Ray Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and that bunch
Write poetry in prose – without the rhyme –
And, while the rest of us are out to lunch,
Make fancy dinners. It’s a hardboiled crime
That they can write such poetry while I
(Poor I) limp forward on gun-blasted knees . . .
Toward what end? – and, yes, it’s true, I’d die
To write such beautiful calamities.
My weaknesses are many, I admit,
Starting (name it!) with my proclivity
For words like “proclivity” and all that shit
In syllables of more than two or three,
Although I know simplicity’s a grace
When writers write about a shotgunned face.
That’s number two – the shotgunned face, I mean:
My second weakness is a taste for grit,
The grittier the better – in between
My teeth . . . and in my ears and eyes, for it
(I.e. the grit) is like the hot sauce on a taco,
Without which you eat only meat and bread.
In Irish, I like Bruen; in Spanish, Paco
Ignacio Taibo – for both of whom the dead
Are only dead if shot between the eyes
Or in the balls. I tend in such directions
Myself: dead bodies must have worms and flies;
Dead men with shot-off balls must have erections.
It’s ugly, much too ugly, I admit it,
And that is why I’m always quick to edit.
Now, wait, I don’t rhyme either: “admit it”/”edit”?
But that won’t make me either Cain or Hammett
(I say it now, as I have often said it:
“Damnit, damnit, damnit, damnit damnit!”).
What other faults have I? I have too many
To fit inside the space of just a sonnet –
More than the pinks in a box of Good & Plenty.
Another false rhyme! (Damnit! Domnet! Donnet!)
Enough of all this self-excoriation!
That’s seven syllables, in case you missed.
Okay, just six. My brain is on vacation.
My head is tired and ready to be kissed.
Must be the hardboiled company I keep.
I think I’m ready for A Bad Night’s Sleep.