Sunday, November 16, 2008

*Poem: "Paul Newman at the Dodge"*

This is my latest, and a work in progress (aren't they all?) Suggestions and feedback would be much appreciated-- CAR

Paul Newman at the Dodge

At the poetry festival, passing from tent to tent,
no umbrella, my sister calls.
Without cellphones, we'd have no news at all.
This morning she says Paul Newman is dead.
I am hardly surprised. We media mavens
saw the telephoto snapshots in the raceway pits--
this spring Paul Newman was gaunt, stooped, unhandsome.

In this antique toy woods occupied by
allied forces of spoken and written,
Paul Newman's death, much as my own,
will be just another writing prompt,
a place for odes to go when nobody's home.

The poets here in their dollar store hefty ponchos,
Ren-fest capes, elbow patched cardigans
will beat Paul Newman's cunning eyes blue,
hang every sentimental maxim they ever read off them,
his long, beefsteak marriage fodder for sonnets,
his carved beauty beside Jackie Gleason's
rotund gentility the stuff haikus are made of.

Didn't we all want to sleep with him?
Or told that we did, obediantly half-believing
until we saw for ourselves.
Drizzle in the woods pecks at the canvas rooves.
My date for the weekend goes off to hear
the academics and their sauntering poses.
Since Paul Newman and I aren't well acquainted,
Paul Newman, to me, is alive as he was last night,
and will be come suppertime.

With so many stars shot from the Hollywood firmament,
it's hard to believe Paul Newman lived this long.
My date and I crawl back to the motel after a day's
bombardment of memoirs, pithy quips, occasional truths,
and out of respect and morbid curiosity,
we turn the TV back on after lights out,
and CNN continues live coverage late into the night
of Paul Newman's death, and nothing changes,
not the photo montage, the few details repeated
in the crawl at the bottom of the screen.

Paul Newman's still dead, same film at eleven,
midnight, one a.m. and fo a moment we
look to each other from separate beds.
I don't know the color of my date's eyes.
His beard fades to red and grey in the morning.

Paul Newman could fuck the camera with those blue eyes.
We kept looking, hoping that perfect god
would descend from the multiplex altar
to fill us with his perfect, blue-eyed dick.
That's what we paid for.
The lengthy panoramas of sagebrush and bus stations
is when we people get to roll over, light up a smoke
(these gods encourage that sort of thing)
or run out to the bathroom, for popcorn.

The rain at the festival never ends.
There is no more Paul Newman for us to fuck,
but no less than most of us had before.
We blow out of Dodge when the big guns are empty.
We forego free mums, given by the organizers
to help clear the stage they've adorned all weekend.
We're like Butch and Sundance up on that cliff.
Where to from here? There's only one way down.
They, we, always decide to fly.

We like to believe we'll survive the fall, too,
make it to Mexico and the lucky senoritas,
soak up the sunshine and the tequila
under the blue skies over the border.

CAR 10/14/08

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