Hollywood: A Two Act Tragedy in 1958

ACT I: Hollywood’s Magic 


Rock and Roll’s backbeat

Blast from jukeboxes and dashboards

Its animistic energy

Pulsating in the gyrating hips 

of hell-bent hipsters

It demanded attention from its audience


A time of ivory idols


Strummed and sang his way into stardom

Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe

Broadcasted images of love and marriage

Into newly minted color machination machines

And life was Hollywood–

Brilliant shimmering

Scripts and screens

Contrived and concealed 

Plastic and pleasant


This was the set design of our initial encounter

At Coney Island

A world of whirling mechanical dervishes

The neon phantasmagoric fantasy

Of the Wonder Wheel

Suspending love 150 feet

Above unsuspecting masses

In concert with the collective contrived consciousness–

a Hollywood scene.


The ephemeral thrills 

Of the Cyclone blue arcs and sparks of electric trolley poles

Sending Dodgem cars careening into each other

The thrum and hum of youth

Unmoored from the reality 

Seething inside the beast


You appear just in time to light my cigarette

With your Zippo 

Take One!


We talked,

I laughed

Our taut skin and tone muscles

lustful illusions; 

We didn’t know any better–

How could we?


You joined the Navy

Chasing skirmishes and skirts 

Each port awaiting 

Their dose of Hollywood magic

In the form of young men playing pirate


I stayed home

Stranded maiden 

Playing the housewife to be


We must have drained a thousand pens

Each letter arcing the light between us 

like the sparks of the Dodgem cars

The shadows promising more wisdom than 

Than their sources

Everything was bathed in blinding blithe/light

The Coney Island Hollywood wedding light

Bumper Cars/Dodgem cars Source: https://www.funcrewusa.com/resources/bumper-car-history-you-never-knew/

ACT II: Hollywood’s Disappearing Act


Gable, Monroe, and Elvis

Are ghosts

Hollywood’s magic unable to 

To sustain their lives beyond the celluloid syndicate

I returned to Coney Island

The sprawling rides

The denizens crowding

For their momentary piece of illusion

Carved from machine and masquerades

Foolish lovers stuffing their mouths 

With processed meats and cotton candy 


Even rock and roll has changed

At once more sophisticated and harsh–

But Hollywood

Is more convincing and real than ever

Celluloid yielding to digital deceptions

Trapping thousands of unsuspecting actors and actresses

Into roles 

Some can never play


That’s a wrap



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