Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

On Watching the Great Gatsby


Recommended Posts

New York nigger nights a-bloom
as burning lights destroy the gloom,
sending me back, Jack Johnson, to the brights
of bombs and flares all about the tomb
of that blood-drenched beautiful war,
with no idea what I was fighting for
or anything else.

I was seasick on the boat home,
mostly drunk, I suppose,
and since I didn’t want to work
joined the Stock Exchange
making and losing
buckets of money
and it didn’t mean a thing.

I was young and alive
and involved with saucy girls,
three or even four at a time,
because they too were young and daring,
lively, lovely, shedding no tears,
oblivious of the scars and regrets
coming to hit them in later years.

I would spring out of bed,
my face all blotchy pink and red,
and giving the girls a matey shove,
call for oysters and champagne,
for toast for Eggs Benedict,
and because my regime was strict
the hotel staff moved heaven above

to please me. I always lived in hotels,
handing out tips like confetti, learning
the names of everybody, showering gifts,
and never thinking about a thing.
I know this is the best way to live, never mind
any awkward education, for it induces,
even seduces people to help you.

Loyalty, my God, turns aside wrath!
I can’t remember how many times
some urgent hurried whispered word
saved my blithe, my unthinking course
and sent me into sudden detours
away from the main expected path
before disaster occurred.

After four marriages and seven children
my life is drawing to a peaceful close
with brandy in the morning and whiskey at bed,
and I am not sorry for the life I led
although some of my wives remain verbose
as they roll in the money and houses I gave them
many long and forgotten years ago.

And there is one remaining thing I know:
we deserve the contrasting winds that blow,
fair and unfair things alike,
the planned and the unplanned,
the sharp suits, the divine dresses,
lazy mornings in lapping sunlight,
gentle tears and caresses. Amen.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Recently did a 10 books that stuck list- First thought best thought- and I included the Great Gatsby which I read when young but was the first time I learned I had things to say beyond- I like that;-) Haven't read it in over 30 years, do want to see the movie, but this piece brought it back with an electric clarity. Well done Bren...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Juris,


The new movie featuring Leonardo diCaprio is amazingly fast-paced, colourful, ebullient - a real pleasure to watch! And yet it retains at is core the emptiness of hope and the falsity of dreams in spite of the splendour and magnificence of an OTT surface life. The parties are outrageous, Mr diC is quite good, and the girls are absolutely stunning! Definitely recommended.


I've come back to this book several times, most recently in audio format last summer, because the writing is THAT good - the best thing he ever did, in my opinion. I have an old poem on Scott and Hemingway which may be of interest if I can dig it out:




Best wishes,


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.