Poem #14 Why I Can’t Enjoy Hitchcock Any More

posted November 19, 2018

I was always drawn to the tiny girls.
Soshanna wore her hair pulled back, but only the top part
Kira Lishka was pale as a white rabbit
Karen Average was my best friend when I was six, but I didn’t find out her name wasn’t Average until I was forty-seven
Jennifer was delicate and tender hearted
Billie Jean King played like a man. Even her name was all male.

Why was I drawn to the tiny girls? The dainty, the ones whose legs looked like they might break in between the fingers when a giant snapped?
Why did I prefer Chris Evert to Billie Jean?
What is the part of me that prefers?
When I say today that I prefer Billie Jean, is that the truth? Or just what I wish I preferred?


What inside the realm of preference is acceptable?
What is outside?

Sex and art and what is loosely known as “taste” slip through the barriers, no matter how hard we try to lasso them.

When I say I used to love Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen
But now their work is forever ruined
By the way they treated their women,
For what part of me is this true?
Is it ruined to the core?
Or do people, like trees,
Have rings circling their trunks,
Rings of truth, rings of preference?
How do these loves crack?

When I watch Manhattan,
I don’t laugh anymore
Not because I am censoring myself
But because the synapses no longer fire.
When I watch The Birds
I am no longer afraid or impressed or intimidated
I am only disgusted at the way the director abused his leading lady.

If I could put my finger
On the felled trunk of my body,
Tracing the ridges of the rings of the past,
Could I touch that laughter, that fear, that respect once again?
For that matter,

How could I have loved two men
(Prior to my husband)
And have no feeling left for them today,
Other than the resinous love for my own life?

The Comments

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  1. Thank you for this, Nerissa. It is a question I too have been pondering of late. I enjoyed “Manhattan” tremendously when it came out. Now I find it creepy. I’m better with early Hitchcock, but I know what you mean. One of my absolutely favorite TV series growing up was “I Spy.” And I still enjoyed it i reruns for decades: the sophistication and intensity of the drama, the humorous banter between the leads, the outstanding performances throughout. But today, all I see is Bill Cosby and I cringe. It hurts to lose something you’ve always loved and enjoyed to more mature reflection and better-informed assessment.

    The poem works perfectly, both for what it is and as a metaphor. That’s the best kind.

    Again, thank you.

    Wishing you and yours the very best for a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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