Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Of Dreams, And Treasures, And Needs

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

It’s recurring dream time! We all have them. All I’ll say about this one is that over a great many years and a great many illuminating night visions, it has proved to be the most powerful of them all.


Of Dreams, And Treasures, And Needs

Last night I dreamed the treasure trove dream,

You know the one. Usually, I’m walking some

Exotic street, filled with spiced smells and fringed gowns.

Then I spy a little shop off the road, dark, maybe even

Closed. I peer through the window, and gasp, because all

That I want is waiting for me inside.

In the usual dream, I bang on the door ’til a strange

Man or woman arrives. He or she grumbles, and pouts,

But my urgency speaks, and soon I’m grazing

The shelves. Secrets untold! Mysteries solved! Puzzles

With explanations galore! Judge Crater’s lostabouts

Found, the Kennedys’ killers, and more. Why is there

Evil, why is there good, is God or ain’t He—all there.

I gather my treasures, go to the counter, find my wallet

Is bare.

But last night was different. Last night was unique, the

Blue Plate Special of dreams. I was home, in my

Living room, sitting amid the mundane souvenirs of

The day, Time Magazine, TV GUIDE, People, the

Literature of my parents and friends. Then, on the

Arm of the couch there it was. A small book, and

Old, worn from a thousand hands, and eyes, and

Years, title gone from its burnished brown cover,

Glue worn from the crumbling spine. I opened the

Book, and discovered my life’s quarry, the Answers

To all that was, is, and will be. No shop, no

Man or woman, no shelves, no need for my wallet,

This was between the slim volume and me.

I put the book back between Sports Illustrated and

Newsweek, told myself I’d have to catch up on my

Reading some time. The joy is the walk, and

The gasp, even the failure, not in the knowledge

In mind.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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: ‘Kid Hollywood Returns To The Scene Of The Crime’

The real Mulholland Drive

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

After over two decades of taking – and giving – abuse as a television writer and producer, I left my Hollywood life behind and trekked (by SUV, of course) to the Southwest, tracking the magic I’d long believed in but never been part of. Thanks to the Navajo Dog, I found a path that was good and true. But sometimes a man needs a break, you know? The following happened during a short visit to – well, the title tells it all:


Kid Hollywood Returns To The Scene Of The Crime

Three of us drove up toward Mulholland that night,

My friend the wild Indian, the Hopi elder, and I.

It was just before dusk, and we were going to

See a TV writer whose career I had started

Some years ago. We wanted dinner, and a place

To sleep. A spigot would have been nice. We

Needed neither of those things, because by then

Even I had learned to fend for myself, and sneaking

A meal, or three into a motel room for one was

Something we all could accomplish with ease.

As we reached Mulholland, my friend the wild

Indian pointed, and shouted out. A deer was

Clambering up from the side of the hill, followed

By a full dozen more. I stopped as bucks and does

And fawns circled our borrowed car. My friend the

Wild Indian and the Hopi elder gazed at the deer

Intently, their bodies seeming to vibrate with

Concentration, and a full ten minutes passed

In the most natural silence. Then the first deer turned and

Ran back out of sight down the slope, the others

Following quickly. In mere seconds, it was as if the

Deer had never been with us. The Hopi elder turned

To me. “Did you hear them?” he asked.

I shook my head.

“But you know they were speaking?” the elder said,

And I nodded. “There was power here,” said my

Friend the wild Indian, Hopi and Lakota sharing the

Strength. “They were sent as messengers to speak

For the Great Spirit, to offer their counsel and their

Advice.”

“I heard nothing,” I admitted.

“But you felt?” they both said.

“Oh,” I said, feeling it again, “I felt.”

The elder and the wild Indian nodded,

And were silent the rest of the

Way. After dinner with the TV writer and his

TV producer wife, I told them about the deer

Appearing in the middle of the Valley like ghosts

from the city’s long-forgotten past.

“There’s a preserve about half a mile away,” the

TV Producer wife said, “and when they’re

Hungry the deer come over here at sunset

And nibble on people’s bushes.” It was all very

Mundane, and unimportant, and about as real

As the blacktop they’d just put on their driveway.

My friend the wild Indian looked at the Hopi Elder
,
and the two of them shrugged. I did the same.

Magic is where you find it,

Even in the concrete canyons of L.A.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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: Dog And Cat

image via Youtube – Bengal Cat Grooms Poodle Pup by XYumekoX

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

Looking through The Return of the Navajo Dog, I saw this poem about the death of a cat I had sometime in the mid-1980s. I’m confused and a little embarrassed because although I remember the cat very well and loved her because she was so gentle with me and considerate of my cat allergies, I can’t for the life – or death – of me recall the dog I speak of – oh, crap, I just did. He was a wonderful dog, allowing for his need to hump everything in his path. And his path, like all of ours, was filled with twists and turns.


Dog And Cat

I had a cat that died suddenly one day.

She seemed to be fighting a great

Battle with spirits only her cat-eyes

Could see.

The battle exhausted the cat. She hid

Under a loveseat, and shuddered, and groaned.

I felt close to the cat as she went. There was a

Bond that hadn’t been between us before.

I was not what you’d call a good guy (at the

Time, the worst human being I’d ever met

Had just told me to, “Be a better person),

But it seemed as though the cat was doing

All this for me.

This morning, my dog woke me with his barking,

And when I went outside to yell I saw his eyes

Fixed on a nothingness in the middle of the yard.

The dog growled, and feinted, and attacked his

Invisible foe. He shook the air triumphantly,

Then grinned at me and circled back to sleep.

I don’t know if I’m a better person, but I suspect

The dog is nowhere near as good as the cat.

She died for my lack of virtue,

While he has killed for my sins.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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: ‘Oklahoma Reverie’

The Ford Or damn close to it anyway.

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

From The Return of the Navajo Dog, some memories from Gwen the Beautiful’s late grandmother, Jesse Manns, of her life in Oklahoma, back in the day.  


Oklahoma Reverie

He was a traveler, my husband was. We

Didn’t have much money, but the minute he got

A dime it was, “C’mon, honey, let’s go,”

And off we went in that old Ford. God! You’d

Think a coal miner’d want a day off or two

When he had a chance, but not Jack. He had

To move, even if it meant breakin’ down on old

Route 66. And brother, did we ever break down.

Never in the warm part of the year, no, he was

Workin’ then, down in the earth like a mole,

Coughin’ and cuttin’ and earnin’ his pay. No,

We went West in the winter, just ahead of the

Spring. Twenty inches of snow in April, and Jack

And me pullin’ over to wait it out with no heat.

We’d cuddle together. He was warm, my husband

Was, I’ll give him that. Warm to the touch, and

Warm to the heart. He’d hold me, and laugh,

And tell me not worry. He’d lick the icicles off

My nose, and didn’t care how much colder

I got. After the storm was over, Jack flagged

Down an old Indian in a truck, borrowed his

Shovel to dig us out. That’s when we found

Out we were in a ditch. That’s when the

Front axle snapped like a hen’s neck

When we needed her meat more than

Her eggs. Know what that man did? He laughed

Some more, and wrapped his arms around me

‘Til I stopped my cryin’. One time we was up

North of Flagstaff, I don’t remember the name

Of the town, and a tire blew out. No spare,

Of course, couldn’t have afforded that and

This little trip. I didn’t know what to do,

But he got one of his ideas. A real

Travelin’ idea as a matter of fact. There

Was some railroad tracks nearby, and Jack

Drove us over to ‘em, flubbity flub, flubbity flub.

Took off all the tires, my traveler did, and got that

Ford up on the rails. Well, that was a sight,

Believe you me, us in the old car, zoomin’ up the

Tracks. We didn’t know where we was goin’,

Or if a train was gonna come, or anything like that,

But it didn’t matter to Jack. All that mattered

Was we were on our way!

Nothin’ held us back, no sir. We was always on our way.

I’d tell him and tell him how much I wanted

Some peace, a chance to just enjoy

Where we was. I’d tell him how I didn’t

Want to go out in the cold. But there’d be

That laugh again. From ‘way down deep

Inside him, skinny chest, flat belly, loins, that big laugh

Would come, and he’d lie to me and say

How’d he’d got the Ford all fixed up,

And off we’d go. Jack’s been dead more’n’

Twenty years, but still I go travelin’, California

In the winter, to live with my daughter.

Back home to Oklahoma in May. God, how I

Thought I hated them days. But now

They’re more real than my next old lady pain,

And so warm, just like him.

Them’s memories.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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: ‘I Live in a Haunted House’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

I’ve decided to move on from Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog to the next, equally unsuccessful book in the series, called, not so oddly, The Return of the Navajo Dog. The picture above is, in fact, that dog, about halfway through the lifetime she spent with me.

We’re in Colorado there, and Dineh – the Navajo name for Navajo, which was the only name Dineh would respond to – had just growled the kind of growl that would terrify any being, alive or dead, sending a poor, out-meaned, full-blooded coyote slinking away from its kill.

The following poem is about events a bit earlier in our time together, and Dineh doesn’t figure into it. But she lived in the house I’m talking about, and I wish she lived in the one I’m sitting in now. 


I Live In A Haunted House

I live in a haunted house in New Mexico,

On the east side of Santa Fe.

It’s an adobe so old that none of

The old-timers in the neighborhood can’t remember

When it wasn’t here. The last structure

I heard of with that same

Timeless past was Tintagel, in Cornwall,

Although I don’t believe my house is in the

Same league. No Merlin to abduct no baby

Arthur here, although there is a story about

Billy the Kid. This house, I’m told, is where

He stayed when he came to meet with

The governor, Lew Wallace, for a pardon.

But Billy’s not my ghost. Why would Billy the Kid

Open locked windows, light candles, turn

Pictures, and move knickknacks around?

That takes a different kind of mind.

All my life I’ve been haunted, but not like

This, and while it has its picturesque side,

I miss my privacy. Ghosts know no boundaries,

No walls, no locked doors,

And no matter how much I open myself,

I keep finding there’s more to hide.

I live in a haunted house in Santa Fe.

What do you suppose my ghost

Will do when I move away?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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: ‘First Snow’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

It snowed here last week and reminded me of as many different events and ideas and people as there were snowflakes on the ground. I used to love the snow. But last week I just looked at it and wondered, “What if we can’t get the car up the driveway and out to the street? What if we’re snowed in?” But we weren’t snowed in. As another poet once said about a whole ‘nuther subject, “’tis pity….”

First Snow

Standing in the doorway, I watch the snow fall,

And think about love.

The thought is as cold as the snow looks.

Hard, scattered, sheeting down from afar.

Pelting and dangerous. I could skid.

I could fall.

Bundling up, I go out in the snow,

And feel love.

The feeling is as warm as the snow when

It melts on my face. Soft, steady, a

Nourishing nearness as it drips

Through the wanting lips of my

Wind-polished skin.

I taste the snow,

And I know life’s for the feeling.

To live is to do, not merely to be.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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 Witch With The Green Face’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

Today is my birthday. No, I won’t tell you what one, but if you follow me on Facebook my birthdate is right there. In honor of reaching this particular advanced state, I’ve chosen what probably is the most revealing thing I’ve ever written because, well, isn’t revelation one of the main things poetry is all about?

The Witch With The Green Face

When my daughter was six,

The Wizard Of Oz made a comeback,

The latest in a long string.

Wanting her to have everything I never did—

So that I could have it now instead—I bought her

The Marx Brothers playset. It was the

Emerald City itself, complete with Yellow

Brick Road, and they even threw in an

Eight-inch Wizard.

I got all the other figures as well,

And gave them to her,

And heard her cry out, saw the tears well up

In her eyes. My daughter’s body shook, and I

Realized she was staring at the Witch

With The Green Face. The only way I

Could get my daughter to calm down was to

Throw the Witch in the garbage outside.

She even had to go with me to see that such a

Scary being was in fact gone.

That night, when my daughter slept, I recovered

the Witch, and brought it to my office.

Everyone I worked with was impressed.

Eighteen years later, I wrote something real,

Filled with the rawness of the life I had led,

And the rage and the frustration

And the helpless feeling that life always

Seems to provide.

I blamed no one but myself, and showed no

Mercy, and asked no mercy in return.

I took no prisoners, and refused to give up.

“Death before dishonor,” say the boys in uniform, but

“Death by dishonor” was the rule of the piece.

I gave it to some friends to read, and heard them cry out.

Saw the tears well up in their eyes.

Their bodies shook, and I realized they were

All staring at the Witch With The Green Face.

The only way my friends could calm down

Was to get that manuscript back to me as soon

As they could. They even had to shove it in my

Mailbox to see that such a scary being was

Gone.

Eighteen years ago, I betrayed my six year old

Daughter by taking the Witch from the Trash.

Eighteen years later I refused to betray

Myself and created my own Witch instead.

I cannot feel guilty,

But I cannot feel proud,

Because, in eighteen years,

This was the first time I had ever been

True.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, 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.