Reverse-Engineering Persona

January 24, 2010

If you’ve ever had to write an essay about something seemingly meaningless, you probably know how this works. You pick a thought (the more unlikely the better), connect everything to it (the less obvious the connections the better), and make sure to overlook anything that goes against your “theory.” Does this projection of meaning onto chaos sound like what art critics do?

All is well until you start believing your own words. That is what happened to me, and I am open-sourcing some of them here, for the whole world to point and laugh and maybe even plagiarize. This story is about Bergman’s Persona and a certain Andalusian Dog, so if you haven’t seen those species yet, come back later.

Persona: the metafilm

An unwanted child, an insecure man, an arrogant genius, Ingmar Bergman directed what could very well be the most cryptic movie ever made. Persona is painted in two layers: a foreground that makes sense on a background that mystifies. The upper stratum is Alma’s story of self-acceptance, of coming to terms with her dark side. The backdrop is Bergman’s meditation on cinematography.

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Tonight

February 18, 2008

This
is my favorite time:
when the sun is down,
and the heat is gone,
and the night is young
and velvety.

Under the street lamps,
sharper are the shadows,
greener the leaves,
closer every sound.

Lights,
like blobs on an ancient film,
remind me
of what I forgot
when my age had a single digit.
Then,
all I had to do was
want
to move my hand,
and it would move.
What I want,
what I think,
I have.
I wish I could remember that.

Shadows
curl
at the edge of my vision.
They call to me,
but in full view
I find them still.
I wish I could relive that magic.

The green
is of a different kind
at night.
It’s alive
and hard
and raw.
Like I used to be
before I forgot who I was.
I wish I could remember that.

The city sleeps
and I can hear a leaf
turning to watch me —
an intruder on her silence.
I wish I hadn’t woken you up.

But the shadows are sharper,
and the green is greener,
and the sound is closer.
I am awake
in this collage
with layered colors,
clumsy lines
and muffled sounds.
And I have but shadows
and green
and sound
to show tonight to.