Inside July’s Cool Dark Shadows
July 2021- In keeping w/ the Summer Movie theme on the home page. This work is presented in three formats- text-sound-vision. Then two Poems inspired by classic Film Noir classics directly below the Matinee Idol.
Listen (on CD Singing Mr. Cedric)
Watch (Video by Micheal Frey)
There isn’t any true in me
I’m just a matinee idol
on a July afternoon
in the cool dark
shadows of illusion
I’m Technicolor lush.
likes to watch
from the safe
distance in the seats.
But it’s my ass
plastered up on the silver screen
forced to play roles
I neither asked for
or ever wanted.
And I’m just a walk on here
not the leading man
merely a character actor
made of dreams and sand
like rising smoke curls
in the projectors white beam.
So roll the credits
and look briefly
for the momentary flash
of my name
my brief hour on your stage.
There isn’t any true in me.
I’m just a Matinee Idol.
Submitted for your approval a dark double feature of film noir poems inspired by RKO Radio Pictures
Film Noir Quote #1
I’ve got a file on you
that goes back to what
you don’t remember to
where you’d like to forget
RKO Radio Poem
(Murder My Sweet 1944)
The world is spinning and
atop is this transmission
tower with lightning bolts
shooting forth while the sound
of Morse Code is sending a message.
This is a RKO Radio Poem
Its taken fifty plus years
to reach your ears
even traveling at the speed of sound.
Of course this poem
must be read and listened to
in strictly black and white.
The setting is post-modern urban
a north American city during
the early years of World War 2.
Seems like it is always dark.
Midnight. Predawn. The small hours.
The streets shimmer and blink
off and on in an endless variety
of neon signs.
There are shadows slanting everywhere.
Lots of fog.
You are walking on the sidewalk
listening to your shoes crunch gravel
You walk where you are going
but ready to hail a yellow cab
if it starts to rain
which of course it will,
to wash the sidewalks clean.
This RKO radio poem stars Dick Powell
as Phillip Marlow (no Bogey, no Baby in this one)
Ann Shirley instead. And she is waiting
at the bar at the Apollo Ball room.
This RKO radio poem
will be told flash back style
while Marlow is being grilled in
the smoky back room
of the 37th Precinct.
The Coppers think he did it.
They want him to spill his guts.
The plot is a complicated one.
See that big ape over there
Well he just did a 8 year stretch
in the “caboose” and he’s back on the
outside looking for his Velma
She was a dancer, he had a “past”
with when he was “railroaded”
and took the fall for her.
All the Guys in the joint have suits with
Pleated Shark skin trousers
wide lapels and even wider ties
and various colored Fedoras
two tone shoes.
The bartender is going to slip
somebody a “Mickey”
any second now
and the room will start to spin
and we’ll all wake up in the
State Hospital under “observation”
or hand cuffed to a wrought iron
bed frame in the back room
of a Chinese laundry.
You are going to have to fight your way back
to the “land of the living”
You feel like your head is going to explode.
That Big Ape is plenty steamed under the collar.
Velma is still nowhere to be found.
And of course, somewhere in the middle of this
is a hysterical Dame,
there always has to be a hysterical Dame.
The Mugs in here aren’t going to like any of all this.
things are going to get plenty rough in here soon.
Everybody is drinking rot got bourbon
chain smoking Camels and watching the door.
The signal for all hell to break loose
is when the Big Ape makes his entrance
spots Velma sitting at the bar with Marlow
and discovers she’s been trying to give him the slip
In the last scene
It’s finally light.
Well at least a grey dawn
And Marlow and Ann
on either side of his arm emerge from the
doorway of the 37th Precinct laughing
heading out for some breakfast and a hot cop of Joe.
And as they walk off down the sidewalk and
disappear into the city fog the words
appear across the screen.
But really ?
The RKO Radio Poem is never over.
It’s been on television so many times
that its signal transmission has been
broadcasted through space forever
on electronic waves to the outer most
reaches of infinity to reach advanced
civilizations who because they are so
ethereal, intellectual and spiritual that
they interpret the Morse code signal
in the beginning of the movie as
divine direction and a cryptic
sacred message from their creator
about the nature reality and moral
lessons on how life should lived.
They would never doubt or question
the images they can barely comprehend
just accept them as the very living word
of there all powerful, all knowing,
omnipotent Supreme Being.
And it fulfills them and gives their lives
purpose, peace and serenity.
“You see pal……..That’s just the way it is
Film Noir Quote #2
What’s she like ?
She’s a sixty cent special
under the gravy
Narrow Margin 1952
Hammer on a Budget
(Kiss Me Deadly 1955)
Mike seems the most forgotten now
except at 4 AM in the black and white morning
movie channel with poor reception
cheap LA abundant local location stock footage
No room on a budget for sunglasses
even on Sunset Boulevard
And worse yet
all his Dames keeping disappearing
and getting knocked off in
spectacularly brutal grisly fashion
Especially in that one disturbing scene
with his latest blonde Doll is
suspended by meat hooks
and the Camera’s POV frames
her bare thighs knees ankles and dangling twitching feet
about 4 feet of the dancing air.
And she’s screaming
Next there’s this tracking shot
of a close up of a pair of dark rich looking
Italian leather shoes pacing
while calmly reassuring her of something.
No sign of Mike.
And it’s just tough luck for her I guess
That there’s no Marlow, Spade or Spillane
this time to rescue the Doll.
-Got Abstract ? 2014
July 4th afternoon
The grill is on
And it’s been beer after beer after beer after beer.
Old dogs and their cheese burger bitches
Barbecue those oldies on the radio
While they lurch about looking from the
Bottom of a bottle holiday
They regale some illusion of
Freedom, youth or lucidity
Your pick there
But the blue veins in stubby cut offs
Resound in male pattern baldness
Beer guts and semi-congenial
While in the kitchen
Fat broads blather gossip
And shoot dirty looks
In the direction toward the only
one of them there
who still has her figure
and a history.
They all secretly envy.
– Got Abstract 2014