We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Crazy Heart

The title of Scott Cooper’s debut film, Crazy Heart, comes from a song by the movie’s protagonist, a country singer named Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges). At 57, Bad is an alcoholic and is shut down artistically, but he’s still working the road and hanging on. The song alludes to picking up his crazy heart and giving it one more try.


She’s on life support. Racing to get there,
his Jaguar fishtails on the frozen highway.
She was a beauty and elusive as the future,
his mother, usually traveling on his birthday.

He felt he couldn’t fly, had to touch dirt
every inch of the way. To fly would be
to unpeel too fast the onion of his hurt.

She’d call. He wouldn’t answer. He was busy.

Now it’s ice he notices, gray molars
locking to dark bluffs, the way ice locks his heart
in steely winter logic. Then sun shimmers
on ice, the lock breaks, and love flows. Relief,
oh melting! as he steers toward his mother.

The syllogism that still might end in grief.


Up in the Air

"We are not swans,” declares Ryan Bing ham (played by George Clooney), summing up human nature to a crowded conference room. “We’re sharks.”

The Lovely Bones

Back in 1994, when Peter Jackson was a relatively unknown director, he made the small but brilliant Heavenly Creatures, a tale about an “unhealthy” friendship between two teenage girls in 1950s New Zealand that led to bloody matricide. It remains my favorite film by this extremely talented filmmaker.

De-icing the plane

A small black truck huddles
behind one wing, buried in a shroud

of smoke. Exhaust fumes? fire?
No. A cloud of detergent

billows over the plane. When every suitcase
is stowed, every seat belt buckled,

and the runways plowed, the black truck
sidles up again, the airport’s winter “familiar.”

The silver bird, with floury faces ovalled
on its side, slithers into a blizzard, hugely blind.

No mincing steps, no Lot’s wife here.
One hesitation could mean death

ablaze on a snowy superhighway. Everyone
prays, “Up, up,” to the engine’s crescendo,

like sparrows sudsed in a birdbath
just before flight.