ON WATCHING THE MOVIE ‘BURNING’ : A POEM
Little hunger and great hunger:
The aspirations and longings.
Reenacting the dance for people who have never known hunger,
And never will.
The cat and mouse game:
You infer the presence of the cat,
then come to doubt its very existence.
And then you encounter it, in the most unlikely place,
Calling it by its name,
And performing some tragic recognition scene.
Secret wounds and holes.
What happens to your trauma when its spatial materiality is erased, or forgotten? Denied? Ignored?
How to decipher the scars of the past, the marks of the present, or the traces of the future?
Is literature a way of keeping track?
A trio of foreign (English) words uttered in the film dialogue:
Metaphor, Little Hunger, Great Hunger.
Whispers to our ears, and imagination,
Swift tutorings into code-switching, and
The dance of metonymy and metaphor,
The function of art,
Literary and other.
You imagine you desire eating a mandarine.
You perform the peeling, and the consuming,
You make your mouth water out of anticipation,
And extract pleasure out of the illusion of its presence.
The ability of art to create something out of nothing,
And make your mind water,
Surf on the suggestion of its presence,
Riding the wave of emotions and affect.
Writing: performing a pantomime on the page, suggesting, and inviting.
Reading: enjoying the conjured mandarine, reenacting the possibility of its presence.
Faulkner: there is more to William than the picture on the cover of the book that Ben is reading.
Now you see it/him,
Now you don’t.
Barn burning, or just burning.
Enter Gatsby, without Scott:
A decontextualized character, a figure on the run
In search of something other than “a voice full of money”.
The dance in the evening sun:
An exercise in beauty and gratuity
Hinting at a form of transcendence,
Conjuring some prescience ushered by the work of art,
And its transformative power.
Tender is the night, indeed.
The other side of paradise might be within our reach, after all.
Double binds, and their attending dance and pantomine.