Poppies (Elegy for Philip Seymour Hoffman)

I just thought of you last week in Synechdoche
Pudgy master of your craft
As a tender thread of mortality
Hung in the background of rooms that laughed
And held your sagacious girth, flood and ebb
At to-dos of the cause celeb
Where you disappeared like words.
Your portico was too narrow
So you hid from view what some might dread
Or masked it as you paced your stages bled,
Your grim swagger desperate.
Was it that you thought none’d understand?
Cut off, but all the same cut in?
Who would break your heart upon a wheel
Of doubt where they might feel
Your imprimatur of inner pain let out,
Our screens never wizened without?
But, a season of disgrace unseen upon you
Steered you well down esteem’s blowsy ponds.
On uncanny screens we watched you grow,
Maturing gradual into your most natural role,
But Ixion’s wheel tired you
And Midas’ gold laid his vigor low.
And now to write no part for you,
No further frame scene and shown,
Sorrows the muses and I –
A part so languorously broken
Into naked emotion could un-vex the
Jaded eye.
And you lived among the stone hearts
And smiles where your blistered kingdom
Bled –
Yet live on thus, the many parts have defined
Your Thespian bed.
Your soul’s bellowing cherub has now
Flown to Purgatorio or Parnassus,
Or forever to haunt cinema’s vaulted lapse
Monsieur, oh golden character at long last
Now filled with the ambrosia
You in private doses sought, sing!
Sing to Valhalla, Give me all your dreams!

I just thought of you last week,
And mentioned you aloud,
And here, self-freed, on day of “bowl game”
And mid-season shadow seen,
You take your final curtain call
And your sudden leave.
Poppies of painless rest now must
Molder and weep,
Where our stages have been emptied
Of your keep;
Poppies that once succored you
Bow their heads in grim review
Of your vestige divorced from worlds undue.
Poppies that in sun-drenched fields
Grew high
Whose sad seeds stirred, and by your
Hidden heart imbibed,
Settle now with you in the guiltless tomb
Of filmic light.

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