Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Riff Off Preface

--For Huidobro

I was born at the age of 8 on the cut of no Christ;
gin and tonic the equator of my hairless pain
under the geraniums of my Lugan piano, a cuddy
beneath bergs. I had the blank stare of a victim,
a relentless bicycle. I breathed in the next blind
father upon a trapeze bar, I loved the daylight,
the veil of every hat. My mother spoke with larks
coming from her mouth, she embroidered buttons
to my breast. On the first day, I asked the larks
to unbeak these buttons, to look upon the nudes
of the gallery, to collect the broken shells
of rational hearts. Then I created my tongue and
braided my grave. A poem is something that
never is, but ought to be. A poem is something that
never has been, that never can be.
I constructed
my development from my grandmother's slips and Russian
stars upon the tombs of sublime retinal failure.
Speeding gold chessboards of sight, perhaps they
preferred disconnection so as not to see the
disconnected language sculpted from it; perhaps
when disengaged, the last sigh of vision delivered
untangled tropes. One should write in a language
that is not the mother tongue. If I didn't do
something crazy at least once a year I'd go crazy.

I looked at my fists, angled as accordions, a horse
upon each virgin extracted for the stain of sleep,
the illusion of hair. Where the blood of my vain
tongue slipped into my father's glass and burned
my skin an effigy; of phone cords and moons
of bound light; each end of summer a blister
of stone; I, a soldier of children. All of my
throats the planets, money wired to each snowy
renewal of skin, more skin, all the skin I could
grow. I drank the hunters, the waterfalls of bile,
each hammer of my selves a bitter astronomy. There
is a secret to my vertigo, my only fishscales in the
sea of hankerchiefs. I was born at the age of 8
on the cut of no Christ; gin and tonic the equator
of my hairless pain; True poems are fires; its conquests
lit with shivers of pleasure or pain.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus has always been a fascinating figure from the annals of documentary-style photography. FUR, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. examines her life through a fictional lens, utilizing factual components of Arbus’s life and spinning a fantasy tale of a freakish neighbor turned love interest—perhaps a cinematic representation of what may have been the pictures Arbus took with her soul rather than her camera. Secretary director Steven Shainberg directs Kidman's portrayal of Arbus, the well-to-do Manhattan wife who becomes one of the twentieth century's most revered photographers, as a beautiful, sad soul oppressed by only her limitless heart and curiosity of vision. Shainberg used Patricia Bosworth's book 'Diane Arbus: A Biography' as a source, and Shainberg and writer Erin Cressida Wilson, reunited after their highly successful 2003 Secretary, to take this leap into Arbus’ “inner life”. Arbus begins her journey on a bus to a nudist camp to become a sometime resident photographer. We then see her three months prior, in1958, hosting a party in New York City.

James Mottram, Channel 4:

“Her husband Allan is a photographer, who has recently been shooting ad campaigns for the latest furs at an exclusive Fifth Avenue department store owned by Diane's father. A devoted wife and mother-of-two, Diane is also her husband's assistant—but it soon becomes clear that she has long since repressed any dreams of her own artistic expression. What—or rather who—brings Diane out of her domesticated shell is the subject of Fur. It is her mysterious (fictional) new neighbour, Lionel Sweeney (Downey Jr.) who helps launch Diane into a wider world. Afflicted with a rare condition that causes hair to sprout all over his face and body—as a teenager shaving proved pointless because "it grew back so quickly, it was hardly worth the effort"—it's no surprise that Lionel used to eke out a living as a circus freak. Now making money by spinning wigs from his excess hair, Lionel hangs out with other 'outsiders'—from dwarves to a dominatrix—who accept him for who he is. But once he reveals the full extent of his condition to Diane, she does not back away; rather she finds genuine friendship with Lionel, at the expense of her life with Allan (who even grows a beard at one point in a desperate hope of winning her round) and her children.”

Diane begins to venture into Lionel’s world promising to eventually take his portrait, though we never see him in his furry glory as one of Arbus’ subjects until the bitter end.

This is a haunting, dreamlike film that Kidman drives with subtle strength and watery expression. Arbus’ resolve to capture these mystical creatures of life comes through clearly, even through an aperture rarely used.