PAUL KAREEM TAYYAR
Stand By Me, Dir. Rob Reiner, 1986
When I was nine years old I thought it was a movie about friendship,
A narrative about how the meaning of life was to be found in the electric chorus
Of an FM pop song,
An illegal trespass into an almost-abandoned junkyard,
A canteen full of fresh river-water after a day spent walking along the train tracks.
When I was twenty-one years old I thought it was a movie about loss,
About how one does not walk out of childhood willingly,
But is evicted from it,
Sent to wander through a forest full of failed relationships and low-paying jobs,
And about how the parents who never understood you have now passed on,
Silent as only the dead can be.
Now, at thirty-four years old, I believe it is neither a film about friendship nor about loss,
But a picture about imagination,
About how you can always bring those you knew and loved back to life
If you treat your writing as a kind of séance,
A ritual that can cross worlds the way four twelve year olds once crossed
An old Ohio Bridge that stretched across a much younger America.
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