American Muse: Aram Saroyan


“Film Noir”

He was too excited to fall asleep.
The little dog wouldn’t stop barking.
He took out his gun.
He took out his handkerchief.
He took out his notebook.
He drank his coffee and left a dime.
He walked into the room.
He took her in his arms.
She let him in and walked out of the room.
He ran down the escalator.

He left the motor running.
He waited in the rain.
He needed something to tell the police.
He went down unconscious.
The blood drained from his face.
His eyes melted into a smile.
He dialed and waited, looking around.
He took off his hat in the elevator.
He rang the doorbell and waited.
He poured the cereal and added milk.

He opened the refrigerator and looked in.
He turned the page and continued reading.
He shut the door and switched the light on.
He looked up at a plane in the sky.
He put three pennies one on top of another.
He squeezed onto the elevator.
He took out his key.
He helped her into her coat.
He crossed the room and picked up the phone.
He drove on through the heavy rain.

He whistled for a cab.
He turned the corner and bumped into her.
She gradually surrendered to his kiss.
He drove past the wrought-iron gates.
He lit a cigarette and waited.
He lied to the police.
He threw the dice and won.
He folded the newspaper and crossed his legs.
He sat down in the lobby.
He tied his shoes and stood up.

He put on his hat but didn’t get up.
He thought about her until he fell asleep.
He said “Goodbye” and hung up.
He threw the dice and lost.
He dialed and waited for her to answer.
He left some money for her.
He looked for her door number.
The police arrived late.
He walked into her building.
He let her do the explaining.

He gave up hope and begged.
He locked his car and walked.
She gave him that look of hers.
He put a finger to his lips.
He wiped his mouth and left.
He slapped her across the face hard.
He lit a cigarette in the dark.
The police wouldn’t understand.
Her little dog slept.
Her voice had an edge to it.

Her hands were wonderful when she touched him.
His mind might be playing tricks on him.
The low hills reminded him of her.
There was no way to cut his losses.
He needed a shave and a haircut.
The coffee did nothing for him.
She was somewhere else when he called.
Pain stabbed him as he reached toward the glove compartment.
He needed a little time in the desert.
He decided to head for the beach and then thought better.

He needed about $5,000.
He ran out of Luckies and crumpled the pack.
He left his hat on in the car.
Maybe he was ready to die.
He checked his wallet pocket.
All of his friends had disappeared.
He remembered her naked body.
He had almost no savings.
He was at least ten pounds overweight.
He realized he was in love with her.
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