July 20, 2015

Ryan Black

FRAGMENTS OF A SHOOTING SCRIPT

v.

sheets of the past can still be evoked and summoned, writes Deleuze. But the images that are drawn from these are now quite useless because they can no longer be inserted into a present which would extend them into action.

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66 EXT. WOODHAVEN – DAY

It’s mid-July, South Queens. A crowd gathers
on the east side of 78th Street, a film crew
works on the west. You stand on the corner
across from Neir’s Tavern, with FRANKIE
and JO, trying to spot MARTIN SCORSESE.

The heat’s an irritant, thick as a police officer.
To cool off you think of winter, of Christmas
Eve at Neir’s, your father’s red-faced smiles,
your mother’s booming voice. You think
of the cartoon reels and bowling lane,
the plastic mesh stockings stuffed
with JOLLY RANCHERS, sheets of sugar,
a HERSHEY BAR.
   And what you are watching
is artifice, or the staging of artifice. 
What you are watching is ROBERT DE NIRO
and RAY LIOTTA in custom suits,
walking down the block, again and again.

What you are watching is DE NIRO and LIOTTA,
preceded by GAFFERS unfurling CABLE,
a KEY GRIP carrying KLIEG LIGHTS,
WHITE SCREENS, a BOOM POLE
with a DEAD CAT, two GRIPS backpedaling,
pulling a DOLLY, and LARRY MCCONKEY
strapped to a STEDICAM.

A TECHNICIAN waves to someone
OFF CAMERA. No, he’s swatting at a fly.

Bored, you walk to Sal’s for a slice
and some garlic knots, but the CAMERA
stays behind. FRANKIE walks home, wakes
his father from a nap, and the CAMERA
doesn’t record this. So what then is the subject?
JO peering through the crowd, SCORSESE
blocked by a TRANSISTOR. Can the image
be its own making?
   In fourteen months,
you’ll sit in the Crossbay Theater,
with your oldest brother and three of his friends,
a weekend matinee, the theater full,
and the illusion of narrative, of shadow and light,
summer for winter, Queens for Brooklyn,
will seem as real to you as the murder
DE NIRO plots in six seconds of screen time,
walking 78th Street.

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67 OMIT

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015
Tribute to New Yorkers

__________

Ryan Black: “I grew up in Woodhaven, South Queens. The J train cuts through the neighborhood like a watercourse, Manhattan bound, and bends into Brooklyn beside Cypress Pool and a churchyard for the Union dead. And most of my work concerns Queens—its history, both public and personal, real and imagined—and what Joan Didion dismisses as ‘the wastes of Queens’—but the work isn’t corrective. I don’t debunk a mythology or challenge misapprehensions, but try to complicate inherited representations of the borough.”