Poetry

"Cultural Infusion and Motion Studies in Film," by Cornelius Tulloch

"Cultural Infusion and Motion Studies in Film," by Cornelius Tulloch

 

Altar to the fallen, feathered man

After Cornelius Tulloch’s “Cultural Infusion and Motion Studies in Film,”

 

There are some things

we know were never meant to be idle.

Like my father after retirement

with all his shirt collars limped,

yellowed and flaccid from too many rounds of golf.

When he learned what it meant to putter,

flapping around household technologies

like ‘stove-clock’ and ‘pool-pump’

that spoke to him as wide-eyed nonsense.

 

So it was with what remained of the fallen, feathered, man.

They had him mounted to the wall like some-great-wonder so

how we could say he was fallen I do not know.

 

Maybe because it was easy to imagine

the downfall of such a creature,

a million strips of celluloid

smacking the open air,

resistance giving way to the form of something

cocooned in the center - a vague figure

sculpted by the wind, a fall evidentiary

of nothing.

 

It was hard, in any case, to see him hung.

He was less impressive up close

where we could see his belt loops.

Where—we all wondered—was his chest?

 

I had heard of the creoles, the affranchis,

the indian-african-caribbean hybrids

in the swamps of the south but

no one had enough information to complete the thought.

 

Some had come just hoping to see the man plucked clean.

 

In the end it was, the way it was meant to be.

His stranded head stayed gilded and sheened

like a boy with a freshly loc-ed scalp.

 

I was consumed at times by the thought

of his glimmered fronds smooth between my fingers

like a worked-over piece of left-over tinfoil.

 

Though we could not unsee the late-afternoon light

shadowing him three heads,

we grew to forget him, grew to ask

no questions, grew prosaic.

 

Eventually, we failed to see him at all.