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“Won’t It Be Wonderful There”
Videotaping started in 1988, in Louisville, Kentucky and Corydon, Indiana. Taping continued through the 1990s in New York City (Brooklyn and Manhattan) and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Final videotape shot in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2002. Voice over poem narrative.
Video Performance Poem
Length: 48 minutes
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Excerpt from Won't It Be Wonderful There, Video, 2003

Virgil Zeuger's search for father-love begins after his mother's death in 1968 when his father, Aemery, remarries at age seventy. Now, four years after his father's death in 1981, Virgil finalizes a Hollywood movie advertising promotion at the New York agency where he works. He then takes a taxicab to the airport, flying to Louisville, Kentucky, and his boyhood home in nearby Corydon, Indiana. The family house is prepared for sale. Louisville, however, is where Virgil remembers spending real-time with Aemery. As a five-year-old boy Virgil played for hours, alone, around a life-size sculpture of the Prodigal Son and His Father kneeling on its granite base high above the Speed Museum's grassy lawn, near the University of Louisville. Meanwhile, Aemery sat reading in the car…hour after hour. Virgil's mother, a high school Latin teacher, was enroleed in summer graduate classes. By contrast, Aemery's sixth grade education ended in a one-room school house. Even so, his father was ordained a Methodist preacher in 1959. Virgil was a senior in high school. Twenty-six years later, in his New York life, Virgil still hears his dead father's voice preaching about the sexual sins of the body.

In the basement of the Corydon house Virgil finds memory-objects in a footlocker. The objects remind him of college days at Indiana University and his fraternity brother, Vip Ponte. Virgil's mother also took summer classes at IU one summer, staying in the frat house's housemother suite. Virgil and Vip had their rooms upstairs. Handling the memory-onjects, Virgil feels no sense of time: without nightfall and sleep he leaves the house and drives a two lane country road to his father's church, Zarephath Chapel. Looking through a chapel window he sees Aemery's dead and naked body lying sacramentally, with the hand of God, on the communion table. he hears his father's voice, "he who commits sexual sin…You are not your own."

Virgil catches his return flight to New York and Monday work as an advertising art director. He works with Vip Ponte's maternal uncle, Lou, the executive art director. Lou and his wife raised Vip in suburban Westchester after Vip's mother died in childbirth. Virgil first me Lou in 1962 when he came home with Vip for the Christmas holidays. In the holiday rush, Virgil did not meet Vip's father, Harrison Alberto Ponte.

In January 1986, Vip dies in his sleep. Virgil agrees to take a belated Christmas gift, a wristwatch, to Vip's father, Hap Ponte, long widowed and living alone on Staten Island. Lou had ordered the watch through an agency client. It arrived too late to be a Christmas gift. Virgil feels that time is his gift to Hap—and the gift will be in the giving.

The narrative ends as Virgil finds a necromantic father-love with Hap. Perception and memory intact: being there in Louisville with Aemery by the marble sculpture of the Prodigal Son and his Father in naked embrace…and in New York with Hap, now. A spiritual voice in the heavens speaks from David's lament for Saul and Jonathan—about an asymmetrical love passing the love of women.* Virgil hears his father's voice say the last word, "Amen"—over the World Trade Center. Beyond—tge sky meets the sea.

* II Samuels 1-2

Won't It Be Wonderful There
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