Monday, February 27, 2023

Shirley J. Brewer


Bette Davis blurts out in The Letter.
Only a goddess with those eyes
could pull it off, lust after
the guy she turned into a corpse.

Oh, Bette, you showcase guilt
like a crimson pelisse, fur-trimmed,
the same one Mozart wore
to the opening of The Marriage of Figaro.

Speaking of marriage, poetry
connects strange wires in my brain.
Dishes become flying saucers
ricocheting in a pewter sky.

In the ER, a nurse repairs my finger
sliced by a kitchen knife while washing
dishes. See above. She applies
three layers of body glue.

Bette meets her end—done in
with a dagger by her dead lover’s wife.
Body glue not an option in 1940,
or else Bette’s forgiving husband,

a Mozart look-alike, might have
put her back together. It works that way
in movies. In outer space. In poems,
sometimes. With all my heart

I still love you, Bette Davis.
Despite your flaws. Who doesn’t
deserve a second chance?

Shirley's YouTube video reading of "With All My Heart...":

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Shirley confesses: "Who else but Bette Davis could get away with a line like that? (maybe Cate Blanchett!) From there, I decided to connect some different images in my brain, and see if I could pull them all together, as in a film noir. A pelisse is a long cloak, usually fur-lined. The 'crimson' is a reference to Bette's ill-chosen gown in another classic movie, Jezebel."

SHIRLEY J. BREWER (Baltimore MD) serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for the Arts & Technology. A Pushcart nominee, her poems garnish Barrow Street, Passager, Gargoyle, Little Patuxent Review, Poetry East, Slant, among other journals and anthologies. Shirley’s poetry books include A Little Breast Music (Passager Books), After Words (Apprentice House Press), and Bistro in Another Realm (Main Street Rag). Her fourth poetry collection, Wild Girls, is forthcoming from Apprentice House Press in June, 2023.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved Shirley Brewer's poem. It's humorous and magical.