Fame & Eva Marie Saint
Your first film, the only woman cast
by fellow Oscar winner Elia Kazan
with Steiger, Malden, Lee J. Cobb
& Brando, desirable hotshock of Streetcar.
American cinema-verite, another first
a triumph in monochrome, the neo-realism
of Hoboken-on-Hudson’s corruption.
After Nebraska, & military school
Brando hung out with Rocky Marciano
absorbing inarticulate authenticity
to transform into a potential contender.
Did you study the religiously dutiful
to become convent-educated Edie
trying to resist young Brando’s Terry?
Your fair hair & skin light up
that bleak waterfront landscape
like the haloed saintly in medieval art.
Often shot in shadowy semi-darkness
Terry contrasts with Edie’s angelic glow
the camera’s work with light & shadow
at the moral heart of this moody film.
In the years following that career debut
during those light-comedic romps
did you think about beginners’ luck
search pages of scripts for magic again?
I picture you, your heart grown older
incognito in New Jersey, wishing a camera
could light you the way it did in youth.
Annual Déjà Vu
The coastal idyll of his holidays
reminds him of boyhood so long ago
higgledy, roads of grey sand, tea-tree.
The locals, different from visitors
transport him, eerily, backwards.
Many vehicles are old, especially
the visitors’ who build shacks
where they leave these wheels all year
because their beach is on an island.
These rusting, rattling dustraisers are
like those that passed his school bus.
The ozone is alive with corruption.
Councillors’ horizons are not straight
signs of change are dollar signs
but visitors prefer the status quo.
Locals refer to artists as ferals
feud with visitors and each other
as they did another time and place
writing stiff letters to the newspaper
which he finds unintentionally comic.
Whirlpools of violence and drugs suck
away the doldrum days of local kids.
In marram grass he glimpses himself
when his days smelled like this
bone nerve nail ligament vein thought
a lonely, unhappy, yearning time
when he deviously plotted escape.
He has found shelter from sea wind
wonders how many years he has left
to keep returning here, to this place
astounded again by his deep love
for starlight on shore wash, house lights
paths of sand, of the heart, this earth.
Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in The Best Australian Poetry, Descant, Island, Magma, The Malahat Review, Southerly,& Westerly. His latest book is Lost Language of the Heart, Ginninderra (Adelaide). He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.
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