Two years ago today, I was sat at a cafe on Sunset Blvd reading a script, when one of the greatest actors in history walks in, he wore a checkered shirt, was unshaved and probably hadn't showered that morning. I went to the bathroom to work up the courage to tell him how much his work had affected me and my life, when I got back he was gone. Two weeks later he died of an overdose. I was so heartbroken I had not expressed myself to one of my heroes when I had the chance, I sat down and wrote this poem for Philip Seymour Hoffman;
Art is the belly button lint from when you forget to shower that morning
Art is your mismatched socks and uncombed hair.
It is the crack in your voice when you wake up in the morning
The courage to say I'm just as fucked up as you are, ain't that beautiful?
The hair that creeps up your wrist to the back of your hand as time ticks by
Art is the yearning to come to the deepest part of you and me, to the common inevitable loneliness we feel everyday. Without the pretense of perfection, just the stains on our shirt collar.
A George Grosz drawing of a homeless drunk with a cigarette hanging from his lips.
The grey that we swim through with cement on our lashes. Art is the light in our hearts.
The feeling that we miss and the new one that we gain from missing.
Rubble in the darkness, broken glass in the day. I'm lost either way, but dirty and broken I stand before life with hope for better days.
I don't know where I'm going but I remember everyday from where I came. How do you still love me, despite me?
I want to be someone else
I want to see something else
I want to touch my skin and feel scales, see with different eyes
Hear with ears that fucking listen properly
My beard is itching and my pants are down. My throat hurts and my back is all scratched and scarred, quick somebody get a camera.
I don't care that my eyes are red, they're suppose to be red I have responsibilities. Fuck it there's a drink in the fridge and art on the walls, let's talk.
I've developed 509 characters that will never be seen by anyone. I give everything I have to every performance. Even if they slap me in the face tell me I'm done, tell me I should have done it differently, tell me to get out the room and let the next one in. I hold my head up and do it again, to prove that I can. Not because I need a job, I have a job. But because this thing we're doing is important. Not that I'm important, but that years later that audience can be looking down a rough and broken road and see my face and the sacrifice I made for a dream. A moment between strangers and start piecing that road back together or walk over it despite all its bumps and potholes.
That's what you did for me. At 18 I sat in an empty London theatre, watching Capote, waiting to get into drama school along with 6,000 other hopefuls. An unreachable distance between that moment and my dream of being in films. I found hope in the courage of your performance to bare yourself completely in another's skin. I sent a text as the credits rolled "mesmerizing". I went home and spent what pounds I had left on PSH for the win. You won.
RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23 1967 - February 2nd 2014)