Monday, March 3, 2008

Vignette Noir

You walked through the steam in a tight black dress
and boarded the Pullman car.

A shrill European whistle
gave the locomotive its raison d’etre.

Outside the station,
a streetlamp made slanting lines of rain visible

as far as the covered newsstand.
Tightening my trench coat, I haled a cab,

opening the back door
as the fin-like curb-splash

washed over the gray sidewalk.
At the apartment, I drank cheap scotch

and listened to Mahler’s last symphony
before sleeping on the mattress

where we had both created
the sag.


Jo said...

Gorgeous.......especially that 'fin-like curb splash' and the sag!

SandyCarlson said...

To the cheap scotch, I say, "lotsa"! On a night like that, a person needs it.

Great offering yet again, Billy!

Rob Hopcott said...

'where we both created the sag.'


Billy said...

Jo, thanks! I wasn't sure about putting two hypenated woords back to back, but I guess it works. -:)

Charles Gramlich said...

You had me at 'tight black dress'

Love the ending though. Perfect last stanza.

Billy said...

Sandy--"lotsa"--LOL. Yeah, on a night like that, I think I'd imbibe heavily too.

Rob, it seemed like the best way to end the poem, with "sag" having a double meaning. Thanks!!!

Lana Gramlich said...

Very nice. Has that film noir feel of the old detective movies.

Billy said...

Charles, I was worried about this one because I wanted it to be very sparse and simple, reflecting the "noir" aspect. I could see someone like Marlena Dietrich walking down the station platform. I thought the ending justified it, and the black dress didn't hurt either in relating to the b&w imagery. Thanks.

Casdok said...

Wonderful, the simple worked really well.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

I'm with lana. Neat punch (bag) line.

Billy said...

Casdok, thanks. Maybe simpler is better -:)

Julie, thank you. Was an experiemnt--I always like to push the envelope, as they say.

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for your comments today, Billy. You enrich my blog every time you stop by. Thanks for pointing out that episode with the disciples. They had corporate climber tendencies, didn't they?

Janice Thomson said...

What an astounding and perfect ending!

cargwaps said...

i love the imagery in this poem. i agree with the other comments about it having an old detective movie feel to it. and i enjoy how that atmosphere works for the piece.

i kinda imagine you holding a cigar with a hat pulled down low covering your eyes as you watched her walk "through the steam in a tight black dress".

good job billy. i'm especially proud of myself for having caught the double meaning for the "sag" at the end. haha. *smug..kidding* :p

Lane said...

Got to agree with your other commentators.

Love the retro feel.
Love the tight cuplets.
Love the 'fin-like curb-splash'
Love the 'sag'

You describe an image and it generates ten more.

Enjoyed it very much:-)

Billy said...

Sandy, you're most welcome -:)

Lana, thanks. I kept thining of old movies and the "final scene."

Janice, I wasn't sure about the poem until I hit the last stanza, which I thought made the vignette sensible. Thank you for such a kind comment!

cargwaps, yes, an old detective movie, with grainy b&w characters saying goodbye :)

Lane, I like working in couplets since it forces me to pay more attention to cadence. And the retro--it was fun. Thanks :)

Bernita said...

We can see it all, from "the tight black dress" on.

Billy said...

Bernice, thanks--I'm a sucker for the old films on TCM.

qualcosa di bello said...

i had the same feel as many others...this is a scene right out of a gorgeous old (40's maybe?)movie for certain...the imagery is perfect right down to the music & the sag!

Billy said...

Thank you, qualcosa, and yes--I was thinking of movies from around the 40s -:)

Geraldine said...

Shades of the 40's and all that made this such a glorious decade. My absolute favorite era for movies and I'm sure of many other readers.

Glad I took a scroll/stroll down your archives Billy, well worth the visit.