Friday, 15 April 2022

Two Poems by Michael Ceraolo


Tillie's Punctured Romance:  A Suite



      The Movie Itself


There had been a few features before,

the majority of them foreign,


there hadn't been anything like this,

so we were definitely taking a gamble:

would the audience stay all the way through

a feature-length comedy?


                                        They would,

and they did    Of course,

Charlie would benefit the most

from the movie's great popularity,


Marie and I did well as well,


formed a mutual-admiration society


both of us realize

we're better off without him

Now in life . . .




        His Mother


Mack was a momma's boy,

and so she was against me

at the start of our romance

But as time went by

she realized I was the best hope

for the grandchildren she wanted,

so she eventually came around

and supported our getting hitched

For whatever good it did




       Mabel's Stormy Love Affair


My friends said

Mack wasn't "husband material",


being in love I didn't listen to them,

though I must have at least

partially absorbed their opinion,

because when I heard Mack

was with another woman

on the eve of our wedding,

I didn't dismiss the allegation,

but rushed over to confront him


Big Mistake


The other woman (who shall remain

anonymous in this poem because

she's been named in many other places)

and I started arguing with each other

instead of with Mack,


she beaned me with a glass vase


Friends tried to keep it quiet,

even coming up with

a couple of alternate explanations

for how I got hurt,


I was in bad shape

and a doctor had to be called


I needed brain surgery just to stay alive,

and was never really the same after that


Would Mack try to make it up to me?




         He Did and He Didn't


Mack was desperate to keep me,

professionally if not personally,

promising more features,

promising better scripts,

promising a decreased workload,

even giving me my own studio:


It was everything a girl could want,

professionally if not personally

But it wasn't everything it was cracked up to be:

though the studio had my name on it

it was tied up with Keystone

through complex financial maneuvers,

and the bigger fish swallowed Mack

and, by extension, me,


though I still earned a nice salary,

someone else got the profits from Mickey,

the most popular movie ever

when measured by tickets sold



Oh, Mabel Behave


I once wrote a poem called

Short Short Story:


"I'm bad, bad, bad!

If there was one sprig of poison ivy

In a field full of four-leaf clovers,

I'd pick it up.

If it was raining carbolic acid,

I'd be the dumbbell sponge."



some of that 'badness' was well-chronicled

in the newspapers of the day;

the December 8, 1920, issue

of the Los Angeles Herald

listed me

               (correctly in this instance)

                                                      as having

one of the Six Best Cellars,


a cellar stocked with booze

(purchased legally before Prohibition took effect)


There were other things

that haven't been referenced yet

that didn't make the papers at the time:

a miscarriage of Goldwyn's baby,

a stint of drug rehabilitation

in a center in Watkins Glen, New York

in 1920 (though I did relapse

after returning to Hollywood;

today I would have tried rehab again)


And there were other 'misadventures'

that were well-chronicled both at the time

and in books down through the years:


the fact that I was the last person,

other than the murderer,

to see Bill Taylor alive;

the fact that my chauffeur shot someone

while I was celebrating on New Year's Eve,


I was forced to testify at his trial

even though I didn't witness the shooting

My chauffeur was acquitted of the shooting,

but it came out during the trial

that he was an escaped convict

(something I didn't know),


there were calls, many successful,

to ban my films because of my 'involvement'

in these scandals;

                            that, and declining health,

led to a lack of movie work for me


People may not know this,

but I was a practicing Catholic:

I was a regular at confession

and I received last rites

while dying of TB in a sanitorium;

I regret the marriage ceremony wasn't religious


You probably want to know

if there is life after death

I could certainly answer that,

but I'm not going to;

you'll have to find out for yourself

Michael Ceraolo is a 64-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) published, and has two more, Euclid Creek Book Two and Lawyers, Guns, and Money, in the publication pipeline. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Twelve Haiku Poems by Julie Ann Thomason

  Haiku The day   Dawn New day genesis Luminescent mist shrouds horizon hints light   Sunrise Weak winter sun Painted pall...