By Robert Polito
From Hollywood & God. . . this hour I inform you issues in confidence,I would possibly not inform everyone, yet I’ll inform you. The international is a street lower than the wall to the church,the international is a church, & the area is a road, & the area is a stone wall. Still, he sought after her the way in which the Cardinal sought after the Caravaggio,& while the ill-advised possessor of the portray resisted—one evening Papal Guards searched his house. Of path contraband got here to gentle, a few unlawful rifles,& whilst the ill-advised possessor of the portray went to prison—the Cardinal bought his Caravaggio. But I wasn’t a Cardinal, nephew to the Pope,and you—you weren't a Caravaggio. So I requested you to be in my movie. Hollywood & God is a virtuosic functionality, packed with crossings from side to side from cinematic chiaroscuro to one of those unsettling desperation and disturbing—even lurid—hallucination. From the Baltimore Catechism to the nice noir movies of the final century to today’s Elvis impersonators and Paris Hilton (an impersonator of a unique sort), Polito tracks the snares, abrasions, and hijinks of non-public identities in our society of the spectacle, a spot the place who we are saying we're, and who (we imagine) we expect we're fade out and in of realization, like sparkles of sunshine dancing tantalizingly at the silver display. blending lyric and essay, college and narrative, memoir and invention, Hollywood & God is an audacious ebook, as modern because it is historic, as sly and witty because it is devastatingly serious. Praise for Doubles “The poems during this assortment are as impressive for his or her language, which finds a sophisticated rhetorical intelligence, as for his or her dramas, which exist in an environment charged with violence. Polito handles his unstable fabric with a virtually ritual warning: an intuition for constitution and symmetry courses his descent into the underworld of adulterous betrayal and psychic exposure.”—New Yorker (20090315)
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One of his recurrent catchphrases involved the notion that there were three subjects a gentleman never talked about: politics, women, and religion. The Boston Catholics I grew up with during the 1950s and 1960s, the predominantly Irish Catholics who inhabited St. Mark’s parish, were not people of the Word or the Book. Stiff, greasy from kitchen fumes, our Bible sat on the bottom shelf in a rear hallway under cookbooks and the old electrical engineering and psychology texts my father studied at night school on the GI Bill.
For a young male reader, the catechism encouraged identification with Christ, portrayed in text and illustration as another white prince from our storybooks. It wasn’t hard to make an imaginative connection to this boy who, with his ambiguous relation to his earthly parents, challenged his mother in a Jerusalem temple, as each night after supper I retreated from homework down to the cellar where I kept my own books, toys, experiments, an ancient radio, and hid out until it was time for bed. Unlike Protestant or Jewish friends who might retain forever early inflections of the King James or the Hebrew Bible as a collective interior melody, the enduring tune from my religion lessons pitched insistent questions against pat answers: 1.
But as we were divvying up the photographs for private study later, some older boys bullied the pages away, and started shredding. They left us a pile of tiny breasts and vaginas, each organ neatly ripped from its body, along with the taunting explanation we could hide these more easily from our parents. • 35 • By the time I reached the eighth grade, Nana was dead, and my family trailed white flight from Dorchester to suburban South Shore. After the Second Vatican Council, Mass was in English, with freshly translated Epistles and Gospels—and a folk Mass for the young people every Sunday morning.