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2009-01-02

Heath Ledger
B. 4.4.1979 Perth / D. 1.22.2008 Manhattan
Drug Overdose

Another night of not watching The Dark Knight on pay cable; night two, New Year’s Day. I got through, only barely. I had a hard brush with temptation when my mind reminded me that New Year’s Day 2000 or 2001 I’d spent reading Glamorama with great joy, and I wondered maybe it would be a good idea to mark the day that way again by consuming this year’s number one in blasted futuristic body parts and homophobia (artistic group). But I fought through. The question remains: Do my three hours matter less than when I didn’t give them to this film before? I don’t think so. Am I freer now? I see no evidence of it. Here is trivia: The English Patient, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Gandhi and Goodfellas. I have not seen any of them. Here I’d almost add an exclamation point: I don’t want to.

Heath Ledger, unusually, your death made me daydream about turning back the clock so I could intervene to stop it. I wished myself onto a sidewalk in Soho where I would warn you—This week take care! This is true: I wished to play your street Cassandra; but heeded, heeded. And in a day or two I found I’d wished myself into a netherworld in which you were not dead. You’d just crossed Spring and Broadway. Inside myself I’d built a comfortable retreat from truth, which wasn’t the unusual part; the reason was
and though it wasn’t my first time, there was no one else I mourned this way last year.
What does it say about me, Heath Ledger, that you were the only one I wanted back? But enough about me—what does it say about you? When I wasn’t even a big fan? We must have been legion, your escorts lamenting, if I was there, tearful in the eyes of heaven even as we smiled and saved you to ourselves, pretending that you hadn’t fallen. What were you—some kind of prince? You might have been. It’s hard to say exactly what we’d seen, except that you were genuine or something in you was
and that was what we wanted back.
You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t, Heath Ledger) at the size of the grapevine that grows from the Los Angeles coroner’s office. In the distance of my reaches even I received a drop of news; it chilled me. It awakened me to hear how hard it would have been to save you. No longer would I smile-wreathed drift beside your bier, forgetting you were gone. Your broken body shrank, as if your soul had been unusually dense and weighty—as it would be still if soul it was
and that it was the world could plainly see.
Forgive me, Heath Ledger, if I trespass against you to picture your corpse instead of paying for The Dark Knight on cable. You dear man, murder isn’t what I want to see you do—unless you’re playing Hamlet. Are you? That I’d pay to see; I’ll hope you get to talk it over with the playwright
and I will save your crazy for a rainy day.

Consolation Site: out of it

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