Yesterday, I went to see “The Broken Tower,” James Franco’s new movie, now playing at IFC, with my friend Sarahana. It’s so easy to bash on James Franco that it’s boring. Therefore, I’m not going to say anything about it besides the following things:
1. James Franco is clearly more than one person, right?
2. His little brother, Dave Franco—who briefly appears in the movie, is so hot.
Like, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
3. If for some reason you go, and don’t enjoy the movie, rest assured that during the first hour, I had the best nap of my entire life.
4. I love Mexico City
5. The movie is about this poet, Hart Crane, who seemed like a kind of pathetic version of Ernest Hemingway meets F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Bon Iver meets The Little Prince.
Or at least that’s the way Franco played him. In any case, during the course of the film, which features long, laden close-ups of Franco walking around desolate cities, to the beat of a voiceover of himself reading Crane’s poems, I realized that the poet in question wrote one of my favorite lines of poetry of all time, which is:
“The City’s fiery parcels all undone…”
The line appeared in another poem, which is my favorite poem of the past five years. Sitting here at my desk, up since 6am writing, I can’t remember either the name of the poetess who appropriated it, or the poem in which it was used. I just wasted 15 minutes looking through my archive for it, AND NOW I AM EVEN MORE FUCKED WITH DEADLINES.
So, to end this before I get too caught up in my stupid fucking blog, and lose the afternoon, here’s the entirety of Hart’s poem, from which the line derives. It’s about the Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s very beautiful—although less so than the Franco brothers, who stir my heart, unwittingly.
“To Brooklyn Bridge:
By Hart Crane
How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high Over the chained bay waters Liberty-- Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes As apparitional as sails that cross Some page of figures to be filed away; --Till elevators drop us from our day . . . I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene Never disclosed, but hastened to again, Foretold to other eyes on the same screen; And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced As though the sun took step of thee, yet left Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,-- Implicitly thy freedom staying thee! Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets, Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning, A jest falls from the speechless caravan. Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks, A rip-tooth of the sky's acetylene; All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn . . . Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still. And obscure as that heaven of the Jews, Thy guerdon . . . Accolade thou dost bestow Of anonymity time cannot raise: Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show. O harp and altar, of the fury fused, (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet's pledge, Prayer of pariah, and the lover's cry,-- Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars, Beading thy path--condense eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms. Under thy shadow by the piers I waited; Only in darkness is thy shadow clear. The City's fiery parcels all undone, Already snow submerges an iron year . . . O Sleepless as the river under thee, Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod, Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God.