Another poem? Goodness!
This is another from the Donna Vorreyer lines, using verbs this time. The verbs in question being:
screen, dim, forget, be, command, move, do, untangle, navigate, send
I don’t know whether I should admit how much of this story is true, or invented, or what. Does it kill the poem for you as a reader if you know the truth of a narrative piece? At the very least, I will foreground the allusion of “La Goulue”: she was a(n) (in)famous performer at the Moulin Rouge at the end of the 19th century, a popular subject for Toulouse-Lautrec in art and popular gossip in the street. It means “the glutton”, as she was well known for seizing patrons’ drinks during her act. That kind of drunken abandon, especially in a public kind of art space, makes for a fabulous subject, sometimes. In the gay clubs, we’d call her a “hot mess”.
I have this idea for a TV show set in turn-of-the-last-century Montmartre. Look for it on HBO one day.
I bet you’re a poet, she hiccups, leaning over this
elderly Polish gentleman ready to enjoy the French film
they are screening. They have dimmed the lights,
which, we are given to understand, commands silence.
But not her: she is undaunted. She was already drunk
before she got here, I suspect, as she caresses
a glass that brims with Riesling. She has forgotten a bra;
she did not untangle her apricot hair in the bathroom after
bitter wind seduced it outside. Tonight’s film is about
the deception of relationships and mistaken identities,
where the farce is life itself, a comedy we all do
from time to time, without meaning to. And already,
I’m plucking ideas from the red curtains, the rafters
and rococo boxes, the women up front in elaborate hats,
the Polish gentleman, who has one green glass eye.
I scribble notes for a poem about the film before it starts,
maybe a sonnet to send some prestigious journal with
stamps and SASE and fool hopes, when she spots me,
moves in for a kill. Maybe you can write a line or two
for me, she laughs, parting the whispers like a toothless
lioness scatters the tall grass. But of course, I will;
and that makes her correct. In the film was a woman,
object of the protagonist’s disinterest, who by mischance
was navigated to thin immortality with an error of his pen,
Marianne, or something equally French, weepy, brazen,
refusing to see why she was written not with love,
but with pity. Then again, I was distracted; and maybe
I am remembering it wrong.