Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Inner city priest

It might as well be the inner sea,
all these people floating by in surges,
welcome calm after the last parishioner
slips away at low tide,
after the third mass, after he’s greeted
each one personally, remembering
chief worries, daughter
in trouble, husband wronged,
teenage boy not certain
if he’s in or out of religion, black-hatted
old woman who swam in during mass,
fluffy white-suited—some misguided
angel. The day is old. He walks back
alone to the huge rectory built for twelve,
now inhabited by one priest and the tidal wave of his God.
Film

Memory play

Charlie Kaufman may be both the most original screenwriting talent to emerge in the past ten years and the most exasperating. He inspires fervent loyalty among some film buffs because his ideas are playful and heady; they don’t start out or play out like anyone else’s, and at their best they can liberate actors’ most inventive impulses.
Poetry

To the gift giver

Since Grace has struck once more
with gifts beyond all need of giving,
we give ourselves to giving thanks.

In giving thanks, we find once more
ourselves inclined to giving;
by Grace giving, we give thanks.

Should Grace return once more
to bring us joy in giving,
all will know a round of thanks—

Once more giving to the Giver thanks.





Poetry

Reach hither thy finger

Maybe the wound still oozed, or maybe
it had healed over with scars like golden coins.
Thomas might have noticed, but I doubt it.

True, he placed his finger in the Lord’s hand,
and his hand in the Lord’s side,
and then, we presume, he held his heart

in the bleeding heart. I like to think that.
And I like to think that years later he was still
radiant with holy light. My unholy hunch, though,

is that within a week he learned to doubt
his eyes or his touch, maybe both, maybe
whether he’d really been in the room or not,

or if again the elders had sent him out
for bread or fish, anything to keep his mouth
out of earshot. He wasn’t the type to suffer

his loss in silence, and the more he wondered,
the more they doubted, too. That’s my guess.
And that may be why only John, the youngest

of the bunch, the mystic, the beloved, the mad,
recalled the very day, and cared enough
about belief to recall the shame of doubt.











Film

Common ground

The genteel French film Monsieur Ibrahim, directed by François Dupeyron, is based on the book Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, who also coscripted the movie. It is a tender story about a Turkish Muslim and a French Jew. The setting is 1960s Paris, in the gritty but colorful Rue Bleue district, once infamous for its assortment of streetwalkers.