Monday, March 22, 2010

Poetry Monday

Just read that there will be a new filmed version of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock coming out this year. Made me think of this poem by Bill Knott.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
by Bill Knott

Pinky Brown must marry Rose Wilson
to keep her mouth shut about the murder
which the cops don't know wasn't no accident—

Pinky has a straight razor for slashing,
a vial of acid for throwing into,
a snitch's face. He dies in the end. The end

of the book, I mean—where, on the last page,
'Young Rose' hurries out of church to pray
that her Pinky has left her preggy-poo . . .

Now, this kid—if he was ever born—joined

a skiffle group in '62 called Brighton
Rockers, didn't make it big, though,

just local dances and do's. Rose,
pink, brown, all nonelemental colors, shades
of shame, melancholy, colors which, you

get caught loving too much, you get sent up

to do time—time, that crime you didn't,
couldn't commit! even if you weren't

born—even and if your dad he died with
that sneer—unsmooched his punk's pure soul, unsaved—
Every Sunday now in church Rose slices

her ring-finger off, onto the collection-plate;

once the sextons have gathered enough
bodily parts from the congregation, enough

to add up to an entire being, the priest sub-
stitutes that entire being for the one
on the cross: they bring Him down in the name

of brown and rose and pink, sadness,
and shame, His body, remade, is yelled at
and made to get a haircut, go to school,

study, to do each day like the rest
of us crawling through this igloo of hell,
and laugh it up, show pain a good time,

and read Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.


  1. thanks for posting this . . .

    you might like some from my book of poems about movies/actors/performance/etcet,

    "(Acting) Poems"

    which can be downloaded FREE from here:


  2. Bill,

    Thanks for the link to lulu. I was sorry to see your poems disappear from typepad, but now I know where to go get them.