Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Movie Jail

“There’s no law says we can’t start real and end fake.   What are they going to do, put me in movie jail?”
–Albert Brooks, Real Life


The jailer, played by Anthony Quinn, is a mean son-of-a-bitch, but dumb.  In a fit of rage at your failure to respond to his tentative conversation, he tosses the keys at your feet and dares you to come out and take him on.

When in stumbles Tony Perkins as the manic deputy.  He reaches for his gun in a feeble attempt to save the day; the bullet bounces off the wall above your head, a wild ricochet

which wakes Walter Brennan who nearly falls off his chair.  He hobbles over to tell you, You’re all damn fools; this is movie jail.  But no one even cares.

A young Jane Powell, the jailer’s daughter, who loves the deputy despite his faults, waltzes in with your last request.  It’s meat and potatoes cause you’re a man and men are men.  You even eat the plate.

The Citizen’s Committee, a bunch of unknowns and guys off the street, come round and demand your release.  The jailer relents; he thinks it’s in the script.

So you’re out on the dusty back lot, a glad hand for all, when one lone voice is heard above the rest:  Now that we’ve got the bastard, let’s string him up, the father-killer!  You squint up the widening path and a dark figure rolls in like tumbleweed.  That shit-eating grin you once knew so well, and loved to slap around, becomes the eager, smirking face of your brother.


AlanwAlan Walowitz is a poet who lives in Nassau County, where he keeps his eye on New York City proper from his doorstep. He teaches some days at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, and other days at St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY.


Categories: Poetry, Pop Culture, Themed

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I enjoyed figuring out the meaning of this poem. Your poems are expanding my mind. Thanks!

  2. It’s fun and funny….especially the grinning brother and the surprises and twisted character-actors.

    I prefer the seriousness and melancholic underpinning, the pining of Valhalla.


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