Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Actor’s Wife’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

No Navajo Dog today, just good old-fashioned showbiz, circa 1990. The following soliloquy came from my head, but it’s made up of bits and pieces from all too many women I knew back in the day.

Actors’ wives! Not all that unlike doctors’ wives now that I think about it.

So it goes.


The Actor’s Wife

Happiness to me? A series for my husband,

A firm commitment, twenty-two on the air. I

Came from nothing, but now that we’re here

I’ve learned you’ve got to spend. Everything

Is appearances, which means a good house,

A good car, clothes to kill. That way, they

Think you’re successful, and they want you

In on the deal. My husband’s been acting

For fifteen years. He’s had the lead in two

Series and half a dozen feature films. A

Million dollars safely in the bank, although

That doesn’t give much interest. He wanted

To inspire kids the way the stars of his day

Inspired him. “See?” they seemed to say. “You

Can rise above your beginnings. You can be more

Than your parents and your neighbors believe.

Life can be good. It’s okay not to fit in.”

I didn’t fit in either, but I had no talent,

And no real looks before the surgery I’m

Not admitting I’ve had. So I had to latch onto

Someone who could take me away from

Restaurant hostessing, and executive fantasies.

Love? I love my husband, sure. When I see him

On the screen I get all wiggly inside. When the

Photographers close in on us at a premiere, and

I turn on my smile I can even pretend they’re

Interested in me. Some people really do like

Me too. For myself, I mean. There was that

Aging star at the benefit last night, couldn’t

Take his eyes off my breasts. And he’s seen a

Lot of them, believe me. I gave him that same

Photographers’ smile, and you should’ve seen

His grin. No, he didn’t talk to me. Didn’t need to.

We’d had all the communication we could

Without touching. All that was left was his hands

On me, mine on him, lips, tongues, and grinding.

And, to tell you the truth, that really isn’t my thing.

The men need it so much more than we, and

I’m content with the power the promise of it
Brings. If my husband was hornier,
We’d probably be doing much better,

Because he’d have to listen to me.

What did I want, when I was a kid? Not to be the

Consort, that’s for sure. Not to stand next to the

Star, and be cut out of the picture when it’s published.

I wanted to be famous. I wanted to show up at,

Say, a ballpark—Dodger Stadium, why not?

And have every eye turn to watch me. To hear my

Name whispered by fifty thousand lips, so they

Missed the batter’s home run.

My husband wanted to encourage, to give. Me,

I just wanted to get out. Sometimes I wonder why

We’re together. He gives me the house, and the

Fantasy that I’m no longer in real life. But what do

I give him? An illusion to sit beside? Or is it the

Way I mother, and make his failures all right?

If he had a series, I could respect him again,

But ’til then I’ve got my job. No, no, not one with a

Salary. I make friends with the wives

Of the power, so they’ll tell their husbands

What a good couple we are. Nobody buys an

Actor they—or their wives— don’t like.

Tonight’s Thanksgiving, and I’m real excited.

We’re going over to a producer’s house. Last

Year there was no reason to talk to him, but

Now he’s got a series on the air, and maybe

We can swing a guest shot.

It’ll be a nice family Thanksgiving, too bad we

Can’t bring the kids. Oh no, they’d mess up

everything. They’ve just plain gotten too wild.

I remember when I could be wild.

Do I ever wish I could be about something?

No, no, I don’t think so. Leave that for my husband.

Leave that for the fool with a dream.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Navajo Dog Reflects On Being Free’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

An early night of freedom for the Navajo Dog and me after I left L.A. I had never understood the value of having a knowing, loving – albeit impatient as hell teacher – till then.


The Navajo Dog Reflects On Being Free

When Kid Hollywood made his escape from the

Glitz and the glam and the pain

He took the I-Forty and only looked

Back to see if anyone was gaining.

He drove like an Allison or a Petty,

And kept his hands and his heart on the wheel.

In the car with him were some clothes,

And his drums and his cymbals,

And the more precious of his books,

Also a few videotapes of shows he had

Written that he had always intended to see.

The I-Forty runs where Route Sixty-Six did,

But while it’s not as wild, every driver is

More free. By the time Kid Hollywood

Reached Kingman, he had a real feeling

That he’d left the Hollywood hawks behind.

Gliding over the Interstate, though, was

Another hawk, and as Kid Hollywood watched

It swooped down at a smaller bird, a nifty

Meal as is nature’s way.

But the bird escaped, and flew off, and the

Hawk circled, then looked for new prey.

Kid Hollywood, who was looking for portents

And visions anyway, now that he’d found

They were possible again, decided this was a

Sign. He felt like the smaller bird,

Like prey that had successfully escaped.

The next day, just outside Gallup, Kid

Hollywood saw the same thing happen

Once more. Again, a lone hawk swooped

For its supper, and, again, dinner managed

To fly away. Now Kid Hollywood whooped

With the laughter of the newly free,

Secure in this omen of his success.

Some nights later, sitting by a fire beside the

Pecos River with the Navajo Dog,

The two of them shivering

From the desert cold, Kid Hollywood told his friend

This story. The Navajo Dog laughed

A much different laugh than the

Kid had, then dashed away along the riverbank.

When she returned later, while the Kid was

Stirring the ashes of the fire, she carried

A dead hawk with a metal identification band

On its leg. Nothing had yet fed on the bird,

Not even the Navajo Dog, but beneath the feathers

It was only skin and bones.

“Here is the omen you need,”

She said, and Kid Hollywood realized

That the hawk had starved to death.

“One of the major drawbacks,” the Navajo Dog pointed out

As she crunched down on the bones,

“Of being truly free.”


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Navajo Dog And The Coyotes

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

Time now for a tale of the Navajo Dog herself. Listening to her words in my mind the way I once listened to them with my ears always makes me happy…just as it always makes me cry.


The Navajo Dog And The Coyotes

Only one thing there is

Scares the Navajo Dog.

“Coyotes! I hate ’em!” she said to me one day.

That night, when the coyotes outside came howling,

The dog stayed on the front porch, and barked

Back. But she shook with fear, and came in

Immediately when I opened the door.

She saw the look on my face, and growled.

“They have powers,” she said, and

When I pressed her wouldn’t say more.

A week or so later, I was driving past a neighboring

Ranch, and I saw what she meant. Standing

In front of the ranch house, bristling and bold,

Was the rancher’s German Shepherd dog, and about

A hundred yards away, in the other direction, was a coyote.

The coyote strolled closer, and the dog continued

To stand guard, but still it looked the wrong way.

At last, the coyote stood right before the dog,

Stopped,

Waited.

The dog turned its head until it faced the

Coyote directly, then sat down, and

Scratched itself.

It had seen nothing,

Smelled nothing,

Heard nothing,

No coyote at all.

The next morning, I meant to tell the

Navajo Dog all about it, and hear what

She had to say. When I looked outside

The Navajo Dog was lying on the porch, chewing

At the head of a coyote that could have

Been the very one I’d seen. The head

Was bigger than her whole body, but

She was ripping out its esophagus

With the kind of gusto she shows for

Everything, no matter how large or

How small. The Navajo Dog glanced up at me.

“Mine,” she said. “Go get your own

Breakfast if you’re hungry.”

I asked her how she’d gotten this snack,

And she chewed awhile, then

Stopped,

Waited,

Looked back up. “I am the

Navajo Dog,” she said with a shake of

The coyote’s head, and her eyes showed

Her disdain. “I have powers too.”

As she worked on this delicacy, I remembered

What it was like to be Kid Hollywood.

I wondered what would have happened

If she’d been around while

I was letting the Beverly Hills

Coyotes eat me.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Lunching With The Dragon’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

Meetings are the not only of writers but of everyone in showbiz who actually wants to get something accomplished…which means anyone but executives because whenever they do what it is they do they’re taking the risk of having the result backfire and kicking them out of a job. The following poem, however, is about a meeting I had where I truly learned something from a great man. Ah, those were the days!


 Lunching With The Dragon

“This isn’t real, you know.” We sit in a Japanese

Restaurant in Brentwood, and the producer taps

The table between us. I’ve just presented my

Idea to him, and await an answer that

Means paying my mortgage or no.

“This isn’t really a table,” he says.

“And the walls aren’t really walls.

This isn’t really a Japanese Restaurant,

And you and I aren’t even people.

We’re just energy, is all.”

The producer leans forward with his sake.

“We perceive reality the way we want to.

We make ourselves physical,

And give things meaningless names.”

Chopsticked noodles vanish into

His mouth. “If you and I were to refuse to believe”

In this table,” he announces, “it would vanish in a

Shot. So would my yakisoba,

And your tonkatsu, and our rice.”

The producer leans back. “I go along with it,”

He says proudly, “Only because of the effort

It would take to fight. Besides, rocking the

Boat is something we both know is wrong.”

The producer downs the rest if his sake,

Washes it away with Green tea.

I never hear from him about my idea

Or anything else again. It’s okay.

I know I’ve had lunch with a great and powerful

Dragon. That’s the reality to me.

I used to be the warrior on the right here. Now I try to be the dragon on the left.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘TV Writing Success in a Nutshell’

“Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?”

TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

Recently rediscovered this little epic written many years ago as I tried to put myself into the head of a writer-producer I used to work for, a man who continually surrounded himself with the latest symbols of his elevated estate. I wanted to know what the fact that he was at the time undisputably the most successful TV series creator in history really meant to him. The result taught me an important lesson: “Stay out of other people’s heads!”


TV Writing Success In A Nutshell

The limo driver hates me. He pulls

Away while I’m still on the street

Bending to slide inside the car. When he realizes

His mistake, he stops and glares, then

Makes himself apologize while he

Waits for me to get in.

The limo driver hates me, but I love the limo anyway.

Longer than a jet. And plush, with big seats facing

Front and rear, television, a bar with crystal glasses,

Champagne on ice, two different telephone lines, and a Fax.

A better stereo than in any home. Windows of

Tinted glass that let me peer out while no one else

Can look in.

I love the limo because it works so well.

The greatest construction tool a man’s ego can know,

It digs an unbridgeable chasm between roots and

Blossoms, past and future, success and failure,

I and thou.

“I Am That I am,” said the Lord, and know what? The

Limo says it too. “I am that I am,” and “Fuck you.”

My limo driver hates me, but I love my limo anyway.

It salves my tormented psyche, and keeps the

Undeniable away.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: 2 Short Poems

For reals! Custom made armor at http://dragoonslaircosplay.deviantart.com/

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

2 poems today because I got a deal on them. (That short introduction was based on an old joke about why Moses came down from the mountain with two stone tablets instead of one.) Truth is that coming up with two poems instead of one is no bargain brain move by a longshot. For their creator, it’s double the feelings in at least double the time. Hope you enjoy:


If We Prepared For Life As We Prepare For War

If we prepared for life as we prepare for war,

What wonders would we miss,

Blocked out by our armor?

What strategies would protect our souls?

If we prepared for war as we prepare for life,

What victories would be lost

While our hearts were won?


You Don’t Die Unless You Want To

You don’t die unless you want to.

Anyone who’s come close knows it’s true.

You don’t die unless you want to,

And have nothing else to do.
You can’t live unless you want to.

Those who’ve come close know it’s true.

You can’t live unless you want to,

Or are damned to be one of a sad, sad few.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘We Played The Game Of Who Loves Who More’

No, this isn’t a love poem to a dog. But some feelings are too intense for me to expose as anything but metaphor.

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

As a TV writer, I once worked for a studio head who absolutely forbade the verbal expression of positive emotion (although he loved people shouting “I hate you!”). As a poet, I have no such boundaries:


We Played The Game Of Who Loves Who More

We played the game of who loves who more.

I vowed eternal troth.

She countered with her complete devotion.

I parried with memories of a life together long ago.

She went right to total admiration

For not only my looks but my brain.

I told her she had my adoration, and

That I loved when we talked even more than

When we made love.

At this she paused, and smiled the smile

I loved more than my life.

“Prove it,” she said, and that smile so widened

I knew it would be better to lose.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. The poem above is from his second book of poetry, The Return of the Navajo Dog, which is available…well, nowhere but on this blog, actually, because it’s long out of print. LB is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.