You Sure Are a Secret Man

(Out of the Past, d. Jacques Tourneur)

Homicidal girlfriends happen even in the ambient glow of day,
or in the bright juke light of a breakfast joint,
or a sleepy cantina too easily found,
or by lake light, tackle box open.

When they screw, which is the thing we cannot see, it knocks over the
and blows the door open on the bungalow.

I don’t know what we were waiting for.

A car ride to Lake Tahoe is a good time to tell a backwards story,
and we are always behind the man’s angled hat as he drives.
Riding behind him again later as he kisses her oddly precise

Much can be gleaned by sitting out the afternoon drinking beer
next door to a movie house.

He never stops smoking. He’s offered a cigarette from a pack
when he’s already smoking a cigarette,
and has to point out that he’s already smoking.

Everyone’s being followed. Everyone shows up on the veranda for
in a crystal bowl when you least expect it. Everyone’s fishing.

A deaf boy can hook a gangster. Can lie to even the pretty girl
who lives at home with her parents in a Victorian house
held off from the desert by a barbed wire fence.

Let’s find a way to lose more slowly.