spent the last couple of days convalescing from some sort of bug or sumpn or other. slept and slept, in fact, so that when i awoke last night at 10pm my lo-grade fever and aches dissipated. not entirely so, still feel a twinge now and then. i say it was from exhaustion, anna thinks it was something i ate, even tho we've eaten the same stuff, and she and nicholas are great. nothing drains like feeling like shit. so inbetween feverish hallucinations [not interesting at all; imagined i was trying to get two sets of forests to commingle and become one] i thought of movies.
actually, only one film, rather a favorite but perhaps not the best of its kind. yet, creator
, starring peter o'toole, vincent spano and virginia madsen, came out at a time in my life when i was moving toward poetry as [for what it's worth] my life work. yes, the movie is rather maudlin and stupidly inane, however, there is a sweetness to it that i fall for every time i watch it. and i've must've seen the film over 100 times now. the three principals are wonderful to watch. o'toole is an eccentric, perhaps certifiable, research scientist who is secretly cloning his dead wife while spouting cloudy mystical philosophies, something about 'god's testicles'. spano is the hapless grad student huckstered into working for o'toole, and madsen is also a grad student and tragic love interest for spano.
neato. and yet, the repartee between the three, and also o'toole's nemesis at the university played by david ogden stiers, and oh before i forget mariel hemingway [don't see much of her no more on the big screen; a shame, really] is the happy-go-lucky street kid who warms up the ol' brilliant dr. and cad, to finally forget the dead and love the living. never you mind an age difference of about 40 years, what's love got to do with it, anyhow.
not that there's anything wrong with that, surely, o'toole is already on the outs with the university. and and and spano's strength of love is tested almost beyond endurance when madsen suffers a stroke and falls flat into a coma. but miracle of miracles, yes, the miraculous happens right at the nick of time. i'll not spoil it for you if you've not seen this film, but surely, and i'm not joking, the bond between mentor and acolyte is given the hardiest of bearhugs, and i fall for it again and again.
but back to poetry, or language. since this is a film about words as well, the beauty of them, the talismanic power of utterance. there are a few here that entered my personal lexicon, and confirmed in me that language is worth a life's working toward, in and thru. sonafabitch
, is one of those words. there is a marvelous scene where spano meets for the first time the hemingway character and asks, who are you? upon learning of her identity and insipid goofiness, o'toole then teaches his young charge the proper way to say it, accent on the last syllable. sounds kinda mean, but rather the word becomes a cipher and simultaneously charges and diffuses the awkwardness of spano's and hemingway's acquaintance.
there is more. o'toole, marvelous actor that he is, has a lovely speech with spano at the bedside of the comatose madsen. o'toole says, talk to her; words can be wonderful things. and so spano does, he reads to her, tells her what he thinks about their shared future, their unborn children, relays bad jokes, and continues nonstop. such is the power of language, of sign and signifier in a gravitational pull and push. and it is our connection to each other, and to personal and collective inner and outer realities.
language is also a path and a door. for reasons rather complicated and still unknown i've associated creator
with my inward journey toward poetry. speaking of dreams. a few years later, after first seeing this film, i had a dream i was john berryman, or rather, i looked like john berryman, bespectacled, steel-grey beard, but had tattoos. i've no idea why but that dream was a confirmation that i entered the door correct for me. still wandering, most often lost, on that path.