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Thursday 22 July 2010

Double Feature


File:Wwii woman worker-edit.jpg

After the moon goes down, the nearness of the night, fair
And dark in its standing against the remaining trees,
Comes off as not an embellishment
But a facsimile. Where have I seen this evening before.
Past is past. It is no longer the small town nineteen forties.
But living in the moment is postponed by
This uncanny sense of repetition.
For example, at the filling station
On the corner outside the theatre,
Beneath violet neon, near green garbage cans
And racks of bright red cans of motor oil, and rows of whitewalls
Stacked for sale, a young man in blue overalls pumps
Gas, over and over, in my mental reproduction of this scene,
Remembered from a foggy night on Pico, Santa Monica,
1951. Sometimes images will never leave your mind.
It's as though you were merely the carrier pigeon
For messages of unknown origin, to be delivered over and over.
As when, after a long day of construction
And assembly, the factory worker and the apprentice escort,
Having put workaday cares aside for a rare night out
At the movies, sitting rapt through the double feature,
Shyly holding hands, turn to one another at last
And sigh, and one whispers to the other,
In a tone of concession gentler than the soft summer night wind,
This is where we came in.


Woman aircraft worker checking electrical assemblies, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, California: photo by David Bransby, 1942 (Library of Congress)
Two Maiko (apprentice Geisha) conversing near Golden Temple, Kyoto, Japan: photo by Daniel Bachler, 2004


John B-R said...

is past. I salute
that various field.

James Schuyler, "Salute", of course. He beings that poem with something I've always found troubling:

Past is past, and if one
remembers what one meant
to do and never did, is
not to have thought to do

My reaction's always been NO. To have thought to do and not done is called regret, in my book, and, at this point in my life, my regrets are what I find most heartbreaking.

I don't feel any "no" when I read your poem. This is beautiful.

TC said...


And yes.

Double feature thankyous.

Marylinn Kelly said...

A strong sense of the eternal, told within a modern span. Time transforms itself around me, making it harder to believe that all moments do not exist at once. I found so much to connect with in this piece. I agree that "no" is not a component, more a dreamy waltz that plays forever. Beautiful, very.

Radish King said...

Heartbreaking. Heartbroken.



Yes, "Past is past," and yet/also "This uncanny sense of repetition." Meanwhile, "This is where we came in." --


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, blue jay landing on fence
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

name that conceals, sense of
related to other way of

difference, present as human
action, tone of shadows

grey-white of fog against top of ridge,
cormorant flapping across toward point

Sandra.if said...

interesting images...I can see that...

TC said...

I don't know if there are still double features. My early moviegoing experiences were entirely double feature experiences. There were several theatres in my immediate urban neighborhood. You could watch the double feature as many times as you wished, over and over. Eternal recurrence seemed a plausible way of life in the universe.

Curtis Roberts said...

"Eternal recurrence seemed a plausible way of life in the universe." That was also my experience. When I was growing up, my mother parked me in the local movie theater for long periods of double feature watching, seeing the movies over and over, as you say. I couldn't have been happier and, upon reflection, may never have been happier. I think double features are now only offered by art/repertory houses, which isn't the same thing at all.

human being said...

just beautiful!

"Sometimes images will never leave your mind.
It's as though you were merely the carrier pigeon
For messages of unknown origin, to be delivered over and over."


TC said...

Curtis, hb,

Good to have your thoughts always.

The top picture here reminded me of early moviegoing experiences. The original intention of its making and propagating was obviously patriotic. However the feeling it evokes, now, has more to do with personal and cultural memories.

Most commonly I work from words to images, but in this case I began with the images; and from the associations produced by the images the words then came.

aditya said...

The utter immediacy of the voice of this poem is superb and effortlessly exacting.

But a facsimile.

is an absolute genius of a work.

Not a movie/cinema-goer myself, but been a witness to the double features plenty o' times in the daily events of life. How certain events keep coming, again. Unsorted is just another way of being sorted. It requires much less an effort.

aditya said...

Lovely poem !

TC said...

"Unsorted is just another way of being sorted."

Inscribe that on my ash thermos, please.

aditya said...


Well atleast you though about it.

Poets are useless.