When Vito Corleone Goes Back to Corleone

When Vito Corleone goes back to Corleone
to kill Don Francesco
I’ll give you $1,000 for every Italian-American,
no matter how devoted to Catholic dogma –
no matter how many times he has railed against
portrayals of Italian-Americans in popular media
as either mafioso or dull-witted apes in Ed Hardy t-shirts –
$1,000 for each one out there who says to his screen,
"Why are you going back there Vito?"
"Vito, can’t you let sleeping dogs lie?"
"Vito, you’re doing well in America. Why not just let bygones be bygones?"
"No, Vito. Let the old man live! Yes, he had your father killed, and your brother killed, and also your mother, but look at him, he’s just a weak old man? What would killing him prove?"

When Godfather II is played
for the millionth time
on the television in the TV lounge
of MaCaulay Hall, the retirement home
for the order of the Sisters of Mercy,
and Vito leans into Don Francesco and says
"My father was Antonio Andolini – and this is for you,"
and sticks the blade of the knife
into the old man and rips him open,
from his stomach to his throat,
every 90-year-old-nun in the room
who is still capable pumps her wizened fist
and lets a "Yes!" or, perhaps, "Amen!"
escape from her lips.

We rejoice because it is
something we believe down to our marrow,
whether you’ve been raised on
linguine and the Acts of the Apostles,
beef brisket and Abraham,
humus and the Prophet Muhammad,
or whatever –
actions should have consequences,
because without consequences all is permitted,
because lacking the choice to deliver consequences
or to turn the other cheek and live in the present,
there is only helplessness –
and to be helpless is to be tormented.

* * * * *

Fifteen years ago,
an assassin entered our house
to murder my father,
and he has stayed in our house,
doing his long, slow, cruel work
ever since.

He has rubbed out my father
in painstaking detail over the years,
each day erasing a little more
of him from us and us from him.

And on bad days I think to myself –
where is that far-off padrone,
where is that man in the white suit
who sent this murderer to us
that I may aim my gun at him,
that before sticking the blade in
I may lean into him and whisper
"my father was good man –
and didn’t deserve this."

For what good is a son who is helpless to
do anything.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: