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  • Matt McGuirk

Can’t we just Read SparkNotes?

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

By Matthew McGuirk

They ask me, “Can’t we just read SparkNotes?”

I think to myself,

it’s like cutting Shakespeare’s tongue out


reading an encyclopedia entry on whale hunting, rather than

having the waves lash at the keels of the boat.

“I can tell you what happens in the movie, isn’t it just the same?”

You’ll miss the intensity in DeNiro’s face,

wondering how they made that blood look so real

or knowing they’ll probably make it, but not quite sure how

and will Morgan Freeman’s voice ever get old

or will he be narrating every film for me from here on out

in that steady, welcoming cadence?

“Why not just look at the box score?”

What about seeing the eyes peek out from behind the glove

working through a bases loaded jam

or the smell of hot dogs coming down the aisle

or how popcorn goes flying when one gets knocked out of the park?

What about the stable of people, a herd of voices

even when the action is quiet?

“Why go to the Caribbean when you can look at pictures?”

The flapping photo is the same as the sea breeze, isn’t it?

Is the reflection of the setting sun on the water painted with the same watercolors?

Do those fresh picked fruits, drip juices across the table

permeating the photo in sweetness.

They ask me, “can’t we just read SparkNotes?”

I tell them, the best things

take a little time.


Matt McGuirk teaches and lives with his family in New Hampshire. BOTN 2021 nominee and regular contributor for Fevers of the Mind with words in 50+ lit mags, 100+ accepted pieces and a debut collection with Alien Buddha Press called Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities on Amazon. Twitter: @McguirkMatthew Instagram: @mcguirk_matthew.

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