Elijah Wood and River Phoenix

As I sit on my front porch, the end of the evening,
with the weather warm for the first part of autumn,
I’m still thinking of a movie I watched tonight
starring Elijah Wood.
A talented young actor with life in his eyes
that is evident beyond the craft of his gift.
It is light.

In front of me, three street lights glow
illuminating the night.

I enjoyed the movie tonight, and
for some reason, I was reminded
of another movie I saw some years back.
It too had had a talented young actor,
River Phoenix was his name.
Then one morning soon after I saw that movie
I read in the morning paper over coffee and toast
an obituary for the young Mr. Phoenix.
It saddened me as I recall, not that I knew him,
but that the bright lights in the City of Angels,
had seduced him.
Ultimately betraying and killing this young man.
The Bible tells me that Satan
comes disguised as an angel of light.
Did River Phoenix pass him off as a character actor?
Or, did he not even know?

I don’t know these two young men,
Elijah Wood, and the late River Phoenix,
and when one is cloaked and shrouded in fame
Do we really know them at all? Beyond what
We are given to see? What we’re given to read?

As I sit on my porch, I can hear the traffic
up the road from the busy street continue on.
Life after life stopping and moving
from traffic light to traffic light.
Red, yellow, green.
Lives unseen and unknown keep moving on.

Does anyone remember River Phoenix?
That is, beyond his family and his closest friends?
Does anyone remember
the talent and gift and light in his eyes?

Somewhere in the distance
sirens begin to ring and move
through city traffic.
I stop and listen.
Will the sirens song include an obituary
in tomorrow’s paper?

What of these lights that shine speeding through traffic?
Red, blue, white, round and round with their speeding sound.

One of the three street lamps in front of me, the middle one,
just burned out.

I suppose in the next couple of days
the city
will come by and replace it.

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