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 Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.

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