April 30, 2010

circles
my head is going around in circles



Arthur Dove, Sun, 1943

Orson Welles
-- by Richard Brautigan

Orson Welles does whisky commercials on
Japanese television. It's strange to see him
here on television in Tokyo, recommending that the
Japanese people buy G&G Nikka whisky.

I always watch him with total fascination.
Last night I dreamt that I directed one of the
commercials. There were six black horses in the
commercial.

The horses were arranged in such a position
that upon seeing them and Orson Welles
together, people would rush out of their homes
and buy G&G Nikka Whisky.

It was not an easy commercial to film. It
had to be perfect. It took many takes. Mr. Welles
was very patient with an understanding sense of
humor.

"Please, Mr. Welles," I would say. "Stand a
little closer to the horses."

He would smile and move a little closer
to the horse.

"How's this?"

"Just fine, Mr. Welles, perfect."


Waving Goodbye
-- by Wesley McNair

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We'll
be seeing you, or I'll call, or Stop in,
somebody's always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words – a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days. Think of the hundreds of unknown
voyagers in the old, fluttering newsreel
patting and stroking the growing distance
between their nameless ship and the port
they are leaving, as if to promise I'll always
remember, and just as urgently, Always
remember me. It is loneliness, too,
that makes the neighbor down the road lift
two fingers up from his steering wheel as he passes
day after day on his way to work in the hello
that turns into goodbye? What can our own raised
fingers do for him, locked in his masculine
purposes and speeding away inside the glass?
How can our waving wipe away the reflex
so deep in the woman next door to smile
and wave on her way into her house with the mail,
we'll never know if she is happy
or sad or lost? It can't. Yet in that moment
before she and all the others and we ourselves
turn back to our disparate lives, how
extraordinary it is that we make this small flag
with our hands to show the closeness we wish for
in spite of what pulls us apart again
and again: the porch light snapping off,
the car picking its way down the road through the dark.


After Apollinaire
-- by Franz Wright

It's four o'clock in the afternoon
and it's finished;
I sit back and light my cigarette
on a ray of dusk.
I don't want to write anymore.
All I want to do is smoke.

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