Monday, June 23, 2008

Duke Altum's POTM #63

And you thought this series was dead??

Charles Simic has said very openly that film noir has had an artistic influence on his poetry. Well nowhere, perhaps, is that more apparent than in this cryptic, existential masterpiece... I love everything about this poem, but especially those haunting last few lines. You can almost hear the lonely, muted trumpet wailing in the background... and, like the best of the films these lines so powerfully echo, you get the feeling that in the end, the hero has lost it all... and for what??


Club Midnight

Are you the sole owner of a seedy night club?

Are you its sole customer, sole bartender,
Sole waiter prowling around the empty tables?

Do you put on wee-hour girlie shows
With dead stars of black and white films?

Is your office upstairs over the neon lights,
Or down deep in the dank rat cellar?

Are bearded Russian thinkers your silent partners?
Do you have a doorman by the name of Dostoyevsky?

Is Fu Manchu coming tonight?
Is Miss Emily Dickinson?

Do you happen to have an immortal soul?
Do you have a sneaky suspicion that you have none?

Is that why you throw a white pair of dice,
In the dark, long after the joint closes?

1 comment:

Mutt Ploughman said...

Duke once again brings the poetry with this thrilling addition to the archive. This is one wild poem, very good for expanding one's horizons as far as what poetry is all about and what it can do......never thought I would read a poem that had Fu Manchu, Emily Dickinson, and Dosteovsky referred to in the space of a few lines. By the time I got to the end I wouldn't have been surprised if BRUCE Dickinson had showed up in there. Also, on a more serious note, the fascinating and brilliant layers of the final few lines really reveal why Duke's poetry selections are not made loosely or lightly. Very, very interesting poem, and i doubt I would get to anything like this were it not for this series!