I love how songs grow from talk
in Hollywood musicals
like ‘Carousel’, for instance,
and think, maybe, that’s how we should be
in our writing, loose and organic,
let the words, when they pulse with life,
grow feathers and spread their wings
as poems up and down the page
It’s the little things I love
‘Paterson’, the movie
About the bus driver
Who wrote his little epiphanies in his note book
like William Carlos Williams
the doctor who wrote
the red wheelbarrow
And finding out
That’s where Lou Costello grew up,
Paterson, New Jersey
There’s even a park named after him,
Lou Costello the chubby comedian who played alongside Bud Abbot,
The straight guy.
I used to watch those guys in the funhouse
Of the fifties,
Frolicking with Frankenstein and The Wolf man.
But it was Lou Costello
The funny little fat guy
And that’s where he came from,
Paterson, New Jersey.
Ever since the Corona virus took hold,
I’ve been trying to write this poem about silver linings,
about looking for them in the darkest of days,
and I know there’s a name for this condition,
for someone who’s insistently optimistic: Pollyanna —
& I think of Haley Mills who played the part
in her film debut for Disney, only she was thirteen,
female and wore pigtails, while I’m a senior,
white male and insistently balding; but Optimism,
like Corona, does not recognize age, ethnicity or gender;
we’re all in this together and can find silver linings
in the darkest of storm clouds
- what silver linings have you found during the past few weeks?
- is there cause for optimism?
There’s a wine called ‘Barking Mad’.
I liked it so much I bought six bottles and drank them all.
Not in one night, of course.
There have been times when I have been barking mad:
Over the insurance company’s delay in fixing my storm-damaged gate because ‘it is just a gate’,
Over next door’s yippee yappy dog who goes off when I piss under the lemon tree at night alarming the neighbours and the back lights go on to see what’s up [ Can’t a man piss in peace? ]
But mostly it’s the scammer with the heavy Slav accent who phones every few days to tell me my internet has been infected and will be turned off unless I phone a certain number.
It hasn’t been turned off yet and I haven’t phoned.
Over petrol prices that go up and down like a wild week at the Dow Jones.
I could go on but you get the idea.
Everyone is a Howard Beale barking mad at something.