Ray from Acting Class


Ramón went to acting class at this place in the Valley
I called him Ray, it was easier
He was my acting partner
We’d do scenes together
I was better than him
I don’t mean to be an asshole when I say that
Because everybody was better than him
He was the Private Pyle of the group
And I was like Private Joker
You know, like in that movie Full Metal Jacket
I was looking after him
Trying to make him better

Ray was raised by his grandmother
They used to watch movies together all the time
Ray would watch the movies and dream of being a movie actor one day
He told his grandmother he was going to be a star

Ray didn’t improve much in the acting class
The teacher picked on him a lot
And made Ray feel like he was no good
But Ray hung in there
He wanted to succeed for his grandmother
He wanted to believe that all the work grandmother did
Raising him
And caring for him
Wasn’t done in vain

Ray kept trying to do well in the class
But one day the teacher pulled him aside
And told him he should maybe do something else with his life
The teacher didn’t want to be harsh
But he said some people just have it
And others don’t, no matter how hard they try
He had seen too many people be encouraged to death
So it was best to be honest with the students
Ray said he understood
But he went back to his grandmother’s place in San Pedro
And he got very depressed
He was very hard on himself
Ray went to the Vincent Thomas Bridge
He jumped off it

No mother should ever have to bury her son
But what’s probably worse is a grandmother burying her grandson
And that’s what happened with Ray’s grandmother
She had to bury her own grandson

She always told him she’d love him no matter what
Star or no star
She just wanted him to be happy
He didn’t have to do big things to make her proud
But he wanted all her hard work
To be worth something
To mean something
He wanted that great American tale
Tough life to the high life
Redemption!
Reward!
He wanted that happy ending to the tough life
But maybe he had watched too many movies
And maybe he should have realized
That happy ending or no happy ending
He still had a person in his life
A person who loved him unconditionally
Whom he loved back unconditionally
And that unconditional love
Should have been happy ending enough

But, instead, he killed himself
And ironically his grandmother’s work
All the work she did raising him
It was, indeed, done in vain
His biggest fear
Came true
And it was a fear
He made come true
From his own doing

 


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