Twenty Lines for Orson Welles
There, down the serpentine trail
favored by prodigies and prodigals,
but for the grace of God,
race all other restless geniuses
in front of their ravenous demons.
We look at the wizened faces
of Fonda, and Newman, and Brando,
and we still see the young men they were:
we look at your black-and –white smirk,
and we mark the beginning of your descent
into the wheezing huckster, the self-parody,
the hungry after-dinner speaker:
were you trying to pay the rent,
or did you decide it was easier
to abide in the doublet of Falstaff?
If you hadn’t been so unhappy
it wouldn’t have made any difference:
your unruly San Simeon would vanish
the moment we heard you were dead –
and all we’d remember was ’Rosebud’.