Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ah -- the actor's life

I had lunch with Ben today. He picked me up at my office parking lot, and he drove us to one of our favorite restaurants, Havana Mania. The food is Cuban, and it’s delicious. I always get the same thing – the chicken salad. Though today it was different – tomatoes and less onions – the taste was wonderful.

Ben looks good. He was proud of the haircut he got yesterday at Super Cuts for only $17. He’s confident about the prospect of a couple of acting projects coming to fruition. So he is all smiles. We don’t talk about anything too personal – mostly about family and work and movies and the superficiality of Facebook (after all, not everything is poetry), and our mutual Facebook friends, but it’s all good. He’s a grownup now, and he needs his privacy. I respect that. If I pried too much I’m sure it would drive him away.

I just want success for him so badly it almost hurts. Like the poem I wrote a few years ago after looking at his new headshots on my computer – one shot better than the other. After all, he’s a great subject for a photographer. His face will make the photographer look good rather than vice versa.

Here’s the poem:

Twelve Hundred Head Shots

I scroll through them
one by one.
Each a full-face shot
in black and white.
His clothes change – tee-shirts,
dress shirt, tie and suit jacket,
a sweater slung over his shoulders,
a shirt with open collar and loose hanging tie.
But the poses repeat again and again.

First his face is serious, eyes slightly squinting,
looking dark and foreboding,
His hair is slicked back
not a one out of place.
This guy means business or he’s got a gun.
Next he shows a little half smile,
long dimples on the sides of his mouth
but no teeth.
Full, dark brows frame deep, friendly eyes
that reflect the light of day.
Finally he smiles wide
showing teeth, dimples,
and little crow’s feet
around the eyes. His jaw is long,
square, honest.
This is a guy
you can trust to be your friend
for life.

When this young son of mine
played tournament tennis as a boy
I sat on the sidelines at every match
with all my fingers crossed and my legs crossed
and my arm crossed
as if my body language and my wishing
could win him the point.

Now I click through the head shots
and wonder which one, which look, which outfit
will get him a part on a TV series
as a smart aleck lawyer or sinister gangster
or a part in a movie as the leading man’s sidekick
or better yet, the role perfect for the Tyrone Power,
Laurence Harvey,or Montgomery Clift type
that his new manager says he is –
the role that will find us both sitting together
at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
on Academy Awards night.
He in his Hugo Boss tux,
I in my long Armani gown
waiting, holding hands,
squeezing them together until they hurt,
until his name is called
and he goes up on stage to accept his prize.

So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed now that his projects will be successful, and he can afford a haircut in a real salon – maybe where other stars get their hair done.

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