Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hazy, Ask Again Later

I found a playing card, 7 of spades, near the railroad bridge when I was running, so I'm obliged to write about the 7 of swords. Can't ignore a cosmic demand, even if the offering is so rusty it creaks.

Seven of Swords
The Reader at the Fair

The reader may not want
To discourage or dismay;
She may want you back.
She may want you
To tell all your friends,
Share your wonder, even with a few.

So we know strategies,
Cloaks against the gusts.
Ensuring continued patronage
Means creating diversion:
It may be out of balance,
But it's not a lie.

How else to answer the questions,
Does he love, and Will I live,
And the one they're all pealing out
Nowadays, What must I do
To say, to show, to be
My true spirit, my art, my self?

They falter, and tell me
All the ways it's impossible
To reach what they desire.

The card says this:
The wind comes in from the left coast,
The one traditionally given dominion
Over illusion and intuition. This is
Your path, though not always taken
In such elegant boots. Flags signify
A freshening trend.

Two points of upright, practical counsel
Ought to be enough: Get some
Fresh air and exercise.
Do you want to know more?
Of course you do. Take these five points too:

We are all hustlers and barkers.
Not one of us is worth the earth we plod over.
So, if the spirit moves you, dance.
If the spirit moves you, steal.
Steal with joy.

Shout out to one of my favorite poems, by Robert Bly. Image from the superlative serennu website, for all your seriously ephemeral needs.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


She looked like a greyhound with a litter of Labradors up there. All the handsome men from her film leapt and waved and hooted, and she stood off to the side, accepting some hugs, in it but not of it.

I loved Near Dark and I don't know that I've seen a better vampire movie since. Insomnia had me up and watching Point Break at 3 a.m. the other night. It's an anti-distaff version of Showgirls, really, that bad, but in the middle of it all there's a ridiculous, overlong bravura chase scene on foot that still leaves me shaking my head. And her usual male ensemble--all charming whenever they're in motion. They parkour, they surf, they even fly, because they can. Even Keanu is less like a robot for a change.

I don't get out to too many current movies anymore, but I'd say Hurt Locker was the best I saw last year, that and Anvil. She had the writing (which killed Point Break, which was supposed to be that holy grail of productions, Tapping the Source) on her side for once. The rhythm was astonishing. Whenever someone started losing their cool, it would build, and then you're watching the El Greco St. Jerome military shrink go kapow or something. The image from the film that was used in the promotion, of the circle of IEDs and wires, is more than documentary; it's iconographically chilling somehow, it reminds you of something ancient and horrifying, the dust and the wires and the shapes in a circle emerging from the earth.

Anyhow, the Oscar award to Kathryn Bigelow was accompanied by scattered commentary that she only won because it was a "male" genre, and that a true feminist triumph would only be realized if a woman won for doing a "womanly" genre (romantic comedy. That's ours. Tell it to Wilder and Cukor. We don't get horror, action, war, western, disaster, or even Biblical epics! It's so not fair!).

So Bigelow is not a "real" woman; Johnny Weir is not a "real" man; President Obama is not "really" black, on and on. After a bit of this, I have to wonder why it seems to be so much easier to question the person than it is to question the rules of admission to the club.

Back to my cave to try to finish this thing. No, not that thing, that other thing. And that thing too. Plus I have to go let clients insult me and tell me what an awful, awful writer I am. I have been insufficiently demoralized, and I've got some catching up to do.

Photo: Near Dark. Headline: PJ Harvey, Kleenex.