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The Blog Bog
The Mag Rack
for James M. Cain and Billy Wilder
I am the car Barbara Stanwyck used
to deliver her husband to his death.
I'm the vehicle her lover hid in, wire in hand,
ready to snap the cords of her husband's neck.
I'm the wheels that took the wrong turn
to the dark alley where the deed was done.
Later, on the side of the railroad tracks,
I waited for the body to be taken,
lifted out of me like a cancerous tumor,
dragged away from the homicide spot
so my passenger seat would appear innocent,
unfamiliar with viciousness and violence.
After the criminals dumped the body
they wanted to drive toward relief and calm.
At first, I wouldn't start, made them feel
trapped near and in a prison of evidence.
But eventually I let them travel in me again.
I knew they would soon
drive to their waiting doom
and murder their own plans and connections.
I sensed their careful sloppiness would overwhelm them
like car exhaust or lit gasoline.
It would prove as flammable and explosive as their love.
Austin Alexis ___
You select your own company:
fellow criminals, for instance.
Your hard tender stare
announces you are motherly
and a murderess.
You stay dead like rubber or celluloid
yet live in black-and-white glory
and a throaty voice
deeper than an oboe's chant.
If the dvd store clerk
doesn't know who you are
that highlights his dim-wittedness.
You existed, now you bud
and you will continue to blossom,
Brooklyn lady, transplanted to a big valley.
Austin Alexis ___
Joan Crawford's Dilemma
A door is a port
to the world of another room.
Their hinges--ocean waves--
revealing a passageway to death.
In Humoresque, grim Joan Crawford,
her lips down-turned,
treaded into the sea
as the film's orchestra sang Wagner.
Nightgowned in lush starkness,
drunkenly, soberly, she strode toward
then stumbled into,
the space between gray swells
where maybe fatality awaited.
The sand-bottom stretched, now smooth,
now littered with jagged shells,
now whimsically tickly,
now piercing her feet again
with hurtful rock-shards.
The boom of the surf
gave way to the bass sounds
of the dark nadir.
Far below the surface:
barely a stir.
Even the seaweed resisted undulation.
Coral posed in puffs, pillowed
or frozen in still sediment.
This chamber was governed by stupor.
This place drew to itself a melancholy
so elaborate it illustrated
a novel decadence.
This port was where troubled ships
anchored, but somehow failed to land.