Michael C Ford
Five Poets Take on the Movies
Wedding Day Blues
We have waited for her, breathless, through two
She is conspicuously late. Right away,
there are clues things will not go well. See,
she’s high-strung and wrapped up in herself.
But to the men
in the laboratory, and us in the audience, everything’s
forgivable in a seven-foot, grave but glamorous woman.
After all, she has put on a stylish dress,
gotten her hair
smartly streaked and uber-permed. And she has caught
the eye of the groom. We are all ready to see sparks fly.
The groom finds her appealing. He reaches
for this woo-man. She has found something appealing, too,
but it is not him. She is fixed on
her new legs, wants them to move more
Wants her feet to set down more gently. Then,
she can get stockings and sling-backs.
Wedding bells cue the doctor to bring the
but she recoils. Her face looks like someone, perhaps the groom,
has emitted a foul odor. Still, the doctor persists, forcing her
to find a voice. She screeches,
as in hissssss face is unsightly, hissssss hands
hissssss jacket inelegant, hissssss happiness is not
And this is it, the moment in the movie when we
suspended in the knowledge that there will be no wedding
at the castle today. Electricity jolts
through the children’s section of the Culver
where I watch this luminous creature throw a kiss-
my-ass bouquet directly to me—and I reach.
Cece Peri is a transplanted New Yorker
who now calls the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains her home.
When not writing poems, she consults on academic and clinical
research design. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies
including Speechless, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly,
and Untangled: Stories & Poetry from the Women and Girls of
WriteGirl. She was the recipient of the first Anne Silver Poetry
Award, in Speechless.
"I found a DVD of L'Age d'Or in a bookstore in Kathmandu last
fall, which was a stunning and delightful thing in itself, but I
realized after spending several days there that, given the
surreality of the place—its sadhus, cynical monkeys, Marxist
guerillas, and the stoned-out grandchildren of American
hippies--that was a perfect venue for it. I understood Bunuel's
irreverent, grim mix of atheism, alienation, and sex as a vision
with timeless and global resonance. Which doesn't mean we have to
take it seriously."
Hommage à l'Age d'Or
I mean haven’t we all
severely in a kitchen fire
when nobody noticed the
oozing from our skin?
And who wouldn’t
Don’t we love to
dance with scorpions
the bones of
religion (which are perched
on a rocky
cliff on the island
ourselves in the
mirror, purse our lips, and say
how do I love thee?
Haven’t we all
And participated in orgies
shot children who have
taken something from us? And
cringing violins cruelly
down a street?
with middle-aged women we’ve
cafes on the basis of their
Sometimes, I confess,
a lover invisibly.
Afterwards I never know
what to call
done. I can’t call it union.
I can’t call it
harmony with union. I
can’t say something has
happened. I can’t say
nothing has happened.
Once IWhat do our mouths
became someone else, then immediately
who I was. (Desperate morning!)
confusion: the taste of
fingers. Our sexual parts
know only dust:
absence, desertions, cinematic
the whimsy of their
Gail Wronsky is the author or coauthor of seven books,
including Poems for Infidels (Red Hen Press), The
Love-talkers (Hollyridge Press) and Dying for Beauty
(Copper Canyon Press). She is Director of Creative Writing and
Syntext at Loyola Marymount University. Her most recent project is
Volando Bajito (Red Hen Press), translations of poems by
Argentinean poet Alicia Partnoy.
from The Persistence of Objects
Looking into her eyes was like playing with
matches in a gas-filled room. You’d just as well try making love to
an angel. Driving an ambulance, you see a lot. One afternoon I
retrieved a blonde’s head from a culvert.
But nothing got me ready for Diane Tremayne.
Not even all those other Dianes and Dianas in my life, so many I
referred to them by number—Diane #1, Diane #1, a Dina, a Dinah, a
Dee Dee. I see now they were practice, maybe warnings.
Diane Tremayne. She’d come toward you
looking up with those eyes so innocent, in her pink bathrobe with
the shoulder pads and tiny waist cinched tight, and next thing you
know you’re bent over her while she’s arched backward above her
husband’s semiconscious body in the back of your ambulance.
You’ve turned off the radio, and she’s got
the keys anyway. You don’t tell her that her face is doing this
changing thing, changing from one face to another, into the faces of
all the other Dianes you’ve known. Like she really is an angel, one
of those dark ones who can pull you down through the sheets and
you’re falling through icy clouds.
Richard Garcia was born in San Francisco
in 1941 to a Puerto Rican father and Mexican mother. His previous
books of poetry include The Flying Garcias from the
University of Pittsburgh Press and Rancho Notorious from BOA
Editions. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Warren Wilson
Program for Writers. He has won many awards for his work, including
a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the
Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Cohen Award from
Ploughshares. He lives with his wife Katherine Williams and their
dog Louise on James Island, South Carolina. BOA published The
Persistence of Objects in 2006.
Michael C Ford
"There were horse drawn streetcars on Huntington Drive in 1882,
winding northward to a place called the Raymond Hill General Store.
That eventually turned into The Raymond movie theatre, where
Hello Frisco Hello starring miss Alice Faye screened the night
FDR died. Three years later it became the Crown Theatre, which
introduced me, at the age of 8, to the film noir masterpiece Raw
Deal with Marsha Hunt and Dennis O’Keefe, and the resident fatal
blonde Claire Trevor, who figure in my low bow to childhood cinema
influence in the poem "Corkscrew Alley". This was the original title
for the Eagle-Lion film Raw Deal, which, if it were not for the
hard-edged directorial eye of Anthony Mann, might have easily been
just another routine chase movie, rather than the dizzying, moody,
thoroughly enthralling thriller classic it turned out to be."
—From Michael C. Ford's essay, "FILM NOIR: The Dirty Side of the
It seems as though forever since you,
from that memorial balcony, were beckoning
by your silent call. Your burning consolation
in darkness was that Raymond Theatre
reincarnation: Crown Theatre, Pasadena
1949. Yes, you’d seen us, there: cinema’s
gray grammar-school phantoms. And the
way we ideologized your precious name:
Marsha Hunt. You were too young to be
our mother, exactly: you were sister to our
cinematic spirits: brave, pretty perfect,
protective, smart, compassionate, comforting,
crying because we were dying: more than ever
pretending to be Dennis O’Keefe avenging raw
deals everywhere. Soon, Claire Trevor’s tears
commingled with yours and our imaginary
blood boils all over an RKO Radio Picture
sound stage imitation of a remote
Michael C Ford's debut (12-inch LP vinyl) of air checks on
alternative radio, Language Commando, earned a Grammy
nomination in 1987. His book of selected poems, Emergency Exits,
was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Ford is presently
working on three film projects, including the Kenneth Rexroth
Centenary, and on three spoken-word CDs. Future projects include the
launching of a satellite radio program to be titled "IT MIGHT NOT BE
In The Purple Rose of Cairo
when Mia Farrow chooses
the real actor
over the fictional character he portrays,
she makes a grave error—
a flaw written into her character.
If someday the film halos and burns,
and the projector flickers for you,
enter the Copacabana with him
in his pith helmet, and with stage money
buy ginger ale at champagne prices.
Climb to the roof and look out
at the lights of the city, the taxis
lined up like bread boxes.
Smile when the maître d’
continues to say, A table for six?
even though you make seven,
and at the singer who’ll repeat,
Who’s the skirt? These slights
are nothing compared to giving yourself
to a Hollywood actor on the back streets
of Camden, New Jersey—he’ll use you
and catch the next flight
for the coast. Take the fictional character
in your arms and show him what happens
after the kiss and the fade out.
Sandra Hoben's poems have appeared in magazines and
anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Antioch Review,
Estero, Field, How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, Ironwood, Partisan
Review, Quarterly West, Tangled Vines, Three Rivers Poetry Journal,
and Western Humanities Review, and in a chapbook, Snow
Flowers from Westigan Press. She has taught at World College
West, University of Utah, and in California and Utah
Poets-in-the-Schools programs. Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, she
inherited her wanderlust from her great-grandmother, Mary Murphy,
who had traveled from Dublin to New England, but who was never able
to make it all the way to Los Angeles.