Borderlands, or Where is the Source of Corruption? (Touch of Evil)

By JON THOMPSON

“as the camera moves
through the streets of the Mexican border town
the plan was to feature
a succession of different and contrasting
Latin American musical numbers—
the effect, that is, of
our passing one cabaret orchestra after another. In
honky-tonk districts on the border,
loudspeakers are over
the entrance of every joint, large or small,
each blasting out its own tune
by way of a ‘come on’ or ‘pitch’
for the tourists. The fact that the streets are
invariably loud with this music

was planned as a basic device
throughout the entire picture. The
special use of contrasting mambo-type rhythm numbers       with rock’n’roll
should be developed . . . also
either the shot itself,
or its placing,
should have

a bewildering effect:
one just doesn’t know
what’s happening . . . ”

 

Note: The poem’s language has been fashioned out of Orson Welles’s December 5, 1957, lengthy memo to Universal Studios. The preview version that Orson Welles saw of his film occasioned a fifty-page passionate objection to the studio’s butchered version of it.

 

Jon Thompson edits Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and the single-author poetry series Free Verse Editions.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

Borderlands, or Where is the Source of Corruption? (Touch of Evil)

Related Posts

Mesquite plant

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises

Ice fishing

June 2021 Poetry Feature

CORRIE WILLIAMSON
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing, / like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading / to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus / kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you, / stood quietly in the clover, then returned...