The last of the icons remaining to us
whose methods have become the norm,
whose portrait of rebellion created the fuss
that pushed us from the eye to the storm

and in just a few lines, or gestures, inspired
a lost generation to gather, and name
its enemies. He watched, and grew tired
of pale imitations, but never blamed

the audience, who were not born to follow,
but rather the great machine churning out trash;
recognized his own failing, too — that hollow
morality that could not refuse the cash.

The greatness of men is found in their flaws;
there is no perfection that can so inspire,
if only because how we deal with the raw
and festering wounds in our lives, and aim higher

than mere entertainment, or paychecks, or fame
and are willing to risk all of that, for some cause
(which although perhaps shallow or just some wild game,
is the crucible in which our apathetic ice thaws).

So ramble on, mumble on, show warts and all;
The goal is not merely to light up the screen,
but more than that, to illustrate that a fall
is a clear testament of an effort, unseen

to claim an authentic soul, one not for sale
at any price, and through the feral and wild lands
of our dreams, to be willing although sometimes frail
to grasp at a greatness with your own hands.

02 JUL 2004

One of the ways you could describe James Dean is as a figure standing with both arms outstretched, one side Marlon Brando saying, “Up yours,” and the other side, Montgomery Clift saying, “Help me.” — paraphrased from The Mutant King: A Biography of James Dean, by David Dalton

Kowalski was always right, and never afraid. He never wondered, he never doubted. His ego was very secure. And he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate. I’m afraid of it. I detest the character. — Marlon Brando on Stanley Kowalski

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