George Reeves Contemplates the Hollywood Sign: Poem by Roy Bentley

At dawn the actor who will become a star as Superman
looks out at Mount Lee, the sign Peg Entwistle launched
herself from in September of 1932, leaping to her death.
Reeves is depressed. He isn’t unhappy enough yet to do
what Peg Entwistle did at 24—leap from the top of the H.
Same letter Albert Kothe, blotto-drunk, destroyed in 1940
in a 1928 Model A Ford. The original Hollywoodland sign

had 50-foot by 30-foot lighted letters and was rebuilt in ’49.
This isn’t that sign. Just the same dangerous neighborhood.
George Keefer Brewer, whose real father is living in Illinois,
thinks his name is Bessolo because his mother said it was.
She said his father committed suicide. Told an elaborate lie.
Whoever he was, he’s George Reeves now. And isn’t about
to forget he had flame-orange hair in Gone With the Wind.

He’s been drinking and hangs his head out the car door.
He doesn’t think, Here’s a metaphor for how hard a life
can get. He boxed as a heavyweight and can take a punch.
This is something else. He’s thinking of rain. Needing rain.
How, when it comes, it blows across these desiccated hills
in waves that gust and trail off like the scarves of skaters
or the cape of some Promethean shouldered superhero.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of four books and several chapbooks. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and elsewhere, as well as the anthologies New Poetry from the Midwest and Every River on Earth. His collection of poems Nosferatu in Florida is currently in search of a publisher, having been a finalist for the New American Poetry Prize (twice), the Moon City Review Poetry Prize, the Gerald Cable Book Award, and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He has received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (in poetry) and fellowships from the arts councils of Ohio and Florida. He lives in Pataskala, Ohio.

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