Summer 2006




Visual Arts
Challenge Prompt
Author Bios

cinema verite
James C. Henderson

Tonight I sit at the kitchen table
uncertain if I’m the director of my life or just a bit player.
Sometimes I feel the great auteur, Orson Welles,
but tonight, I’m feeling more like the stand-in, a body
for the cinematographer to bounce his light off.

The sink is piled high with dirty dishes;
the refrigerator is festooned with photographs of two teenage girls;
the seventh-grader’s map of Central America is on the table:
Mexico colored green, Guatemala pink, El Salvador yellow.
People get paid big bucks to make movie sets look like real homes.

A pink angora sweater lies in the middle of the floor.
Maybe that’s a tad over the top.
Dare I pick it up, fold it, and lay it outside the owner’s dressing room door?
“I wanted it there. You don’t understand me.
I’m going to live with my mother.”

Then, I say, “Come back here. I have a contract,
a court order—binding and inescapable.”
Maybe I’ll leave the fuzzy pink mass on the floor,
save it for tomorrow as motivation in the scene where
she’s supposed to care that she’s failing Math.

I don’t think I’ll ever get rich from this life I’ve created.
In fact, I’ve given up my salary to make this project a hit.
But will it be? Swimming in the fish bowl,
the Beta looks hopeful, dressed fancy red in her flowing Oscar gown.
Or is it a he?—doesn’t matter.

Babe, this is Hollywood, where dreams come true.

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