Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Kid Hollywood Had A Mighty Fine Deal’

Who sez only H’wood wimmins can have great closets?

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Time now for a few words about Kid Hollywood. Words I never thought I would want anyone to hear or read. So here we go with another true story about life in the Big Bad City. Maybe I should subtitle this “A Cautionary Tale But With Redemption.” Happy endings, gang! Give us a big hand!

Oh, yeah. This one’s kind of long. Not Faery Queen long, but still….


Kid Hollywood Had A Mighty Fine Deal

So how did Kid Hollywood finally shuffle off to

Buffalo? What made him stop that Rodeo to

Sunset to Gower Gulch drive?

Well, believe it or not, it was personal.

That’s right. No creative differences here.

No protesting silly changes, or stars’ ad libs.

It was love caused the big

Fade Out.

Or was it that old-time ambition?

Kid Hollywood had long since gone beyond

Needing,

But was still into

I want,

So I won’t lie to my new self about my old.

It was ambition, after all, sent Kid Hollywood

Running higgledy piggledy

Hither and yon,

Ambition (not love) betrayed.

What happened was, as successful as the Kid grew,

He never felt he was really getting his due. Others

Got better projects, or bigger salaries, or more

Wondrous reviews.

Others got laid more, and named more in

Columns and stories and interviews.

Others made bolder advances

Along creative frontiers.

Kid Hollywood grew envious, even

Bitter. But, God! he had fine clothes,

And that fabulous art collection,

And cars,

And oh what a house!

Not enough.

Never, as has been said,

Enough.

Until the last script.

Kid Hollywood’s last script began with a

Mighty fine deal.

Mighty fine, yessir. Lots of guarantees, pay or

Plays, royalties, and buy-outs, and back ends.

Millions involved.

And a chance to do something great.

“You have a unique talent,” the Monster

Of Film Land said. “You can do things

Other writers cannot. I have no talent at all.

But I love talent. I want to help talent.

If I’d been there, Mozart would have died

Old, fat, and rich. Van Gogh would have

Had his pick of patrons, and at least

Three ears. I missed out on them.

I’m here for you.

Anything you want to create, I want to see created.

You write. I’ll produce it. I’ll sell.

Anything.

Anything.

Unique…”

I signed, and I created. I wrote, and he sold,

And it went up on the screen.

Money for Kid Hollywood,

And approval.

And more chances for more of the same.

Two things did Kid Hollywood live for,

Ambition,

And love.

He learned to love whatever helped his

Ambition, loved the Monster,

Thought he saw past the mask

To the soul.

So did the Kid love?

Or just want?

Or was there, beyond everything,

A genuine need?

Well, anyway, so far so good. Nothing here

for a Hollywood adieu. Success! Top of the

Mountain! Everything as promised.

We had a very happy Kid Hollywood here,

Only then, guess what happened?

No, no, no, try again.

This is about betrayal, remember?

And in Hollywood, what’s the ultimate way?

Close, very close,

But no, it isn’t that the checks started to bounce.

It’s that they—

Just stopped.

No more payments. No more money.

No more midnight meetings,

Or plans for new shows.

No more—Oh, for God’s sake, I admit it—

No more dreaming.

No more.

Love?

Ambition?

With millions withheld.

The Monster had played the true

Monster game, parlayed his investment

Into a Jamaican account.

Better than Switzerland!

Safer than the Antilles!

Gone in sixty seconds! went the deal.

Why?

Planned?

A reaction to some threat?

Unknown. Unknown to this day.

What’s known is that the Kid was

Caught high and dry, pants down

And dreams in the sky.

Caught needing.

Oh, Kid Hollywood had a mighty fine deal.

Mighty fine deal, yessir. Lots of guarantees, pay or

Plays, royalties, and buy-outs, and back ends.

Millions involved.

And a chance to do something great.

But:

Kid Hollywood went broke,

Financially and creatively.

Grew silent.

Spoke to no one.

And to his wonder,

Grew to understand his pain.

After all, it was there, it was real, it was

A Sign.

So the Kid

Learned the dance,

Tapped up a storm,

And exited stage right.

It wasn’t death, not really.

More like taking off a disguise.

Shamen are shape-changers.

They become else in order to be.

Sometimes they become trapped in their

New forms, the animal brain taking over,

And they forget who they’ve been.

What they are.

Kid Hollywood was the ultimate shaman,

Trapped in a shape untrue.

Now that he’s gone, I am free

To want,

And to need,

And to dream.

Ambition?

Hell, just let me love!


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 Walks Her Talk

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB:

The Navajo Dog is back today, and while I don’t think anyone could be as happy about that as I am, she definitely is worth keeping company with. Oh, and yes, this is a true story, every word. To let it be otherwise would betray everything she has lived for.


The Navajo Dog Walks Her Talk

The Navajo dog walks her talk, has been for at least

A thousand years. Lost items are a specialty. She

Has found a hidden concho belt, the skull of a vanished

Cat, and several renewed friends. Money she isn’t

That good at, but opportunities abound at her call.

The problem is, she drives me crazy, demanding a

Quid pro quo. “What have you done for me?” she

Will say. “You trade with the medicine men. What

Will you give your medicine dog?”

For awhile, rides in the truck were enough, her

Nomadic origins satisfied by the bumping of

The bed. Locking up the Navajo dog was impossible

Anyway. I would close the garage door on her,

Turn around, and there she would be, laughing.

Food as a thank you is hopeless. Anything she wants

She can take for herself. Once, I buried a sack of

Dog food beneath half a ton of oil drums, just as a

Test. The Navajo dog didn’t flinch, just waited until

I turned away. Then—wham!—a rumble, a crash, and

A dog munching contentedly, while the drums shivered

And swayed.

One of the skills the Navajo dog has taught me

Is the making of spirit staffs. It began when I

Wanted a stick to guide me over some rough

Paths. She told me where to find a good strong one,

Then guided me to some turkey feathers, and corn.

I stained the kernels with vegetable dye,

Strung them as beads, and attached them to

Both the feathers and the wood. Still, the

Navajo dog felt it wasn’t

Enough, took me out again. This time, we found

The skeleton of a cow, and the dog went directly to the

Spine. “Pick a backbone, any backbone,” she said

In stage patter. “You need a reminder to be brave.”

“I am brave,” I said.

“Sometimes,” she said, “you forget.

I attached the vertebra to the staff, using the

Corn beads. Still, the Navajo dog felt it wasn’t

Enough, took me out once more. This time, we

Made a fire, and kept the ashes, and at her

Instruction I used them to paint a black spiral

The length of the wood. “Black is a sacred

Color,” she said. “Where I come from,” I told her,

“Black means death.”

“Where I come from,” she told me, “everything

Means death.

And life as well.

With the black, and the corn,” she said,

“And the feathers, and the bone,

Your new staff will carry you

Straight to heaven, or maybe hell.”

I have walked many miles with my spirit staff,

And climbed the steepest slopes. I have fallen,

And gotten up,

And fallen again,

But never has the staff failed. It carries turquoise

Now, set into the wood. “So you can fly freely

Where you need to,” said the Navajo dog,

And I’ve flown fast and free. Now, though, she

Wants a staff of her own, with no instructions,

No hints, no clues of what it should be. I figure

To pull out all the stops, and give her what she

Deserves.

After all, in a realm

Where all things mean death

And life

I’ll never be able to find what she needs.


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 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.