The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday


The Lost Pilot
By James Tate


for my father, 1922-1944
Your face did not rot
like the others--the co-pilot,
for example, I saw him

yesterday. His face is corn-
mush: his wife and daughter,
the poor ignorant people, stare

as if he will compose soon.
He was more wronged than Job.
But your face did not rot

like the others--it grew dark,
and hard like ebony;
the features progressed in their

distinction. If I could cajole
you to come back for an evening,
down from your compulsive

orbiting, I would touch you,
read your face as Dallas,
your hoodlum gunner, now,

with the blistered eyes, reads
his braille editions. I would
touch your face as a disinterested

scholar touches an original page.
However frightening, I would
discover you, and I would not

turn you in; I would not make
you face your wife, or Dallas,
or the co-pilot, Jim. You

could return to your crazy
orbiting, and I would not try
to fully understand what

it means to you. All I know
is this: when I see you,
as I have seen you at least

once every year of my life,
spin across the wilds of the sky
like a tiny, African god,

I feel dead. I feel as if I were
the residue of a stranger's life,
that I should pursue you.

My head cocked toward the sky,
I cannot get off the ground,
and, you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in that world,
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.


From queenofthorns, the alphabet movie meme:
AAmadeus - for the music alone, but also just superbly done
BBob Roberts - Tim Robbins skewers politics with music
CCrimes and Misdemeanors - Woody Allen's tragicomic masterpiece
DDangerous Liaisons - the most stylish film ever made
EEvita - have always loved the musical and Madonna is wonderful
F - The Fellowship of the Ring - do I really need to explain?
GThe Grifters - creepy mod-noir and Anjelica is phenomenal beyond belief
HHair - Let the sunshine in and stop the war
IThe Indian Runner - gripping, haunting and superbly acted
J - Joe vs. the Volcano - an underrated, hilarious, uplifting film
KKiss of the Spider Woman - Stunningly powerful, gutwrenching
LThe Lion In Winter - History, Hepburn, amazing dialogue and acting
MThe Maltese Falcon - everything noir is and should be
NThe Natural - because I love the dream of baseball with a passion
OOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - the script, the acting, Louise Fletcher
PThe Princess Bride - I am not left-handed!
QQueen Christina - My favorite Garbo
RRear Window - Hitchcock, Grace Kelly and humor, an irresistible combination
SStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - the best of the big-screen Treks
TTempest - Mazursky's film with Cassavetes, Rowlands and Sarandon, a masterpiece
UUnforgiven – one of few Eastwood movies I really like
VVertigo - Hitchcock wraps obsession and pathology together
WThe Wizard of Oz - because who can forget it, ever?
XXanadu - because yes, I do love Olivia and ELO
YYoung Frankenstein - Mel Brooks' masterpiece, one of the funniest movies ever
ZZelig - another Woody Allen masterpiece, the fiction of history

Fascinating Bill Keller op-ed piece on why Colin Powell is the wrong secretary of state for Dubya, even though Keller and I both agree that Powell is one of the few members of the Bush cabinet who actually listens to reason...

and an op-ed piece on the hypocrisy of the U.N. which I found myself unhappily agreeing with a lot of, even though my major issue -- the screaming hypocrisy toward Israel -- is never addressed.
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