Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poem: Success. What's up with America's definitions of same? Or the NYT's?

Apparently the New York Times considers the actress Laura Linney a late-comer to success. Sure, that's a journalistic hook, and gives us all a chance to cheer her on. And I suppose I have to pat down my defensiveness--aren't we all successes & co.

Though it's not as if Linney decided at age 40 to finally follow her dreams. And got lucky. She began as a stage actor. Her father is one of my favorite playwrights, Romulus Linney (who also wrote the charming The Jesus Tales--a Beckett-like conversation between Peter and Jesus).

She had an ongoing role in TV's Tales of the City. She was Richard Gere's girlfriend in Primal Fear. This is big stuff, pop culture big. And that's what seems to win the NYT's, in this case, writer Frank Bruni's, respect, although for him, and most reporters (those who report), only total saturation and undying public allegiance are enough.

I see this over and over. A actor who is not one of the top ten in terms of box office (a writer who hasn't won a National Book Award, and on and others) considered to be below par.

Huh? 99.9% of Americans are, by logical or some approximation of logic, failures?

To be a success in America you have to be Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington or their ten box-office-draw equals? Which brings us to:


It takes something to make a life work, whatever your deal.
Something like willingness to be late for the guided tour yet
find your way, you’ve heard the routine, to worship what you
worship and cosset that whispered Remember you’ve been loved,
not believed or cared about for many years, but lingering in
the waxy portals of your quivering ears tipped red. And
there’s no running away unless you believe concrete obscures
the bulk of you you’ve been skedaddling from a long time,
a thing to dissect, not the skedaddling from life’s sadness,
no, try repercussions of life’s sadness arising not from desire
but some childhood omission not overcome. Your little
cheesecloth gut feasts on indigestion and futility. Say what?
It’s not cowardly to seek open arms fleshy and embracing?

Sarah Sarai, pub. in Taiga
& included in The Future Is Happy, available at
Amazon and Small Press Distribution.

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