I've something of a fondness for those old black and white American B-movies: the kind that turn up now and again, late at night on BBC television. They're full of tough guys, sultry gals and wisecracks by the score.
I've written poems galore based on the stereotypical characters whose lives play out in these films, and have even jotted down the occasional piece of prose.
Most of my efforts are as artless and forgettable as the films themselves, but now and again one charms me enough to want to wave it like a tentative flag and hope that nobody takes a pot-shot at it.
BRAND NEW HAT
I wander into Kevin’s Bar. Scotch-rocks, I ask for, then kick back. I drink there for about an hour, maybe a couple. I lose track. I wear my new Fedora hat. My watch-chain fob hangs on my vest. I fill that vest but I ain’t fat. I’m quite a swell, you might have guessed. I watch the game and drink some more. Those goddam Redskins sure have form. I get confused, forget the score. Kevin’s is cool but over-warm. Behind the barkeep, hangs a mirror. Reflected in it is the door. What happens next is just a blur. A guy bursts in, emits a roar. I know his face, a dame I see, sweet Macy, has his photograph. He’s Macy’s new husband-to-be. Guess he don’t want my autograph.
I think it circumspect to split. That gal is one amazing chick, but I’m no hero I’ll admit. I gulp my Scotch and exit quick. Dart down the alley out at back. The goddam guy’s in hot pursuit. I got my gun. I always pack. He’s taking aim. He’s sure to shoot. Out in the alley, moving fast, I'm agile as an alley-cat.
A trashcan spins, I hear a blast. A bullet smacks my brand new hat. I run like crazy. Bullets fly. I guess this bozo’s mad at me. A sleeping drunk trips up the guy, who tumbles like a fallen tree.
I make the corner, spot a cop who’s looking elsewhere, shoulders squared. I walk real slow. One thing’s for sure. Just gotta get this hat repaired.