Monday, August 24, 2015

Gerry McCullogh writes

Love songs of the 21st century.

Coming downstairs at half three, Tracy calls him.
“Are you coming?  Come to bed!  It’s nearly morning.”
The television noises drown his answer.
A video running, she can see it’s porno. 
“Yes, okay, I won’t be long.”  She hovers.
“Eternal Flame.” She drifts into the kitchen,
Puts on the kettle, makes a cup of coffee.
Some toast, to take upstairs, a sort of comfort.
Much later turns the light out, falls asleep.

Sandra O’Grady, chased into the kitchen,
Dodges Tommy’s boot, turns to escape.
A many splendoured thing…”  Tries to push past him,
She doesn’t know why things have gone this badly.
This time he came home drunk and broke the window,
Threatened to kill her, called her ugly names.
As Sandra grabs him, Tommy lifts the kettle,
Pours scalding water on her face and arm.
She runs outside, doesn’t know where to go.

“He’s late again tonight. Where has he gone?”
The clock ticks on, regular, terrifying.
Danny McMasters stands up, sets his glass down.
Another whiskey?  Better not, this evening.
I get no kick from champagne…   Where are you, Trevor?”
Trevor comes home.  It’s after one.  He’s swaying.
His cheeks are red, rubbed by designer stubble.
“Who were you with?”  “Who with? Who cares?”  No answer.
Dan pours two drinks, there’s nothing else to do.

Chased by romantic visions, we jump wildly
Fearful of missing out, pushed by our bodies,
Out of the open doorway,
Over the edge,
Spinning out into danger.
Circling in the slipstream
The parachute unzipped too late,
Rips with the weight.

Over the cliff edge
Into the valley
Of dead men piled
With bony parts protruding.


  1. "Eternal Flame" was a Bangles hit written by Susanna Hoffs, Billy Steinberg, and Tom Kelly based on an earlier composition by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. "Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling / Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand? / Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming / Is this burning an eternal flame?"

    "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" was an Oscar winner by Sammy fain and Paul Francis Webster and recorded by the Four Aces. "Once on a high and windy hill / In the morning mist / Two lovers kissed / And the world stood still / Then your fingers touched / My silent heart and taught it how to sing"

    "I Get a Kick Out of You" was written by Cole Porter for the Broadway musical ANYTHING GOES and sung by Ethel Merman, with later popular cover versions by Frank Sinatra. "I get no kick from champagne. / Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all. / So tell me why should it be true / That I get a kick out of you?"

  2. Thanks, Duane! I'm so glad you liked it. And thanks for your footnotes!


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