Everything Went Dark

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I

Then I Saw Her

It is not the Darkness which brought me to the roadside sandwich joint,

But my sense of humor.

Maybe my future starts right now, said I, The Grand Frank,

Man of the present moment.

The Greek welcomed the young fellow in me and She, oh She

A goddess in white, an angel with painted lips

She welcomed the animal in me.

I smelled her from every corner.

My instinct was to rescue the Man Wanted sign from fire.

Before everything went dark, I tasted the blood dripping from her upper lip.

I am not greasy and she lusts after me. I smell her infinitely.

II

Deader Than a Doornail

She tells me the road is not our friend but Twin Oaks Tavern is. Hell Cat, I say

Or she says. Before everything went dark, we dreamt up the final blow

How little did we know! The plan hit us in the face.

But when I kissed her I surrendered myself to church.

Death knocks at bathroom doors too. The blackjack, the stepladder, the water in the tub

All ready to serve our cause justice. There is no eternity for us, I found.

Fate gave us one week. For a whole week, we rode on clouds.

The Greek returned and everything went dark. His fractured skull is all the justice we got.

III

A Road to Nowhere

We welcomed the road together. But exhaustion crept in, slowly.

Her high heels were too much to bear. Hell, the road was too much to bear.

Nothing much for a guy with itchy feet, but too big a burden for a chick whose

Desire is to make something of the miserable roadside joint.

Fate beat us, again. It gave us a quick hitchhike into the nowhere while

Our pangs for eternal love were heard in the distance.

It’s a wonderful echo. Sure it is. It’s a swell echo. We returned with its murmurs.

IV

Cats Do Hunt

The Greek welcomed us with guitar tunes and merry rhythms,

A fiesta in Santa Barbara, with girls, music, and dance in streets, was to serve our cause justice.

And, at last, it did. Off the road, the wrench played its black part

When it cracked, it made a noise, and I felt its crush,

I saw a cat curling on the back seat of the car.

The system turned us against each other, for a moment. But the moment stayed

To hunt us forever.

V

One Hundred Bucks

Somewhere in between the games of the justice system, the ego battles of Sackett and Katz

Rest Us two! Us: a pair of unfortunate lovers, dreaming of conquering a mountain.

We evaded the system’s justice so that we can live our own in peace

The crack resounds in my ear day and night. It labors to remain by my side.

The marriage tie came back to strangle me. Everything went dark.

There is no eternity for us, I found,

Fear, mistrust, power games slowly made their way in our heart and in our bedroom.

VI

Pumas Come Back

My feet. They keep itching me to go places, to escape.

She tells me the road is not our friend but Twin Oaks Tavern is.

A sick mother is a case for concern, indeed. I felt free for the week

With a little gypsy in her, Madge came along for a ride,

A ride, I say, and nothing more. But the moment stayed

To hunt me forever.

VII

It’s Life, I Tell You

Hell, the girl didn’t mean much. She was the itch in my foot for a while

We’re chained to each other, my goddess in white

Through love, through fear, through hate, we’re chained.

A baby! exclaims she. We took a life. We bring a life.

The blackness, extortions, vagabond thoughts, wrench and crack sounds,

All washed away. There was to be no more blood on my hands.

Oh, but how the culvert wall laughed at my heroism

You’re no hero, Frank! It’s a dreadful echo. Sure it is.

VIII

Sound Your Horn, The Road is Yours

I recall the waves and the sand. She looked so pretty. For the last time.

Carry me back or drown me, either way, nobody will know,

And I did. We kissed

Kisses which come with life in them, not death.

You’re no hero, Frank! The culvert wall proved the master of my fate.

She screamed. When everything went dark, I tasted the blood pouring down on the hood

Kisses which come with death in them, not life.

IX

He Rings Twice

I’m in the death house now. A mad dog, they called me. It’s all the justice I got.

No law book in Los Angeles County could pay the price for a hero like me

But Father McConnell gave me a new life after this one. He said so

And if he said so, that should do it. It all works out. God knows

And He knows that I believe it all when I am with her.

Prayers help. Do make it that I am with Cora, wherever that may be.

**This free verse poem is based on the crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain

 

 

 

 

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