Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
& for Robert DeNiro
I was the young psychopath Travis Bickle
In Taxi Driver, and I am now the aging guy,
Middle-aged gangster, hair-combed-back
Jimmy Conway in GoodFellas. DeNiro
Not pretty, not the Brando, not James Dean,
But DeNiro who gets the fucking guy job done.
DeNiro's aging mobster maturity keeps guys
Like me going now. American guys, tough
Guys, guys afraid of the world and women
And their place in both. Guys ready
To jack some serious jaw if it comes
To that, guys ready to go to jail if jail
Is preceded by doing the right guy thing.
Guys coming up through the ranks,
The hard way, guys who don't like dinner
Parties but do like to sit down and eat
Like animals. Like pigs. Like a dog
Guys, guys who don't put much store
In houses, guys who dream only of cars always.
In typical disguise, guys tough on the outside
And guys who are always mush and shit
And "Stella!" inside their guy. Inside me,
I see now, is a pantheon of American film boys,
But none so real and solid as the DeNiro guy.
He the one who represents us in France,
Inside, in everywhere-else-in-the-world; he our
American guy, up through the ranks,
Did it the hard way, American guy guy.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.