"Hollywood Blvd. For Dean Stockwell"

by Charles Plymell

poem, late 1960's


In Hollywood the aged

poodles recoiled in fright

when tarnished angels rode

into the smog like old

fabulous angel flight.


Lipstick orange

ancient sorority queens

chewed Juicy Fruit

at Topanga Canyon's intersection.


Hitchhikers from eternity

hug your blue jeans

in Barney's Beanery

where they've added another room to hell

The jukebox keeps repeating

Second Hand Rose.

And in unison across the land

a thousand long fingers

of high school sweethearts

hold their cigarettes

through wisps of smoke.


There is a chance,

Second Hand Rose,

a star may fall at your feet.

But you know that chance

lines your face

with injured lips as you speak

your many versions

of your love poem

torn alone in pages of the night

tarnished on the wings

of the Angel's Flight

past Fortez all the way down

up Sunset Strip as unlikely

as Dante finding

self-help programs in heaven.


And the lights of Los Angeles

endlessly hang there like

a hustler's mad beads.


Cast this spell on neon

dye tonight, dark moon,

for tomorrow that ounce

of stardust will be

wiped from Cadillac chrome

unnoticed by freeway hawks.


The End