Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NOIR DREAMS (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

I imagine snapping the brim
of a non-existent fedora after
I find the Benny Goodman
tape somewhere it shouldn’t be.

Only then do I shut my eyes.

After a moment, I check my
father’s pocket watch and
hope the shirt-tail is properly
tucked. I do this much after
the fact but nevermind that.

I’m ready.

As I prowl Sunset amidst a sea
of Caddie fins and crackly neon,
the Benny Goodman stops and
reality socks me in the snooker
hard with a Louisville Slugger.

Here in The City of Night, I’m
chasing noir dreams that deep
down I know are pure figments.

I long for palm trees and
all I get are dead shrubs;

I yearn for Ava Gardner or
Betty Bacall – or some grand
dame with killer eyebrows,
a quick wit and a thirst for
the good life and all I see
is Sally who looks like
lunchmeat on a Thursday;

I want to dine at the Brown Derby
and all I can afford is the cardboard
they peddle at 3 Brothers in Venice;

I need a double-breasted Zoot Suit yet
all I can muster are premium Dickies
straight outta the Sears Wishbook;

I want spit-shined wingtips,
black and white, and ready to
kill roaches and I get these
busted up Chuck Taylors;

I salivate for single-barrel scotch
and I all get is this bathtub gin;

I look around for George Raft on his
way to the commissary and all
I see are

the tattooed,
the pierced,
the depraved

and I shake my head as to where
we’re all going and wonder what
happened to the glamorous life?

I’ll never know cuz I never lived it.

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  1. i love the out of time longing in this because basically i can relate to it. you haven't had a poem on here in a while...great to see one!

  2. Your stories never fail to transport one to another place and time. The longing for the 'good life' is palbable. Well done, Anthony.

  3. Awesome. Great nostalgia for a snazzier time. Is that you reading? Perfect voice for this piece.

    Brilliantly done again, Ant.

  4. Love your voice. Just watched Good Fellas on the weekend, again, and you sound a lot like Ray Liotta.
    Your poem is funny! I smiled more than a few times, listening to this guy complaining about his lot in life... hey, nothing wrong with Dickies from the Wishbook, big fella... at least they're not from Wal-mart.
    It's neat when you throw in details from real places.

  5. Your stories are like time travel. We can go to another time and another place. This prose poem is like a heaven and hell between then and now. Perfect title. Loved your voice and the music.

  6. Life isn't fair, Ant. But your poetry and your dreamy voice are MORE than "fair," they're EXCELLENT!

  7. I'd like to help you get these into iTunes, I'd love to listen to them that way and not miss an episode. Once it's set up you'd not have to do much different to that way you post them now.

    I like the list of comparisons between the halcyon days of his imaginings -- his ideal -- and his reality. Such thinking is a classic cause of unhappiness, which the music supplements in a melancholic way redolent of a quiet bar at the end of a night when all that's left is a gin-soaked mind.

  8. I've been meaning to tell you I love these recordings. It's especially cool to hear your work in your voice. You know how I feel about this time period. And by the way, I live a few blocks over from where that old Hollywoodland photo was taken. You're talking about my neighborhood.

  9. Well done (as always).....the imagery and vivid visuals your writing create for me are incredible. A real Hollywood feel - gritty and edgy with such a nostalgic undercurrent. Absolutely loved this!


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