Saturday, May 2, 2009

Brandon Cesmat


Of old the world on dreaming fed;
gray truth is now her painted toy.
--W.B. Yeats

After Ted Turner laid-off my little brother who
color-keyed black & white films,
I consoled him by buying the beers while
silently and with ecstatic guilt I rejoiced for the classics,
flashes in the dark for new generations.

As soon as my brother stopped lamenting, I planned to preach that
Turner’s dream of Charles Foster Kane in Christmas red & green
cost a fortune in imagination, more than any tycoon could truly afford.

The psychological fact that most dreams play in black & white with
no source of light haunts my brother: the gray
sparkles off steel and glass and all those shadows.

He, however, tied a rainbow around my eyes,
insisting Bedford Falls is more wonderful with
Mary and George Bailey jitterbugging into a pool of blue
and Zuzu's petals, pink in extreme close-up.
These colors awoke me not to Pottersville’s squalor but
to Pleasantville’s nightmare of technological firepower and
the smug pigmented engineering of contemporary enlightenment,
present-tense delusion being more dangerous than any nostalgia.

“Black is not the only evil color,” my brother said with a wink.
In The Maltese Falcon, I made Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s eyes
the same green as yours for all those pranks you pulled on me.”

I didn’t speak but poured us more amber glasses to see through:
on the bar TV, a general’s khakis had the same tint as my $20 bill.
I closed my evil green eyes while listening to more horrifying tales of
the Frankenstein creature tortured with real orange flame
and taking Dorothy home forever to a Kansas
with fields of emerald in spring but still
no escape for Toto when he finally faces Mrs. Gulch and the Sheriff.
Let’s assume the little dog’s blood is red.

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