Poetry Porch: Poetry


The Stand-In
by William Conelly

                                 Sherry, during filming of
                      The Cider House Rules

When New York called at freaking 6 AM
to offer me this gig, I flashed back
into Nine Card Vegas—bling!—one solid
month of some assistant chief producer
wanting me to fetch the turkey sandwiches
she couldn’t move to fetch herself.

Servitude. But, two-thirds awake I said
For sure, knowing I’d be standing-in
at hair and make-up, scuffling to the whims
of buzz town’s latest great director,
that and waiting on the money people
waiting on white meat pâté. You bank it:

nudge the slick romance of film aside
and film making’s a union boot camp
leased out to the circus; the dollar talks
and star power walks, walks like the grips,
best boys and riggers do, although
with billboard styling well out front.

Not that I gave a gambler’s damn
with New York quoting feature pay scale
right through autumn in Vermont and Maine.
I saw myself tricked out in forties clothing,
hair a helmet blond, blouse lines
inviting over every wandering eye,
me, rapt in that whirr film cameras make
beyond the range of microphones,
that sound like cards discreetly shuffled.
I’d been dealt another hand.

Daydreams are cunning little desperations
lacquered into party shoes, tinseled up
for Christmas. They’ll send punk girls on stage
when normal women throw hot flashes, stammer,
shrink into their smalls like salted snails.

Me, I can hike a split-seam gown, leg it across
a gutter, light my eyes and twirl like sunshine
through the clabbered air of any Lions’ Club
or Lexus lot—show perfect teeth, croon some
schoolyard tune about the financing at Bob’s . . .

I dream to make dreams real; that’s how I know
good feline luck is going to co-conspire
with skill and doggéd preparation; how I know
my face will turn flat script to pop-up images,
my voice suffuse another dreamer’s dialogue
with range that sounds unique. One big, bright dawn
is going to fade in, baby. Ill winds change.
Someone is going to call the deuces wild.

Copyright © 2010 by William Conelly.