Jan/Feb 2007 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Ray Templeton

Artwork by Ira Joel Haber

By the Ash Hills

Trust this prospect to confound you,
pull you up, find a way to juxtapose
the sought-for with the always possible.

So much is what you hoped to find:
the faint track writes its ledger
of prior tenure on the landscape;

among the brush, industry's remnants
sink to archaeology; greenery reclaims
what might have been a doorstone;

acceptable echoes of a gone life,
safely distant. But then, those nearer lives
in their discarded detail—

the broken chair, soiled bathrobe,
plastic bottles, mattress. Placed here
to provoke, as if on purpose,

to get under your skin—a splinter
of disgust, impediment to amnesia.
And on the wind, a sharp forewarning.


The Pitch

OK—the characters:
the woman's young and blonde;
we put in lines that prove
she's feisty, and a few
to show her vulnerable side.
The man's weak-willed, still tied
to his mother—you can't convey
his halitosis on the screen, so
he'll need a speech impediment,
a limp, maybe, or a bad haircut.
Think strong images—
the woman drops her bathrobe,
steps into the shower. Close-ups
of her back, her neck, her legs.
We juxtapose a headshot of the guy:
crazy eyes, face twisted, agonized.
The lights catch sweat-beads
on his forehead as he lifts the knife.
Then—jump cuts. Blood all over—
faucets, shower curtain, soap-dish,
tiles, even the plastic duck.
Finally, the iris shot—
all that white light
sucked into darkness.


Previous Piece Next Piece