Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Art Huck (Trevor Bardette) :
Ed’s suck
Runs trucks.
Jones rucks.
Phil’s stuck —
No luck.
Art pucks!

Joe Brody (Louis Jean Heydt) :
For dupe of
The picture,
Dates Agnes,
Plays Eddy,
And bites it
By Carol.

Agnes Lowzier (Sonia Darrin) :
Femme fatales are
Always running
Cross of Phil, and
Savage Agnes
Ain’t no dif’rent.

Capt. Cronjagger (James Flavin) :
He was edited
Out, but restoration
Reinstated him.

(Elisha Cook, Jr.) Harry Jones :
Paid to Hawks
Fifty grand,
So to buy
Chandler’s first
Marlowe book.
Howard Hawks
Paid to Ray
Only five
Thousand clams,

(Theodore von Eltz) Arthur Gwynne Geiger :
War has sequestered
Bogie’s new movie,
Timeliness being
Central to standard
Marketing tactics.

(Tommy Rafferty) Carol Lundgren :
Swinging with Art,
Singing, “—— you.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mrs. Carmen Sternwood

Ooo, you I’ve never seen
before who delivered you
to my door wrapped up in
powder blue filling out
that suit so fine? boy
those cuffs are tight as
your tie is loose and

your hands look hard as
your eyes what’s your
name lemme guess
gimme a clue I’ll catch on
quick just one thread’s all
I need I’ll sew it so nice
and send a stitch

through your hem so your
slacks won’t drag oh and
once I grab hold I’ll twist
you roll you run you
round my fingers tug your
tie like a leash I bet you’d
roll over and let me

scratch your itch bet
you’d purr if I scratched
and I’ll scratch till you
sing leave you mangy and
mouseless too helpless to
swat a fly rub right
through that rug you got

till ten years’ sweepings
come gusting out like a
dust storm. fine
complexion like that you
ain’t nuttin’ but a powder
blue soap bubble drifting
through my door. one jab

from my pinkie you go
pop but buddy don’t you
fret your fetters you’re
too cute to shoot just a
passing glance so smile
while I slip my digits in
your back pocket .

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I just got cash to go to UCLA and U of Chicago for grad school. Ditto Georgetown last week, though they still haven't decided if I deserve fellowhips.

Here's to Valentines Day.

Oh, and the last posted poem was not part of WA, but rather an impromptu ode to Chicago weather.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ostrich Feather Dusting

Snow drops like lead,
Straight as a papercut,
Through ivory light.

Toes drained white
As winter sun clatter
In steeltipped cold.

The wind is very old:
Shivering piano wire,
Twinkling snowshine.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Norris, the Butler

Oh dear but you do look the part.
I imagine you’ve not
perspicacity enough
to observe the doormat. Very well.
Traipse filth through my hall. If you only knew
whose burial mud gums your shoes,
you’d not need even see
the General,
and I might save the final
Courvoisier Imperial
for Sunday’s leg of lamb.
But you don’t, and you won’t,
and so you shan’t so much as see
Mrs. Rutledge — though Carmen this way comes.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Establishing Shot

Babysbreath and broken roses.
Fingers snap : flower stems, brown and brittle —
one two three four five.

One hundred black flies, a-buzz in a briefcase.
Violins sharp as arctic breath rise
to drive color from the pepper trees.

Wear your hat cocked, kid.
Sole leather wears thinner
than film.

[Jump cut.]

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Norris, the Butler (Charles D. Brown) :
Opens the door for
Marlowe, who enters.
Later, he covers
Carmen’s false stepping.

Ms. Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) :
She chauffeurs drivers
To Lido, where they
Can peer at waters’
Thin petrol filming.

Mrs. Vivien Sternwood Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) :
She’s the mover unmoved behind The
Big Sleep’s tender romantic ending,
But behind every demiurge a
Third man’s always observed at urging.

Gen. Sternwood (Charles Waldron) :
Withered stock and
Hot perfuming,
General Sternwood’s
Always looming.

Det. Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) :
Remember him from Hammet’s
Whodunit, Maltese Falcon,
Played P.I. Spade? Or Angels
With Dirty Faces, fleeing
The Dead End Kids : fresh extras
Who pinched his favorite trousers?

Eddie Mars (John Ridgely) :
Tough guy Ed
Runs roulette
Moves hot cars,
Beats his wife,
Looks real fine
Sporting twill,
Ditches stiffs
In the swell.

Lash Canino (Bob Steele) :
Just a sucker
Hooked on honeyed
Schadenfreude, plays
Brainy Eddy’s
Strong arm till that
Its producer.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


First off, why are they called "trailers" if they precede both the feature and the movie they advertise? Seriously, I'd like to know. The OED is unhelpful.

Anyhow, sitting in Panera today, reading The Emperor's Children, I found myself thinking about literary realism, which we all know is a total social construction and bears no actual relation to "reality," whatever that might be, and a heinous bourgeois convention to boot, more insidious and proletariat-oppressing than paying $3.66 for a cup of chicken noodle soup and a hunk of bread just because the walls are painted burnt sienna and there's free wi-fi. Blah, blah, blah.

Here's the thing, the above thesis is, in certain respects at least, empirically testable. Take, for example, the way authors set a scene, typically describing the environment and then moving on to different aspects of the persons within the environment, establishing first of all major physical traits of the characters, such as sex, age, ethnicity, rough build and height. Now, these are, I think, the traits that humans tend to be able to identify in others most quickly given extremely limited visual exposure. If one were to sample a large number of character introductions, quantify the priority of different features attributed to the characters, and compare these with the characteristics identified by people in the real world, that would constitute empirical evidence that literary realism was more than conventional.



Sunday’s nickel matinee
slips between the coral creases
of your brain; stealthy as an urchin, steals
in through theatre fire
exits, usurps your pooling desire. You sit,
silent subject to Hollywood Librarians’
supraliminal will;

(Lights dim. The theatre settles,
an old house expanding to fill the dark.

Lips whisper like feathers.
Somewhere, ships sink.)

and Bogart saunters onscreen, looking
something off the beaten stacks,
like The Maltese Falcon,
bronze McGuffin.

Bacall, hair up,
slides on the screen
like the little black camera’s
a little black dress.

(O, you sultry librarians,
how do you do it?)

Bacall, her bun
a knotted clew,
sets index
to rigid spine
to free volume
from shelf.
It falls, easy
as woman
from grace.
She places

The Big Sleep

in Humphrey’s handsome hands.
“Whatta picture that’ll make.”


Marlowe turns
to the chattering torrent of light.
He winks
recognition at his reflection
glazed on the camera’s lens.

Marlowe, staring from screen,
instant after camera’s shining,
sees his own ugly mug
for exactly

[absolute value of
screen less lens over
speed of light in seconds]


Following Einstein, light demonstrates gravity :
gentle swerve to sunshine oblivion
that darkest Kilimanjaro day. Does Marlowe, gazing
projectorward, feel light’s gentle tug
straining to peel image — skin
from a peach — from screen,
reuniting him with Bogie?

You! Look up!
Nothing is ever empty. Motes swim
in and out of light, particles
in and out of being — quanta,
matter, anti-matter exist, then reunite
in probability’s annihilation.


This shared hallucination in grey-scale
runs thirty-two frames per —


Every crunch of popcorn,
Bursting beneath molars
Like blooming fields of rye
Draws the knot of film
Tighter, tighter, tighter
Round the reel that spins
Behind your wilted eyes.



Tuesday, February 6, 2007


So I've got a blog now, and as such I figgered I should get some use out of it. As such, I'm posting a poem a day of my work-eternally-in-progress, Wry Argology, which, for those of you who don't know, which is pretty much everyone, is my poetry manuscript revolving around The Big Sleep.

Without further poo-poo:

American Movie Palace

Summer lawns and summer lawns and summer lawns,
and Sunday’s swimming pool extends blue
to every horizon. O! you rotten chops of water!

Pool light settles, fog-like. Metals corrode
to chlorine blue and moviestars bask in daystar light.
Popcorn rattles like keys each adolescent esophagus.

To backrow smoochers, I say, Yes! Yes! snatch pink glimpses
With red-rubbed eyes that flicker like heaven, spoon
As titans heave butter&salted waves across the screen.

Listen kid :
Feet peel and unpeel. Hands clasp and unclasp.
And the floor, the floor is sticky-sweeter than dreams.