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Gun Crazy Redux

This is Eyewear's 1,250th post. The film Gun Crazy (aka Deadly Is The Female) is currently resurfacing in Britain, to excellent reviews, 60 years after its initial appearance. This 1949 (some say 1950) classic of film noir is one of the key films, for me, and greatly inspired my sense of style for my early 90s work. Budavox, in which "Gun Crazy" first appeared, 50 years after the movie's creation (in 1999) is, in some ways, an exploration of the sort of world set in motion by the movie. So, anyway, I am glad to see it back on release. Seaway, from Salmon, was where I published this new version, see below.

Gun Crazy

Against the world, just us.
Behind, a trail of gas stations,
small banks, the meat packing plant,
knocked over. FBI Telexes
clatter like town gossips across America:
Barton Tare and Laurie Starr, dangerous
and armed. How did it begin?
Neon wakes me, I peel back blinds
to jackhammer rain, shake a Lucky
from the pack, and light.
Behind, on the tangled bed, you are mine,
every inch of your easy hunger, your fear
cold and material in the night.

Where are we two going? When we get
there, how will we know we’ve finally
arrived? Mexico, possibly, but the bills
are marked and the Feds hot on our tails.
The first time we met, I shot six matches
off the crown on your head, at a carnival,
won five hundred bucks. The moment
the matches flared, I knew my bullets
would always be true, direct. You kill
out of a necessity verging on need, I
cannot squint the eye down to that degree,
my hand trembles at the sight of flesh targets.
Still, I’ll end up putting a bullet in your heart
up in the Lorenzo mountains, in the mist.

That first night I aimed and squeezed
I should not have missed.
You wake and call me over to the bed.
Then I’m down in your arms and kissed.
Your mouth sets off all four alarms.
How can a man be so made
from moments of early loss?
I was always gun crazy,
so good at one clear thing:
hitting what I could barely see.
I see nothing in the darkness now, only
one part moving on the bed, my body
pressed like a pistol
into the small of your cries.

poem by Todd Swift

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