XXX Feature: The Liberty
Theater, Daniel Jaffe
R Feature: Parental Guidance
Suggested, Damien Stednitz
Michelle Bitting Abrams
April drizzle, a triple espresso
buzzing my nerve cage like trapped bees.
This was my temple, my new religion:
Truffaut, Bunuel, Goddard—triumvirate
of cinematic splendor, I’d hocked my choir ring
for the steeple-marquee, the pews of creaking plush
where I could shift my seat back,
sniff the buttered sprigs. This is where
Deneuve descended: luminous manifestacion
swathed in blue Parisian light—
housewife, whore, she oozed Chanel,
a wild insouciance I worshipped, forgave anything.
This is where I sat with rank thoughts,
my brown calf-length cardigan
buckled around, making me sizzle, a stick of TNT.
Where I dreamed of Monday
and him, two long days away,
my married teacher—tall, shadow-thin,
our trysts and late-day talks
on the back stairs of the art studio
where he let me smoke in my uniform.
Then time off for “bad behavior” whisking us
to West Hollywood, to galleries and dim cafés,
our knees kissing beneath pink table linen—
did they know how close we were to…?
Hurrying back for carpool—breathless,
quickly, quickly, smoothing the pleated skirt again,
and him telling me about some film,
fresh this weekend at the Royal:
Go in the afternoon, he’d say. Enter when
it’s day, emerge into night…
Michelle Bitting writes, "As a
fourth-generation Angeleno I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what
it means to grow up in Los Angeles, one of the original Noir cities,
to have roots steeped in all that post-war, post-atomic dread and
angst run-off that promises to keep morphing its weird shadow across
the 21st century. Heavily ensconced right now in Nicholas
Christopher’s (newly prefaced!) book Somewhere in the Night: Film
Noir & the American City—stay tuned as I sift and rattle the
poetic bones with a little help from my urban-dwelling, film-lovin’
friends. For the latest about publications, awards, and a decent
photo of me, visit
my Web site.