You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.


It’s not often that I am moved by reading a student’s paper. In fact I’d say it has never happened before. Who can get moved by dry shot analysis of films I’ve seen a million times over? But it just happened. A student wrote a paper about a film I haven’t seen, Silverlake Life, which is a documentary about a gay male couple dying of AIDS. The student is describing a scene that takes place after one of the men has died and been cremated and his lover is pouring the ashes into an urn on the bathroom floor. Ashes spill out the sides and dust the floor. After filling the urn he tries to clean up the dust and spilled ashes that still powder the air. “You’re all over the place, Tom,” he says, chuckling. And in the paper the student makes the point that this goes beyond ashes, that when a person is physically gone they still remain, in invisible but omnipresent ways, in memories, in the air, the environment.

Related cute Tegan & Sara lyric:

stick your hands inside my pockets/keep them warm while I’m still here/tell me this love hasn’t changed you/hasn’t changed you at all

2 Responses to “Loss”

  1. Mika Cooper
    May 25th, 2005 | 1:34 am

    omg, that is the most harrowing film!

    i used to teach it in my glbt lit. course.

    there’s this one moment, only a few weeks before tom dies, when he —who, for all his physical deterioration, has always maintained a pretty wry disposition— is asked how he feels. “i’m not feeling too chipper,” he mumbles and slurs, barely audibly, looking as deeply angry and despairing as someone too weak to manage to talk and make facial expressions can look. “i’m feeling bad, real bad.” his lover, mark, can’t understand the words at all and asks him to repeat them a couple of times before giving up. it’s a really moving cinematic moment, full of weird dramatic ironies (since, obviously, now, mark, peter the filmmaker, and the audience, with the benefit of microphones and hindsight, know exactly what tom was trying to say.

    definitely, try to see it, if you can (but best with friends & during the daytime).

    i’m sooooo flattered you thought of coming to see me at wreckage!!! wouldn’t that have been FABULOUS? our first meeting consists of my pulling my skirt up to my waist, wiggling my butt in your face, and inviting you to stuff a dollar into my panties! well, i’m gonna try to write and record some new stuff for three weeks from now . . . .

  2. cynthia rockwell
    May 25th, 2005 | 9:22 pm

    it does sound harrowing, both from my reading of the student’s paper and your description. i do plan to see it eventually (and in fact should have seen it since it was assigned to the class i t/a).

    and yes i can’t imagine a better way to meet someone!