French Movie

David Lehman

 
I was in a French movie
and had only nine hours to live
and I knew it
not because I planned to take my life
or swallowed a lethal but slow-working
potion meant for a juror
in a mob-related murder trial,
nor did I expect to be assassinated
like a chemical engineer mistaken
for someone important in Milan
or a Jew journalist kidnapped in Pakistan;
no, none of that; no grounds for
suspicion, no murderous plots
centering on me with cryptic phone
messages and clues like a scarf or
lipstick left in the front seat of a car;
and yet I knew I would die
by the end of that day
and I knew it with a dreadful certainty,
and when I walked in the street
and looked in the eyes of the woman
walking toward me I knew that
she knew it, too,
and though I had never seen her before,
I knew she would spend the rest of that day
with me, those nine hours walking,
searching, going into a bookstore in Rome,
smoking a Gitane, and walking,
walking in London, taking the train
to Oxford from Paddington or Cambridge
from Liverpool Street and walking
along the river and across the bridges,
walking, talking, until my nine hours
were up and the black-and-white movie
ended with the single word FIN
in big white letters on a bare black screen.
 
From Yeshiva Boys by David Lehman. Copyright © 2010 by David Lehman. Used by permission of Scribner.

Poems by This Author

08/22/08 by David Lehman
Today in 1862
A Little History by David Lehman
Some people find out they are Jews.
A Quick One Before I Go by David Lehman
There comes a time in every man's life
Autumn Evening by David Lehman
The yellow pears hang in the lake
Operation Memory by David Lehman
We were smoking some of this knockout weed when
Postscript by David Lehman
He wrote the whole novel in his head
Sexism by David Lehman
The happiest moment in a woman's life
Shake the Superflux! by David Lehman
I like walking on streets as black and wet as this one
The Difference Between Pepsi and Coke by David Lehman
Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat
To the Author of Glare by David Lehman
There comes a time when the story turns into twenty
When a Woman Loves a Man by David Lehman
When she says margarita she means daiquiri
With Tenure by David Lehman
If Ezra Pound were alive today


Further Reading

Poems About Movies
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)
by A. Van Jordan
A Score for Tourist Movies
by Mary Austin Speaker
After the Movie
by Marie Howe
An American in Hollywood
by Frank Bidart
Au Hasard Balthazar
by Stacy Szymaszek
Ave Maria
by Frank O'Hara
Brad Pitt
by Aaron Smith
Chaplinesque
by Hart Crane
Daffy Duck In Hollywood
by John Ashbery
Heroic Simile
by Robert Hass
Homage to Sharon Stone
by Lynn Emanuel
Old Boy
by A. Van Jordan
On the Waterfront
by B. H. Fairchild
One Shies at the Prospect of Raising Yet Another Defense of Cannibalism
by Josh Bell
To the Film Industry in Crisis
by Frank O'Hara
Trigger Guard
by Joanna Fuhrman
When There Were Ghosts
by Alberto Ríos