The Kurosawa Champagne By Derrick Brown

This poem was built after watching Kurosawa’s Dreams and The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles. It is infused with a time I watched a lover have a nightmare and did not wake her.

your body shook,
hurling your nightmares
back to Cambodia.
Your nightgown wisped off
into Ursula Minor.

I was left here on earth feeling alone,
paranoid about the Rapture.

I think it is safe to say we drank too much.
Must I apologize for the volume in my slobber?
Must I apologize for the best dance moves ever?

Booze is my tuition to clown college.

I swung at your purse.
It was staring at me.

We swerved home on black laughter.
bleeding from forgettable boxing.

I asked you to sleep in the shape of a trench
so that I might know shelter.

I drew the word surrender in the mist of your breath,
waving a white sheet around your body.

‘Dear, in the morning let me put on your make-up for you.
I’ll be loading your gems with mascara
then I’ll tell you the truth…’
I watched black ropes and tears ramble down your face.

Lady war paint.

A squad of tiny men rappels down those snaking lines
and you say;
“Thank you for releasing all those fuckers from my life.”

You have a daily pill case.
There are no pills inside.
It holds the ashes of people who died
…the moment they saw you.
The cinema we built was to play the greats
but we could never afford the power
so in the dark cinema
you painted pictures of Kurosawa.

I just stared at you like Orson Welles,
getting fat off your style.

You are a movie that keeps exploding.
You are Dante’s fireplace.

We were so broke,
I’d pour tap water into your mouth,
burp against your lips
so you could have champagne.

You love champagne.

Sparring in all candlelight.

the mathematical equivalent of a woman’s beauty
is directly relational
to the amount or degree
other women hate her.

You, dear, are hated.

boots are a soundtrack to adultery.
Thank God your feet fall in the rhythm of loyalty.

If this kills me,
slice me julienne
uncurl my veins
and fashion yourself a noose
so I can hold you
once more.


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