The Secret Beyond The Door, 1947


and also a movie starring Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave

and also a movie starring Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave




What danger

lurked inside

his mind,

she did not

find at first.


she saw his


Pierot mask

and what

he wished for her

to see -

a man of mystery.

there he was,

cloaked in black.

Hell!  the deepest black -

not even coal could touch

that lack of color -

and such silence

behind his uneven

smile -

the silence of a mine


sunk miles

beneath the floor

beyond the door  -


sheltered his


he threw his empty bottles





down the shaft

refuse from

the take-out


into a hole

so vast

it had no end

or evven

a beginning.

so drunk,

he wasted




disappeared into

the hole inside his

heart.  she saw that,

at last. And,


the holes

converged. they

grew so

big, so deep and


he couldn’t

hide his

trueness any


all of him



what remained -

a faint echo









Rufus King wrote noir novels back in the day; some people live noir

Rufus King wrote noir novels back in the day; some people live noir

Here’s a vintage paperback from my vintage paperback book collection. Right now, I am so loving vintage paperbacks – especially those with great graphic covers, like this one. Having a series of unfortunate events collide around me inspired me to write a noir poem. Perhaps this will be the last (The Lost Weekend – Sequel was the first). One can always hope.

The Lost Weekend, 1944 — A Sequel



a bottle dimly


in a night filled

with fire

you went too far

you broke the

spell &

you fell &

you fell

in to

the bottomless

pit of nothing right

except the next

get tight

feeling, the filling

up the  holes -

the swig, the swill,

the dull thrill

you will dig your

own sweet grave

one shovel/swallow at

a time

no one can


you no more

you a ghost now

you a hollow man


just an echo

down an empty

hall that leads

to a room

you don’t want

to be in

Verse after – long after – reading the riveting The Lost Weekend (1944) by Charles R. Jackson.  This is a book that reverberates – its honesty is hard to read and that makes it hard to put down. One of the best “memoirs” in my library. And, also, in 1945, a great movie directed by Billy Wilder.

An Oriental View of American Civilization, No-Young Park, 1934

Well, shut the

door -

it’s 1934,

and a visiting

Chinese scholar


reviewing American


and it’s ain’t pretty.

he soon discovers

“money, money,money”

is the alpha and omega

in the U.S. of A.

In other words,

No Pay, No Way

but  “Have a Good


he also uncovers

the silly fact,

most Americans

want to act.

Be movie stars.

ppls admit this

quite freely.

Not ideally,

as far as



I learned, in the

1970s, to erase

the word “Oriental.

It had no more place

in the dictionary or my

life (which ever came


So, a later printing

of the book above,

should now read,

An Asian View of

American Civilization.

I fear

Nothing much else

has changed in 80 years.

Money is still

good for burning.

And movie stars


still churning

like butter

in Hollywood.


West meets East with Good Wishes

West meets East with Good Wishes


This 128-page hardcover, as noted above, is titled  An Oriental View of American Civilization by No-Yong Park (Pao). Directly above this pgh, you will find his inscription and signature on the book’s first end page. Lest I mislead you, his book is not a total slam of  the U.S. Here’s one positive comment, “Undoubtedly” he writes, “the greatest of all American virtues is the ability to organize.” (And, still is). This is a mighty good book to ponder, especially in light of alibaba.


The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, 1960

Pablo Picasso , Ernest Hemingway & others enjoyed her meals

She cooked for  Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway & many other artists & writers

Let us now intrude -


Alice & Gertrude

sitting down


to a slice

of her yet-warm

Violet Souffle.

Hooray!”  Gertrude

says (or she doesn’t)

and then, she sighs,

Alice, you know

perfectly  well

this dessert is 


There’s nothing

wrong with it,  but

What I really long

for is

 your Bavarian 


Perfect Love.

Every night, 

I dream,

in a long


of dreams,

we too


one day 


Perfect Love.

Not a spoon full

but a room full

of love words, 

spilling out

repressed expressed

confessed  – 

I, too, have loved


Do you dream this too?

Do you ?

The Alice B. Toklas Kitchen Table of Contents

The Alice B. Toklas Kitchen Table of Contents


 Here’s a cook book that’s much more than a cook book. It’s a very long homage to a love affair long ago in Paris – featuring French recipes, mostly from the 1930s and ’40s. Bavarian Cream Perfect Love is one of Alice B. Toklas’ 350 recipes found inside this paperback book (Anchor, First Edition, 1960). The most famous recipe, of course, is Toklas’ recipe for Haschich Fudge (laced with”canibus” as she called it). She noted, in an aside, anyone could whip this up on a rainy day.






Quite Early One Morning, Dylan Thomas, 1960

a Collection of Prose & Poetry by the famed poet

a Collection of Prose & Poetry by the famed poet


Dont know about

you,    but me -

I’m up early.

I’m up

up in the dark,

like a stranger

sittin on a park

bench, watchin

the leaves blow

off the trees. I

am always

waitin for somethin

don’t know what

but somethin

mebbe a train

cuttin through

the night curtain

flashing the lights



That’s one thing

about the early

mornin -

you always know

what’s comin on -

day break.

Hell, yeah,

let there be day

after the night

blow out the


and blow in

the light

that’s one thing


Often seen smoking and/or drinking

Often seen smoking and/or


“Before his tragic death at 39, Dylan Thomas was already recognized as the greatest lyric poet of the younger generation.” Although he died in 1953 (this book was originally published in 1954), the depth of his voice (figuratively and aloud) continues to move and motivate a now even much-younger generation. I knew a professor who knew Dylan Thomas. Apparently in real life, he lived up to his reputation as a kind of  “wild ginger man.”

One of the Three Little Pigs*

Once upon a time

which is nice,

because it rhymes/

there were three

little pigs.

One stood out.

He was tall, but stout.


he was known as

Pig Boy.

Sadly, there

was no joy

in Pig Boy.

He stubbornly

would not

grow up.

Nothing ever

was enough

for Pig Boy.

If he didn’t get

his way,

he would bay & bay -

although everyone knew

pigs oinked

One day,

Pig Boy

drank too


& made such a fuss,

he got kicked

out of the trio

where he once

played bass.

he lost face


his place

in a really



fairy tale.

On a harmonic scale

of one to ten,

this sucks 11

but there’s a moral:

boys will be


& men will

be men,

except for

boys who

refuse to grow

up to be


we all know

what (eventually)

happens then…



* * *

The Three Little Pigs fairy tale may not be high on your reading list, but you might want to reconsider. Many of us ppls sometimes run into a wolf or two. Or a Pig Boy (a character in the back-story).

*pardon my digression from the vintage book format. I couldn’t help myself.





Classic Car Repair Books, a Selection of Three

Books for the Auto-Fixated

Books for the Auto-Fixated

Some ppl

get their kicks

on Route 66.

which is cool

unless your old

tire goes flat

(imagine that!)

& you need that

lug-nut tool -

or some way

to change it

bare-handed –

or your radiator

runs dry,

like a gully

in a sand storm -


cars fly past -

do you feel stupid,

or what?

but, have no fear

there are books

to fix your classic

car problems

when they appear.

like if you’re

driving a  T Bird

or a Mercedes

with a gull-wing


google don’t know



that’s what

vintage car-repair

books are



Vintage books on vintage cars

Vintage books on vintage cars

Above, a selection of classic car repair books, including Audel’s (from the 1940s), a book on maintenance & repair of Model A & Model T Fords, and a repair book for Plymouth. Two softcovers & one hardcover, with a grease-free dust-jacket. (The last two books are from the 1960s).

The Joy of Cooking, Bride’s Edition, 1979

Oh, the Joy of Cooking!

Oh, the Joy of Cooking!

Hooray for you,

babe of mine -

you finally

hooked your guy -

got your self


picket fence,

and a robin’s

egg blue sky!

But wait a liddle

minute -

You’re now

in charge of food!

Cooking three

square meals a day -

you better make

‘em good!

Oh, what to do,

you ask,

Clueless bride you are,


Along comes

Joy of Cooking,

and now you are a star!

For starters,

You can boil

some soup, so

easy, little toil!

Cooking for

the liddle prince,

Your meals taste

almost royal!

- -

Some brides cook for

pleasure -

others cuz

they must.


I can tell you one

thing, I’d rather

cook than dust.


The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1979, 12th printing, Bride’s Edition. This is a 915-page vintage hardcover, good for cooks without a microwave or the internet. Still, it’s a classic;  if nothing else, it will look mighty impressive doll-up your kitchen counter.


Mark Twain’s The War Prayer, 1968

The War Prayer, 1910

The War Prayer,

Mark Twain

didn’t like War.

So much, he


a long


about it.

Take note -

The War Prayer

has some

rather gory


prose &

drawings -

compiled to

make you

think twice

about advice

to put soldiers

in the field

or boots

on the ground.

Book wasn’t


’til years

after Twain

wasn’t around


Word of it

caused to0 much


back then

when he died

in 1910.

Somber, poignant,

stoic, sad,

a classic read,

with such broad reach.

To Mark Twain,


war was bad.

Little-known Twain on war

Little-known Twain on war


Twain’s subtle diatribe on war had not been published at the time of his death, in 1910. Because it was controversial, and angered many people,  he feared it would hurt his family . The work was finally published in 1923. The copy above is from 1968, with modern illustrations by John Groth. A little-known Twain work that packs a big punch.


Escape From Alcatraz, Signed Twice

Sometimes, there's no escape

Sometimes, there’s no escape

Some people

go to jail -

(one way

or another) -

See -

some go

behind the bars,


others hold the

locks & keys.

Both in jail,

you might agree -

jailer, jailed,

stuck or bailed,

you’re either in-

side or you’re out.

jail is what you

make it,

of this I have



Signed & Resigned

Signed & Resigned


From the 1963 book, A Farewell to The Rock, Escape From Alcatraz by J. Campbell Bruce. Signed by both the author, Bruce, & James V. Bennett, then Director of the Bureau of Prisons for the U.S. Dept. of Justice. (also known as a prison reformer). But, there’s more! This book was once owned by an Alcatraz probation officer in the 1950s. From the letters inside the book, he couldn’t wait to leave his job at prison. He later resigned.