SPOTLIGHT: The Cineaste by Jay Passer


the baby grand in the living room

under the coat of arms

and cedar roof beams

what’s to become of us?

sold for gold teeth, a cracked spyglass,

back alley blitzkrieg and

Argentinian cucarachas

what’s become of us?

you gotta be a prodigy to survive and even then, sticky fingers prevail

ROCKY (1976)

my dad had the score on 8-track

in the console of his ragtop Cadillac

as we tooled up to the City

to visit grandpa at the old-age home

which smelled of disease and disinfectant.

very much triumphantly

the unofficial soundtrack

for the Bicentennial yelled

“Yo Adrienne!”

which is also my mother’s name.

I never

signed up

for that

and never saw my grandpa again.

THE RING (2002)

That little girl

scared the shit out of me.

I gnash my teeth,

bite my tongue unconsciously;

sometimes I flagellate myself

to sleep.

But never-gone the haunting terror,

the killer pounding at the door

or that girl

long black wet hair plastered to her face

coming fast at you

defying the screen

like the blur of a hot knife


maybe he was innocent

until he was convicted.

then the requisite sodomy,

now we feel his shame.

still, white privilege reigns.

give me suicide,

Mozart unearthed,

a poster of Raquel Welch

on the cell wall,

a spat of solitary,

some bribery;

but above all,

white privilege.

betrayal, threats,

more solitary.

the trip to Zihautanejo measured

by a

length of rope,

the treasure buried beneath

the lightning-bolt tree;

unadulterated proof washed in

a river of shit,

storm and rain,

inevitable escape,

cinematic crescendo,

and in the end, what prevails?

white privilege.

under different circumstances

the ending of

Trading Places

is an obvious comparison.

there’s a point to it:

one man’s tragedy

is another man’s comedy

especially under the auspices of

white privilege.


she was skinny

olive skinned

and her face looked

like something carved

into an ancient


the kitchen manager said

stay away from that one

she’s trouble

why should I listen to you?

I know her, man. I used to date her best friend

well fuck that, I said

I gave her a nickname

the Dead Girl

then suddenly I was the bad guy

even after

she let me

into her basement


and into her holiest of…

how great was it

under the poster of Travis Bickle

mohawk and all

she wanted to

videotape us having sex

but it never got that far

she liked to pick fights

she owned a

’64 Ford Ranchero

in mint condition which she never let me drive

The Cineaste: (100 Movies): Passer, Jay, Buddha, Alien: 9798744698218: Books


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