Archives for posts with tag: Hollywood

rita and fred
by Rose Mary Boehm

I could see myself. The singing, dancing,
long-legged Rita Hayworth double. I would.
I did. I do. Mame.
Long mane, probably red. Long
gloves until over my elbows.
Probably black.
Dress? Silk and shine and hugging my thighs
and calves. At least six inches of heel.
How I’d dazzle, how I’d pirouette, how I’d
swing my hips without being vulgar. Never
be vulgar, my mother said. Oh no, ma’am.
I’d put Ginger to shame. Fred and Rose.
No boogie. The Marimba?
Begin the Beguine?
More athletic? Gene and Rose?
For Gene I might be Leslie Caron instead of Rita.
But she was too sweet.
No, not John Travolta. The emphasis
Is on “slinky.” Someone from the underworld
would come backstage
and offer to shoot himself
unless I said “yes.”

PHOTO: Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in a scene from You Were Never Lovelier (1942).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was socially gauche, my dancing skills negligible, my red high-heeled peep-toes hurt my feet, and when I wondered whether I would ever be looked at by any male, I imagined I could exchange my mouse-blonde ponytail for Rita Hayworth’s blonde mane, my awkward gait for her sinuous moves, could flow across a stage with at least Fred Astaire, and be admired by all.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born U.K. national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of TANGENTS, a poetry collection published in the U.K. (2011/2012), her work has been widely published in U.S. poetry journals (online and print).  Twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, her new poetry collection (From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949) was published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and another new collection will be published by Kelsay Books in 2016/2017.


Dear Katharine Hepburn…
by Cath Bore

There was a girl called Joan in my class at school. It seemed to me that someone with a name like Joan belonged in a black and white movie on a rainy midweek afternoon, not 1980s Britain with its manmade fabrics, bright pop music, and copies of Jackie magazine. Apparently Joan’s mum and dad wanted her to be called Joanne but her gran didn’t approve, and pushed for the short old fashioned name instead.

As a kid I could never work out why your name was Katharine, and not Catherine like mine. You had a mighty kicking K, my curvy C seemed dull and bland in comparison. I wanted our names to be the same. It bothered me no end that they weren’t, but in the end I decided my name was like that because my parents probably didn’t know how to spell it properly like yours did. Or perhaps my grandmother was a bit like Joan’s.

Joan got a lot of stick in school for having the same name as an old lady, but then again so did I, having glasses as thick as Murray Mints, and the rest. We notice our differences so much when we’re growing up. It’s all so intense.

Joan grew up to be a happy woman and I managed the same, eventually. When I got older I realised there were lots of ways of spelling the same name, and got okay about you and I and our mismatched letters. Now, I think your name is more beautiful than ever and mine is exactly like it, but in its very own way.


PHOTO: Actress Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cath Bore is a writer based in Liverpool U.K., currently writing a novel and lots of flash fiction. Her website is

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,
(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.

by Tara R. Andrews

For the money.
Yes, for the money.
What else for?
It’s hard work.
I pay in taxes
88 cents out of each dollar.
I love America.
One pays for one’s pleasures.
I stand still and sing.
I do not take myself seriously.
I’m laughing at myself all the time.
This is fun.
I am a unique performer.
I have no competition.
I am easy going.
I cannot stand stupidity.
Stupid people annoy me.
Fans worship me,
are in awe of me.
They are stupid.
Who am I to be held in awe?
Be in awe of a doctor or a scientist.
I could never be friends with anyone
stupid enough to worship me.
I’m no sex goddess.
Americans love to create myths.
Never read American magazines.
Don’t believe a word.

SOURCE: Marlene Dietrich interviewed by Clive Hirschhorn (1965).

IMAGE: Marlene Dietrich street art, Los Angeles (September 2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tara R. Andrews is a poet, playwright, and author of children’s books. Her latest novel for children is Ava & Bob, available at Visit her at

by Stephanie Barbé Hammer

“Absolutely it’s frustrating
“In his own house no hope:
“He’s a con man she’s the con man
“You buy it manipulative
“I’m 40 she’s 22
“What’s that going to
“mean when
“She almost got him scripted
“and by the end he thanks her?
“She’s a lot of fun?
“She conveys that ”’Not what I want–
“’I’m not interested in that
“Any more/Any longer’ leverage then
“We sat for 10 minutes
“In a different room
“What would we say
“What would we do?
“Go for the toxic father”
He explained further.

SOURCE: “Christian Bale Spills on His Chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence” by Shanee Edwards,

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Christian Bale can be both arresting and repulsive, and the film American Hustle reminded me of my summers working part-time in the Plaza Hotel in the mid-70s, where women did indeed wear clothes like that, and I had a friend with a particularly heinous comb-over like Bale’s character. I like how the emptiness of the interview can get turned on its head with the right amount of exquisite corpse word-shuffling, and I like how desperate the words become – linking the poem with the subject matter and tone of the film.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a four-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in fiction and nonfiction. Her poetry collection How Formal? was published in 2014 with Spout Hill Press. Her novel The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior is forthcoming with Urban Farmhouse Press, and she is always working on stories, poems, and the ever-elusive perfect tweet. She divides her time between Los Angeles and Coupeville, Washington, and lives with her husband Larry Behrendt. Visit her at

by Karen Massey

I want to be
on a cover
expanding my
success, the ultimate
I want this
so pretty
take a
take a
picture of me
take a picture
ok that’s my personality
ok can anyone hear me?

SOURCE: “What Will The Fashion World Do Without Kim Kardashian?” by Benjamin Wallace, New York Magazine.  Erasure poem carved from several consecutive Kim Kardashian quotations extracted from the  article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Massey writes in Ottawa, Canada. She has an MA, has published one chapbook, and her work has won local and regional prizes and appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies. Recent online publication includes, and one of her poems was featured on the Chaudiere Press blog during National Poetry Month 2014.

by Wm. Todd King

is never going to be
under pressure perfect
curvy cellulite.

SOURCE: Kim Kardashian at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wm. Todd King is a poet and Regulatory Compliance Supervisor living in Kentucky. He is the recent finalist in the Found Poetry Review’s Dog Ear Poetry Contest, and a participant in 2013’s Pulitzer Remix project. His works have appeared in STILL, the Silver Birch Press NOIR Erasure Poetry Anthology, Life’s Vivid Creations, and Found Poetry Review.

by A. Garnett Weiss

There’s always a certain awareness,
a limited amount of changes you can make.
Can’t get away from your actual identity
as that cross-eyed Canadian.

Too easily consumed by the wave,
I’d seen all the pitfalls.
All those sandtraps of entitlement
you think you suddenly deserve
in this funny business.

still searching for
that kind of roadside attraction,
so much for the role
I just left.

Young enough, dumb enough, feel
like this kid sitting on the bench
in the life-threatening cold:
It was real when the camera rolled.

SOURCE: Richard  Ouzounian’s “The Big Interview: Ryan Reynolds(Toronto Star,  August 23, 2014).

IMAGE: Ryan Reynolds 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I read the source material, extract phrases or words of interest, then live with them until a sequence emerges and until the poem clicks.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poems by JC Sulzenko, now writing poetry as A. Garnett Weiss, have been featured on local and national radio and television, on-line and in anthologies and chapbooks. Her centos have won a number of recent awards. Various newspapers have carried her creative non-fiction. “In the third person” was featured in Silver Birch Press’s self-portrait poetry series. She has appeared often on behalf of The Ottawa International Writers Festival, which hosted the premiere of her play about Alzheimer’s disease, What My Grandma Means to Say, and launched her sixth book for children adapted from the play. In 2012, she served as poet-mentor for The Gryphon Trio’s Listen Up! Ottawa music and poetry project. She also received the Ottawa Public Library’s Order of Friendship for her “outstanding volunteer” service. Visit her at

by Karen Massey

We real privileged. We
full face fashion. We

glitz and glam. We

tweet lifestyle. We
all this stuff. We

TV family. We
Givenchy. We

carry a tune. We
do what we do.

SOURCE:  The Kim Kardashian Interview: Cleopatra With A “K” by Laura Brown (Harper’s Bazaar, Feb. 9, 2011).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Massey writes in Ottawa, Canada. She has an MA, has published one chapbook, and her work has won local and regional prizes and appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies. Recent online publication includes, and one of her poems was featured on the Chaudiere Press blog during National Poetry Month 2014.

by Mathias Jansson

We have we have we have we have
And we have
We’ve always had
Always wanted the best always had
When we were growing up
I think about me about Hollywood
We are we have a lot of me
I just think – think you should comes first!
I’d wanted pictures of me
I wanted my own pictures
I think it’s the best way for me myself and I
I really do

SOURCE: Kim Kardashian interview at K9 Magazine.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with visual poetry to magazines such as Lex-ICON, Anatematiskpress, Quarter After #4, and Maintenant 8: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has also published a chapbook at this is visual poetry and contributed with erasure poetry to anthologies from Silver Birch Press. Visit him at, or his author’s page at