Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Master

A jolt of joy and promise 
A young man’s wicked smirk 
Dough-soft and putty-pink, 
Nature’s punching bag 
Bullied no longer - he exploded. 
This little pig went ape. 

The smooth structure of night 
The way we feed 
The lavish consumption 
The hunger 
I feel that missing “o” 
Hanging off of a sad moustache. 
In and out and in and out 
Relishing every minute 

Wishing this could rattle on forever. 
Silently, she shows him. 
At the edge - nothing so vulgar 
Life lived to the hilt 
Between the sincere and insincere
The smack of satisfaction 
The ratio of demons to angels 
Where there can be only sorrow 

Sprawled in a haze of heroin 
How crushing addiction can be 
A spirit from the same tribe 
The flame of feeling that stoked 
Inside that ordinary body 
An immaculate jacket 
Helplessly he stands there. 
Arms flapping at his sides. 

Slumming was not an option. 
He joined the barn dance 
His hair neatly brushed by a fussy mother. 
Triggering the blind rage rough red-faced rant. 
The pains that he took 
To camouflage his bag of tricks. 
The full-blooded swagger 

Putting on a show. 
A modest approach 
An unexpected trait 
A force of nature 
The bulk and blaze of him - that’s gone.

In memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is a cutout poem for the Imaginary Garden taken from the February 11, 2014 New Yorker article the Master. All the words in this poem are from this article and in the order they appeared.


  1. This is an amazing piece, Sam. A fitting tribute but also a poem about Everyman - the anti-hero in every society.

  2. I agree with Kerry. "The Master" depicts an Everyman character, and Philip Seymour Hoffman played one in art as well as life. I wish he had been saved and able to live.
    (Everyman is a medieval morality play in which one actor stands in for everyone and thus reveals the human condition through his actions.)

  3. excellent, Sam ~

  4. You do him honor and justice. I recognized the article as soon as I read your poem, having read it yesterday. Really well done.

  5. wow, wonderful and compelling, Sam. i've been quite impacted by his death (well, in addition to his acting) and this is a fine, fine representation.

  6. Well cut, my have found a new voice to pay tribute to a such a lovely man, right from the newsprint ashes of his death. Viva la and thanks for posting!

  7. Nice, Sam, very nice ~~ I think we all were impacted some by Hoffman's death. He was doing so good there for a long while. One never knows.
    "Sprawled in a haze of heroin
    How crushing addiction can be "

    Did you know that Charles Dickens had an addiction to heroin? I loved reading Dan Simmons' book, Drood. I also have Dickens' unfinished Drood on my iP's (pad and phone) but haven't read his, the original, yet. Simmons' book told about the addiction.

    1. I didn't know about dickens - I knew bout the Romantics - Blake, Shelly, Wordsworth - were all hopped up on Laudanum. There is a legacy of addiction in the Arts for sure.

  8. Beautifully penned. The bulk and blaze of him. That's gone.

    When Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t on-screen, you missed him. He had so many more characters to play.

    Sometimes the noise is too much.
    He will be greatly missed.

  9. His death has touched so many people. I like the picture you added - just showing him in a human moment.

  10. Beautifully done Sam. Very impressive images and intense emotions.

  11. Wonderful. A great flow to it and the various images that come up are really good. The progression towards the end is also well done.

  12. The bulk and blaze of him … gone. So many "moments" in this poem that speak volumes. I'd like to think that someone(s) will learn from this and change their ways.

  13. I was shocked to learn of his death & the cause of it ~ How this drug addiction got the best of such a talented man ~ Very well done Sam ~ And Welcome to Real Toads ~


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