Thursday, August 05, 2004

AUGUST 5, 2004 (THURSDAY)

XX
from Dark Harbor

Mark Strand

Is it you standing among the olive trees
Beyond the courtyard? You in the sunlight
Waving me closer with one hand while the other

Shields your eyes from the brightness that turns
All that is not you dead white? Is it you
Around whom the leaves scatter like foam?

You in the murmuring night that is scented
With mint and lit by the distant wilderness
Of stars? Is it you? Is it really you

Rising from the script of waves, the length
Of your body casting a sudden shadow over my hand
So that I feel how cold it is as it moves

Over the page? You leaning down and putting
Your mouth against mine so I should know
That a kiss is only the beginning

Of what until now we could only imagine?
Is it you or the long compassionate wind
That whispers in my ear: alas, alas?

Bulletin Board

For people concerned: Hiyas' birthday is on August 10, while Dell's birthday is on August 11.

Congratulations are in order for the lovebirds: Pao and Aster on their second year *gasp* of being attached to each other.

And finally, applause for the maestro Dean Alfar for winning not one, but two Palanca awards for this year!

Time Enough for Tears

I'm not quite sure how to approach Jim Sheridan's In America. No doubt it was a brilliant film - it was one of those cinematic experiences that leave your soul ragged, as if it had been run through with a blunt blade. It was one of those films that hit so close to home, you're not quite sure if the writers - Sheridan and his two daughters Naomi and Kristen - had actually placed a small camera inside your house and recorded the movements of your family. It paints a picture of a family that is dealing with both external changes and internal struggles, and yet in the end you are left with a kernel of hope, as if they are meant for better days.

It's a film about an Irish immigrant family moving to New York City in order to escape their past. The youngest child in the family, Frankie, died from a brain tumor that was triggered by an accidental fall from the stairs. The father, Johnny (Paddy Carrington) wanted to become a stage actor, and we see him struggle to remain hopeful in the midst of gigantic adversaries - lack of money and jobs and of keeping his family safe and protected. Sarah (Samantha Morton) worked shifts at the local ice cream parlor, and her problematic pregnancy becomes a catalyst as the family struggles to deal with their past and the death of the only boy. Sisters Christy and Ariel (Sarah and Emma Bolger) are hit the hardest, as they not only have to deal with the arrival of the new child, but also with adjusting in America where "you don't ask for something, you demand it from people" as well as their own family's issues regarding letting go and saying goodbye and embracing what is left of their lives as a unit and as individuals.

Most poignant moments: when Ariel walks into the kitchen where her father is washing the dishes (Sarah was already confined in the hospitail by then because of the pregnancy) and she wails and says, "You're not my daddy! Where's my daddy?" and that is when you realize that Johnny has really changed - not in any significant physical way, but he looked more jaded, more closed off. And then Ariel raises a ruckus and Johnny had to grab a towel and squeeze water all over his little girl's face and do a funny jig and ask her, "Well? Am I you dad?" And she nods and sniffles and says, "Maybe."

Also, the hospital scene where Johnny and the two girls are conversing with their doctors regarding a blood transfusion that will save the life of the new baby girl - she was born prematurely - and then Christy volunteers because she's the only one who has the compatible blood type and after her father agrees, he praises her and tells her what a good girl she is, and Christy says in a calm, detached manner, "Don't 'little girl' me anymore. I've been carrying the weight of this family for over a year now, ever since Frankie died. He's my brother, too. I used to talk to him every evening."

And Ariel seconds the motion by saying, "It's true. I can hear her."

And Johnny asks, "So when did you stop talking to him?"

"When I realized that I was talking to myself," replied Christy.

I suppose that I'm not really in any position to talk about families, since I come from a pretty solid background, but this is all I'll say: what parents will always have to sacrifice to the real world is the innocence of their children.

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