Monday, February 15, 2021

Peter M. Gordon


like Jane Greer in Out of the Past.
Cigarette smoke curls around alluring
eyes; wrapped in a tight white dress she’s
an angel of desire in a dark cantina.

I know there’s nothing pure about her,
except my white hot lust so strong
I’ll risk death from the gangster who
hired me, if Jane can be mine.

One honeymoon with Lizbeth Scott worth
every second. even if our affair ends
when she puts a hole in me, like she did her
husband, over stolen loot in Too Late for Tears.

A few fiery kisses from Barbara Stanwyck,
and we’re plotting her husband’s murder
and how to share our Double Indemnity
insurance windfall. I know she loves me.

Forties films could only imply how femme
fatales bewitched their men, but easy
to imagine silk sheets, naked bodies,
earth shaking orgasms, shared cigarette after.

John Garfield and I can’t stop staring
in Lana Turner’s blue eyes. She wears
a white blouse pulled up to show bare
midriff. Dropped lipstick rolls toward

stunned Garfield, past his feet and on my
living room floor. Lana looks at me; I reach
for the cool metal cylinder and fall into
that black and white world -- small, cheap

California diner where Lana’s so desperate
to escape she plots to kill her nice guy husband.
The Postman Always Rings Twice, Garfield
learns at the end, but right now Lana’s

mouth meets mine, I smell perfume, taste
tobacco on her tongue. She pulls me up to bed,
starts to strip off clothes, but I freeze, realizing
in this version of the film, I’m the husband.

Peter reads "I Want a Film Noir Femme Fatale":

Subscribe and turn on Notifications for Channel 52.

Peter confesses: "I’ve become a regular viewer of Noir Alley on TCM and enjoyed seeing how those femme fatales seduced men. In response to Gerald’s call for Valentine’s Day crime poems, I wondered how a date with Jane Greer or Lizbeth Scott might end up for me."

PETER M. GORDON won the 2019 Thomas Burnett Swann Poetry Prize. He's had over 100 poems published by journals and web sites, along with collections Two Car Garage and Let's Play Two: Poems About Baseball. He teaches in Full Sail University's Film Production MFA program.

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