It would begin with a dark screen
and the faintest distant
scratched plastic phonograph music
spinning absently afar. The void screen
then maybe —a guitar. Muddy Waters
chiming in that everything
everything, everything is gonna be alright
But before the wild stomp of ‘Mannish Boy’
kicks in, the fade.
Back into that black.
Hold it for a second too long
—then give me the colorless light.
The shock of white after so much darkness:
a woman’s face —only a glimpse—
—Is she beautiful?
We shouldn’t know just yet.
Please have her hair wild and dry,
singular bright strands arching through the ink black
like sparks on slow film.
Her voice will have that music of the guitar
the same strained single note, bending.
She speaks of the story —she doesn’t
tell it. There is the mistaken
assumption that we already know
Her complaint —her brave forgiveness
and generous pity.
The film is slow and dark, the light
is harsh and weak
like a coward’s judgement.
It shouldn’t matter who she forgives or graces,
who she chooses for the catastrophe of her heart.
We won’t play any favorites in this game.
Another fade before this becomes about her.
Cut to his hands, trembling as they appear,
as they lift the needle arm back to its rest.
Stay with the hands —shaking as he lifts them to his face.
We are his eyes
searching to steady those hands as they reach
as he moves through the soft focus space
to light the greasy stove flame.
Blue flame eruption.
He staggers and turns.
Maybe this is the first real color
—the only one.
I once had words for him—I described him
in philosophical terms, having borrowed
what I could from the dust jackets
of denser texts —contemporary aesthetic theory
and the current paradigm.
He fumbled his way through the deconstructed
architecture. And I faked my way
through faux Kundera and loitering naked warfare
—with nudity. Pages and pages —
That was another set of lenses.
These instructions are for another purpose.
Not a fade this time—nothing so obvious
and only as naked. There are the same occluded
views. Beautiful. Obsene. Absurd.
The pornographer’s confession.
The tyrant’s self pity. The soft
utterly colorless light
—a new breast, her vacant stare.
covering her face.
Rumble and hum of an over-amplified
song lyrics out of place.
Suddenly silence. No
the kettle scream —comforts in one way
and rages mercilessly in another.
His fingers trace the edge of a smooth plastic counter
—a matchbook cover folded back behind
the one light remaining and torn cardboard strands.
Rain mottled soot
on a window pane.
The screen goes white. It is not silence.
The same music is playing but it is changed somehow.
The camara finds, then loses focus, then
again, and again —that struggle to see
some perfect surface —skin, the sky
or perhaps a veil that only moves
at the first touch of breath
—at the very last.