poetry

Tea Party Patriots, Part II

In my last blog essay, I attempted to unravel the many complaints of the Tea Party followers. Three issues, however, seem to stick in the craw of those who believe in their heart of hearts that America is on the road to self-destruction: (1) The continuing loss of freedom because of big government and what appears to the Tea Party followers as a move towards socialism, the inevitable political paradigm that will only exacerbate that continuing loss of freedom (2) The desire to return to a golden age of a true America (3) The end of Patriotism in America Continue reading

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Teenager’s First Date

Showing up on time
Is the easy part.

The dashboard of
His rented car
Free of dust,
Wax-clean,
Vacuumed carpets
And a lemon smelling
Tag dangling from
The rear view mirror.

One more look
In the sun-visor
Mirror, an angled glance
At the straggly sideburns.

Fly firmly zipped.

Spitting on his closed
Index fingers,
He drags them along
The creases of
His black pants.

He pulls out a hanky
To hoe-shine the tips
Of his eager shoes.

Gently tugging
The bottom of his red tie,
He firmly wrestles
With the knot
To shield the
Top button from
Strangers looking
For flaws.

He opens his sport coat,
Tilting his nose
Into the dark corners
Of both arm pits.

He turns off the
Impatient ignition,
Opens the door,
And looks up at
The scoop of a moon
Glancing down at
The familiar.

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Roberto Bolaño, “By Night in Chile”

I  jokingly made the comment to a friend of mine that English majors, like myself, seem to revel in literature that’s hard to get the first time round. That doesn’t mean second readings don’t enhance our understanding of a work. It’s just that we sometimes distrust our I-get-it reactions as being superficial because they’re too immediate. For some reason, we seem to require wallowing around in the miasma of linguistic challenges.

Maybe it’s masochism or maybe we just have to prove to the world that we have some kind of secret knowledge of texts that are just beyond the ken of most mortals. And “stream of consciousness” writing is often one of our favorite genres. Similar to  academic art theorists commenting on abstract painting, it leaves us ample room to show others just how brilliant we are when the rest of the world doesn’t have a clue what the hell we’re talking about.

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Che Guevara, Hero or Villain?

A biopic, a non-documentary film that dramatizes the life of a real, historical person, presents a challenge not only to film-makers but to audiences as well. Accuracy issues are always at stake when a director decides to do a dramatic narrative about a famous person, particularly about someone who carries a lot of mythological baggage.

If movie audiences have even a faint knowledge of the historical character, they will come armed with predisposed beliefs about how a character should be portrayed. Hagiographers and groupies are going to be particularly difficult to convince if a film’s portrayal violates their own notions of their heroes.

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The Bicycle Thief

Vittoria de Sica’s classic 1947 film, The Bicycle Thief, has probably been written about more than any other film in history. At one time, film audiences considered it to be the best film ever made; unfortunately, it has slipped off the charts in recent times.

I have longed maintained that films consistently use visual and auditory images as stories in and of themselves. They often become complementary social plots replete with cultural values and world-view perceptions. The central story line in many classic films becomes more than just ornamented with these visual and auditory images, it often becomes a kind of call-and-response complement to the less evident images of a film.

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