Thursday, March 3, 2011

In Memory of Heath Ledger

What was acting and what were his real feelings,
Even he was losing hold of his little
Peach pit of self
That allowed him to do extraordinary things
With his face and body.
Jack Nicholson warned him
Nothing he could tell Heath about how to ply his craft,
But what he could tell Heath was
There's a switch
A switch inside you have to learn to flip
Flip on: act
Flip off: live
Heath, his gift so raw and new and outsized
Couldn't find that switch in time
He didn't want to be the Joker any more but
The mask had grown over his face,
This is the soul danger for all actors.
When you stop pretending and really act
You're in big trouble.
Heath's face in Brokeback:
The moment he pulls Jake by the vest into the outdoor stairwell
And buries it, that Rock of Gibraltar, into Jake's.
Their connection is as deep and physical as the Marianas Trench
And just as articulate.
Heath pulls away and in less than ten seconds he gives us Ennis' fear of discovery
Regret, desire, pent-up need, his delight that his love is still reciprocated. 
He pats, he pulls away, he brushes Jake's hands away, his forehead rubs Jake's,
Like a horse would, he stumbles away tucking in his shirt and volumes have been spoken
In their language.
How hard it must be to live at that peak
All day, every day
To have thousands, millions even,
Desiring that look from you, at them
How glorious for us, his audience
How exhausting for Heath
He could make us feel anything
It made him want to stop feeling.
Where is that switch, Jack?
I need to find it, too.

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