- Bogie Noir
It’s the high-hitched pants and short necktie, the trench coat and dark fedora. It’s the ’36 Ford prowling rainy streets, idling in fog-bound driveways. It’s
the Frisco bungalows, with their Spanish Art Nouveau, their Bakelite phones with calls that keep the plot advancing down blind alleys, shadows on shadows.
It’s the semi-lisp that makes him sound more manly than the Duke, makes “Here’s looking at you, kid,” resonate like Scripture. It’s the cigarette, slanting
to the side, raising its Möbius halo. Good guy, gangster: Rick Blaine, Red Kennedy, Philip Marlowe, Gloves Donahue, Sam Spade.
Bullets, shivs, saps, sawed-offs. He dished it out, and took it, too: mickeys, pistol whippings, double-crosses from a pal or lady love. At the last,
dwindled to 80 pounds, he descended in the silent butler to chat with callers —Tracy, Hepburn, Gable—then rose, smiling that sad-eyed good-bye. [End Page 158]
William Trowbridge’s latest poetry collection is Ship of Fool (Red Hen P). One of the poems in it, “Roll Out the Fool,” is in the 2012 Pushcart Prize anthology. His other collections are The Complete Book of Kong, Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger. He and rock musician Bob Walkenhorst recently released a cd titled Ship of Fool: The Musical. He is Poet Laureate of Missouri.