I’ve been re-reading Barbara Guest’s collection of cinema inspired prose pieces, The Confetti Trees. It’s a work I’ve revisited a number of times, though not recently, and I had forgotten just how good these prose poems are – full of invention, quirkiness and humor. Five sections from the book appeared in Jacket 10. Here’s one of them:
He believed if the woman on the right moved over to the left he could place her into the frame where a meadow lay beyond her. But it did not work out that way. The moon came up too early. The glow the moon cast lit up the shadow behind the wheelbarrow. No one could advance in the shattering moonlight. The film begins to take the shape of a milk bottle with the heavy cream on top.
He blamed everything on the use of color. The heavy woman who played the woodcutter’s wife wanted to lay some emeralds on her bosom. They are the color of trees, she says. The skin of the leading actor was the color of ferns which do not blend with the pastel process that turns the clouds to pastel. The girl’s knee is supposed to be grey when she bends it, not the color of blood. The voice coming from the elderberries is colorless, indicating melancholy. He remembers the alluring depths in film without color when tears were dark as drops falling from a raven’s mouth. Once again his efforts have been emptied of meaning.
The Confetti Trees, Sun and Moon Press, 1999.
(Note: Jacket miss out the title of ‘Color’, running the text on from the end of ‘Trousers for Extras’ which is just one paragraph.)