Mark Halliday

The Berlinale

Since there has been the Berlinale
why should we be concerned
about any future versions of human cultural activity
that might be impeded or prevented
in a world of fouled air and fouled water
and radiation from leaky troves of nuclear waste
and glaciers disappearing and polar bears extinct
and most kinds of fish extinct?
Why should we worry about kinds of fish
or the Amazon forest ripped down to the dirt
at the rate of a tract the size of New Jersey every year?
There has been the Berlinale
in Potsdamer Platz, the Berlinale,

it has occurred, the really rather splendid Berlinale
with so many hundreds of intelligent people, smart people,
intelligent and smart in their long coats, wearing their black shoes,
chattering with informed excitement in the Berlinale Palast
about “La Vie en Rose” by Olivier Dahan, “Madonnas” by Maria Speth,
“Armin” by Ognjen Svilicic and “Ad Lib Night” by Lee Yoon-ki,
“Witnesses” by Andre Techine and “Irina Palm” by Sam Garbarski,
these amazingly delicate representations of human experience,
these creations formed from thousands of sensitively meshed choices,
interesting movies! Along with
“Tuya’s Wedding” by Wang Quan’an and “Lady Chatterley” by Pascale Ferran

— all these have occurred, these interesting films!
And they’ve all been discussed at the Berlinale.
No dreary facts of destruction, degradation or radiation
can ever undo what has been seen and discussed
in the glittering Berlinale Palast in Potsdamer Platz
and how vast have been the implications –
nearly infinite, surely, and lots to be proud of

and anything further of human cultural bizzbuzz of representation
would only be, so to say, pudding on top of pudding,
really, you know it would only be
more representation of human fussing on earth
which will never have been different really
(varying only in teeny little funky details)
from what has been so fascinatedly seen and discussed
at the Berlinale, the buzzy Berlinale,

hence why should we fret much at all
about a future for this civilization –
we’ve had it, we’ve done it, extension is only extension,
quite marvelous in our ways we’ve been
and whatever else would be likely to come
from future cinema bees who are now children
would only really be repetition, repetition
of the honey we’ve already licked at the Berlinale

so let us relax, relax, enough is at least enough
and we have such troves of films to watch again,
films of 1933 or films of 2003
to watch again until there is no you and me
and scouts from elsewhere in this galaxy
when to our wasted earth they are sent
can say “They screwed up but they sure did represent”
but just before we choke and fry into nonentity
(though one more pretty actress can only be
a repetition) I’d like to see
Marina Hands as Lady Chatterley.
She won applause on earth at the Berlinale.

Mark Halliday teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Ohio University. His fifth book of poems Keep This Forever was published by Tupelo Press in 2008.
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