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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1115

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Film And Flesh

Clarence Major

I was watching a movie
about myself
when I suddenly saw
someone else,
something else--a nightmare figure,
maybe human, maybe not,
maybe the star of a dark carnival,
on the set, entirely realistic,
assume my identity, walking away
with me, explaining nothing
even as he spoke over his shoulder,
saying it's okay, I also play nurses,
matrons, schoolmistresses, doctors.
It's okay? Is it Saturday night and Sunday morning
all the time? Was it okay
with Ava Gardner, in Singapore?
I am a living thing, I say.
I am a creature of muscle and hair.
I have gastric glands.
I am not film, I am liquid and membrane.
I said what gives? and
he said you, the creature of muscle and hair.

Clarence Major is the author of several award-winning novels, including Such Was The Season, Painted Turtle: Woman With Guitar, Dirty Bird Blues and Reflex and Bone Structure, My Amputations, as well as stories collected in Fun & Games (1990), a new edition of poetry, Configurations: New and Selected Poems 1958-1998 (a finalist for the National Book Award in 1999), and Necessary Distance (2001). He has also edited a number of anthologies, including Calling The Wind: Twentieth Century African-American Short Stories (1993) and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry (1996). He has received numerous awards, among them a National Council on the Arts Award (1970), a Fulbright (1981-1983) and two Pushcart prizes (1976/1990). He teaches at the University of California, Davis.



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