Happy birthday, honey.
"The past, everything that went before, "is a dry leaf fallen from a dead tree.
"The tree's been cut down.
"The leaf crushed by feet and ground into earth.
"So now... there's only the memory of trees.
"I am the disease that rots the bark of trees.
I am rust and gravity."
"In my dreams, we are all together again, "and my mom is happy.
"But then the leaves all fall off the trees, "and my dad is gone.
I call out to him, but wherever he is, he can't hear me."
Please. This is A.P. english.
If you can't extend a modicum of respect to your classmates, you are free to go right on down the hall to autoshop.
Okay. Thank you.
Miss Denning, how do you feel about, uh, that piece of writing?
Praise? Criticism for, uh, miss Denning's poem?
That's very nice. Good work.
Anyone interested in vying for the, uh, discovery award for young poets, we will be discussing the details today after school in poet's circle, room 302.
And just in case the $3,000 scholarship doesn't entice you, the finals are held in Florida over spring break.
Journals in the box.
Miss Denning... you can go deeper.
You're not staying?
I have to take care of my sister.
Do you want me to pick up an application for you?
They're not gonna pick me.
Auster's judging the finals.
What'd he say to you?
A man in Mexico burst his own eardrums with a pencil and sewed his eyelids shut.
He says because the government is deaf and blind to people's pain.
Lily, shut up.
You better stay in there, you little brat!
I didn't do anything.
Lily... open the door.
What's it gonna take, huh?
Get ready for bed.
It wasn't my fault.
I expect you to take care of her when I'm gone.
Get a babysitter.
I can't afford a babysitter.
You do have a responsibility to this family.
You had her. You take care of her.
What did you say?
Get out of my sight.
It's gonna get infected.
You've gotta stop hurting yourself, Lily.
Mr. Blaisek... channeling Bukowski. Very good.
I believe blow job is two words.
Or maybe it's a hyphen.
Mr. Sutler... another adventure story.
Want a ride?
No, it's okay.
So, you're starting to look for colleges?
Oh, I think I'm just gonna stay here and, um, go to Sinclair.
Well, there are scholarships, you know.
In addition to the contest.
Well, I just got a job, so I'm... I'm kind of busy.
Have your parents ever read your work?
My mom has school after, um, after her work, so she's kind of busy.
And I don't really see my dad.
Birthdays a-and Christmas and... he and my mom don't really get along.
So it's kind of... It's kind of easier that way.
Easier for you?
We're the building up on the... on the right.
I'd like you to enter the poetry contest.
I can give you my lunch hour a few days a week to help you prepare.
But I'm not a poet.
You missed the bus?
You see me on it?
Draw your own conclusions.
Where'd you get those?
Did you take them from the storage space?
Draw your own conclusions.
Put 'em away before mom comes home.
No. The baby.
I wasn't an angel.
It's not me.
You have his face...
Same chubby cheeks, same eyes.
You look just like him.
Lily, get up.
lily, you better be ready to leave in two minutes.
Why are you all dressed up?
Do you have your lunch?
No, I don't want it.
Why are you wearing mom's shirt?
Why are you such a pest?
That's his house.
He won some big award for writing a long time ago.
You know that leather book he carries around?
It's his novel.
How would you know?
My parents used to be friends with him.
If he told you to enter the contest, you're in.
Oh, no, please.
Great poets... touch the hidden nerve.
So we need a map of your nerve centers.
If you're going to reveal them in your work, you need to know where they are.
This is for later.
What, uh, was "the Memory of Trees" about?
You said... "I am rust and gravity."
W-What does that mean?
That I felt bad.
Was there a-a particular time when you felt bad or you just felt bad in general?
I-I don't know.
All right. What was the poem about?
My dad... leaving.
So, what happened when your dad left?
Was it day or night?
Did he say goodbye to you when he left?
Miss Denning, I want you to write about that day in detail.
Write about the weather, write about what you were wearing, what you were thinking.
A whole world emerges from little details.
Uh, for example, when we buried my son, I had forgotten to put in my contact lenses.
And I stood over him before they closed the coffin, trying to fix him in my memory.
I could see the, uh, the red from his sweater and his blue pants.
And there was a scab, uh, on his forehead, um, that... It hadn't healed.
It was from a bicycle accident.
And I could feel that scab when I kissed him.
But when I looked at him, he was...
Well, he was out of focus.
So, when your dad left, what were you doing?
I don't remember.
Um... forget that I'm here, okay?
I'm not here. Just close your eyes.
W-Where are you standing?
By my window... in my room.
Uh, did your dad leave, uh, in a van or a taxi or...
A car. What color was the car?
Okay. Go on.
"You're on a voyage across an uncharted sea.
"You must believe that there is land beyond the horizon.
"What land remains is a question mark.
But that is the mystery, the joy of discovery."
He doesn't write that stuff to me.
Maybe he'll ask you to the prom.
Meg, mom wants to talk to you.
She won't. She's on a hunger strike.
Well, I can't make her.
I thought your class was only till 9:00.
You tell me.
I don't know.
Well, why did you laugh?
I d... I don't know.
Are you afraid I'm gonna tell you that your work stinks?
What do youthink?
Probably. I-I don't know.
Come back when you do.
It doesn't stink.
There's a line that I... I like.
Uh, which one?
"Lost leaves spin past the glass, "but the trees don't go.
They stay by my window."
What about the rest of it?
I could go deeper.
Good for you.
So, Meg, um, how are things going over at Seymour and Cedar?
Did they say they were happy with her?
Well, Steve hasn't called.
Well, I guess that's good.
Uh, you don't have school tomorrow, do you, mom?
No. Hon... honey, my, uh, interview is tomorrow.
Well, I-I just have this thing...
This writing contest where we, uh, are gonna read our stuff.
Um, after school.
I don't know if I'll be able to make it.
I don't know when I'll be done.
I didn't call to confirm.
That's all right. I talked to him this afternoon.
Oh. Well, um, did he say who else he was considering?
Hmm? Somebody in plastics.
Hmm. A man or a woman?
Then you'll have to take the bus to Mrs. Rands' tomorrow, okay?
Maybe when I get this job, we can all go out and celebrate, huh, the four of us?
Did you send Don a thank-you note?
Well, please do that.
He didn't have to help you get that job.
I'd like to read your story.
It's not a story.
Oh, well, I thought you said...
It's a poem.
Well, I would like to read it.
Georgia in the contest, too?
Well, maybe her mom can drop you off at Mrs. Rands'.
I don't want to go there, mom. Her house stinks.
Don went to a lot of trouble to get me this interview.
And if I get that job, it'll be a lot more money for all of us.
So, don't be a pip.
Wish me luck.
Let it go.
This is called "Blue Car."
"I rode my bike past our old house.
"A rusty chair keeps your place on the lawn.
"Lily cuts holes in herself to hurt you, "but you just won't bleed.
"Now she won't eat.
"Since you left, mom doesn't say your name.
"But even gone, I remember your face.
"The way the sun stays bright when I shut my eyes.
"The way a torch whipping the dark
"leaves a long red scar.
"Some nights when I wake up, I forget where we are.
"From our apartment, I can't see the stars or the horizon.
"Only the road.
I know it goes to wherever you are."
Do you have a second?
I-losing a contest doesn't mean you lack talent any more than... than winning one makes you Ezra Pound.
Do you understand that?
All of your life, you'll be judged.
Some people will love you. Some will say you stink.
None of it matters.
The opinions of these judges, your friends, your mother, me.
What matters is the condition of your soul.
That it remain intact.
And that you stay strong and you keep doing the work, no matter what.
No matter what.
I have to go.
Yes, you did.
So now we have to talk about how to get you to the finals.
Florida? A-are you gonna be there?
Uh, yeah, I'll be there.
Miss Pound, you can, uh, you can go.
I would actually be reporting directly to Don, though Frank would be my boss.
So, when do you hear?
Could be as soon as Monday.
I know you've been picking up the slack lately.
How does, uh, sperm get into the egg to fertilize it?
I have some books at home.
I've read those books.
If the sperm is in the... man's penis and then the egg is in the woman's ur... uretus, so, how do they come together?
Did I give you permission to borrow my blouse?
So how does the egg come out of the uretus?
Do we have to have another talk with Father Alwort?
No, thank you.
Then keep your hands off of things that don't belong to you.
How does the egg come out of the uretus?!
Uterus! Did you hear me?
Don't touch my things without asking!
"So our lives are difficult and perhaps unpardonable, "and the fey gods of youth have, as the old men told us they would, faded."
"But still, it is morning again, this day.
"In the flowering trees the birds take up their indifferent, elegant cries."
"look around. Perhaps it isn't too late to make a fool of yourself again."
"Perhaps it isn't too late
"to flap your arms and cry out, "to give one more cracked rendition of your singular, aspirant song."
Is this where they have it?
Oh. You can hold on to that if you'd like.
Come on, then. Here.
Oh, no, thanks. It's okay. No. No.
I will be offended if you don't.
What kind of bread is this?
Um, it's, uh, rosemary. You've never had it before?
Um, tell your mom if she has any questions, she can call me.
Do you think she'll be able to come with you?
I, um, I haven't asked her yet.
Well, if your family can't afford to send you, the school might consider...
We can afford it.
Do you think I could win?
The girl wants to win.
Uh, maybe I should write that here on the application, huh?
Well, no, maybe I should change my poem.
Like, write about America, or write about something nice.
You write what you care about.
Can you read me some of your novel?
W-What do you mean, my novel?
Georgia told me.
I'm not gonna copy or anything.
You know, just for inspiration.
"In one creative thought, "a thousand nights of love revive.
"Filling it with sublimity and exaltation.
"And those who come together in the night
"in a rocking delight
"do an earnest work and gather sweetnesses, "gather depth and strength
"for the song of some coming poet
"who will arise to speak of ecstasies beyond telling.
"And though they err and embrace blindly, the future comes all the same."
Hey. Uh, no. Um, what's up?
Can I have some money for lunch?
Meg, this is, uh, this is my son Rob.
This is Meg. Hi.
I never realized he was your son.
That's my son.
Ready or not, the future comes all the same.
She took me to the doctor.
What'd he do?
We met Don afterwards.
Did she get the job?
I don't look like anyone... not even myself.
Diane: He said not to indulge her.
When she gets hungry enough, she'll eat.
Megan: He's a quack, mom.
She hasn't had anything but water in two weeks.
She's probably eating at school.
Maybe we could take her to Florida... over spring break.
It's a really good place for sick people.
I cannot afford the bills I have, Megan.
I can't take you on a vacation.
Well, if you get the job, then...
I'm not getting the job.
Angels don't fall out of the sky.
They emerge from within.
There is an angel within each one of you, and he is your personal bridge to heaven.
This is the body of christ.
This is the body of christ.
Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God.
I am an angel.
The lord knows you are, my child.
The body of christ.
The body of christ.
Lily? Oh, god.
Is it hurting you?
We'll get the nurse to fix it.
What do you think?
Woman on P.A.: Shopping for that special someone?
It's Meg Denning.
I'm sorry to bother you.
Well, I just wanted to talk.
My sister's not doing very well.
Mr. Kastran? Yeah?
I have a family emergency. Is it okay if I go home early? My dad's here.
Are there any customers upstairs? No.
Megan, she's gonna be okay.
I don't know.
No, she will. She's in the hospital now, and they're gonna take very good care of her.
It's okay. She's gonna be fine.
I want to take her to Florida. Mm-hmm.
Everything's gonna be fine.
I'm not gonna listen to my mom anymore.
You gonna be okay?
Sorry if I, um, got stuff all over your shirt.
It's not a problem.
Why are you so nice to me?
I-I mean, I-I'm glad.
Thanks for coming.
Where the hell have you been? I forgot my backpack.
Where were you? Work.
I called work. they said that you left with your father.
How did you get home?
I have been driving around for two hours looking for you.
I called your father.
He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
You want to go to Florida?
I can't even trust you 2 miles from home. Get in there.
You can go to school and to work and to the hospital... That's it.
You will come straight home after work.
And if you don't, then you don't get to work.
Do you understand me?
When I find out who your little boyfriend is, I'm gonna tell his parents he's an inconsiderate little brat.
Unfortunately, we do need your mother to co-sign for any withdrawals.
But it's my account.
That's the way the account was originally set up.
I wish that you could stay with us.
Do you guys drive?
No. We fly... unless Pat goes.
But he's on parole, thank god.
The four of us in one car for ten hours is basically hell.
You know, you probably could stay with us.
I-I don't think Tampa's very far from Siesta beach.
That way, all's you'd have to do is pay for the airline ticket.
I-I don't know these people.
They're really nice.
Uh, did they invite us or is this just Georgia?
Georgia said that she was gonna ask her family.
If you need to work, then, you know, I could take Lily, and you can have a break.
I don't know, Megan. I just...
Could you... close that door, honey?
Because I don't believe you.
What about my feelings?
I got you some chocolate, too.
They can make you disappear in the night.
They break the doors and windows, and then they amputate the wings.
Can you see them?
They won't grow because there's invisible food in the tubes.
Lily, you don't need wings.
We're gonna fly to Florida... in a plane.
The ceiling's too low.
What did they say?
They're gonna move her.
The psychiatric wing.
Hey. Everything okay at home?
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Everything's fine.
Um, I was just wondering if it'd be possible to get my pay in cash this week.
That could probably be arranged.
Thanks a lot.
When did you purchase these?
Couple weeks ago. Mm-hmm.
They were, like, $40 each.
You bought them here?
Yeah. This isn't our stock.
Perhaps if you can find your receipt.
I got them at the Bierman's in Oak Meadow.
I'm afraid I can't help you.
Oh, god, no.
It's Li... it's Lily. The...
The window w-was open, and... and she fell.
Oh, Jesus, god, no!
We deliver her up to you, O lord, to your arms and your mercy.
The 23rd psalm.
The lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
Bless the lord, O my soul, and all that is within me.
I don't belong here? Go away.
For god's sakes, she's my daughter. You wouldn't know it.
You don't come around.
And whose fault is that exactly?
Am I the one trying to turn the kids against you?
You never did.
You just stay away from her.
You didn't know Lil when she was alive.
I'm going to work.
Yeah. All right, fine. That's how we'll handle it, then.
Do you have any personal belongings here?
Your pay should just about cover the cost of the ties.
Get out of my store. I need my money.
Yeah, you should have thought of that before you stole from me.
What are you tal... I didn't steal anything.
Come on. Get out of here.
No, I didn't steal anything.
What are you doing?
Where are they? The things you stole.
I didn't steal anything.
I thought we were done with this.
Get out of my room.
When you contribute to the rent of this place, then it'll be your room.
Hey! Hey! That's my stuff!
Go ahead, ground me.
You're never even home.
What are you gonna do, hire an armed guard?
I'm going to Florida or wherever else I want to go.
It's none of your business.
Then maybe you better find some place else to live.
Fine. I'll go live with dad.
Oh, good. You do that. You do that.
You think he's so wonderful?
You go see how you like it over there.
At least he doesn't try to control everything I do.
Your father doesn't give a shit about you.
How many times did he come around here last year?
He doesn't come here because of you.
He can't even manage to pay the lousy $60 a week in child support he owes me.
I am up to here in debts trying to give you a life I can't afford.
I go to work 12 hours a day and I go to school at night so that I can make life nice for you.
And all that I ask is that you respect the few rules that I lay down.
And when I stick my neck out to get you a job, you don't embarrass me in front of my friends.
That's all you care about, isn't it?
Your stupid friends! Stupid Don!
You're an ungrateful brat.
What do you think you're doing?
You can't just pack her away into a storage unit like you did with dad.
Put that back in there.
She's not yours, you fucking bitch!
I'm sure your mother feels a...
A tremendous grief and... to lose a child is, uh... well, my son Lucas was only 4.
You want to tell me how you feel?
I don't know.
How do you think your sister would feel if she lost you?
I don't know.
W-Who would she be mad at?
Why would she be mad at your mom?
Do you think your mom could have saved her?
Maybe I... maybe I could have.
This is not your fault.
It's not your f... Oh, come here.
You are... v-very beautiful, and you are, um...
and you are very, um...
listen, why don't you take some time?
Take all the time you need and... you can stay here as...
Okay. All right.
We'll be home in a half an hour.
All right. Bye.
It's okay. You can stay with us.
Every time we have a break, he comes...
You ladies have a full evening planned, huh?
Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll?
Pat's a delinquent.
"Pat's a delinquent."
Na na na na na.
Do I detect a fellow fuckup?
So, I was lifting credit cards
'cause nobody ever checks that shit.
I'd buy some stuff, okay? And I'd sell it for cash.
I've done a bunch of fucked-up shit that I'm not really proud of in my life.
But, you know, now I'm, uh, I'm really trying to make it up to the people I hurt, like my parents.
They're so fucking cool. I'm sorry.
But the fucking feds, okay, bust my ass in Vegas because some chick at the bank is supposed to tell the casino that I got some sort of line of credit set up.
But instead, she fucking bones me.
Yeah. Do you believe that shit?
Excuse my fucking french.
But these motherfuckers... I'm sorry...
Cuff me, haul my ass down to jail.
And my parents, they gotta fucking bail me out.
Let me tell you something.
You put that shit out there, it's coming back.
You gotta set it straight. seriously. It's like a boomerang.
Well, I've done some things, stole some things.
Well, you know, you just gotta try and find a balance.
You know, you see a hungry guy, you give him some food, you know?
Now, if I gotta take something from somebody, you know?
I just gotta try and find a way to give something back.
It's a... it's a give-and-take sort of thing.
Yeah. I was... I was trying to go to Florida.
You going with my folks?
No. No. I was trying to get the money so I could take a bus.
You ever been on a bus before?
Huh? Yeah. No.
You're gonna sit beside some fat fucking bas...
Sorry. Some fat guy, okay?
For 14 hours. Forget about it.
I'll take you.
I'm heading down to the Bahamas.
So, uh, when you need to go?
Well, I-I have this thing... this contest... In a couple of days.
Okay. I'll take you.
I don't... I don't have any money, but I could share the driving. Hey, don't worry about it, okay?
If, uh, if I need a favor, you know, you'll do it for me, right?
What's the name on the prescription?
Uh, Gross, g-r-o-s-s.
Her first name is Doris.
Um, do you know when he called it in?
Um, hang on.
You all right?
Yeah, yeah. You sure?
Let's see what you got here.
All right. Show me the goods.
We got vicodin. Nice. Good score.
People pay a lot of money for it.
Oxycontin. Oh, man. This stuff is so good.
You know why? It fucks you up.
Fat people love this stuff.
And vacana... what the...
I have no idea what the hell that is.
What's in here?
We got viagra and contraception... diaphragm.
Nice. Wonder what these people are up to, huh?
Good job, partner.
Let's go to the bank.
The day I started G.A., some dude says to me, "Going straight takes balls."
So I got me some.
There you are.
Mad money for the lady, Give and take.
...are so stupid. I'm sure.
Every day is... that looks funny.
Shh. Shh. Shut up.
You have the, uh, hour to write.
Um, then please put your journals in the box.
And, uh, bon vacance.
I was gonna leave you a note.
I guess I'll just see you in Florida.
Is something wrong?
I tell you everything.
Did I do something?
I wish I could show you how I feel.
Hey. Here. Whoa.
Um, thank you for helping me.
That's great. Oh, a tie.
That's so nice, I'm gonna have to get myself a shirt now.
So, when are we leaving?
Crack of dawn. Okay.
Yeah. So, why don't you get your bony ass to bed?
Yeah. All right.
Man: When was the last time you saw him?
Woman: Last night.
Did he give you any, uh, indication as to where he was going?
So just the, uh, the jewelry, uh, coins, and the car.
Uggghhh! My stupid idiot brother.
He skipped his parole.
So, maybe he's gonna come back.
He's not coming back.
He took my dad's watch collection and my mother's heirloom silver.
What time are you guys going to the airport?
We're not going.
I'll give you $75.
That's with the jacket and the bike.
That's a diamond.
Yeah, but see that little brown spot?
That ain't worth nothing.
Just a coke.
Is this where the poetry contest is?
Uh, yes, it is.
How much are the rooms?
Oh, they start about $189.
The, um, front desk is this way.
Oh, no, it's okay. I'm at another hotel.
Oh, it's great. You guys should go in.
We will. It's great.
I can do it.
No, you never do. Hi.
Oh, you all know one another?
Uh, Miss Denning's in my A.P. English.
Oh. You're here for the contest?
Would you like to join us? Uh...
Yeah, come on. Here. Pull up a towel.
I don't know if that's allowed, Tony.
Fraternizing with the contestants before the big event.
I am the very soul of objectivity.
I'm Delia. Pleased to meet you.
Come along, little fish.
Now? I don't... Get your water wings on.
Come on! Mom...
When did you get here?
Oh, just last night.
Uh, you... you missed the gala opening-night festivities.
I missed seeing you there.
You don't like the sun?
I like it too much. Ha.
Your wife seems nice.
She can be.
It's fucking freezing.
Okay. Let's have some drinks.
I'll have a beer.
Oh, I'm sorry. What's... What's your name?
Meg. Meg, here.
Why don't you and Meg go in search of drinks?
And Meg can change.
Let the relaxation begin.
Who wants to play a game?
You gonna cheat like you always do?
Oh, I never cheat. I have never cheated in my life.
I am constitutionally incapable of cheating.
Of course, I am a sore loser.
Yeah. That's different.
So, what kind of things do you write?
Dear, it's pronounced "po-em."
I thought she'd want to know.
Oh, I'm sorry. You're her teacher.
Well, I'm sure Meg would like to go swimming with you... darling.
Would you like me to walk you home?
Okay. Just let me get a sweater.
What time are you going out tonight?
You boys gonna behave yourselves?
Right as rain, fine as wine, fit as shit.
You're a lovely girl.
Good luck in the contest tomorrow.
I'm sure you'll do very well.
I might do a little work.
Your wife seems really smart.
She's also extremely unhappy.
We've known each other for a long time.
Well, since we were children, really.
Younger than you.
Does that make you feel uncomfortable?
Uh, you should put this sweater on.
You look... cold.
I don't know.
It just feels funny.
I have a friend who, uh, is going to come down tomorrow.
He edits the "art in review."
I'm gonna talk to him about publishing your new, improved "Blue Car."
I have something for you.
It's kind of stupid, but...
What is this?
You probably don't even wear ties.
Is this okay?
Are you sure?
Is this where you write?
You warm now?
Oh, you are so beautiful.
You all right?
Will you lie down with me?
You okay? Yeah.
Do you want me?
Do you want me?
Say yes. Say yes.
Oh. Oh, come on.
Do you need me to walk you home?
No, it's okay.
What's your book about?
It's about an old man who falls for a young girl.
You don't believe me?
How does it end?
They make love, and he is transformed.
Make me proud tomorrow.
Make yourself proud... and fame and fortune will follow.
Are you sure you don't want something to eat?
Do you like bacon? It's okay. I'm not hungry.
And real syrup, too. None of that fake crap.
Oh, wait, I need that.
The napkin? I'm sorry, honey.
I'm just trying to get some of this stuff out of your way.
I never got a check.
Oh, don't worry about it.
"So, do not look up to me, my friend, "for now I realize
"that growing up is nothing more than knowing your own size."
...po-em... is for Mr. Auster.
It's called "Now that I've read your book."
"I've memorized the lines.
"It was easy...
"The dirty white pages, "A margin of fancy designs.
"You draw outlines of inverted hearts, "but mine's real, not a valentine."
"As for the details..."
"As for the details, "fiction, fiction, lies, lies.
"I am the coming poet who will arise.
"Crippled phoenix, I fly up from your bed of ashes.
"When my dad left, "I cut off my hands
"and sewed up my eyes.
But that didn't keep me from reaching for you."
"Thank you for the gold star and your leaving."
"Blue car, gold star.
The leaving is a gift I will always hang on to."
Oh, this is it.
Hi. Um, is my dad there?
It's, um... it's Meg.
I called dad.
Maybe it'll be better for a while.
I know he's not perfect, but...
I need him, too.
Do you remember when we drove into the country that one time?
To the place where they sell penny candy?
And it was you, me, Lily, and mom?
And we were driving over the bumps on the road so fast, it felt like we were flying?
I like this car.
This old car likes you, too.