Thursday, March 31, 2005

You Wear Me Well

We opted for a lifestyle different from that of our peers; we had no money so therefore we would make no mistakes. On the margins, you and I drove through town at night listening to no music at all, just the chortling of a diesel engine, just the thrill of a long stare at square dancers at gas stations. Each red light, eyes forward. Each yellow light, go faster and through.

To control you was to keep you and to keep you was to love you and to leave you was to give you all the freedom you could have wanted. Look here, my lovely maid, my keeper of things intact. I find you coming back to me, I'll tie you to the tracks. Look here, my lovely nymph, made of silver some copper, no shine. We both have different day jobs now, we both tell clever lies. We both are still in mourning, for a friend left back behind. We both feed off questions, regurgitated in our mind.

And solemn is the pilot who flies the daily route. And awkward is the drunkard who makes it out of the house. And lonely is the copperheard whose venom is never tasted. A weapon, a missile, a predator--potential depleted then wasted.

Photo by TPW/"Copyright"/Paris, France 8/04 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Better Living Through Dentistry

It sits there like a coy boy in a group of eighth graders, half hiding behind the leaders of the pack. Once in his life, he was proud yet modest, honest with good posture. He saw one of his neighbors to the north get cracked, split in half, only to be replaced by a cosmetic cement.

After the braces he was in front and side-by-side with the others. Then came the tranistion into ninth grade, the kisses from girlfriends and exchanging of saliva through lust and soft drinks. He became drunk with alcohol and once in college felt the ravages of cocaine along his soft roots in weary bouts of fingerbrushing with narcotics at 4 am. He became darkened by black coffee, enlightened by green tea.

And the only way to make him proud is to bind him once again. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The European Invasion

Due to a stagnant economy, staggering debt and a loss of alliance with the world, the United States found itself adrift and alone after gaffes and missteps in the Middle East. Large chunks of North American property were sold to newly allied Eastern European Bloc Allies for the purpose of oversea bases. One of them was several blocks from my house on a now razed National Park and historic mountain.

Construction began immediately, taking the form of a modern building of the Great Pyramids. Through high-powered binoculars one could see people dragging giant stones to create huge towers overlooking the land. And with these immigrating foreign soldiers came their families, their culture and their newfound imperialism. And their boxy vehicles and their grey skies.

It took four years for me to have my friend arrested in the lead up to the war, to save my parents' lives from rebel bullets, to fall in love with the enemy's daughter and to escape from my own country under attack with her.

Photograph by James Nachtwey/Magnum/ from the book "Inferno" Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Thin Black Duke

John Wayne wisely never performed in blackface, although he did portray Genghis Khan in The Conqueror--a performance many call his “yellowface” role (as well as his worst and his most unfortunate-the film's Utah set, 225 miles from a nuclear test site, is accused of giving 90 cast and crew members, including The Duke, cancer). Little do our minds know, but Wayne was a shapeshifter.

My dream last night--influenced heavily by weary eyes, emotional stress and honky tonk alcohol--took place in a newspaper montage of a 1950s black-and-white film, where spinning tabloids rocketed at the viewer, exclaiming what only 48 pt text could back in 24 hour news days. John Wayne, once again it seems, had passed, and only the print media could memorialize him. Unlike Frank Sinatra, whose death was informed to me by Matt Lauer, the written word would break the news.

The media of my dreams decided to pay scant attention to the slow drawing, slow drawl cowboy who was John Wayne. They were all blackface Wayne. Merely seconds after his death, casting calls went out for the actor who would best portray The Duke in his least talked about role: the blackface clown.

There were givens: Tom Hanks, Gene Hackman (one last great time, old buddy). Some oddities: Jamie Foxx, John C. O’Reilly. The role ultimately went to an unknown, whose sepia headshot he submitted of the blackface Wayne captured the idea: even then much like now, he really should just be very tan.

Who got it right, however? The New Yorker, whose black-and-white cover told the story. A nondescript clown in whiteface, standing before a brick wall of black, a big oval surrounding his booger lips. Us and the world we act like we know, symbolism regardless of race.
Posted by Hello