The final scene in Tim Burton’s ‘Big Fish’

The final scene in Tim Burton’s ‘Big Fish’ when Albert Finney’s ailing father figure is being carried into the river by his son, surrounded by all the fantastical people he had fashioned who live in his memories, a character who lived a life of myth, a vision of what he wanted it to be when he was a younger man (played with innocent wit by Ewan MacGregor)… being carried into the river to finally become the big fish that he always wanted to be and knew in his heart he was…. Well, that scene really packs a punch.

Love letter


Don’t expect me to be sane anymore.

Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous […] I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old.

Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking.

Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger.

I read the paper about suicides and murders and I understand it all thoroughly. I feel murderous, suicidal. I feel somehow that it is a disgrace to do nothing, to just bide one’s time, to take it philosophically, to be sensible. Where has gone the time when men fought, killed, died for a glove, a glance, etc? (A victrola is playing that terrible aria from Madama Butterfly—”Some day he’ll come!”)

I still hear you singing in the kitchen—a sort of inharmonic, monotonous Cuban wail. I know you’re happy in the kitchen and the meal you’re cooking is the best meal we ever ate together. I know you would scald yourself and not complain. I feel the greatest peace and joy sitting in the dining room listening to you rustling about, your dress like the goddess Indra studded with a thousand eyes.

Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that’s in me now.

Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen?

Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin? I study you so much to discover the possible flaws, the weak points, the danger zones. I don’t find them—not any. That means I am in love, blind, blind. To be blind forever! (Now they’re singing “Heaven and Ocean” from La Gioconda.)…

While it thunders and lightnings I lie on the bed and go through wild dreams. We’re in Seville and then in Fez and then in Capri and then in Havana. We’re journeying constantly, but there is always a machine and books, and your body is always close to me and the look in your eyes never changes. People are saying we will be miserable, we will regret, but we are happy, we are laughing always, we are singing. We are talking Spanish and French and Arabic and Turkish. We are admitted everywhere and they strew our path with flowers.

I say this is a wild dream—but it is this dream I want to realize. Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you assert yourself the more you want me, need me. Your voice getting hoarser, deeper, your eyes blacker, your blood thicker, your body fuller. A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity. More cruel now than before—consciously, wilfully cruel. The insatiable delight of experience.


August 14, 1932

Minute’s of silence pt. 2


EMMANUEL ORTIZ, 11 Sep 2002.


        Before I start this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me

        In a moment of silence

        In honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the

        Pentagon last September 11th.

        I would also like to ask you

        To offer up a moment of silence

        For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned,

        disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,

        For the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.


        And if I could just add one more thing…

        A full day of silence

        For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the

        hands of U.S.-backed Israeli

        forces over decades of occupation.

        Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people,

        mostly children, who have died of

        malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S.

        embargo against the country.


        Before I begin this poem,

        Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,

        Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.

        Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,

        Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of

        concrete, steel, earth and skin

        And the survivors went on as if alive.

        A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam – a people,

        not a war – for those who

        know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their

        relatives’ bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

        A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of

        a secret war … ssssshhhhh….

        Say nothing … we don’t want them to learn that they are dead.

        Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,

        Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have

        piled up and slipped off our tongues.


        Before I begin this poem.

        An hour of silence for El Salvador …

        An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua …

        Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos …

        None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.

        45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas

        25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found

        their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could

        poke into the sky.

        There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.

        And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of

        sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west…


        100 years of silence…

        For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half

        of right here,

        Whose land and lives were stolen,

        In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand


        Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.

        Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the

        refrigerator of our consciousness …


        So you want a moment of silence?

        And we are all left speechless

        Our tongues snatched from our mouths

        Our eyes stapled shut

        A moment of silence

        And the poets have all been laid to rest

        The drums disintegrating into dust.


        Before I begin this poem,

        You want a moment of silence

        You mourn now as if the world will never be the same

        And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be. Not like it always has



        Because this is not a 9/11 poem.

        This is a 9/10 poem,

        It is a 9/9 poem,

        A 9/8 poem,

        A 9/7 poem

        This is a 1492 poem.


        This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.

        And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:

        This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.

        This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa,


        This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison,

        New York, 1971.

        This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

        This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes

        This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told

        The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks

        The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and

        Newsweek ignored.

        This is a poem for interrupting this program.


        And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?

        We could give you lifetimes of empty:

        The unmarked graves

        The lost languages

        The uprooted trees and histories

        The dead stares on the faces of nameless children

        Before I start this poem we could be silent forever

        Or just long enough to hunger,

        For the dust to bury us

        And you would still ask us

        For more of our silence.


        If you want a moment of silence

        Then stop the oil pumps

        Turn off the engines and the televisions

        Sink the cruise ships

        Crash the stock markets

        Unplug the marquee lights,

        Delete the instant messages,

        Derail the trains, the light rail transit.


        If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window

        of Taco Bell,

        And pay the workers for wages lost.

        Tear down the liquor stores,

        The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the

        Penthouses and the Playboys.


        If you want a moment of silence,

        Then take it

        On Super Bowl Sunday,

        The Fourth of July

        During Dayton’s 13 hour sale

        Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful

        people have gathered.


        You want a moment of silence

        Then take it NOW,

        Before this poem begins.

        Here, in the echo of my voice,

        In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,

        In the space between bodies in embrace,

        Here is your silence.

        Take it.

        But take it all…Don’t cut in line.

        Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime. But we,

        Tonight we will keep right on singing…For our dead.

Comedy wordplay

One of my favourite scenes from the shamefully cancelled Naked Gun series in the 1980s

“When I first heard the shot. As I turned Jim fell”

“He’s the teller Frank”

“Jim Fells the teller?”

“No Jim Johnson.”

“Who’s Jim Fell?”

“He’s the auditor frank”

“He had the flu so Jim filled in.”

“Phil who?”

“Phil Dinn, he’s the night watchman Frank…”


In the same vein as the infamous

And my favourite Abbott and Costello sketch