Mirrormask – a review

Yesterday, I decided to take the afternoon off and go to a matinee. After some internal debate, I settled on Mirrormask. Even though this film had poor critical reviews, I had heard that the visuals were stunning and the people who have actually seen the movie liked it much better than the critics.

I wasn’t disappointed at all in the visuals. The 3D work was totally gorgeous and extremely creative. I also think that this little film had a lot more to offer than the critics gave it credit for. True, the narrative is weak. But it is not about narrative, it’s more like a lyrical, surrealist poem of a young girls adolescent awakening. The young woman, Helena, is a child of the circus, and desires nothing more than to run away and join real life. She fights with her mother, but when her mother becomes gravely ill and ends up in the hospital, Helena retreats into a fantasy world. There she discovers that an anti-Helena has taken over her real life and is intent on destroying everything. That’s the narrative in a nutshell.

The movies light jazz soundtrack, at times adds to the surreal ambience, but at other times is distracting. The acting too, is uneven, and sometimes I wished that Helena would drop the sweet smile when it seemed entirely inappropriate. This gives the movie a kindy of silly gooiness that you sometimes see in French films. Although Mirrormask is an English production, it very much feels French, occasionally reminding me of City of Lost Children.

One last thing, I was the only one in the theater who was over 30. So, maybe my tastes are just weird. With the caveats, I highly recommend this movie. Just keep in mind you are not there for the story. It’s the art.

silence is permitted

may i have your attention, please!
due to considerations of homeland security
        we must advise you
of new regulations for this establishment.
aloud is not permitted
silence is allowed
you are allowed to ask questions
but aloud is not an option
silence is permitted provided
you apply to the proper authority
to clarify, aloud is not permitted,
that means you, tonto,
        no indians aloud
i must stress this point
aloud is not permitted
                i repeat
you may apply to be silent
the permit is freely available
        to all loyal citizens
it is our view that
in most cases
        a good citizen
                is a silent citizen
you are allowed to question authority
        except under interrogation
        aloud is not permitted
you have the right to remain silent
but failure to cite the fifth amendment
may result in immediate imprisonment
if you are an enemy of the state
your permit to remain silent will be denied
you have the right to appeal this decision
you have the right to protest the appeal
you may appeal to your god
you may appeal to your interrogator
if you are stupid that is your right
however, in most cases
for the vast majority
of law-abiding americans
        rest assured
we will protect your rights
as long as you are not foolish enough
                to use them
        i repeat
silence is allowed
but aloud is not permitted
thank you for your attention.

© 2005, Duane Poncy

street of dreams

I am walking in the wilderness
the moon disappears into shadow
above the rooftops owl
carries away a hapless soul
my spirit guide says beware
beats his wings
against the side of his cage
my spirit guide is a small yellow bird
I send ahead of me into the mine

in the dreamworld i am walking
down a street called the future
the houses on this street are bubbles
like the universe —only collapsing
high on a hill other houses rise
like the carbonation in champagne
        or coca cola
one by one they burst in thin air
leaving a faint, putrid odor
my bird sings beware beware
as owl carries away one more soul

and now i am walking down another street
this street named the past
is filled with small shops
which sell things we no longer use
the shopkeepers have sad eyes
as they turn the keys in their locks
go home to their shrinking bubbles
        owl is screeching
i continue walking
even though my canary is silent

i am walking down yet another street
with my dead canary
there is no street sign
but i know this street
i know the name of this street
it is filled with the dead and dying
garbage piled in the alleys
where blue smog hangs
over oily blacktop
it is the street where i live
but i am not yet ready to go home
i am not ready to face
the crimes i have committed
i will choose the wilderness
i prefer exile to waking

i am walking down another street
        in another country
and stone-faced soldiers
stand guard on every corner
the owls are screaming
a brown-skinned boy
sits on the broken concrete curb
ditsenvsvi hena he says
        you go home
there is nothing here you can do
he spits in the gutter
in the distance a baby cries
the owls, the owls scream

i am in a car
careening down the highway
the radio spitting hatred
spitting blue smoke exhaust
i am almost there
i am almost
at the street with no name
i am lying in my bed
a baby cries feed me
a baby cries wake up and feed me

i have no choice now
but to face the waiting mirror

© 2005 by Duane Poncy

i dreamed i was on a boat

Once I dreamed I was on a boat in the middle of a wide river, floating toward the sea. My boat was a very small boat, nothing more than a raft, really. I felt overwhelmed. Sometimes the river became so expansive, or the fog so thick, that I couldn’t see the bank. I traveled along so slowly that it felt like I wasn’t moving at all. At other times, the river grabbed me, and pulled me into the rapids. My tiny boat would lurch and sway and be swallowed by the violence of the current, then heaved back up like an indigestible meal.

Every now and then along the way, I could see a smaller stream emptying its waters into this great river, and along each of these tributaries was something almost recognizable –a town, or a farm, or someone fishing. Once I saw a familiar face of an old man chopping wood. I willed myself nearly close enough to look him in the eye. Who are you old man? I asked. As the current took my little boat and yanked me away, I heard him say: I am your ancestor. Have they not told you of me?


Whether of the left, right or center, ideological absolutists (purists, fundamentalists, whatever you want to call them), have a few things in common. Among these is an intolerance which is inconsistant with democracy. There is One Truth, and whoever deviates is either the devil, or on the road to hell. You’re either with us or against us, love it or leave. Fundis of the left are no different in this respect, than fundis of the right.

My favorite site to explore the fundis is Portland Indymedia. While Indymedia is a great site to find out what about left happenings in the community, and occasionally even breaks an important story, its open publishing forum is a magnet for fundis of all stripes.

Here are some of the fundamentalist threads you can find there:

Anti-Nader Democrats: these folks are narrow-minded anti-democrats who believe that the DP owns the vote of anyone who calls themselves Progressive. These bigots now control the Multnomah County Democratic Party.

Liberal Haters: These folks are Radicals. There One Truth is that nothing but Revolution will save America. Anyone who proposes anything short of Armed Resistance or Direct Action (whatever that is, I don’t think they know) is an Appeaser of the [Capitalism, The State, Fill in the Blank].

Electoral Politics is a Waste Of Time: Some of these folks belong to the above. The Democraps and the Repuglicans are two wings of the same party, big money and big government have made your vote useless. They have no solution to this, so they like to spend a lot of time online, beating up on people who might want to exercise their vote.

Cop-Haters: Cops are Bad. Cops are Pigs. Anybody who says anything good about a cop is…well…probably a cop.

Conspiracy Theorists: Well you know that Al-CIAda is responsible for 9-11. They did to put the fascists in power. They got help from the Israelis, who planted explosives in Twin Towers (oh, and you thought is was airliners who brought them down, you foolish person). They may have also been responsible for Oklahoma City. Of course the Bushes and the Bin Laden’s have been pals for years, funding Nazis and such. The communist-zionist conspiracy, some believe they are The Illuminati, descendants of a race of beings from outer space who have been controlling the human race since the beginning of time. These right wing theories have been around forever, but now they have new adherents among the anarcho-lefties. Dare to suggest that any piece of their theory is wrong and…well…you are part of the conspiracy.

Anyway, thats my peeve for the day