“Let Down Your Hair”

“Let Down Your Hair”

 

 

 

Some of these nights I’ll let down my hair.

I’ll open my heart, linking lines to those I know

-I’ll type laughs with keys or ask with my voice,

And work on those ‘us’s that need ties to grow.

 

 

 

I’ll let out my musings; I’ll send out my rope,

Work to weave us together through this space we’re apart.

If my strands are strong enough to keep ‘us’ a choice,

I’ll bend to braid us up, taut and tight with my hope.

 

 

 

Sometimes my reach now fails, and all my mind can do

Is strive to pull through life’s demands on paper, work, and desks.

The heavy weight drags my head down, my words aren’t for my heart.

I only hear those deads and lines, see only the downward view.

 

 

 

Sometimes I let myself to the ground,

I feel honest, and spoken, and true.

My messages shine with the love that they bear,

That I hang on my missives to you.

 

 

 

I stand sometimes, alone out here-my strands hang heavy on my head.

Dragging and pulling, building worry and ache,

My mind fears loneliness in the empty air,

And the tension of not getting an answer then turns my words into lead.

 

 

 

Some of these nights, I’ll let down my hair.

Some of these twists will help my heart fare.

Some of these strands will hurt as they lower

During those times when all missives come slower.

Some of these ropes will tighten a noose

For times when life shakes every plan loose.

 

 
But my world is bigger when you are there.

So, some of these nights…

I’ll let down my hair.

La Belle or Le Clueless?

During my visit this past week I watched two movies.  The first was a rewatch of Clueless.  The second was new to me, the cult classic La Belle et Le Bete (Jean Cocteau’s French film of Beauty and the Beast).  Unexpectedly, I discovered that these two films-American and French, modern and black-and-white-have much in common!

List of Similarities between Clueless and La Belle et Le Bete (some spoilers may apply):

1) Both protagonists have lost their mothers.

2) Neither Cher nor Belle can bear to leave their fathers.

3) Smoke causes a great deal of shame in both stories, by marking Travis as running in inferior circles and humiliating the beast for his beastly eating habits.

4) Makeovers are absolutely essential! (Tai, Cher’s soul, Belle’s clothing transformation, the Beast’s change…)

5) Both heroines put up with a man who’s constantly in their home and with their family, even though there’s no real family tie. (WHY is Avenant always there???  He doesn’t need to marry Belle to enjoy any money her father gets, he’ll be there enjoying whatever they’ve got anyhow.)

6) The role of lighting plays a huge part in dealing with the opposite sex. (Cher’s lighting plan, arms with torches…)

7) Both girls take it upon themselves to rehabilitate a social pariah. (Cher with Tai and Belle with the Beast, of course.)

8) Neither Cher nor Belle has any difficulty getting blunt and contemptuous with suitors. (“Clean yourself up!” “As if!”-Now, imagine those being used interchangeably with Cher ordering the greasy high school boys to ‘clean up, already!’ and Belle answering the Beast with ‘As if!’)

9) Neither are at all responsible when it comes to the practical things in life. (Cher’s driving, Belle’s failure to keep track of the key or to return on time.)

10) When they feel guilty, they both play sick. (Cher saying she’s physically unwell because her masseuse said she had a lot of tension after the encounter with Elton.  Belle lying in bed claiming illness from worry over her father while wearing a freaking crown-and-veil combo!)

The more I think about it the more this version of Beauty and the Beast seems like Emma-where the person you end up with is that one who’s been around, getting under your skin for ages.  Only the more modern tale made the male’s righteousness idealistic instead of arrogant or creepy.  (Can we talk about how absurd it is to hug someone to your chest by pulling an arrow across them?  I know I can’t, I can only stare agog.  Avenant is totally the Elton of the fairy tale universe.)  The other major difference is, of course, the posing.  The French classic takes posing literally and extremely seriously.  The Austen modernization interprets it more loosely as projecting a certain lifestyle over yourself.  So much else seems the same-a magic mirror would probably work exactly the same as the phone connection between Cher and Dionne.  Amber dressing in the same clothes as Cher effects her just the way Belle’s sister reacted to seeing herself reflected as a monkey.  Cher’s computerized clothing system and moving closet is akin to being dressed by invisible hands-though thankfully Cher has nothing as creepy as Belle’s moving blankets.  Belle’s feeling of power that the beast drinks from her hands, in spite of how clearly the event pales compared to his wild-animal instincts, is akin to Cher’s entitlement when she calls Josh to rescue her after being abandoned by Elton.  She assumes he will come when she calls, even though he has no real motivation.  Josh’s interest in the law and therefore Cher’s circle due to his own parents’ disinterest in him could arguably be akin to the Beast getting pushed into magic due to his parents’ angering of the spirits.  Now, if only I can figure out how this connection can explain the flying at the end of La Belle and Le Bete…

Belle is “a strange girl.”  On the other hand, Emma/Cher actually end up with their brother-types, instead of just getting stuck with someone in their body (though I’m sure the symbolism there means more in its lesson to girls about who the best man to end up with is).  In any event, it all ends with a big kiss frightfully soon after the switch from brother-type to suitor is made.    In really frilly clothes.  Because the girl will “get used to” the man telling her how to think and act, whether he’s a beast, prince, or college kid.  Because clearly, the man must know what is best for the woman.  Perhaps because he has the power of movement: Josh can drive.  The beast had all sorts of transportation devices.  That must be why he can fly at the end!  To show that in spite of losing his magical objects, he still has the power to move, to make his way in the world.  That is why he’s still acceptable-even if he’s a bit too familiar, Belle won’t be stuck in the same place again.  (Avenant offering to take Belle away didn’t work because he had no magic/power to back it up.  The man had no driver’s license!)

Well…smoke my statues’ faces and send myself flowers and chocolates: I know why the ex-beast can fly!  Now…why did the father seem more upset about riding through fog than the fact that he just lost his entire fortune?

Mermaids, messages, and musings on “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

After seeing it again recently, I have been considering the mermaids in Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides.  I have come up with two points.

1) This franchise continues to be obsessed with kisses.  I noted in the third movie how everyone who kissed Keira Knightley without her permission was pretty much about to die.  If she kissed them they survived.  Stranger Tides seems to have a similar thing going on with the mermaid host.  The sailors lure them by singing about abandoning everything for love.  When the first mermaid arrives she sings some of it back and asks a sailor if he’ll be her “jolly sailor bold.”  However, then the sailor goes on a rant about how he’ll have a kiss from a real, goddamn mermaid!  Clearly, in his head he wants his kiss to be something of his to possess, to control, and does not care for the consent or thoughts of the mermaid.  Therefore, when his kiss occurs it is immediately taken out of his control, drawing his blood and costing him his life.  This seems to be what the mermaids expect-to be taken as objects of lust, in which case they turn the tables (and the boats) on the sailor swains.  You do not kiss a woman without her consent in these films if you want to live.  Philip, of course, has no thoughts of gaining pleasures of the flesh from the encounter.  Hence, a mermaid finds his life worth saving.

2) Philip is actually a foil for Angelica.  Syrena is one for Blackbeard.  Angelica is constantly trying to control her father’s actions in an attempt to save his soul.  Even though she can’t materially change him, Angelica continues to try and turn Blackbeard into a different man through artificial means, hoping that it will take and make him the ‘safe’ father she wants.  Likewise, Philip is constantly taking control of Syrena when she’s on land, in order to turn her into simply what he wants her to be.  Physically, he literally takes charge of her body.  He pronounces judgement over her multiple times-first as a deadly mermaid who attacked him, then as a pure mermaid, and lastly as “surely one of God’s own creations.”   All of this is without the mermaid’s permission.  Because if he wants to love her, then of course she “must be” what he thinks he should love.  She must be ‘safe.’   He even gives her the name “Syrena”, for crying out loud.  Both Syrena and Blackbeard go along with their self-appointed helpers for reasons never fully plumbed.  On the surface, both are getting something out of it.  Blackbeard has someone to get him to the Fountain of Youth and Syrena has an ally among her captors.

At about the same time in the story, the two relationships gain complications in different ways.  Angelica realizes her father might not hold her as dear to his heart as she’d like.  One could argue that since she holds Blackbeard’s soul more dear to her than Blackbeard actually is, he is justified.  On the other hand, Philip realizes there is real affection in his relationship with Syrena.  Since Philip’s been fairly assuming with her, this just shows Syrena’s inner beauty and tolerance.  Both these instances show the real personality of the heretofore subordinate character coming out.  Blackbeard’s lack of heart directly mirrors Syrena’s emotional strength.  Both Angelica and Philip find themselves taken aback, less sure of where they stand in their relationships.

These couples’ endings also reflect one another.  Both Syrena and Blackbeard rise to complete power in these partnerships at the end of the movie.  However, while Blackbeard uses that power to try and manipulate Angelica into giving him what he wants, pretending it’s the way to get what she wants for him, Syrena offers Philip ‘salvation.’  Angelica allows herself to be tricked-by Blackbeard and Sparrow, and winds up alone and unhappy.  Philip, on the other hand, acknowledges that Syrena is now the one with true power, instead of lying to himself the way Angelica does.  Because he is willing to give in to that power and let Syrena take the lead in their partnership, he is awarded with a kiss…and a new world.  Given the Pirates of the Caribbean‘s rules of kissing, I believe that Philip lives.  After all, she kisses him.

 

If you try to force your perceptions of someone onto them, you will wind up at the mercy of their world.  Angelica can’t admit this and had a near miss.  She will need therapy about her family.  If you are willing to change your perceptions, to truly accept that other person, however…what mysteries might you uncover?  Philip makes the change.  As the ultimate message of On Stranger Tides, I like it.  After all, you cannot simply love yourself-even if you do get the opportunity to kiss someone dressed just like you.  But can you truly tolerate someone else’s differences?  Or will you simply refuse to see them?  The real Stranger Tides here are the personalities of people we want to love.  You have to be willing to sail them.