A Tribute to a Savage Magnolia

Philip Seymour HoffmanSome almost famous actors are imitators,
Memorizing lines and affectations.
The action-cool clichéd Hollywood dude,
Shirtless gunshots and six-pack car crashes,
All facade to hide their insecurities.

But you summoned something otherworldly,
Angelic channeler, laid bare for the world to see.
Flawlessly flawed with a shadow on your shoulder,
Whispering in your ear that it held
The secret comfort you longed to touch and know.

Another great loss, too young, too soon.
So savage to be found with a needle in your arm.
The struggle even the master couldn’t conquer
A death-wish dance with the devil.

Was it all too much, or not enough at all?
Did you get to feel it all before you never felt again
Inside the bottomless burn and the rush of inebriation
on your way to Wonderland?

Three children, now fatherless, just as you were.
A karmic cycle you couldn’t break.
Will they look to you to make it rain?
When they watch your boogie nights life played out on film,
Will it lull them to sleep?

This is the moment in their lives when time stands still.
For the rest of their lives, they will long to go back
To the scene in the movie where you don’t leave them hanging
To try to stop you, to make you stay.
But it’s make-believe.

“I’m probably more personal when I’m acting than at any other time. More open, more direct. Because it allows me to be something that I can’t always feel comfortable with when I’m living my own life, you know? Because it’s make- believe.” -Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

3 thoughts on “A Tribute to a Savage Magnolia

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  1. A tragic loss, Marlene. I got pissed it about but didn’t cry about it, until reading your blog. Thank you for sharing with such vulnerability, vulnerability that this dear brilliant man perhaps could not show unless it was make-believe.

    1. Cate,

      It’s so good to hear from you even if it’s through this tragic loss. PSH was my favorite actor. I felt like I connected right into the essence of him, no matter the role. Writing this poem helped me work through it. It’s odd to grief the loss of someone I didn’t know, but felt like I could know. How are you? I would love to touch base outside of my blog. Maybe we need a phone date! XO


  2. A lovely work that reaches beyond just the Hollywood movie persona into the personal tragedy of this terrible loss. There is something truly savage about the way he was found the left everything bare. It all too rare that actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman get the opportunity to be accepted by larger general public.

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