The afterlife of fame

                          is dark
a neglected mansion

with vanishing court
rats in the empty pool

and antiquated actress
languishing

as ghost of her famous self
flickers in the projector’s beam

or framed in silver
haunts every room

Face unrecognizable?
Name forgotten?

O float me to Oblivion
in my swan bed

with my bandaged wrists
and doors shorn of locks

with swirl of my cigarette smoke
and glitter of my jewels

and silent flutter
of my weightless tulle
 

More by David Trinidad

9773 Comanche Ave.

In color photographs, my childhood house looks
fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
Whose dream was this confection?
This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
The Avon Lady treks door to door.

Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
squinting in California sunlight,
striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white),
my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
each palm tree and round "granite" house.

Half a century later, I barely recognize it 
when I search the address on Google Maps 
and, via "Street view," find myself face to face—

foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted 
a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.

Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera [excerpt]

348

Just when you think you
can trust someone, they turn out
to be the Bad Seed.

349

I do not know which
to prefer: Shakespeare quote or
pillow fight after.

350

Stuffed bird and weirdo
behind desk—is Jack checking
into Bates Motel?

351

Rachel kidnaps the
baby, yes, but in preview
Betty and Rod kiss.

352

Something I learned long
ago, Connie: never turn
down a sedative.

353

Two policemen shoot
at and chase Chandler. All three
of them run like girls.

354

Leigh will one day win
Emmy, but not for losing
her mind on this show.

355

Here's Gena Rowlands,
Mrs. John Cassavetes,
much-needed fresh blood.

356

Relax, Rita won't
croak. Her weak heart will tick till
this soap gets canceled.

357

Jack escapes from jail
and takes off to do guest spots
on TV Westerns.

358

Whack! Nothing ends an
episode better than a
good slap in the face.

359

And nothing starts an
episode better than a
repeat of that slap.

360

"Again" (Fox standard)
is always playing at the
Colonial Inn.

361

Step right up, folks, and
witness Rod's imitation
of a barking seal.

362

This is just to say
Elliot ate an apple—
Golden Delicious.

My Yoko Ono Moment

for Nick Twemlow

It’s annoying
how much
junk mail
comes through
the slot
& accumulates
at the foot
of the stairs

mostly menus
from restaurants
in the neighborhood

endlessly
coming through
the slot

despite the sign
we put on the door:
No Advertisements
No Solicitors


One night
I scoop up the whole pile
on my way out
(as I do periodically)
& dump it
in the trash can
on the corner
of West Broadway & Spring

just as Yoko Ono
happens to be strolling
through SoHo
with a male companion

She watches me
toss the menus

then turns to her friend
& says, “I guess
no one reads those.”

Related Poems

Epilogue

Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme—
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter's vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write 
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All's misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.