Maya Dardel (2017) Movie Script

- Sure, whatever you
prefer to call it.
The human situation, or
the American nightmare
that's become the
international nightmare,
or love, or extreme
awareness, or,
this interview is live, right?
I'd like to change the
subject 45 degrees,
if you don't mind, um, we
only have a few more minutes.
Okay, right.
I'd like to start a rumor.
With some luck, a few
young writers listen
to this broadcast,
and they can spread
the rumor to their
friends and enemies.
Mm, now, now don't take
this the wrong way.
What I'm about to say
is not a cry for help.
It's not in any way connected
to, or interested in,
the politics of victimhood,
and if anyone receives
it that way, all
the worse for him.
What I'd like to say is,
I'm going to kill myself.
Please don't interrupt me.
I am going to end
the life of Maya Dardel.
My work is in decline.
I, I see no need to birth
a few more mediocre books
and then finally in
my 70s and 80s squirt
out a few more abortions
as embarrassing as,
it's disrespectful
to name names.
The point is, euthanasia.
It's the thing to do.
I don't have any family,
so I'm going to need
an heir and an executor.
So I'm going to be interviewing
youngish writers here,
at my house, in Los
Gatos, California,
for this position, starting now.
Right, right and
the guy I pick gets
my house and my archives
and publishing rights,
all my knickknacks and dishes
and music and books
when I'm gone.
So anybody talented and capable
can email me by emailing
the Ithurburn agency.
My agent's name is Lucas
Marcy, Lucas m-a-r-cy.
Mm hmm, yep, Luc's
thrilled, death's lucrative.
Of course I'm serious.
Don't be narrow-minded.
I want young but professional,
published writers of poetry,
but I'd consider a poetic
novelist or essayist.
Also, also, women
need not apply.
Well because I don't
like women's writing.
No, no.
Dickinson yes, some of it.
No, no.
Wolfe was a man.
No, no, George Elliot was a man.
Yes, no.
Sontag, Sontag was
entirely a guy.
I know, I slept with her.
So any of you young
men out there,
if you think you're it,
go ahead and look
up my agent, yes?
- I can show you
my work right now here.
- Leave it on the floor.
I probably should've
had you email me some
of your work before you
drove all the way up here.
- Right, I can, I can send you
some from my phone right now.
- Put that
back. They disgust me.
- Phones?
- Other people's phones.
- Right, totally, no,
I totally understand that.
They're like, other
people's phones.
You know, they touch your ear.
They have like wax on them,
other people's girlfriends'
photos on them.
- Tell me with extreme candor
what you think of your talent.
- Totally, I can.
Talk about that.
- What?
- No you just, you
just have to know.
- Know what?
- Do you have
a bathroom I could use?
- I don't like other
people in my bathroom.
- It's cool.
- What do you think of me?
- I love your work, I love
shadow, twenty-seven fold.
- I meant what do you
think of me physically?
- Physically?
- Mm.
- I'm not really, um.
- Be candid, Moses.
- Candid?
- Very.
- I'm not really comfortable.
- Who's comfortable?
Just be honest.
- What, do I think you're
a good-looking woman?
- Yes.
- I mean, yeah.
- But uglier than
women your age.
I'm a good piece of fruit
too long in the fridge.
- That's, isn't that, like.
- But good-looking enough.
At least as I sit here across
from you in what appears
to be some kind of
impenetrable Artemis state,
enough that you're
probably wondering what
it'd be like to
command me, strip me.
- Strip you?
- Men are this kind of machine.
Women my age have
the last outer crust
of our prettiness
left, and that can be
combined with haughtiness
or real superiority.
Until a young man badly wants
to break that outer crust.
He wants to prove this and that
to himself, and
the middle-aged woman.
But you see,
the woman's unwise if she
allows herself to be stripped.
The thing about Artemis is that,
is that her nakedness in
the pool in the woods,
when Actaeon sees her, yes?
- Um, yeah.
- Her nakedness
is not just a myth
about the virginity of maidens.
It's a myth also
about the final,
brittle sex appeal
of older women.
If you were to see me naked,
like Actaeon,
you would have to die.
You're a mature man, correct?
- Yeah.
- You're not one of
these immature fumblers,
one of these boys who
can't find the clitoris?
- Like a, sorry,
a woman's clitoris?
- Come here.
Nearly any experience
is good for a writer.
The same can't be said
for those who don't write.
- Yeah I actually brought
my work, I'd like to show you.
- Come, sit.
- You want me
to sit next to you on the couch?
- Here.
- Here?
- Exactly.
- Okay.
Sorry, I'm.
- Take off my tights.
You're surprisingly
not bad at that.
- Thanks.
- Would you like
to show me your poems?
But first go clean your face.
- Should I just use the sink?
- Mm.
- Okay.
- To save us time why
don't you just show me what
you're certain is your
best work in that binder.
- My best?
- Mm.
You read it to me.
- Holy shit, um,
that's the title.
Holy shit, this Campbell's soup
is tasty, though
it, come, though.
Holy shit this
Campbell's soup is tasty,
though come to think of it,
it tastes like nothing
plus the idea of Warhol with
his super creepy friends,
so many more than I have,
speaking fondly of the times
they all had doing
nothing, doing nothing,
doing nothing, doing nothing,
making a Hamlet sandwich
I have to make for myself,
because I have no friends.
- I'm adjuncting a
composition course
at Hartwick college
in the spring.
That's in New York,
the Catskills, mm,
I got my MFA last year, from
the Iowa writers workshop.
And I'm the editor-in-chief of
a small magazine, a Webzine.
- I went to Iowa.
- Did you?
- Back when everyone smoked
cigarettes and nobody got aids.
- Okay, there
wouldn't be any kind
of legal complications,
would there?
What I mean is, when you,
if you select me.
I'll be far away with an alibi.
I don't mean to be rude,
I just think it's
best to be up front.
You don't expect me to
be here, to help you?
- This is not the process.
- What?
- The process,
it's not the process.
- What's the process?
- First we talk about your work,
and then I, I was probably...
- well that stuff that I sent
you is actually quite old.
I just sent it because it seems
to do well with the
editors of magazines.
I'd like to show you what
I'm writing currently.
- Show me.
- It's uh, it's an epic poem.
Or well, considering that idea.
It's uh, well,
better to show you.
- Cimputer, hmm?
Ever been to the Tate
modern in London?
- No.
- But you've been to
modern art museums.
- Of course.
It seems ironic now,
but I actually wrote my
undergraduate thesis on the
transgressive corporeality
of mannequins and humans
in the early work of -
- imagine three people
in a modern art museum.
The first is a pot-bellied
father of four from
Kentucky or provincial France
or middle Russia somewhere.
He's a tourist, he only
likes landscapes and nudes
and paintings of
battles and ships.
He's the guy who looks the
Jackson pollock the same
way he looks at your generation's
latest abstract knockoff
and he says to himself
about both, Christ,
what a con-job,
my kid can paint this.
- Hm.
Right, my kid can paint this.
- Now imagine a second
person in the museum.
This is you, this is
an educated person.
He's visiting the museum in
an anxious, critical capacity.
He goes into the room the
tourist father just left,
and looks at the pollock
and looks at the knockoff,
and because the knockoff
was painted very recently,
it gets his attention,
and he stands there wondering
if it's better than his
own mysterious canvases
full of similar random
shreds of form and color.
- This is me?
- This is you.
- I think it's always better not
to arbitrarily stereotype a...
- now, imagine a third
person in the museum.
This is me, I'll look at the
pollock and the knockoff.
I like the pollock for its
rhythm and originality.
The knockoff has some
qualities I like,
but it's half a century too
late, it's not original.
And the longer I look at it,
the less I like it, why?
Because I hear a little
voice inside me saying,
Christ, my kid could paint this.
And then I hear another voice
inside me saying, you don't
have a kid, and you sound
like a tourist from Kentucky.
You're not part
of the cool crowd.
Other people get it,
not you though.
And then I hear a
third voice in my head.
No, Maya, it's
okay, you do get it,
this really is a
mediocre painting.
This really could've
been painted
by a kid or even a cimputer.
And then the people in
my head start arguing.
- Are you saying
that my work is...
- shit?
Not quite, it's more like
chewed but undigested food.
You're young,
there's hope for you.
- In the back corner.
That piece.
Do you consider that good art?
- That's a different
story, that's not paint.
That's blood and
human brain matter.
Isn't that terrible?
But hey, you like cerebral art.
She had lung cancer.
That was her very last
painting, a perverse friend
of mine bought it at an auction
for my birthday last year.
- Hm, I think what you
and your museum-going self
and your third self are missing
is a purposeful negation.
This is apparently
Purposefulness would seem to
have a positive component, yes?
It positively is negation.
But here's where I might
take issue with my own poem.
Negation positively is negation,
but only within
a conceptual system,
the perhaps a priori system
of logical coherence.
So what I'm doing
isn't really writing,
but unwriting, you see?
My negation has no positive
aspect, it simply isn't.
- That's marvelous.
- Thank you.
- Did you really say my negation
has no positive aspect to me?
- Yes.
Yeah, I think it's blatant
at the third line, apacity.
- Do you have a wife?
Or a girlfriend?
- No, no, not exactly.
- Are you able to carry out
a difficult task from
beginning to end?
It's no good, just get in
there and roughen it up.
Cut was not finished,
you need to cut.
Jesuit priest, what
were you thinking?
It's actually in
very poor taste.
- Just give me two
seconds, one, two, three...
- why don't you go home
and rewrite this and
come back, all right?
- 21, 22.
23, 24.
- Everything is turning sharper.
This is called being old.
It turns sharp for a moment
before it turns blurry,
everything does,
at a certain age.
What is this species
of thought that is not
a memory because it never
happened, but so memory-like?
This thought of
myself at 40 maybe.
Holding a baby.
- There's such a strange green.
Amphibian green in this view.
- I like your sweater,
where'd you buy it?
- This?
- Mm.
I don't, I don't remember.
- Come on, don't tell
me you don't remember.
That's a $400 sweater.
- What kind of tree is this?
- Horse Chestnut.
- Chest nut.
- what?
- What?
You have a lot of glass.
Are these all filled with glass?
- I have a lot of
porcelain and stemware.
- Stemware.
Don't you like how all these
anglo-Saxon words?
- What's this?
- That's when they
crush into each other.
- Mm.
- Chestnut, stemware.
- Outhouse.
Rat hole.
Hm, rat hole.
- Mouthwash.
Are you trying to
ingratiate yourself
by playing language games?
- What?
I was...
- it's okay.
I like the word,
Chestnut, hummingbird.
- Of course you do.
I know, you use it
as an adjective in...
- please, don't quote me to me.
- Okay.
- Are you gay?
- What?
I was just, um.
Rat hole.
I know about porcelain.
- What?
- I know about the colors.
- What does this mean,
you know about porcelain.
- You probably
already know this,
but there were these
chemists in Vincennes.
These chemists they would
um, grind the colors.
Then they started to experiment.
I think they first had
some success with yellow.
And then Lapis blue, like,
Lapis blue like in
this piece here.
You already know that.
- Tell me.
- Well, then, in 1750-something
they, they discovered green.
And then blue Celeste.
And then they discovered
the rose colors last.
And then they killed
the king and queen
and some of the
porcelain makers.
Also I was in Chicago.
And the porcelain collection
at the art institute,
there's this plate,
or a serving platter,
and on it is a
scene of what they
call peasant life,
or pastoral life.
It's a green and rose design,
and written around the rim
the platter's rim,
pensent-ils Au raisin?
- Are they
thinking about the grapes?
- Yes.
And I was with my friend
Marie at the time.
And she saw the plate first
and translated the caption,
and somehow I misheard
her, and I thought
that she'd said are they
thinking about the Greeks?
- Where are you going with this?
- I'm not going anywhere, um.
I just thought it was
beautiful that there
could be some people on
a plate and then some other
people eating off the
plate in the 18th century,
just some people in the
18th century in France
being asked by a plate if
maybe the people they were
eating off of might be
thinking about the Greeks?
- Are you responsible?
- Responsible?
- Do you pay
all your bills on time?
Do you respond to emails?
- I don't, I don't
really have that many bills.
- Why are you living in Texas?
- I don't know.
My mother lives there.
- Are you one of these,
codependent with your mother?
- So this is silicon valley?
- You're on top of the
south wall of silicon valley.
- Kevin said you grow grapes?
- Top acre.
I don't do it, a company
does it and gives me a cut.
- Why are you
going to kill yourself?
You could write five more books
like the Monday metaphysics.
- Is that your
favorite book of mine?
- Maybe.
- I was 31 when I wrote that.
Do you think I'm
remotely similar
to whatever woman
wrote that book?
- Are those gunshots?
- Ah, my wacky neighbor.
Nothing alarming, target
practice, several times a week.
- I think you're similar.
I think that you
could write good books
that aren't similar
to your old books.
I don't think you should do it.
- Are you here to
inherit my estate
or to convince me
not to kill myself?
- I don't know why I'm here.
I just don't like the idea of
death, just sitting there.
- Mm.
- What's this horseshit
people telling me?
- You know, it's worked
for a few others.
Plath, sexton, Woolf.
It kind of jolts you into
a different category.
- Blech, tastes like horseshit.
Shit of a horse.
- You know, priests don't
pay taxes, neither should we.
- Who's we?
- Us.
Culture creators.
Not you, you're a
tune-inner drop-outer.
You're anti-culture.
- Culture my yeast.
- Exactly.
- Fucking bacteria.
Prepare your brain.
I'm gonna teach you a new
paradox, crocodile paradox.
A crocodile snatches a drag
queen from a riverbank.
The queen mother is
there for some reason
and pleads with the crocodile,
please don't eat my son.
The croc says your majesty,
I will only not eat
your daughter if you can
guess correctly whether
or not I'm really gonna eat
your skinny-ass daughter.
So there's no problem
if the mother guesses
that the crocodile
won't eat her son.
She's either right or wrong.
But if she guesses he will
eat him, it's fucked up.
- You told me this one years
ago, without the queens.
Do you still nap?
- I don't know.
- I used to nap.
If I got caught, by Ismail even,
I'd lie and say
I wasn't sleeping.
It's so undignified to be caught
sleeping in the
middle of the day.
- Yeah but if the
mother is right
and the crocodile really
is gonna eat her son,
then he has to return him.
Fucked up.
I wouldn't publicly
joke about suicide.
What are you doing?
- Sailing to Byzantium.
Were you surprised I
invited you up here?
- I don't know, do you
have a lot of guys applying?
- Mm.
But did you feel encouraged
after our first phone call?
- Uh.
I felt like you understand
that I'm an adult.
Like you could tell
I don't fuck up.
- I researched you
on the Internet.
I read your little
squib in n plus one.
Do you dislike Americans as much
as you dislike the
Russians and the Israelis?
- Well, I'm
egalitarian, you know?
I think all cultures and
ethnicities should suffer
the same amount of abuse,
Turks piss me off for example.
- My ex is a Turk.
- Yeah, I know.
- You know?
- Sure.
- What about Chinese?
- Um, bribery, dragon breath.
Too many male people.
- Swiss?
- Smug, boring, white, mm.
- Saudis?
- Oh Saudis, yeah sure, Saudis,
if a woman in Saudi Arabia wants
to press charges,
she needs four witnesses.
So as long as you gangbang
with only three friends.
- Canadians.
- Boring.
- Mexicans?
- I don't have a
problem with Mexicans.
- Hm.
- How am I doing?
- Doing what?
- Do you like me, do you
see me as executor material?
- Possibly, what's your
familiarity with publishing?
- I have an agent, she can't
get my book a deal, though.
- Why not?
- Probably it isn't very good.
- Why not?
- I don't know, maybe
the same reason you're...
- perhaps it's
the opposite reason.
- Yeah, maybe.
But can I ask you a borderline
rude direct question?
Are you sick?
Do you have something terminal?
- I wouldn't tell
you if I did, but no.
- Well if I were terminal,
I'd probably take
a bunch of heroin.
You ever try it?
- No.
- I tried it.
- What's heroin like?
- Well it's not like 600
orgasms or whatever people say.
It was pleasant.
I vomited a little
and fell asleep.
- I have no interest in heroin,
but I wonder if your
description of the drug
says more about you
than about the drug.
- Yeah, maybe.
- Would you describe
yourself as a sensual person?
- I would describe
myself as cunning.
- Mm.
- Yeah, my brain is
fast enough to fake
its way through any
sensual experience.
And then, you know,
what's the difference?
- The difference between
sensuality and fake sensuality?
There's a tremendous difference.
- Yeah, maybe, I'm
skeptical though.
Like I can work
myself into a hell
of a metaphysical
mood if I need to.
Meanwhile, I have
friends who feel so much,
who couldn't live their lives
without wine and amazing sex.
They're miserable people.
- They should kill themselves.
- Yeah, except apparently
not one of them
has written anything
good enough to justify...
- you understood me then, what
I was saying a minute ago.
You understand I'm
never being glib.
- Yeah, yeah, I understood you.
I get everything the first time.
- Mm.
- You don't have to play these
cat and mouse games with me,
I mean you can, if you want
to, but you don't have to.
- What am I up to, then?
- Sure, I get why
you're doing this.
- Hm.
- Well you've got some terminal
disease and you probably
like what you wrote 20
years ago but you don't like
what you're writing now, and
probably other people agree.
- Hm.
- And so you figure if you go
off and pull a foster Wallace,
you'll be doing your
good books a favor.
And good books need all the
help they can get these days,
especially when
they're competing with
bad books like mine, you know
my agent's still pushing.
It probably will happen, too.
Well it's too bad for everyone.
Cause my book will
take up space.
A few thousand
people will read it
and there are 10,000 of me.
Yeah, so, I get it.
Good writing is not
good enough anymore.
You have to kill
yourself, or someone else.
- Are you a
closet right-winger?
- Well I wouldn't mind
selling this place
and dividing the money between
myself and nine friends.
- If I decide you're
right for this,
I don't care what you
do with the property,
but what about your politics,
especially regarding women?
- Women.
- Yes, I know. But
if I'm going to trust you
with my afterlife, I need
to know that you believe
in the very real mental
existence of women.
- Do I look skeptical of
your mental existence?
- Uh, yeah.
- No no no, that's bullshit,
I don't have that problem.
I don't have alienation issues.
- Possibly that's
why you describe
your own book as not very good.
- No, come on.
What do I have to do to prove
to you that I'm not an idiot?
- You're done, you're
done, you're done.
Oh no, not on the menu, not
on the menu, absolutely not!
No, no!
I'm going to kill you!
I'm gonna, I'm gonna kill you!
I'm going to kill you!
I understand.
You had to fuck me to prove...
- it's no big
deal, I always fuck
a woman after I go down on her.
What should we do now?
- Now we watch you get
off my land, you're out.
You can't be my executor.
- Do you have any alcohol?
I'd really like a drink.
- It's all over the kitchen.
Go make me a drink,
you little bitch.
You know, I know
at least 10 women
who'd call what
you just did rape.
- I'm glad you aren't
one of those 10 women.
- What are you
reading right now?
- You know not much, actually.
I find myself without a
lot of Patience in my 30s.
You know, it's weird.
You'd think I'd
have more Patience.
- You're uglier than
I first realized.
- Yeah, well my phone
and my computer have
killed off my ability to
be beautiful and read.
I read the whole mess in my 20s.
That was the end of reading.
Now I just write and
skim and write and skim.
I read your novel in my 20s.
I haven't read your poetry.
- You should, you might
learn some fucking grace.
The three books
I wrote in my 30s.
Those are what
sycophants call genius.
One, two, three.
Like little neutron stars.
- So your own mind managed
to impress you, yeah?
- Not now, the light's gone out.
But in my 30s, yes,
my mind was very good.
I felt it, then, I loved it.
It was like a set of
strings, all intertwined.
But not tangled, not
tangled like necklaces.
But like a 10 or 11
dimensional hammered dulcimer.
Then in my 30s.
- I'll, I'll make you a deal.
You make me your
heir and executor,
and I'll read all your books
and write a hagiography
of you and spend my
30s telling everyone
how beautiful a
dulcimer you were.
- You can't be my executor,
you're out, I told you already.
- Yeah?
- Out.
- Let me finish my drink.
- Yeah, you can finish your
drink, that's the law, you know.
The laws of hospitality
are older than poetry even.
- So um, when could I come back?
- Let me check my calendar.
- I uh,
I play the violin, you know.
- Next week, next Thursday.
That's the neighbor, nothing.
- I'm not free on Thursdays.
I wait tables, I'm
a fucking plebe.
- You're free on Thursdays
if you want to come back.
- Okay, see you next Thursday.
- Tomfiddlery, clusterfuckery.
Clusterfuck I'm going where,
I don't know, I don't care.
- You don't even
live near other people.
- I live near you
and all your junk.
If I, I'd start over,
I'd go live in Istanbul.
Maybe paint some crazy shit.
Isn't that awful
when a writer says,
maybe I'll take up painting?
- You're just fucked up, Maya.
You're behaving like
a lonely person.
You need to drop acid
and make new friends.
Why don't you go to burning man?
- A person can live
right on the bosphorus.
It's still kind of
cheap there, you know.
With my grapes and my
land and what it's worth.
Even nicer places
along the water
on the Asian side, for decades.
Unless Turkey blows up in civil
war by the end of the year.
- Do you miss Ismail?
What happened to your pact?
- What pact?
- The one where you get back
together when he turned 60.
- You remember that?
Pacts are for pachyderms.
You smell pretty
good for someone who
- outdoor showers get you just
as clean as indoor.
It's okay to admit
when you miss someone.
- I don't miss Ismail.
I do miss Turkish men, though.
I'd like to meet
another Turkish man.
Look, at our age
one can either live
in a healthy state of denial
or an unhealthy
state of mortality.
I live in the mortality,
and so, you know, for me,
everything is starting to
have this ghostly profundity,
exactly because nothing
is, in fact, profound.
And there are no ghosts.
And because I have
no one at all.
The only thing
that matters to me
are the books I wrote years ago.
That's it, that's it.
That's all I care about.
- What is this?
- My boat.
All this junk was here
when I bought the land.
- I like your boat very much.
- You know there's another
boy, man, whatever you all are.
His writing is not
as good as yours.
But there is competition.
He's not like you at all.
He's not a mama's boy.
Would you like to meet him?
- Meet him here?
- Yeah, at my house.
He comes twice a week.
- No.
I mean, um, no, I'd prefer not.
- That might just be too bad.
- Are you angry at me?
- No.
- I'm not obsessed
with my mother.
I don't live in Texas
because of my mother.
- Oh, no?
- No, my mother was
terrible, when I was little.
- Oh yeah, what terrible
things did she do?
- She slept with men.
- That sounds just awful.
- Hundreds of them.
- Was she a prostitute?
Was she?
- No.
- Well, I can't have a man
taking over my posthumous rep
if he doesn't like mean
old libidinous women.
- My mother wasn't mean or old
or even so libidinous.
She just, she was a person
with terrible values.
She wanted to be a news
anchor on television.
- And?
- And she tried and
tried, and nobody gave
her what she wanted,
but they just kept
teasing her and
having sex with her.
And they were all
horrible people.
- And now you're into
poetry and porcelain.
Poor little flower.
I don't feel bad for you.
It's getting dark.
Go back to your hotel.
Uh, maybe not idiotic,
mediocre is the word.
His, um, soft-core
dialogue he writes,
this pseudo-red-light-district
I don't like books
by men like that.
- Yeah, well,
you're missing out.
- Hello, Ismail,
how's the weather in my head?
How's the weather in Byzantium?
You old Trojan rooster.
- I don't want to
hear the criticism.
- That was luck.
- We can just let
silence continue.
- Just read it, Ansel.
I think I've had some water
in my ear for a few weeks.
Read it to me.
- Fell when the wax
melted, fell in through
an aneurysm in a thought
of wall into a grand
reception hall like in
an 18th century hotel.
And there stood you in
schism-blue eyeflooding
floor length gown, and all your
books and things around you,
you had given them
them to wingless me,
who wrote this note to you.
It said, don't hurt yourself.
I'm asking you, it said,
it said I fell in through
a rip in the paper.
- You're a sweet boy,
Ansel, thank you.
One almost imagines you're
the kind of reactionary
who writes because
he felt something,
and not just because he
wants to be published.
There might be an unpublished
novel here somewhere
on the property.
Given the corporate
takeover of publishing,
I think a Maya Dardel novel's
worth an advance of maybe
$100,000 if I'm living,
but I think a million
maybe if I'm dead.
- That's not why I'm here.
- Did I hurt
your feelings again?
Why are you here, dear boy?
- Because it, it
shouldn't be anyone else,
if you have to do it.
- Why?
- Because I
understand your work.
I understand it, I can read
it in its six or seven layers
or matrices or whatever
you think of them as.
- Them?
- The layers, the combining
and harmonic themes
and sounds and senses, and you
know what I'm talking about.
- You're making
poetry sound like
some rare form of luminous math.
- Well, isn't it, kind of?
- Maybe it is.
You know this poem, despite
that it's written to me,
is really quite impressive.
Um, but there are some
risks in it, though, right?
- What risks?
- Well, schism-blue for example.
It's interesting to
imagine the shade
of blue that is
the schism shade.
The blue of divorce,
of mental breakdown,
of civil war uniforms.
Yeah, yes, and it's interesting
to imagine in the
other direction,
a schism that is
um, blue in quality.
But there's a certain
fetishism in just
plunking it in the poem.
Um, it, uh, it shows
your hand a little.
- I don't mind showing my hand.
- Well, you should.
- Plus it rhymes, plus
it adds to the Icarus
theme so that's four
uh, layers there and...
- yes, your poetry is layered.
As I said, it's
impressive, more impressive
than my way of talking
about it probably implies.
But that's not the point.
Your schism-blue is
a little too obviously
infatuated with its
own layered prettiness.
- Oh well, that only
matters right now, I mean,
when I'm dead, if people
read my books, they'll,
if people read books when
I'm dead, they'll um,
think of my schism-blue
eye flooding floor
the way they look at Joyce's
smoke blue mobile eyes.
Or hart crane's rip-tooth
of the sky's acetylene.
- Sure, sure, death beautifies
even the ugliest vanity.
Ever looked at photographs
of contemporary authors,
pompous, and have you
ever thought about
how romantic they will
seem in 100 years?
We're soon to be
extinct, I think.
We're like the dodos
and the aristocrats.
So this is my surprise?
Very impressive.
I don't eat mushrooms
from my driveway.
- Why not?
If I'm wrong, and there's
only a 1% chance that I am,
then um, the worst thing that'll
happen is that we'll die.
You want that.
- Yeah, but Ansel, I
don't want to die in pain,
covered with my own
vomit and yours.
- These are Chanterelles.
I'd like to make you an omelet.
Do you have any um, any
interesting cheeses?
- I have some strange
Israeli frozen garlic.
Um, it's really from,
it's probably actually
from China and covered
with pulverized horse.
I'm gonna put this
for 30 minutes.
If we're alive when it
goes off, hurrah for us.
Tell me more about
this harlot mother.
- Mine?
- Yes, yours.
Mine was a simpleton
with no desires.
I'm interested in ambitious
women, even shallow ones.
- My mother's never honest.
She plays games.
- Give me an example.
- I don't know,
she doesn't realize
she's playing mind games.
And then I'm forced
to play them with her.
- Like you're
forced to play with me?
- No, you're very aware
of the games you play.
- Is she my age?
- Slightly older.
- How does she mindfuck you?
Give me examples.
- She claimed that she
didn't get any sleep
at all because
she had this dream
that she and my sister
and I were all at some...
- you have a sister?
- Zoe, yes.
- Mm.
- And in this dream that
she claims that she had,
Karl, my father's brother,
knocked me over the head with
a microphone stand and told
me that my father wasn't my
real father, but that my father
was my sister's real father.
- Zoe's older?
- She's younger.
Anyway she called me to
tell me she dreamed that.
- What did you say?
- I said I don't know if I find
people's dreams interesting,
but I certainly find
people's interest
in their own dreams interesting.
- Mm.
Do you think you're
your father's son?
- I do, I think my mother had
a bad dream and couldn't help
but jab me with it, just to
put a little needle in me.
- Hm, maybe
she wanted attention.
- She always wants attention.
- Were you nice to her about it?
- I was nice, I guess.
- Mm.
We have 15 minutes.
'Til the toxin takes effect.
Do you know the first signs
of mushroom poisoning
in a pregnant woman?
Her breasts shoot milk.
I read this in a novel,
so it must be true.
Your body confuses the toxin
arresting your
system for a baby.
I like that.
Ever heard of ovarian
There's material for a bad poet.
Hm, go get the phone.
I'd ask you to use your own
but reception is
so weak up here.
- Who are you calling?
- Your mother, of course.
- What, why?
- In these last minutes of
your life, it's important
to tell those close to you what
you really think about them.
Go ahead.
Tell your mother
what you told me,
that she's unsophisticated
and manipulative.
You want my estate, don't you?
- Yes, just stop asking that.
- How much do you want it?
- I think...
I could live here with
and take care of you,
whether you were dead or alive.
- Go ahead, take care of me.
Show me you'll do perverse
things out of loyalty to me.
We don't have all day.
- I made a mistake.
I don't think she's gonna...
- hello?
- Hi.
No, it's me.
No, I just wanted to
tell you something.
I want to tell you something.
No. No, no, you
don't have a choice.
The city makes you pay them.
No, I want to tell
you something.
Will you let me speak?
You're a solipsist.
- What?
- A solipsist.
You don't know anything
about anybody but you.
You don't know why
people do things.
No, you think that people either
are against you or obsessed
with you, there's, you don't
really see any grayer areas.
No, you don't know
how you're perceived.
Please, please don't cry.
- Tell her those news
anchor barbarians,
that they used her for sex.
And your sister's
name is Zoe, right?
Tell her Zoe hates her.
Zoe hates her.
- Zoe hates you.
She hung up before I said that.
- Thank you, you did well.
Go clean your face.
Are you really
walking your rat dogs
or did you come over
here to check on me?
- Which boy was that?
- That's Paul.
- Hmm, what if
somebody called the cops?
You ever thought about that?
Someone called the cops
on me a buncha times.
- The police already called.
- Oh, yeah?
- Several weeks ago.
I told them I was proud of
them for listening to NPR.
Ah, this social worker
cop, his name's Alfonso.
Do you like the name Alfonso?
Could you unsarcastically
fuck a man with that name?
- I've never sarcastically
fucked anyone.
That's your department.
- I told him thanks for your
interest in contemporary
literature and no, I'm
not a threat to myself
but merely someone who
enjoys speaking in metaphors.
- Oh god.
Go already, squat.
- And I told them if
they started listening
to other interviews with
writers, they would have
to worry, we're all
threats to our own person.
You're more of a threat
to others, I'd say.
- I'm going to drop
acid on Sunday.
- This is a great idea.
I need your help with something.
- I'm pretty much
immune to it, these days.
- I need you to know
that I'm utterly sane.
Even if I go.
- No, no, no.
- Yes, dear, it's um,
it's time to sail away.
- You do, and I'll
piss on your grave.
- Well, as Ansel says,
I'm a cruel person.
- You better not be.
- However I'm perfectly sane.
Whatever I do, I do
out of pure will, okay?
Not hysteria.
- What you did yesterday was...
- I know, I know.
- Why did you make me do that?
- I, I don't know.
I get carried away by power.
I really like it.
I think maybe I haven't
had enough of it.
People don't like a woman with
too much power.
I'd run for president except
a monstrous woman
isn't sympathetic.
Monstrous men do get elected,
and I wasn't born here.
- You should
go back to teaching.
- Except I don't like
my power so defined,
institutionally circumscribed,
I like raw power.
- That sounds like something
that someone very
young would say.
- You're right, of course.
That's what happens,
whatever I say sounds false.
Talking about death is a
lot like dividing by zero,
you know, because it generates
these error messages.
- I know, my father...
- and it's not even a romantic
illusion about
posterity, either.
It's a sober judgment
of the very meager value
of my books weighed
against the even
more obscenely meager
value of my person.
Toughen up, Ansel.
The things I do are merely
mildly horrible and cruel.
I'm actually maybe fond of you.
And furthermore your mother's
probably lovely,
sympathetic even.
You're probably dead
wrong about her.
Everyone should hear how
miserably misperceived they are.
Communication would be
less of a Clusterfuck
if everyone knew how much
of a Clusterfuck it is.
- Hello?
- Ansel?
- Hi.
- You're coming tomorrow.
- Yes.
- Good.
I have something for you.
One can look at it
however many ways.
One's time alone.
A succession of
isolated instances,
or 10 years in a row of 10.
One 10 year moment,
or 10,000 ax heads hitting wood,
or whetstones hitting ax heads,
or my heart beating
half a billion times.
Then there's the speed of light.
- Fuck.
- Fuck.
- Fuck.
- Fuck.
- I'm saying, no, I'm saying
that everyone is a hypocrite,
is, you know, especially
someone who says she isn't.
- You can say whatever you like.
I won't
sit here and argue with you.
Only uncertain
people have to argue.
- Hello?
- Who the fuck is that?
- Uh.
- Let me help you out with that.
No, come on, you're going
to hurt yourself, alright?
Come on.
Give me the ax.
- Okay, okay, okay, okay.
This is homoerotic and fun,
but let's do something else.
Let's raise the stakes.
On your way up
here, did you notice
a broken green gate four
gates down from mine?
My wacko neighbor?
- Is this the guy who
likes to fire off his gun?
- Exactly.
Anyway she woke up one morning
- with an erection.
- - She?
- And claimed
the few feet of land
right before my gate
belonged to her.
- This is a woman who
likes to shoot her gun?
- Yeah, why not?
The second amendment should
be only for women, actually.
Anyway, one night she
chainsawed down my mailbox
to add to her ex-husband's
hoard of junk.
- Did you call the cops?
- I was going to take her
to court, but I forgot.
But now that you're both here
with all this male aggression.
I'd like you to run
over and get my mailbox.
Whoever brings the mailbox back
moves into first place.
- I don't think it's a,
I don't think it's a good idea.
- I'm getting the fucking
box, you go back with Maya.
- No, I thought
that the best strategy
would be to have a strategy.
- Yeah, I have a strategy.
- Okay, but I
think it's important to
not strike her as,
as aggressive, you know.
- Okay, whatever.
- The ax, oh.
This is just really bad
planning, it's just really bad.
I mean, we should
just ask her for it.
Excuse me, is
there anybody here?
- FBI.
- Oh, god!
Oh, we're friends.
We, we're, we're neighbors.
- Secret service, BIA.
There goes everything.
Suck my dick.
- Can you put
the, put the gun down?
- State your business.
- I promise, I come here
with, with good intentions.
I'm friends with Maya Dardel.
- Oh, that bitch.
She drives up my
road, up my ass.
Now I'm a very private person.
- But um.
- I'm a people.
- I'm here to make peace.
Uh, I know about the uh,
the land dispute and uh,
I'd like to offer you, uh,
$300 for um, Maya's mailbox.
- Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wow.
You can't buy a whole country.
- Sure, sure.
- Oh, worry, Billy.
Right, I forgot the plan.
The plan, the plan, the
plan, the plan.
Oat bran.
- What?
- Oat bran.
A man was sentenced to death.
What, what?
Okay. We gotta move.
- Move.
- Okay.
- Move move move move.
- We can, we could
talk this out...
- Go, go, go.
- If you want.
- This way.
Move it, move it, move it.
This is the paradox of
the unexpected hanging.
It's from the 1950s.
As the crocodile said himself,
you can't know which
day you're gonna die.
So it can't be next Sunday.
- Why not?
- Ah, because. The
judge says the hanging will
take place on one of the
seven days of next week.
You will not know which
day you'll be hanged.
You'll be hanged on a
day you don't expect.
- Hello.
- But on Thursday, to the
prisoner's huge fucking surprise,
the hangman arrives and says,
I'm gonna hang you in an hour.
- Fuck.
- Please, please don't kill me.
- Kill you?
- Jesus Christ.
I, I told you then, you
chose not to hear me.
So I let you play
a little longer.
- Are you serious?
- Mm hm, he wins, you lose.
You lost the first
time you came up here.
Then what the fuck
have I been doing
up here making this
pathetic baby look bad?
- Ansel is a better
writer than you are.
He's not pathetic,
he's just sheltered.
What's so horrible about that?
- Are you fucking kidding me?
- It's never been
a real competition.
I've been using you to
see if Ansel's capable.
I need someone who can defend
the posthumous Maya
against your type.
They'll try to make
me into unstable
or hysterical or who knows what.
They'll butcher my books,
they'll rape my dead body.
They'll turn me into Plath.
- You wish.
- You see?
You see.
- What about the money
I've spent on gas?
You know I skipped work
again last Thursday.
Are you saying I get nothing?
- You got to fuck
me, didn't you?
- Oh, what an honor.
I'm just lucky I took
that initiative, you know,
because you would have just
left me with blue balls.
You know, I don't even
think you're even gonna
have the cojones
to kill yourself.
- Take a step back, Paul.
I don't like you hovering.
- Oh, you don't
like me hovering?
You're never gonna
kill yourself.
I know you, you'll
rot up here for years.
You just, you just wanted
some attention from some guy
who would never look at
you on a city street.
So you hide up here
like a little witch,
you do your make-up oh so
carefully and you lure us
up here to lick your
old pussy, because, hey,
I don't see any fucking
hot young 24-year-olds
fucking up your local
monopoly on womanhood.
Are you fucking serious?
- Out, you're out.
You don't talk to me like that
in my own house, you're out!
- I'm not out. You're out.
- You're out.
- Get the fuck back!
- You're out, out!
Get out!
- I'm fucking sick of you!
- Get off of her!
- Fuck, fuck!
You fuck-ups.
I'm not even violent, I,
you know what, you
get what you deserve.
I don't know anyone with
one ounce of testosterone
who wouldn't fucking defend
himself from you lunatics.
Are you okay?
[Paul screams
I'm fucking outta here.
- You need to
navigate this exactly
because they're not
going to find a body,
and I don't want you having
to wait seven years before...
- yeah, I um, I memorized
your binder system on Monday.
- Alright, alright, fine.
You'll talk about all this
again with your new lawyer.
All mine is yours,
even my lawyer.
- Thank you, Maya.
- Don't thank me.
He's an anarchist,
and I'm a monster.
This may all end up
being a nasty con-job.
I took out a giant
loan on this land
about a year ago
and put the money
in a little mafia boutique
bank in the Cayman Islands.
- Yeah, I read that
in the yellow binder.
Why did you do that?
- Complicated.
A dishonest broker,
my own mistakes.
- Hmm.
What is this?
- I don't know, looks like junk.
- Maybe something
that blew over here
in the windstorm from
Nora's junk-heap.
- Looks like it's
uh, some sort of tube
made out of a,
made out of cloth.
Please hold it.
- Ech.
Ah, is there a plan
here, what are we doing?
- Put your head inside.
- No thanks.
- Please, Maya.
Come on.
Come on.
- Hi.
- It's like Eden in here.
- You don't get the money
in the Cayman Islands.
Does that change your
loyalty to me, to my work?
- I don't care about money.
- Oh, no?
You're not corrupt like me.
- No, I mean that I have enough.
- Enough what?
- Money from, from
my father dying.
- Not enough to
keep this land, though.
- Oh, I don't know.
I'll talk about it
with your lawyer,
when you're uh,
when you're gone.
- Oh, what a relief.
- What?
- My fucking ear just unplugged.
I'll be gone in 10 minutes.
- Really?
- Uh huh.
- It's so early.
- Come.
- Wait a second.
Um, I have something for you.
It's uh, I wrote it
down for you to take.
- Hmm?
- It's a description of
Dinesen, of Karen Blixen.
- Karen Blixen, not my favorite.
- Okay, um, but
this was written by
one of the few men
who liked her that
managed not to fall into
her entourage of slaves.
It's kind of just, I'm just,
I'm just gonna, I'm
gonna read it for you.
She knew everything about
the sublimation of loss,
about suffering as the
nourishment of genius,
about pain's residence as
Harmony in a work of art.
And all the same she yielded
to the most banal human
moods and impulses.
Pettiness, impatience,
caprice, stinginess.
She suffered from a craving
for power despite
her generosity.
She toyed with
human fates despite
her contempt for such toying.
She suffered from self-contempt
in spite of her mighty,
self-confidence and pride.
She was a paradox,
outside of any
moral category,
and also, a bad judge.
- Now uh, help me
load up the car.
I can't carry any of these.
It's amazing how much
cosmetics and clothing
a woman needs just
to end her own life.
In a window, I recognized you.
You must be the
one I can't name.
The man with a faint voice.
Behind my voice.
I thought it too was mine.
The Cadence was borrowed.
Thick, muscular chords.
Like those in the
baritone's throat
one day in Europe somewhere.
Years ago, with a
friend who since died.
If clocks can be
trusted with one's life.
In some temple or chapel
we paid to hear a man sing.
I thought I recognized
in the baritone
Sonic and temporal glass,
in the thickness of
that, a note of my own.
An affinity there.
Where such ciphers as
love and infinity's brook
known maudlin or
essential sense,
but anyway somehow sing.
Like one sings to a
child who can't touch.
Out there in the
part of my voice
that remains unselfconscious.
I thought I saw you
in the window there.
In that part of town.
I thought you
would look like me.
But you must be an adopted son.