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Gene Williamson

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Books by Gene Williamson
Me and Eric Von Stroheim
by Gene Williamson
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
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           >> View all 258

It was a deadend street
and on the corner opposite
the majestic post office I scaled
at twelve, was the house
of the mayor whose son
would recruit me into the navy
when I reached seventeen.

Midway down the street,
our cottage was surrounded
by mother’s flowers, the street
ending at the river, fronted
by the ostentatious Victorian house
of the town’s leading banker
who carried a crop and bore
a remarkable resemblance
to Eric Von Stroheim.

My Saturday job at fourteen
was to assist the banker
in his woodworking shop
and wash down his cabin cruiser.
My pay for the day:
three dollars, paid by check
which I had to cash on Monday
at the banker’s bank.

Convinced the banker
was a Nazi spy, I was alert
to anything thought to be
incriminating, but before I
could find a flag with a swastika
or a framed picture of Adolph,
the job was terminated…

when I dropped a crowbar
on the banker’s foot, unleashing
a guttural litany
I hope never to hear again.

On Monday before school,
I watched from behind
one of mother’s ornate shrubs
as the banker’s long black limo
passed the cottage, his wife
at the steering wheel,
the banker clutching a crutch behind
a Von Stroheim scowl in the back seat.

I thought it wise to sacrifice
my three dollar check.
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Reviewed by richard cederberg 8/29/2009
You capture the scene like a true poet.
"unleasing a guttural litany" is of course
something that I can relate to doing in
my own life on occasion, or moreso lately
than in the past when I was younger and
seemed to possess more cool and hair.
Blessings ...
Reviewed by Victoria's Poetry & Voices of Muse 8/29/2009
You take me to your memories....I feel that boy peering with his imaginations as we all flourished in them...many a person even today look like the scowl of Von Stroheim...but are sweet as hot apple pie...
me for example :)
Peace, Love & Inspirations
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 8/27/2009
Ah, this is a wonderful slice of Americana, my friend. When we were that age things seemed much bigger than what they really were, and our imagination ran wild. Ah, to be fourteen again and have that wonderful fresh outlook on life. Enjoyed this very much.
Reviewed by Kate Burnside 8/26/2009
You have written this as line, but it would work just as well as a short-fiction in prose, Gene. Indeed, they say the short-story is a dying form at the mo, but I won't hear a word of it when short-fiction is booming. Your compelling narrative memoir is just such an example of why short-fiction captivates... who needs more than these 45 lines or so to receive the whole canvas, know the whole town, get to understand these three characters in full? And yes... that penultimate stanza is the visual clincher... fantastic piece of visual writing... Was that the image you started with in this, just out of interest? It seems "framed" to me. Thanks for the cinema, Gene! :)) Kate xx
Reviewed by OnepoetGem *the Poetic Rapper 8/26/2009
funny story mean Gene, you're a credit to your country,
Reviewed by D Johnson 8/25/2009
Your stories are like watching a Neal Simon movie about life on the street where you once lived.

Reviewed by Rose Rideout 8/25/2009
Again I say Gene your words are so entertaining, Thank you for sharing.

Newfie Hugs, Rose
Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks 8/24/2009
You truly know how to make word-images come to life, Gene. I'd be shuddering if I had to work for a "duplicate" of E. Von Stroheim ('tho he was a good actor.) Methinks the memory of dropped crowbar and bankers reaction was worth $3 :o) Thanks for giving us a look-see to your youth!
Blessings and Love - Micke
Reviewed by Lori Moore 8/24/2009
Humor, intrigue, suspense, coming of age… all wrapped in a single poem. The wife at the steering wheel of the limo is extremely interesting. You are a wonderful story teller.

Reviewed by Gianetta Ellis 8/24/2009
Distance in space and time brings a certain soft hue over our memories that enables us to embrace the nostalgic and, in your case, retell precious moments in a particularly endearing and delightful way.
Reviewed by Liana Margiva 8/24/2009
I LIKE IT VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!! Liana Margiva
Reviewed by J'nia Fowler 8/24/2009
You've spun yet again a terrific yarn Gene. I just can't say enough about it. So clear, so well laid out, the tempo, the emotion, all wrapped up in a blanket of sea-side post card prettiness. Great story. Hugs, J'nia
Reviewed by Michelle Mead 8/23/2009
:) Gene, Gene, Gene- you are a true artist and poet.
Reviewed by Christine Alwin 8/23/2009
Gene, I so enjoyed this story that unfolded ,,could see it all...wonderful work!
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 8/23/2009
This snippet of a past event is like finding an old diary and reading a page from the past...excellent visuals, Gene

Reviewed by Axilea MU 8/23/2009
I can imagine a short film with such vivid character description.
Very nice and funny Gene.

Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 8/23/2009
Who needs a television screen when the scene plays out so vividly in verse? The hallmark of a great Poet: he tells a story so beautifully, it will be remembered for a long time to come. Well done, Gene. My new favorite of yours!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 8/23/2009
Gene, this is absolutely wonderful....your use of language, the imagery and the style with which you told it. I love it!
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 8/23/2009
Saw "Sunset Boulevard" with Eric von Stroheim and William Holden. If your banker looked like that Austrian kraut I wouldn't have dropped that crowbar on his foot!


Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater 8/22/2009
As vivid as a Norman Rockwell painting, a shared memoir of the boy Williamson coming of age. I know it doesn't date back this far, Me and Eric Von Stroheim, but my comment is inspired from the Sears Roebuck & Company Message of Good Cheer which was posted in their 1800s day mail-order catalog. "With malice toward none and charity for all, we extend our sincere wishes for greater prosperity, health, and happiness. Let us think as well of our neighbor grocer or clothier across the street. Let us rise above the petty jealousies and differences that so often grow out of competition, so that in the evening of the day's work your competitor will be as welcome to break bread at your table as would be your doctor or your banker."

Reviewed by Jon Willey 8/22/2009
Gene, you recall and relate with magnificent reality -- a television screen could have done no better -- this was without doubt, a significant emotional event at your age -- but, to have let the stuffed shirt banker's ire deprive you of your just dues -- that must have indeed been a powerful event -- three dollars when I was age fourteen, was significant financial power -- date money for a first class night out -- something far more influential would have been required for me to forgo must just dues -- I mean, accidents do happen and are a hazard of any hobby -- the banker should have been more cautious and kept his feet from beneath the crow bar you were wielding in the performance your duties -- eh what? -- peace and love my friend -- Jon Michael
Reviewed by John Flanagan 8/22/2009
This shines in the telling, absolutely shines: the detailed setting, the boy's view of things, the imagination at that age...and I can hear that "guttural litany" over here, and above all the wisdom of years you impart and discretion the better part of valour in foregoing your three dollar pay. Kudos!

Reviewed by Ray { The Great Canadian Buzzard } 8/22/2009
This is great, I had to laugh out loud when you dropped the crowbar
And what no severance pay, I think he may have been a Nazi spy
Good thing you got out of there
Have a more financially sound day
The Buzzard
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/22/2009
Great write, Gene; the imagery is simply outstanding! EXCELLENT!

((((HUGS)))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :)
Reviewed by Juliet Waldron 8/22/2009
Gene! What a funny/sad story of an earnest young worker and his fatal mistake. Great stuff, and it flows effortlessly!
Reviewed by JMS Bell 8/22/2009
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