Cleaving norma desmond

Sunset Boulevard

“What did Bernstein
say to make you ask
so many questions?”
—Ron Silliman,
Sunset Debris

Handsome William Holden—movie star?
Why face downward—in a swimming pool?
Talking to himself—in Sunset Boulevard?
Shot in the back—by Norma Desmond?
That old silent—Hollywood movie queen?

Why confess such a—sordid murder story?
To an already jaded—Los Angeles audience?
Why does Billy Wilder—begin it in a morgue?
With Holden on a slab—telling it there?
The audience—laughing it was so silly?

So Wilder changes it—the opening scene?
Instead of kvetching—to his morgue mates?
William Holden—tells his story differently?
Face-down eyes-open—arms floating like wings?
That’s how it begins—in a cheesy pool?

A dead man—gets to tell his story?
Is it believable—or just somewhat campy?
All these kinky flashbacks—about Hollywood?
Norma Desmond—the decadent aging star?
Out of silent films—from another era?

Sunset debris—Sunset Boulevard.
What does Norma want—a great comeback?
Cinemascope Technicolor—Gloria Swanson?
Can a script—renew old has-been dreams?
Dreams of Hollywood—fame and fortune?

I drove fast—into this musty old garage?
Dodging the creeps—repossessing my car?
Pretty soon there I was—a worthless gigolo?
Slave to a faded silent star—Norma Desmond?
Norma Desmond—Norma Desmond!!!

Silent movies fade away—what’s left then?
An old haunted mansion—an old butler.
A dead monkey—a secret burial at night?
Wilder’s spoof of—faded horror movie drag?
Musty drafty memories—some contact bridge?

William Holden—failed filmscript hack?
Ending up rewriting—Norma’s come-back?
Surely nothing’s worse—than tacky flashbacks?
Not even Cecil DeMille—wants Norma anymore?
It’s all over with—and she knows it?

William Holden—and Gloria Swanson?
What a lovely—Sunset Boulevard couple?
Using each other—to get what they want?
Holden needs money—Swanson needs fame?
All dressed up—only film noir to blame?

Close-up to staircase—the ending scene?
Norma Desmond—descending into the lights?
William Holden—floating in the swimming pool?
Hollywood decadent—waiting for rotten remake?
Waiting around patiently—for Mulholland Drive?

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