DO YOU FEEL THE SAME | Jake Reynolds
Bart is caught not three feet from the automatic doors
of the shopping mall he has shoplifted the video game
Bonestorm from. The security guard, in gravelly tones,
says, If you ever set foot in this store again, you’ll be spending
Christmas in juvenile hall. Capiche? And Bart doesn’t
understand what ‘capiche’ means, and neither did I
when I first watched it. It’s like saying, ‘you understand?’
and the other person replying, ‘Gesundheit?’
Later in the episode, Bart’s mother Marge finds out
about his shoplifting, and he is crushed by her response
since it manifests not as anger but as wounded
disappointment, infused with a dissociative sensibility.
It is the most moving episode of my childhood,
and I used to cry in private just thinking about it
even though it turns out well, as most episodes do.
Bart atones, after all, and gifts Marge a framed photo
of himself. I looked around the leaky house
and counted pound coins I had kept and that week
bought my mother Stadium Arcadium on CD,
getting the bus there and back from the city.
When she opened it I thought she was going to cry
and, not understanding the significance of my gesture
but feeling its ineffable weight, I again
cried in private, and was keen to know why.
Jake Reynolds is a poet and PhD researcher at the University of East Anglia. His research concerns a theory of antipopulist poetics, the first-person plural in contemporary poetry, and the later works of John Ashbery. He has had his poetry and criticism published online and in print.