1. I don't think I can ever sit on a theater seat again and not think of the words printed above. Oh those damn soggy puddles!

  2. miss the old nasty,stinky place,a part of our youth...amen....