These.Two.Men. I adore them for different reasons. First, Burt es mas guapo de todos hombres del mundo. I’ve always just known it. Look at his upper arms.
James Dickey was my favorite drunken writer. He’s passed and I have a new favorite drunken writer. Thirty years ago, it was him. James Dickey squinted into the starry-eyes of college students who had come to hear him read, he put on a construction hat with a whirling police light on top, and yelled “is that you, Jim? That you?” Though I still didn’t love Deliverance the book – I loved Deliverance the movie because of Burt (mas guapo) and those amazing lines.
I also loved James Dickey for his sheer rascality, his refusal to be some hot air behind a lectern, reading prose he can’t remember writing nor cares to. He was hilarious! Devilish. Drunk in mid-day. Beyond caring. Out over the edge. So real it was breathtaking. I started reading his poetry and had trouble connecting the whirling beanie with those works of raw art.
What I loved of James Dickey’s was The Firebombing. I loved the drunken poet’s honest heart that was hanging out in Hollywood and demanding, decades later, his imagination confront the damage from the bombs he dropped during the war. Go down, he told it, get off your lounge chair and go down on the ground and look at what your bombs have done.
Here’s a piece of The Firebombing:
The engines, the eight blades sighing
For the moment when the roofs will connect
Their flames, and make a town burning with all
Reflections of houses catch;
Fire shuttles from pond to pond
In every direction, till hundreds flash with one death.
With this in the dark of the mind,
Death will not be what it should;
Will not, even now, even when
My exhaled face in the mirror
Of bars, dilates in a cloud like Japan.
The death of children is ponds
Shutter-flashing; responding mirrors; it climbs
The terraces of hills
Smaller and smaller, a mote of red dust
At a hundred feet; at a hundred and one it goes out.
That is what should have got in
To my eye
And shown the insides of houses, the low tables
Catch fire from the floor mats,
Blaze up in gas around their heads
Like a dream of suddenly growing
Too intense for war. Ah, under one’s dark arms
Something strange-scented falls—when those on earth
Die, there is not even sound;
One is cool and enthralled in the cockpit,
Turned blue by the power of beauty,
In a pale treasure-hole of soft light
Deep in aesthetic contemplation,
Seeing the ponds catch fire
And cast it through ring after ring
Of land: O death in the middle
Of acres of inch-deep water!