I’m not in *Darling*, by Wayne Koestenbaum

8 January 2014

Bette Davis has no reason to be jealous of Michelangelo Antonioni
and yet when I slept over at her house, in the late nineteen-seventies,
she kept me up all night complaining about a formerly illustrious career.
How her words came out is more important than the words themselves.

“I’m not in *Zabriskie Point*. I’m not in *Blow-Up*.
I’m not in *L’Avventura*. I’m not in *Isadora*.
I’m not in *Georgy Girl*. I’m not in *Woodstock*.
I’m not in any great sixties epics.

“I’m not in *Darling*. I’m not in *Midnight Cowboy*.
I’m not in *Easy Rider*. I’m not in *Valley of the Dolls*.
Why didn’t they give me the Garland/Hayward role
in *Valley*? Why didn’t they film *The Love Machine* starring me?

“Why didn’t they film *Every Night, Josephine!* starring me?
Why didn’t they remake *I’ll Cry Tomorrow* starring me?
Or redo *Mata Hari*? I’m a limitless god, like Apollo,
but certainly I’d have done remakes in my dotage.

“I’m not in *Morgan*. I’m not in *8 1/2*.
Ignorant armies crash my party.
I’m the haunted Bette always in your thoughts.
I’d have done any part, had they asked. Had they asked.”

And then I woke, and discovered myself in the act of speaking, slowly, methodically;
and from the cup of tea, ambiguous steam-clouds, like locusts, were issuing,
in which I could read the pattern of my future,
a wilderness stretching farther than the exiled eye could see.

//

Read in and ripped from http://wiz.cath.vt.edu/pipermail/new-poetry/2002-November/020974.html, following a bit of a search around for some Koestenbaum poems, after having been bought Koestenbaum’s My 1980s & other essays by a friend from a display in a bookshop in Williamsburg, which includes an excellent essay on O’Hara: ‘Frank O’Hara’s excitement’.

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