Archives for posts with tag: Films

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The Tarmac
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

Houston Hobby airport coffee shop.
We sat close, knees touching, hands clasped,
my lipstick on your shirt collar.
Tears in our eyes.
You were off to Panama, “Just for a few months—”
I’ll write every day,” you said.
Coffee consumed and bites of toast crumbs
on your lips, I brushed them off with an
index finger that you kissed with a grin.

We walked out onto the tarmac, arm in arm,
you turned and said goodbye, giving me a wink,
a tight squeeze of a hug and soft kiss.

Today, I am at that same airport, the coffee shop is gone.
Your letters are tucked away in a shoebox
in paper-thin envelopes, stamped “Par avion.”

I am still waiting to walk out on that tarmac
when you return.

PHOTO: Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, the star-crossed lovers saying goodbye on the tarmac in Casablanca (1942). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A few decades ago, walking onto the tarmac to board or deplane an aircraft was common, until the jet bridge became the norm. Some smaller airports still allow boarding and deplaning via the tarmac, but very few. There was something exciting and often scary about taking that long walk on the tarmac—the surrounding spaciousness, the roar of the jet engines, the wind blowing mightily. It was very freeing, and sometimes a reminder of love lost.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a writer, singer, and model living on the Texas Gulf Coast. When not writing about home décor, fashion, or a new restaurant opening, she reads and writes poetry. Her literary publications include Grayson Books, RiverLit, Dos Gatos Press, The Binnacle (U of Maine), Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag), Red Wolf Journal, Waco WordFest Anthology, Perfume River Poetry, THEMA, Silver Birch Press, Poetry and Places, and most recently Odes and Elegies: Eco poetry from the Gulf Coast, available on Amazon. Visit her on Instagram @LovieSue and @Beyond70ish or smgwriter.com.

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How to Become a Werewolf
by Alarie Tennille

Do you ever have insomnia?
Experience disturbing dreams
at the full moon? Then you may be

ready for an exciting change!
It’s easier than you think. That’s
right, for just $39.95 plus shipping

you can get our glow-in-the dark
instructional booklet and DVD (for rainy
night viewing). Sure, you could search

for a werewolf to bite you, but just think
how many ways that can go wrong!
Like violent death, duh. Our patented

DIY process has proven safe and effective
for a smooth transition. Why wait to explore
your wild side? You can start tonight!

That’s right, warm-up nocturnal exercises
will accelerate your training. Stay up till 1:00,
2:00, even better 3:00 a.m. (You don’t want

anyone around to ask what you’re doing,
do you?) Keep it a surprise! Your improved
night vision will be a plus in step 8: Learning

to Stalk through Dead Leaves. Call NOW…
Operators are standing by during the hours
of darkness in every time zone. Warning:

Avoid watching horror films. They’ll only
confuse you. You must find your own darkness.
Listen to those strange voices you don’t think

are you. They really are. We all have good reasons
to sing at the moon, to excavate the caverns
of our minds. Progress is remarkable.

By week six, most report accelerated hair growth,
a break in the voice, a craving for rare meat.
Consult your doctor if you develop persistent

homicidal thoughts. Symptoms may vary.
So how will you know you’re a werewolf?
Like falling in love, you’ll just know.

PHOTO: Lon Chaney, Jr., in a scene from The Wolf Man (1941).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: You might assume this poem grew out of isolation fatigue during the quarantine, but I wrote it a few months earlier than that. It was one of those strange ideas that pop into a night owl’s head at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., especially during a full moon. I don’t watch much TV at that hour, but an infomercial seemed like a great vehicle for the content.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Her latest poetry collection is Waking on the MoonHer first collection, Running Counter Clockwise, was first runner-up for the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence (both books available on Amazon). She was recently honored to receive a 2020 Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com to check out her blog and learn more about her writing.

Cimera
Holly Golightly Wears a Mask
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

Behind a mask
our faces go sad,
we Holly Golightlys
of the world.
The mean reds
have got us bad
but no one knows –
and Tiffany’s
is cold and closed.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The mean reds were what Truman Capote’s immortal literary creation Holly Golightly felt when she was afraid, but going to Tiffany’s always comforted her (“…nothing very bad could happen to you there…”).   What would she do today?  I find it hard for my face not to go sad behind my mask.

PHOTO: Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).  The film was based on Truman Capote’s 1958 novella of the same name.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Recently her micro-chapbook called GO SLOW, LEONARD COHEN was released through the Origami Poems Project, with plum poem receiving a Pushcart Prize nomination.  Tricia lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois, in a town called St. Charles, by a river named Fox, with a Poetry Box in her front yard.

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Martin Scorsese‘s celebrated new film Silence, based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel is an intense journey about the nature of faith — and what people will do when their beliefs are threatened. The film and book take place in 17th century Japan, where converts to Roman Catholicism are persecuted by those in power — and face life-or-death decisions about whether to keep or abandon their faith.

In Faith Stripped to Its Essence (ACTA Publications, September 2016), Patrick T. Reardon has written a guide that, in his introduction, he calls a “pilgrimage through the discordant voices of faith in Endō’s novel.” Reardon’s 111-page book features brief, reader-friendly chapters that break down the subject matter of Endō’s complex novel into thought-provoking, accessible material.  Questions for individual reflection or group discussion appear at the end of each chapter.

Reardon’s book is an essential addition to the canon of writing — both fiction and nonfiction —  that endeavors to bridge differences among religious groups and focus on the significant questions that all believers need to address. “What are we required to do because of our faith?” Reardon writes. “What does it mean to believe?”

If you plan to see Scorsese’s film — or if you’ve already seen it — Faith Stripped to Its Essence will enhance and deepen your viewing experience of Silence, and provide material for reflection for years to come.

Find Faith Stripped to Its Essence by Patrick T. Reardon at Amazon.com. This beautiful volume also makes an impressive gift — for the modest price of $12.95.

raising arizona
The Lottery
by April Salzano

Lined up, ready to go to Grandma’s
for their weekly visit to a home with functioning
appliances and constant utility service,
one of the four would be
chosen to ride on the back of Dad’s
Harley. Why did their mother
subject them to this—
to breathe more freely in the car
that traveled a different route to the same place
with three bickering children instead of four?
To surrender one child to the father,
to see if they loved each other
when they got there?

Each avoided eye contact,
not wanting to be picked, and still
with the flick of a finger,
the quick pronunciation of a name,
one would have to strap on a helmet
and ride, careful to hold onto
Dad’s beltloops and not
grip the fat squeezing over his jeans.

She chose the middle child that Sunday.
She was changing a diaper, holding
the baby’s ankles in one hand and couldn’t
see the girl’s eyes pleading,
No, not me, I rode last week.

The father looked at the choice
as a burden. He wanted
to drive fast and free,
to forget he had children.
For a glorious fifteen highway minutes,
to forget that not remembering is impossible,
that plastic sneakers melt on tailpipes
and careless laces stick in spokes.

The girl didn’t know
before she straddled the leather seat
that her helmet wasn’t fastened properly,
that the wind would lift it,
or that her father would stop
and punch it back on her head.
She only feared that her fingers would slip
from the loops, and the wind would tear
her from her father’s back.

PHOTO: Lone Biker of the Apocalypse and Nathan, Jr., in the 1987 Coen Brothers film Raising Arizona.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Though not on a bicycle, learning to be a good passenger seemed a kind of acceptance into the private world my father inhabited, which always seemed to me to be a place where he could pretend to be someone else.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: April Salzano is the co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press and is currently working on a memoir about raising a child with autism, as well as several collections of poetry. Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. Her chapbook,The Girl of My Dreams, is available from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry collection Future Perfect is forthcoming from Pink Girl Ink. More of her work can be read at aprilsalzano.blogspot.com

Clifton
by Clifton Snider

Growing up,
I hated my first name.
Who else was named Clifton?
It was a name apart, a name
for someone like me,
last-to-be-chosen
(football or baseball),
the boy who played violin,
an instrument girls excelled on,
a name confused with
“Clifford,” clumsy
with its double f’s,
a name I hated worse than my own.

In high school I worked
as bus boy at
Clifton’s Cafeteria,
a reason to like my name.
I’d whip out my
driver’s license to prove
to customers who I was.

I discovered Clifton Webb
in vintage movies on TV.
Perfect hair & mustache,
always proper, exquisite
suit & tie, a gentleman I assumed
was British with his eloquent
diction, covertly gay,
of course, as was I at the time,
a hero going down on the Titanic,
a comfort to his young son
he’d hitherto been estranged from,
down but not defeated —
a role model for a young queer
who did not yet own
his own exquisite self.

PHOTOS: (Left) Actor Clifton Webb, 1940s; (right) the author.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Clifton” was written expressly for the Silver Birch Press SAME NAME project. The prompt gave me an opportunity to reflect on why I had disliked my first name and how and why I came to embrace it. Much of that process came through my early identification with the characters Clifton Webb played on screen in a few movies I’d seen on TV. I suppose much of this was intuitive, and I make it explicit in the poem. The process of coming to terms with my name had much to do with my accepting myself for who I am. Clifton Webb helped in that process though, of course, it was far more complicated than just my identification with him as a fellow gay man.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clifton Snider is the internationally celebrated author of 10 books of poetry, including Moonman: New and Selected Poems, and four novels: Loud Whisper, Bare Roots, Wrestling with Angels: A Tale of Two Brothers, and The Plymouth Papers. He has published hundreds of poems, fiction, reviews, and scholarly articles utilizing Jungian and Queer Theories. He pioneered gay and lesbian literary studies at California State University, Long Beach. His work has been translated into Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish.

jc 1950
Me and Joan Crawford
by Joan Colby

It wasn’t her birth name. The studio
Thought Joan more modern than Lucille.
An era of modernity: bobbed hair,
Cigarettes, speakeasies. Father
Loved her Charleston in “Our Dancing Daughters”
Her rolled stockings, red lips.
I hope he wished me the wildness
To dance on tables in a smoky lounge.
Not the later padded shoulders
Of a dominatrix who whipped
Her kids with wire coat hangers
And stared big-eyed in horror flicks.

PHOTO: Actress Joan Crawford, around 1950.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review,etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

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Namesake
by Jennifer Lagier

Jennifer Jones exuded piety,
visited a secret, sacred grotto,
innocently trysted with a higher power,
accepted prophetic messages
in the Song of Bernadette.

Despite decades of imposed Catholicism,
I never felt the gentle hand of god,
received angelic direction or was blessed
by preferment, descending grace.

Her role in Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,
resulted in award nominations.
Illicit passion ended with a broken heart,
bliss aborted, aftermath bittersweet.

Like my namesake,
I burned through marriages,
squandered opportunities,
watched myself wither
as empty years passed.

PHOTO: Jennifer Jones as Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette (1943).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve been intrigued by Jennifer Jones since seeing her in the two movies referenced in my poem. This submission call gave me an excuse to research her life.

Lagier

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published 10 books of poetry and internationally in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her latest book, Where We Grew Upwas just issued by FutureCycle Press. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review,maintains web sites for Homestead Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Ping Pong Literary Journal, misfitmagazine and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Visit her at jlagier.net.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Jennifer Lagier and her dog, Stanley, in Cambria California. Taken by Oliver Fellguth.

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Leslie as Leslie with a Pixie Cut
by Leslie Sittner

She is Franco-American. Exotic.
I, plain old American.

She is a gamine, a waif, a sylph.
I, sturdy, full, solid.

She learns ballet and to sing.
I, tap dance and sing in church.

She is a film actress and dancer.
I, a kid in middle school.

Her mother prepares her for performing.
Mine, for me to have Caron’s pixie haircut.

Her pixie cut is perfect. Her shaggy bangs smooth and flat.
Mine, cowlicks and curls.

She continues to be in the public eye, appearing with various hairstyles.
I, continue. Delighted to have once tried one of hers.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The photo at right is me in junior high school with that darn pixie cut. That’s what it was called at the time. My mother adored Leslie Caron (pictured at left in the early 1960s) and was obsessed with that haircut. Since I had the cowlicks in my bangs, she would wet them down, straighten them out, clip a band of tissues to my forehead to keep them flat and a make me sleep on my back so I wouldn’t disturb the corrective set-up. I adored my mother so I really didn’t mind. The system kept the cowlicks at bay but, alas, could not correct the sideways curling.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner, born in 1945 in upstate New York, is a new Creative nonfiction writer just finding her voice. While Leslie Caron published her autobiography, Thank Heaven, in 2010, Leslie S. is still working on remembering things. And oddly enough, their current hairstyles are often quite similar.

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Juana Receives News of Summer Rain
For Juana of Aragon and Castile (1479-1555)
by Abigail Wyatt

They tell me sweet rain comes at last
to cool my prison walls, falls slant-wise,
like the words of those who came
with eyes downcast but afterwards
grew fearless with the going on of time.
I am happy for it -– the rain, I mean -–
for the doing away of this drought.
If they would but conclude me too
I might take ship for home.

They tell me there are trees beyond
the desert of my door — though I
have not heard birds at prayer
since your last uttered cry.
And where is that plump fledgling
that once prattled in your tongue,
and hung about my skirts and neck
to woo me from my dark?

They tell me now that bird has flown
to soar and sing elsewhere.
I would that I might follow her
to perch amongst lush leaves.
There I would speak that hymn
of praise that glorifies your grace;
and so make sweet confession,
finding sanity in peace.

They tell me that I may not write;
nor may I speak, nor can I sing —
though I am free to play, or pray,
or sanctify a seam or hem.
My needle is my crucifix:
I stitch the cross I bleed.
I would that I might sew a shroud
and I, not you, be dead.

They tell me that my mind has gone
and I am shut away. They say it is
their kindness since I cannot be their queen.
Less kindness, though, than madness
if true madness taints my blood;
but blood it was first spoke me mad
and cosseted my loss to keep
me in that chaos that would
pitch me from my throne.

They tell me I must make my peace
and offer up my soul
to Him who took you from me
who was then my lord of life.
They instruct me in my madness
and the pattern of my days:
to them I say hold fast your tongue
for here a soft rain falls.

PHOTO: (Left) Abigail Wyatt as Juana “La Loca” of Aragon and Castile, the character played by Pilar Lopez de Ayala in Mad Love (2001). This photo was shot in 1983 at East Tilbury in Essex, U.K.. The photographer was my then-husband. Ironically enough, given Juana’s lifelong passion for the womanizing Felipe El Hermoso, it was shortly after this picture was taken that I learned of my husband’s longstanding affair with a woman I thought of as a friend.(Right) Pilar Lopez de Ayala in Mad Love (2001).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It is many years now since I first came across Juana’s haunting and tragic story. Over time, my fascination with the passionate beauty who came to be known as La Loca has continued to grow, perhaps to the point of becoming an obsession. In this poem, which is one of a number in which she features, I have imagined myself towards the end of her long life, more than half of which was spent in close confinement, addressing her dead husband whom she continued to love passionately in spite of his treachery in matters both personal and political. In the second and third stanzas she laments the loss of her youngest daughter who for a time shared her imprisonment. She then goes on the detail the constraints placed on her. For a woman of her temperament, her intelligence, and, indeed, her superior education, these must have been as onerous as the fact of incarceration itself. Nevertheless, Juana was raised and educated by The Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, so there is some reason to think that she sought and found consolation in her faith. It is certain that, like her sister, Katherine of Aragon, she was taught to believe that royalty and service were her twin destinies. I like to think that, at the end, despite her many betrayals by those who should have loved her, she could still raise herself to her full height and show the bearing and manner of a queen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abigail Wyatt was born and raised in Essex but now lives in Cornwall, U.K.. Since 2007, examples of her writings — mainly in the form of poetry and short and flash fiction — have appeared in more than 100 magazines, journals, and anthologies. This is something she continues to see as a rather wonderful blessing. A Pushcart nominee for Still Life, her poem about American artist Georgia O’Keefe, Abigail was recently honoured by the inclusion of her work in WAVEHUB: new poetry from Cornwall (2014). Since the editor of this anthology, poet and playwright,Dr. Alan M. Kent, is one of Cornwall’s foremost literary figures, to an Essex girl born and bred it means a very great deal to have been thus included.