Wednesday, September 1, 2021




B-Movie Cleopatra


oh no not again

another talented actress

grappling with a crummy script

the semaphore school of mime presentation

that lands airplanes

through overacting


the lines fed to your mouth are but alms

to the award-colored vision

of your agents

a schlockmeister cohort sitting

at counters, eager for lunch or dinner

or something


I know it is hard

but do try not to sign

on the dotted lines

that are drafted by

workaday owls


(the director’s name is Federico

and he is panning a butt-shot



it makes you look like a blockbuster


stranded in a cheesy

spaghetti western

still adorable yet sold cut-rate

to all those who don’t aim

to adore


Halloween, Confidentially Yours


alone in an empty pavilion

where pumpkin piroschki are served for two

a smooth oubliette will send her

into émigré salons

of memory


the telephones off the hook

making urgent calls to the dead

how many women go mad in the movies

how many women go mad in homage

to a man?

a recipient some say—unconfirmed—of the ephemeral Stalin

Peace Prize, the atomic auspices we somehow

no longer fear

he would travel alone incognito

to avoid assassination and fees


outside America, a Fifth Avenue of the mind

a safety of shopping, a couple acquiring a life together

now ghost ships at night






The Antonioni Experience


for a strange short year of behaving

as if people never got married

I had a music therapist girlfriend

who worked afternoons at a hospice

out in the sticks of a Tokyo suburb


the one way she could sleep was alone

and trying to make her happy

in the bars and the parks of Ikebukuro

was like making the music for a movie

abandoned by Antonioni

using black-and-white instruments of detachment

that are waiting to be invented

by a maestro

obsessed with endings 


NICOLAS GATTIG has published short stories and poetry in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Asia Literary Review and Foreign Literary Journal. He is a Contributing Writer at the Japan Times and will soon publish "A Bus to America," a collection of short stories. Nicolas lived in Europe and Japan, but finds himself most at home in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

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