The Man with the Kindest Face
The rear-view glimpse is fleeting
as he lets you into the lane.
He might not have a face at all
or change it like a set of masks—
behind a newspaper in the waiting room,
sliding over to make room on the bus.
You resolve next time to look at him,
risk letting him look back at you.
You taste the salt in your throat,
and you hear him ask, What’s wrong?
You smile at him and say, Nothing.
And you mean it. Nothing at all.
The man with the kindest face has change for a twenty
He doesn’t look rich. Yet his pockets overflow with coins. “How much do you need?” he asks, and you tell him. You want to tell him more—-that you need to believe, understand, be heard. He extends his closed hand like a magician. You expect nothing. You expect a dove to fly out from his sleeve. You open your hand, beneath his, and wait.
The poem is a splice of the first poem that opens my new collection Cyclone and one of the many poems featuring the same figure that recurs throughout the collection. The film is footage from the Prelinger Archives, which I projected cylindrically into a 3D rendering environment (Blender), rotating the camera to give a continuous scroll effect. I then sliced and flipped this, giving the Rorschach-test-like effect of imagery spilling out from the midline. We then projected this footage onto the face of our friend and actor Barney Wells with a sheet behind him and filmed it. Valerie once again composed and performed the music, and from there it all came together quite quickly in the editing process.