Monday, 21 April 2008

Lon Chaney

Lon Chaney Snr. Horror film actor and Man of A Thousand Faces. Son of profoundly deaf parents, he entered silent film as a result of re-enacting characters and scenes to his family and bed-ridden Mother. Known for his exceptional make-up skills as well as his acting, especially for Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera. Father of Lon Chaney Jr, who went on to become "Wolf Man"

Anyway this is only my second draft - constructive criticism welcome. There are a number of karmic threads here that could be explored. But I' m thinking aloud.

Lon Chaney

At the light bulb adorned mirror
His sits where the Beautiful People have gone:
The seat still warm with the backside of
Patsy Ruth Miller.
He unpacks his palette with care:
Wire for pig-turned nose, black paint for skeletal eye,
Shoulder pulling weight to pound his back
Into hunched immortality.
Tools to make him a starlet of heinous

Like tender kisses
He applies the layers of Horror
Each one containing its own misery and
Comedy equally honoured.
He bends cheekbone, nose and wire into position:
Salutations to a hundred cavernous nights and silences
Each illness and broken throat
Memorised by the absence of speech.

Smear by smear he moulds each of his dreadful
Broken children.
Each old new infant blinks under light
Born into its role of death as love’s dialogue:
Tendering the currency of bastards
Tied away to sickness, bed and shadow.

Poised, the creature is ready
to break out into celluloid like a putrid rash
And wear for the Beautiful People their lonely
inner visions.
His trade: to unmask by masking.
The phantom and the hunchback stand,
lurch, stare and groan back at painful features.
Ready to go forward and make shadow flesh:
Ready to drag the grotesque to love.


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