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July 21, 2009


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The Kenneth Branagh-narrated series, "Cinema Europe - the Other Hollywood," has a whole section on Louise Brooks.

When you dated Louise, did she know and like the little-known "I Love Louisa" that Arthur Schwartz wrote with Howard Dietz for a Fred and Adele Astaire show on Broadway in 1929? I always meant to ask her, but there were so many other things she spoke knowledgeably about, such as hem lines, Charlie Chaplin's problems with US immigration, the real reason Greta Garbo became a recluse, and speakeasy etiquette in the 1920s, that I never got to turn the conversation to that subject, to my lasting regret.

You know, I never got around to asking her about that either! We did talk about crossword puzzles, which were just beginning to appear in the 1920s, and we used to spend hours doing them together on the balcony of a fifth floor room in the Ansonia Hotel. This was all before Louise got into the name dropping that her late life audience came to expect. ("But what else could she have done? Was there another Troy for her to burn?" -- William Butler Yeats.)

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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