Tag Archives: film noir

Regular Poem: I’m Not Gonna Write You a Love Song

18 Apr

there’s a subgenre
of country western song
that’s all about
fist cities
and
taking jobs and shoving them
and
keys into sides of pretty little souped up four wheel drives
and
goin’ home and loadin’ shot guns waiting by the door lighting cigarettes

all precipated
by ill-fated
damaged and damaging
love affairs

they’re gorgeous
and terrible
indulgent
and twangy

but where
are all the
rage jazz tunes

i want to hear
julie london
croon to me
in that sexy basement register of hers
about vindictive vandalism

what would that sound like

a walking upright bass
the sizzle of a symbol
igniting
a tremble in the treble keys of a piano
then slow purring alto fury

now you say you’re sorry
when all you’ve got left is ash
you didn’t say i’m sorry
when all my hopes you did dash

the piano follows
the spiraling the ratcheting up
the bass drum’s
like a broken heartbeat

you thought you had my number
thought you could do me wrong
that i’d sit back and take it
but my fuse is short and my memory’s long

the strings pick up
the brass wails
it’s the chorus and we know
the ex-lover’s in for it now

the fire of our desire burned out
but passion in motion stays in motion
so i wasn’t going to stay home and pout
i’ll bet you’re wishing a lot of things
as your mercedes blows smoke rings
you were my bembo and i was your borgia
but that was over the day you left me
and tonight’s the night the lights go out in georgia

Advertisements

Regular Poem: Guys and …?

6 Apr

she says
we don’t call grown men
boys
so we shouldn’t call
grown women
girls
and her argument is sound
and my feminist hackles
are rising with hers
growing in the same field
fertilized by the same
patriarchy
but before i can elizabeth cady stanton
myself into a frenzy
i realize

i do call grown men boys
but more often
dudes
or most often
guys

because man is too weighty for many
dudes
i encounter

i try then to think of analogous terms
for females
and they’re mostly
ladies
to me
but sometimes
women
or
girls
hardly ever chicks
once in a while
gals

“this girl i know”
might be someone my age or younger
“this gal i know”
indeterminate, but sticks in the back of my mouth, i probably owe her money
“this lady i know”
someone awesome: probably
outspoken with a thousand brooches and can pull off gauchos or
a homicide lieutenant or
plays piano like a dream
“this woman i know”
that’s so clinical
dripping with disdain

“this boy i know”
could be anybody, probably cute
“this dude i know”
could be anybody, probably stupid
“this guy i know”
could be anybody, neutral
“this man i know”
sounds dirty to me
like i’m stealing somebody’s husband

now let’s play with modifiers and modes,
connotations and maybe some annotations

“good girl”
she teaches sunday school, bakes
cupcakes for the fire department, does
the Right Thing
any age lawful good
“bad girl”
smokes, drinks, carouses, sasses
red lipstick and stilettos
any age chaotic neutral
“good woman”
a good girl but even more noble
and self-sacrificing
makes your teeth ache and your heart clench
(i know one and i don’t know
whether i want to hug her straight to death
embrace her so tightly and then kill us both with my longsword
tristan and isolde style
or
stare lovingly at her
until she catches me
and then rib her about something
so she knows i’m still me
instead of the drooling sycophant
i become when i think too much
about how wonderful she is)
“bad woman” and “bad lady”
femme fatale, lurking
in black and white tableaus
ready for murder and seduction and fraud
“good gal”
fun to party with, straight shooter
maybe a western sharpshooter in fact

“good boy”
see good girl
“bad boy”
see bad girl
“good man”
probably a dad or a deacon or both
“bad man”
see bad woman
“good guy”
generic male who is generally conscientious,
listens and talks thoughtfully,
tries
“bad guy”
opposite of good guy, also manipulative
maybe sinister
“good dude”
like a good guy but kind of dumb
“bad dude”
like a bad guy but kind of dumb

maybe all
these connotations
are colored by my own
internalized mysogyny
but
i don’t see
on the silver screen of my mind
a girl
as excusively a child
and therefore
devalue the women i call girls
because i myself am a girl
to myself
in a lot of contexts
and sometimes a woman
w
o
m
a
n
sometimes a lady
sometimes a gal
and sometimes a lot of other words
i try not to use
because i don’t philosophically agree
with gendered insults

but i also don’t
see boy
as exclusively a child
and a lot of other people don’t
either

maybe i listen to too much county western music
where everybody’s
the boys around here
and good old boys

far be it from me
to suggest
country western music
is anywhere near as progessive
as this lady thinks everything
ought to be

(“this lady”
someone respectable but to be disagreed with)

and also far be it from me
to suggest
everyone
shares my dialect
and singular sensibilities

and there’s the crux
of the problem

when that guy says girl in reference to a grown woman
he probably means something different
and thinks something different
than that man who says girl in reference to a grown woman
who means something different
than that lady who says girl in reference to a grown woman

so we’re back
to her argument
that we ought not do it
but we’re also back to my argument
of individual responsibility
and we’re back to the perennial argument
about language

and how it evolves
and influences

i’d like to do a study
of the usage of girl
in other languages

but i’m too much of a dude

Regular Poem: Secret Tuxedo

2 Apr

I call her Babe.

Not as a nickname, term of endearment,
whatever.
No,
that’s her name.
The kind of name
people don’t even have anymore
probably never had
outside of bad girls
in ’30s gangster flicks, the kind
of woman who carries a different pistol
to match every shade of lipstick, the kind
of woman who sasses the mayor not knowing he’s the mayor
but doesn’t apologize when she finds out. The kind
of woman who claims she was driving the getaway car at the bank heist
to appease her abusive beau
but really
she masterminded the whole enchilada
and laughs as her gang gets
sent up the river without her
and she ends up on the arm of the police commissioner
in furs drinking champagne.

Yes, that’s her name.
Every time
I go in the room
where she resides–
so elegant, so feisty, so
ready to cheat at baccarat
and abscond with the duke’s rubies–
I say,

“Hiya, Babe.”
and wink,
caress her lapel if I’ve got an extra minute.

I don’t care
that she’ll probably
implicate me in a crime,
manipulate me into giving her my inheritance,
ruin me.
For now,
we’re in love, and I’m her willing dupe.

“Hiya, Babe,” I say.
She winks back.

She’s trying to get me to take her out.

“Hiya, Babe,” I say.
She runs her tongue over her teeth.

One of these days I will take her out.
I don’t know how,
but she’ll convince me,
and I’ll think of something.

Regular Poem: Perpetually Training to be the Middleweight Champion of 1944

8 Mar

A sequel to TKO in the 4th

You’re packing
quite the wallop today, toots.

She says
leaning against the doorjamb
idly adjusting her seams.

I’d let you see firsthand
if you got out of those stockings
and put your money where your mouth is.

Jab, hook.

In a blink
she’s sashayed over
with a scowl on her painted face.

I’ll do you but good
pumps and all.

I laugh
and there’s a lot of twist
in my torso,
land a left cross
(I’m not a southpaw
but I dabble).

The truth is
I haven’t seen her
in a while,
haven’t needed to.
I’ve taken to
reciting states and capitals
instead of fantasizing.
I don’t know
if that’s a win or a loss.

But I ran into her again today–
that is I finally agreed
to meet up with her again.

(I’ve been running into her a lot–
just in the hallway, in the elevator, passing in the breakroom,
when the siren screams for shift change–
she passes me a note,
gives me a glance,
whispers so only I can hear.

I finally capitulated.
I told her so.

Fancy!
she said.
Probably learned that word in charm school.
But fancy ain’t gonna get you too far tonight.
)

I’m faster
now,
or perhaps
less slow–
been practicing my shuffe,
exhaling at just the right moment.

Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, shuffle back.
I look over,
and she looks a little impressed, but
then the grizzled old dockworker
is there, too,
cigar in his mouth,
smoke and sarcasm billowing:

Your parents wasted their money
on that charm school.
Didn’t even teach you how to dance.

My feet get lighter,
but my arms are stiffer.

Jab, cross.
Jab, cross.

I know I’m thinking too much.
He cocks his head to one side.

Punch like you’re
punching something
instead of like
you’re pretending
to punch something.

He’s right.
I have no follow-through, no follow-up.

Hook, hook,
uppercut, uppercut,
shuffle back.

He steps up to the bag,
inspects it,
turns to me with an
old-guy twinkle in his eyes.

You know this thing
don’t have hair, right?
No reason to have some
sissy slap fight with it.

You’ve obviously never
had your hair pulled.

I say (or perhaps
she says),
shoving the feminist rage
into my pocket for later.
It ain’t no joke.

And it isn’t,
but he laughs anyway.

And my face–her face–is melting;
the lipstick is gone,
the mascara is pretending to be black eyes, but
we know it’s not that
because sweat is saltier
than tears,
and who has time for tears
when you’ve got
a heavy bag in your garage?

Regular Poem: Fantasy on Garage Cat

19 Jan

current impetus for self-loathing:
garage cat

she’s nuts
and i’m nuts
we’re all nuts
here
except the dog
she seems to be holding up all right
but dogs are hearty stupid creatures
idiotically loving and joyful
happy to chew on a piece of bark for hours
or just stare adoringly at you
until you say something to them
any
thing
will do
and the tail wags and the eyes are alert
and whatever you’ve said
the dog heard
i love you we’re going on a car ride

cats have too much pathos
for their own good
for anyone’s own good
some subtle shift
in the wind or cat hormones
sends them on a sentimental journey
except with less saxophone and Doris Day’s mellifluous alto crooning
and more
pee everywhere
mournful yowling at nothing

she might as well
be dressed in a silk robe
smoking a cigarette
sloshing her bourbon
as she gesticulates a little too forcefully
accusing me of cheating on her

i haven’t even looked at another cat
i swear on my mother’s grave

your mother isn’t dead
you two-timing so-and-so
she says dangerously close to my face
i can feel the sizzle of the slap before it happens
and it doesn’t happen but i still feel it
and she turns
to pace and pounce
to wait and play games
to goad me
until i’m in my own silk robe
screaming and pleading
and i swear she’s smirking

am i george or martha in
who’s afraid of virginia woolf
there’s no way to know

all my clothes are out on the lawn
the next morning
the locks are changed
you mighta took my car keys
but you forgot about my old john deere

and i mow and mow
and now
she’s garage cat
and i hate everything

Regular Poem: Tornado Season

26 Apr

I don’t think
I’d replace all four
bathing suits

just bare bones at first
focus on the essentials

a couple weeks worth of panties
and some cute luggage
to carry them in
live in a motel for a while

like some noir protagonist
on the lam
buy a cheap jalopy
that runs on sawdust and willpower
spending my days
calling the insurance company
on a rotary phone
sitting in the dark
ambling through wet shadowed alleys
in a damp second-hand trench coat
with a throaty narration playing somewhere
running into other displaced people
and nodding grimly
getting into fights in bars

that is
if my house
didn’t land on a witch.

Regular Poem: I Can’t Even Find a Decent Used Piano on Craigslist

18 Apr

SWF ISO
one of those
studio warehouse penthouse apartments
where you ride your motorcycle
right from the industrial elevator
into the living room
that has one leather couch
and a punching bag
and a record player
and a wet bar

you know
the kind
every mysterious sexy stranger has
in ’90s noir
where it’s always grimy
and mostly rust colored
probably situated on a dock
of some kind

and if you pay rent at all
you pay in cash
you recieve from weird
’90s noir jobs
but mostly
you just listen to old blues
and brood
and be sexy and mysterious

also seeking
motorcycle
and a mystery to solve

do not contact me
with unsolicited services or offers

unless they lead to weird
’90s noir jobs
that will finance this apartment

Book 'Em, Jan O

Ghosts, Tall Tales & Witty Haiku!

grapeling

it could be that

Life in a blog

All there is ever, is the now

Heartspring Stanley

A Heartspring Student Project

The Bully Pulpit

(n): An office or position that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.

The League of Mental Men!

A Satirical Word In Your Shell-Like Ear

Deanna-Cian's Blog

An English student who stalks Benedict Cumberbatch. If I'm not pressed against cake shop windows then I'm rambling on about the press.

Fangirl Therapy

All the Feels & How to Deal

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Barefoot Whispers

Medical doctor, book-lover, aspirant adventurer

iheartingrid

For the Love of Leading Ladies

Melanie's Life Online

Read it to absorb my awesomeness

Collective Thoughts Of My Journey

The liberation of my life, mind, and imagination that is no longer the part of the Collective..

Miss Lou Acquiring Lore

Gallery of Life...