‘Leviathan’ Short Review

a documentary directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel

I’ve been meaning to watch this documentary for a while after reading about it in the New York Times. It’s a unique cinematic experience, one I should have seen in the theater. So strange, so difficult to forget. I don’t know if it’s fair to recommend it, as I know with very little story to hold on to, the visuals and sounds will probably put most to sleep. But if you’re a bit of a filmmaking geek, you might want to catch this oddity.

The Empty Quarter

Black Cadillac,
silver waves,
along the forever sea.

Shift it into neutral,
allow it to slide over,
setting the beast free again.

When you go under,
the children dive down,
to catch you,
but you refuse their fingers.

So you sink,
touching sabertooths,
the dead things,
my first things.

Salt & Sea

Hands to face,
hold the boy,
lest he fall away,
like all my sons have,
they found their escape,
bedrooms to the outside -
the world kills all men,
the world destroys all things.

We dug up bones along the shore,
carrying them in buckets back home,
memories of the sea.
Built a treehouse in the sycamore,
four walls painted blue,
and in winter we stayed close for warmth.

Downstairs the world spins on,
the girls in their dresses,
and I will dance with them,
with a pocket full of the sea,
she whispers, “I will grow up to be an empire,
and I’ll let you conquer me . . . but only if you want to?”

Singsong

Breathing ribs,
wrestling childhood foes.
We played superheroes,
one crushing the other.

We watched from the forest’s edge,
the Iroquois, setting fire to it all,
their bodies were half man / half king.

No need for rifles
with speed like their’s,
but with knives you can stab Caesar,
because if you erase a god
you can create one of your own -
or so we were told.

When the embers settled,
we wiped the blades clean against our jeans,
hid the body next to his sons,
under burnt offerings of branches and leaves.

Kith & Kin

I’m running,
fingers brushing through the field,
shotguns after me,
dogs chasing,
deeper,
to where the sky was born.

When they catch up,
they tear and bite,
gnawing down to the marrow,
until there’s only a ghost,
each bone haunting the other.

Sleeping underneath children’s beds,
until I find my son’s,
his mother singing a lullaby,
and I whisper along,
until he falls asleep,
and then I join him in the dream -
we build forts out of bearskin,
I show him the river, I show him the trees,
I teach him the name of all things,
I show him my scars made by dogs,
where faith meets sternum,
deeper,
to where the sky was born.