M.J. Arcangelini: “Ten Movies”



   (after Tim Dlugos)


Niagara (1953)

Marilyn sings along, breathlessly, with a record.
Can’t remember why she married Joseph Cotton.
Jean Peters studies the way she moves.


The Ten Commandments (1956)

Everything pales before the parting of the Red Sea,
its walls collapsing onto Pharaoh’s charioteers.
Piety and the wisdom of masculine flesh.


Cries and Whispers (1972)

Sisters gather for the death of the spinster.
The nursemaid gives the dying woman her breast.
The husbands are oblivious.


Barb Wire (1996)

Pamela playing Bogie playing Rick
in a gender role bending dystopia.
“Don’t call me babe.”


Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Family values moralist encounters mad
scientist who only wants to be left alone.
We may not all be men after all.


The Cooler (2003)

Limping schlub falls in love with waitress
in the casino where they both work.
Everyone gets just what they deserve.


The Monolith Monsters (1957)

Space crystals multiply, grow gigantic,
collapse onto buildings, turn people to stone.
Just add water.


The Conversation (1974)

Somebody is listening to everything.
Gene Hackman playing saxophone in
the twilit apartment he’s just torn apart.


Quintet (1979)

Everybody’s breath is visible.
Dogs eat corpses in a frozen city.
Paul Newman’s ice blue eyes.


The Letter (1940)

Bette being a bad girl on a rubber plantation
while subjugated natives huddle in huts
waiting for the white men to kill each other.



About the Author: M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania, grew up there & in Cleveland, Ohio.  He’s resided in northern California since 1979. He began writing poetry at age 11. His work has been published in magazines, online journals, over a dozen anthologies, & four books: “With Fingers at the Tips of My Words” 2002, Beautiful Dreamer Press; the chapbooks “Room Enough” 2016, and “Waiting for the Wind to Rise” 2018, both from NightBallet Press; & “What the Night Keeps” 2019, Stubborn Mule Press. In 2018 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


More by M.J. Arcangelini:

A Few Random Thoughts


Image Credit: Public Domain still from “The Letter” turned into digital art.