image borrowed from my own album
“An Actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must
be willing to accept all the experience life has to offer.
In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at
his feet.”--James Dean
We went to the movies a lot,
didn’t get a TV until 1953,
the size of a dishwasher
with a 12” round screen,
watching the world in B&W.
From day one, we three kids
were trooped off by our young parents
to the movies, lots of Saturday matinees--
double bills, plus cartoons and newsreels;
or the three of us in pajamas
in the back of a station wagon
at the Drive-Ins, watching
Westerns, Musicals, & Comedies
between the bobbing heads of Mom & Dad,
eating food my mother had cooked at home,
having a “movie picnic”,
chicken, spaghetti, & pot roast on paper plates,
followed by stale chips & homemade cookies--
no trips for us to the expensive snack bar.
At 12, I was riding a city bus downtown by myself,
and for fifty cents going to the Embassy Theater,
on Third Avenue, 3 movies plus trailers & cartoons.
One memorable Saturday I watched
Clark Gable in BOOM TOWN,
Rudolph Valentino in SON OF THE SHIEK,
& Audie Murphy in THE KID FROM TEXAS--
rapidly developing into a dyed-in-celluloid
movie buff prior to puberty.
No wonder I took Drama classes
in High School, and won “Best Actor” awards;
moving next into Community Theater
working with middle-aged adults who
still felt the call to perform, still had unfulfilled
dreams of careers never pursued,
before I became a college All Star,
jumping into Brecht & Shakespeare
with maximum verve, naivete, & swagger,
leading to hard core Acting training
that became a truncated professional career,
seeming to be always moving forward;
transplanted to Los Angeles,
heart ablaze with expected successes
that a decade later still eluded me.
But life’s many thoroughfares have several
confusing clover leafs & five-way intersections--
one day in May I took an appealing off-ramp,
traveling toward Education, working with the blind,
and before I realized it, I had set my former
egocentric childish pursuits aside,
as I discovered the genuine adult joy
of helping others, of having legitimate impact
in their lives, of making a difference.
I only rarely look back.
Posted over on dVerse Poets
Would you like to hear the author, despite his cold, read this poem to you?