Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause
has shot puppies and been deemed
a public menace and is in a police station
where James Dean is sleeping one off
in the shoe shine chair where he’s being
drunk and annoying because Nicholas Ray
thinks that is the admixture of adult-as-child
and he’s right since Sal Mineo is a puppy killer.
All right, I’ll try and say this again, without
James Dean and Sal Mineo this time--
I’d have you look in the direction of Natalie Wood
who isn’t attracted to Dean’s schoolboy antics
or to pouty Sal Mineo because she’s got a boyfriend
named Buzz and Father Issues. Natalie Wood gives up
a number to a cop who phones and gets her mother.
Disappointment is etched on her too-gorgeous face
like the per-service prices on the board outside
above the shoe shine chair. Disappointment
is her cue to throw a hissy fit then leave
a make-up mirror that Dean retrieves
so they fall in love and rescue one another.
Sal Mineo wants a family, too. Not
a Negro nanny, a family like Dean’s
where Mom and Pop change roles, though
Sal Mineo doesn’t know that (never will)
lying dead from a gunshot wound in front
of the Griffith Observatory planetarium
with one red sock and one blue sock
and James Dean zipping up a red
leather jacket like Sal Mineo
hadn’t shot those puppies
because he had a .45 and time
and nothing better to do.