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Don’t Look Now*

August 29, 2011

Dwarfish shoulders
flicker crimson,
the chiaroscuro gape
of Ponti di Rialto. Celluloid

strings finger
tightening spines,
eyes wide
with salt shivers. Portend,

in sudden
neon. Slinking

street lamp orange
and cavern black,
I carry
(cannot wear)
my red cagoule.

*1973 occult thriller starring Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie

This is posted for the dVersePoetsPub Open Link Night 30.8.11: URL:


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  1. nice tension through the middle there…and nice use of chiaroscuro, the contrasts…you set an intriguing scene here…

  2. And it was carried well, straight through the piece, really like the use oc Celluloid, just fit great.

  3. Picture and words complimented each other. Still a frightening scene though….

  4. Oh yes… it was that… Thanks for dropping in Heaven…

  5. I admire anyone who can write abstract poetry… This is amazing!

  6. wow – excellently executed piece becky…tight atmosphere…dark, fast paced fear…i like it

  7. Hey becky – you have channelled the films energy – by doing this your poem both compliments the film and taps into its conceptual power. That said rather than simply extend you have also skillfully condensed the experience of watching the film too. as you know i love this movie so perhaps i am biased but i think being such a fan of it i would have found fault – if your poem hadnt done it the justice it deserved… but it did – so there…lol…. (.high horse stumbles – comment box looks full – critic exits -puts on his red mac and places classic horror movie in the dvd player) P O P C O R N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – – – – – – – – – –

    • hahah….. don’t think they had popcorn when I first saw the movie… Thrilled that you feel the poem works with the film… Still feel that eyeclenching fear… High horse stumbles always welcome here… lol…

  8. O. My. Gosh. I remember that film!! Been some years since I saw it. But your words bring it flooding back. Awesome!

    I wonder how you would poeticize “Body Heat?” Very well, I imagine!

  9. I don’t know the film, so I’ve nothing to reference in that regard…but I’ve a feeling I’ll be watching it soon! Puts me in mind of Jack the Ripper…for what that might be worth! 🙂 I can tell you, I’ve goosebumps on my skin…

    • One of those films that’s lodged in my mind… It was a great film…haven’t seen it recently, so not sure if it stands outside its time… Thanks for reading.. 🙂

  10. I’m sorry I don’t know the movie so I can’t speak to that but I love the way you use words to jab and dodge and heighten tension. As a poem it’s simply excellent. I’m too cowardly to watch horror films but you certainly piqued my curiosity!

    • Hi Anna… really appreciate your thoughts on this one… happy to know it works for those who don’t know the film.. yes, I’m haunted! One reason I don’t watch these kind of films any more… But was a stunning orchestration of fear…

  11. Love it. I think I saw the movie, both great actors too.

  12. Great poem. Not being from Britain I had to look up cagoule. I hate when I don’t know a word.

  13. I think the poem works well with a film I only read about now on Wikipedia. Reading it I was entranced by the tension and the chromatics, but felt outside of it. I know now what I’m outsdie of, but without seeing the film I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk down the street with it. This isn’t a criticism of the poem — it’s tightly, rightly written — but it does make me wonder how much shared cultural experience is essential in a poem’s watchworks. In a splintering culture, the niches proliferate; harrowing them is what we must do, but unfortunately it sometimes comes off like the sound of a dream in another room. Just thinking out loud … it is a marvelous poem.

    • Yes, Brendan…appreciate your thoughts here.. It’s a constant question of where to draw the line… I agree addressing a very specific cultural artefact is intrinsically problematic and has more than a little potential to exclude many readers.. Not sure that would be a reason not to explore such things… but it is on my mind… Thank you.

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