THAT OLD WOOLLY BLOODLETTING by Macgregor Card
In youth you tend to look rather frequently into a mirror,
not at all necessarily from vanity. You say to yourself,
“What an interesting face; I wonder what he’ll be up to?”
—J. M. Barrie, “Courage”
Here is how pussycat /
I will show you to carry /
your unframed Cortez /
the conqueror portrait /
out of your nursery and into the forest
you’ll kneel in to sleep
the cock of the walk
through falling of dead
you cannot yearn to ally
your friends with influence of law
Learn your Greek
You’re a hero to open your book to learn
Jupiter failed as a nation
Though made by the giants
Australian is English!
I’d fold the universe
shut with tears
choking my prize
four crosses of shirts and trousers
in my fist
and a poor fellow’s sword on my floor
Come from somewhere for a purpose
Go to somewhere for none
The angry burst into the room
The mad burst into the wall
as a victory poem
let it not be said
in the song that is so true
no ship moves up the one star night
without a plan to execute
in perpetuity, no no no no no no no
No, my boy, no no no no no no no no no no no
No no no, my boy, no no no no no no no no no no no
The ship is a natural ship
as the wand is a natural wand
as the Englishman is hearing the frogs
uplifted as the queerest antique stag
Don’t play with banker’s straw, my boy
but talk the penny down
from its smoldering cloud
into your cup
you are that human shape
of public statuary
not to be
that town crier
in a meat locker
(armies travel on their stomachs)
is a finite distance from your bed
Carry your portrait
close to the vest
leave your liqueur
set down by the fire
pick up the receiver
remember your Greek
and strum your important guitar.
You are doing what I tell you to do.
What more do you want us to do.
We will eat and then we will guard.
I want you to obey me willfully.
I do this to make us work.
The giants made me for this purpose.
We will guard and then we will sleep.
That is the action.
There’ll be enough trouble.
I’m a hero to open your book.
We will work on the same shift.
i. I'm on a train headed towards New England with Jeff in my hands. Jeff is on the cover of Esquire in Elvis pose with mic. He's staring at me with those, those tough yet warm eyes. I'm thinking Robert Mitchum with a warm smile. Whenever I start to shake, lose it, I go back to Jeff.
II. Jeff knows how to laugh, smirk. I don't know Jeff, but I'd like to think, at the very least, that Jeff is my safe place. Watching his interviews one immediately becomes cognizant of the fact that he's a thoughtful man, a surgeon with a tough facade, a soft interior. Do I know Jeff? No, I don't know Jeff, but I'm pretty sure he's confident with his masculinity. Jeff's maculinity ain't about machismo, no. Rather, his masculinity is all about assuredness and subtlety coupled with some frenetic energy. Jeff is a curious man: Actor, painter, sculptor, musician, photographer, zen master, et al. Jeff is sure; his laugh says it all, man.
III. I remember Jeff in Against All Odds. Remember Jeff in Against All Odds? Rachel Ward, James Woods? That bastard grabbed hold of me back in 1984. Jeff knew how to love, how to make love. Yeah, he wasn't fucking Rachel Ward, he was loving her Take heed, boys.Jeff transcends sex. Do I know Jeff? No, but his laugh keeps me afloat.
iv. Remember Jeff in Tron (1982) and Starman (1984)? Yeah, he is good. A few weeks ago, I was watching a short documentary on Jeff on American Masters (Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides, PBS) in which Karen Allen says the following in regards to Jeff's preparation for his role in Starman: "He actually watched birds and babies, he told me." He probably did, and that's why we believe him. Tron? I remember thinking, I'm Kevin Flynn, I am Clu, I am the user. Yes, I was Jeff for a few hours of the day, everyday. Imagine that, an 11-year-old Jeff.
v. I could mention "The Dude," but I won't. Everything that needs to be said about The Big Lebowski has been said by better men than I, so we'll leave that one alone. Remember Jeff in Crazy Heart? I do, but what I really remember about that role is the speech it inspired him to make on that dais upon receiving his Oscar for Best Actor. He didn't start by kowtowing to the agents, the press, no. Instead, he held that statue up to the sky and thanked mom and dad. He thanked them for the ride, the experience, and isn't that what it's all about? Whether you're an actor, painter, poet, novelist, accountant, farmer, it's about family. I think so, and apparently so does Jeff.
vi. Does this small case study smell of stalker? Idolatry? Most likely, but I'm just going to continue to embrace Jeff until the day I stop shaking, and who knows when that will be.
Macregor Card is the author of Duties of an English Foreign Secretary published by Fence Books, 2009. Mr. Card is a wonderful man and brilliant poet/translator/editor who happens to know his Chaka Khan. Many thanks to Macgregor for allowing me to use "That Old Woolly Bloodletting".
Songs of the day: "Now You're Dead" Fear
The Krays "Invincible"