Friday, January 8, 2010

Killer of Sheep, & Two Poems

I just watched Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep again, this time with my partner, who hadn't seen it before.  An amazing film, a devastating film (many of the scenes remind me of my hometown, Detroit, tho take place in the Watts district in SF).  I'm still amazed by the use of music in this film (for which Burnett was told he had to pay nearly full royalties to the execs of the recording companies, thus stalling the full release of the film until 2005).  I'll post a short essay on this work in the coming days or weeks, but for now I'm interested in calling attention to the fact that you can order this film easily now, which comes as a surprise to a lot of people, and did so to myself when professor film at Bard, Marie Reagan, colleague of mine, screened the picture for Bard's annual L&T film series. It had been the second time I'd seen the film, but the first time on a big screen with good sound. Watching/hearing in such a way truly brings out the sheer invention of the filmic conventions, some borrowed by European avant-gardists that Burnett was then in conversation with (as grad student in the 70s), some very much Burnett's own, such as the use of jump cuts from a moving platform (e.g., a train) as it pans across.  The music is a whose-who of artists from (not only) the 60s--Earth, Wind, and Fire, e.g.  

Since last year I've been slowly working on, first outlining, now beginning the writing process, a cycle of poems, quasi ekphrastic translations of the film's scenes, one poem per scene.  Maybe the title will be Catching Trains.  I don't know.  But I'm enjoying this process--nothing quite like getting to know a film (or anything, yes?) well by writing thru it.  A couple poems below. Everything is yet rough.  Though I sense this project won't, like many of my projects, simply die on the vine, as I've made the leap and committed a couple pieces to journals--Aufgabe & Cannot Exist.  No turning back now.

Need less to say the say sound make-s-

In the hiding in the want-as need as lay

As soft under-the said to de-claim -skin-


Cover you-sound a full wound un-desolates

Your un-peeled body con-cept you asked it

Open asked if desire not need needs in -the-


In made-need in the -shine- of this stuck tonic-

Clonic body para-meter if not yet and if -now-

                        Then our shadows are fully not us not yet –yet-  


--To CJ Martin


I mean to meant to track to tracks I open I lay mean to rail-hum to cheek I laid I means to


Track your I meant to hear you mean to bare your skin to gravel I meant to mean you de-


Mean I to you so vibrates I meant to blood scents I meant to track to hand to search with


Meant a track a cosmetic I’s crumbles to iron rail a cheek meant is tracks you dis-appear


No comments:

Post a Comment