Your Loss, pt. 4

 

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part 1
part 2
part 3

“Petra can’t be forced to be a witness at my trial. She’s my wife.” Robert took a long drag on the cigarette Margil handed to him from across the table. The guard watched closely from across the room, but allowed the exchange of cigarette and words between Robert and his lawyer during the ten minutes allowed on this prison visit.

“She ain’t your wife Robbie–she’s his wife, ain’t she?” Margil brought him back to the present, then followed the question with a raucous hacking cough. Still, he took another drag off the cigarette, watching his old friend and client. He was exploring every avenue to try and help him but he was running out of options.

“Then drag her in here!” Robert stood quickly, upsetting the folding chair. The guard took a step in his direction but he held his hand up that he was done, setting the chair to rights and sitting back down. He lowered his voice, leaning forward over the table. “Bring her in to testify. Bring her in here first, so we can find out what she’ll say. She knows the truth. She knows that I didn’t kill her aunt Sadie. Hell, I never killed nothin’ but time.”

Continue reading “Your Loss, pt. 4”

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Your loss, pt. 3

Falls

part 1

part 2

Niagara falls was heavenly. The weather was perfect for September and the landscape was lovely, just starting to change to the many hues of Autumn. Petra lay back on the bed. For two days she and Robert put aside the sadness and worries of Chicago. It turned out that Aunt Sadie had a brother from Altoona who didn’t like how long the police were taking to solve her murder. They were treating it like a random burglary gone awry, that Sadie had discovered the burglar and a gun went off in the panic. Unsatisfied, Uncle Max had put out a reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of the murderer. All the details rolled over in her head as she looked through the window at the falls from the bed in a honeymoon suite in their hotel.

Continue reading “Your loss, pt. 3”

Your Loss

downtown

“What do I have to lose?” Petra said, tossing a nickel on the roulette table, red 26.

“Your last nickel,” said a deep voice behind her and higher than her head,by a great distance. She knew the drill, and was used to taking care of herself.She was glib and smart in the way that many college–educated girls know how to be. But it was more than that. She had lost so much, in the United States of America, on the dime of the American Fund for Czechoslovakia, and then a certain Mr. Perkins whom she met after she got to Chicago via Ellis Island, N.Y. and her Aunt Sadie. Mr. Perkins married the young girl of 22 and gave her new hats and shoes to prove his worth. She could live with that for a little while. Only stipulation: she had to do everything he said. She knew that some day she would grow tired of that.

Her shoulders were straight as she watched the wheel go around.

‘Black, 12, 12 black.”

Continue reading “Your Loss”

Continued

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She woke
after an evening of Moët & Chandon
her clothing askew
her
ridiculous hat with the ostrich feather
flung over the lamp

She took her cues from
him
reciting Bukowski
as if he had known him, one
hand under her back
turning over
to slide back into ecstasy

The holidays can be brutal

I.

One day after a couple argues
she, a carving novice
hacking into roast turkey
he
with a cranberry stain
in the middle of his chest

The dining room swirling before her
into a painting by Dali
hearing his voice far away
something about irony. How
he thinks it means something

As her knife falls
and clatters
she says,
‘stop talking’

II.

I am an alien
in your world

I try to add to it
giving you my best

yet

whilst my back is turned
you jam holly
into my heart

Tantalizing Tuesday: Lucille Ball

Lucy legs

I’m not funny. What I am is brave.
-Lucille Ball

Maybe, Lucy, maybe, but baby you are damned funny as well. You brightened up many sad moments in my life in which it was difficult to summon a smile, let alone a laugh. But you did it girl, and I thank you.

If Lucy were alive, I would ask if the comedy was part of the plan, or did she just go with her strengths. I saw her in a few earlier films, pre-I Love Lucy and she was talented and glamorous. Gorgeous.

Lucy stage door

Continue reading “Tantalizing Tuesday: Lucille Ball”

‘Til Tuesday

Come evening they sit in the front room–
he with his chamomile and she has her crossword
puzzle on her lap. She swears
when she makes a mistake in ink

The phone rings from across the room.
She coughs.
He turns his head once, but
does not get up. She claims that she can tell
it is a telemarketer by the tone

“Is there any beer?”
She continues working on 23 down, not answering.
“Is there any beer?”
“There is no beer.” She writes in the answer.
“Pity.”

The clock strikes 8.
she puts down the puzzle.
“Meet you there?”
“Hmm?”
“Well it is Monday night.”
“So it is. Did you?”
“Yes, of course.”

She stands in the doorway in crimson.
She typically wears only black, but
had promised to always wear his favourite color
on Mondays.
“A new one. Silk?”
“Yes.”

After, they lie still
he on his side and she on her back
smoking. He makes a pretense of coughing.
“Your hair looks like satin in this light.”

“And you look like the boy I met on the train.”
“Was that 1989?”
“You know it was.”
“Best day ever.”
Smoke rings at the ceiling speak of it.

She sits cross-legged on the bed
while he brushes her hair. Every few strokes
he leans forward, and speaking directly into her ear,
whispering, though they are alone in the house,
“I love Mondays.”

“Did you say you bought roses?”
“Red ones, two dozen”
“Where are they?”
“I saw you were home and ran in quickly.
They must be in my car.”
She smiles. “Silly.”

She lies on her side and he on his back. She
pushes
a shock of hair off his forehead with a delicate gesture.
He closes his eyes.

“Let’s lay here until Tuesday.”

Her figure

1920s-stockings

He never knew what he had in her
her angle–something
between silk stockings and
late night gas guzzlers
even the police tread easy

That figured–
he was sick and tired of the triangle
the crossed lines every time he called
and she did not answer
feeling her there, listening

‘What do you expect from a woman,’
she’d say, and laugh. ‘Hell, I don’t
even have to pay the light bill anymore.’
His face ashen, for how does a man
be a man–left daily in an airless cube

Wearing a tan trench coat
trying-too-hard
written all over him–
he’d seen Casablanca
once a week for a year after she left–
twice over Christmas

So when she showed up
he wasn’t saying no to anything
let alone stockings, heels
and a black cat–in his haste–
not checking the price tag

With no options–except to run parallel
to her wants.needs.desires.
for he would do nothing to slight her–
this magic in silk and lace

his thoughts somewhere dark and wet
at an adjacent angle to his wallet

Tantalizing Tuesday: Noël Coward, part 2

*

Last Tuesday we began looking into the life of Nöel Coward. He was born Nöel Peirce Coward in 1899 in Middlesex, England. His body of work is enormous. He was a playwright, composer, poet, painter, he wrote short stories, he sang, and he acted.

What piqued my interest when I first started watching Coward’s plays and films was the depth of human experience and interaction. There is much within a small space. He would give us a one act play, perhaps 30 minutes long, and manage to punch into it such depth of feeling that one would have expected from a longer piece. For example, in the play and subsequent film,The Astonished Heart, that we discussed in part 1, we follow the characters along a relatively normal scenario. Surely the setting of marriage and cheating on one’s spouse is not new, especially in Film Noir. But just when you are relaxing into this simple story that you have heard before, pow! He lays something devastating upon you, in a quick twist of plot. I am fascinated by this sort of writing. I have dabbled in it myself but not anywhere near what Coward accomplished.

Continue reading “Tantalizing Tuesday: Noël Coward, part 2”