- for Solveig Dommartin
by Collin Kelley in Blue Fifth Review (Winter 2007)
For seven days I wish you undead.
As long as your name doesn't appear
in the news, the only evidence is this:
a three-line note to tell your final hours,
last words, how you left this world.
Here’s another beautiful woman dead
in the city of lights, another ghost
to haunt familiar streets, when I cross
Place de la Concord or myself
in St. Sulpice where Jacob wrestles
with the angel or himself. You did both,
until January stilled your heart.
For seven days the silent east
gives me hope, as search engines
yield no results, and I perfect chants,
resist candles, hide matches,
but your face glows in the dark,
head bowed, lips parted, a red siren
swaying to a discordant Nick Cave beat.
Although we are connected by wires
and words fly through air between
hot boxes, your death comes slowly,
as if you've burned out the circuitry,
refused to be reduced to binary string,
not after those years traveling the earth
in radiant flesh.
Selfishly, I wish I could dance with you
one last time in your waltz around
the globe, until we are both out of breath,
your laughter and curls wild with life.
Swoon. I’ll catch you.
Born to German/French parents in 1961, Solveig Dommartin made her screen debut as lonely trapeze artist Marion in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire. She would go on to co-write and star in Wenders’ “ultimate road movie,” Until the End of the World, and reprise her role as Marion in Faraway, So Close! In just three films, she left an indelible mark on cinema with her instinctive acting and natural beauty. From the moment she swung into frame in Wings of Desire, mastering the acrobatics in just eight weeks and doing her own high-flying stunts, she captured global attention and gave an emotional heart to a still divided Berlin. When the Chinese government refused Wenders’ entry to shoot parts of Until the End of the World, Dommartin snuck into the country with a miniature camera and filmed a memorable sequence. Her wild hair, her infectious laugh, a face that expertly displayed joy and sorrow, a fearless dedication to craft – these were her gifts to us. Solveig Dommartin died of heart failure in Paris on January 11, 2007.