Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
W. H. Auden  Jun 2009
Victor
Victor was a little baby,
Into this world he came;
His father took him on his knee and said:
'Don't dishonour the family name.'

Victor looked up at his father
Looked up with big round eyes:
His father said; 'Victor, my only son,
Don't you ever ever tell lies.'

Victor and his father went riding
Out in a little dog-cart;
His father took a Bible from his pocket and read;
'Blessed are the pure in heart.'

It was a frosty December
Victor was only eighteen,
But his figures were neat and his margins were straight
And his cuffs were always clean.

He took a room at the Peveril,
A respectable boarding-house;
And Time watched Victor day after day
As a cat will watch a mouse.

The clerks slapped Victor on the shoulder;
'Have you ever had woman?' they said,
'Come down town with us on Saturday night.'
Victor smiled and shook his head.

The manager sat in his office,
Smoked a Corona cigar:
Said; 'Victor's a decent fellow but
He's too mousy to go far.'

Victor went up the his bedroom,
Set the alarum bell;
Climbed into bed, took his Bible and read
Of what happened to Jezebel.

It was the First of April,
Anna to the Peveril came;
Her eyes, her lips, her *******, her hips
And her smile set men aflame,

She looked as pure as a schoolgirl
On her First Communion day,
But her kisses were like the best champagne
When she gave herself away.

It was the Second of April.
She was wearing a coat of fur;
Victor met her upon the stair
And he fell in love with her.

The first time he made his proposal,
She laughed, said; 'I'll never wed;
The second time there was a pause;
Then she smiled and shook her head.

Anna looked into her mirror,
Pouted and gave a frown:
Said 'Victor's as dull as a wet afternoon
But I've got to settle down.'

The third time he made his proposal,
As they walked by the Reservoir:
She gave him a kiss like a blow on the head,
Said; 'You are my heart's desire.'

They were married early in August,
She said; 'Kiss me, you funny boy';
Victor took her in his arms and said;
'O my Helen of Troy.'

It was the middle of September,
Victor came to the office one day;
He was wearing a flower in his buttonhole,
He was late but he was gay.

The clerks were talking of Anna,
The door was just ajar:
One said, 'Poor old Victor, but where ignorance
Is bliss, et cetera.'

Victor stood still as a statue,
The door was just ajar:
One said, 'God, what fun I had with her
In that Baby Austin car.'

Victor walked out into the High Street,
He walked to the edge of town:
He came to the allotments and the ******* heap
And his tears came tumbling down.

Victor looked up at the sunset
As he stood there all alone;
Cried; 'Are you in Heaven, Father?'
But the sky said 'Address not known'.

Victor looked at the mountains,
The mountains all covered in snow
Cried; 'Are you pleased with me, Father?'
And the answer came back, No.

Victor came to the forest,
Cried: 'Father, will she ever be true?'
And the oaks and the beeches shook their heads
And they answered: 'Not to you.'

Victor came to the meadow
Where the wind went sweeping by:
Cried; 'O Father, I love her so',
But the wind said, 'She must die'.

Victor came to the river
Running so deep and so still:
Crying; 'O Father, what shall I do?'
And the river answered, '****'.

Anna was sitting at table,
Drawing cards from a pack;
Anna was sitting at table
Waiting for her husband to come back.

It wasn't the Jack of Diamonds
Nor the Joker she drew first;
It wasn't the King or the Queen of Hearts
But the Ace of Spades reversed.

Victor stood in the doorway,
He didn't utter a word:
She said; 'What's the matter, darling?'
He behaved as if he hadn't heard.

There was a voice in his left ear,
There was a voice in his right,
There was a voice at the base of his skull
Saying, 'She must die tonight.'

Victor picked up a carving-knife,
His features were set and drawn,
Said; 'Anna it would have been better for you
If you had not been born.'

Anna jumped up from the table,
Anna started to scream,
But Victor came slowly after her
Like a horror in a dream.

She dodged behind the sofa,
She tore down a curtain rod,
But Victor came slowly after her:
Said; 'Prepare to meet thy God.'

She managed to wrench the door open,
She ran and she didn't stop.
But Victor followed her up the stairs
And he caught her at the top.

He stood there above the body,
He stood there holding the knife;
And the blood ran down the stairs and sang,
'I'm the Resurrection and the Life'.

They tapped Victor on the shoulder,
They took him away in a van;
He sat as quiet as a lump of moss
Saying, 'I am the Son of Man'.

Victor sat in a corner
Making a woman of clay:
Saying; 'I am Alpha and Omega, I shall come
To judge the earth some day.'
Edna Sweetlove May 2015
I woke up to a beautiful summer morning. The sun was shining and the rainclouds were far away. I decided I would spend the day on the beach. I always enjoy visiting the beach as it gives me an opportunity to laugh at people's hideous bodies. But where? And then, suddenly, a wonderful idea came to me: why not go to a nudist beach as they always attract the ugliest people with the worst bodies imaginable. And you get to see their naughty bits too, for added humour.

So I rushed to my computer to check the Internet for possibilities and, to my utter amazement, I discovered there was a naturist beach only fifty miles from my beautiful home. As I read the details of the beach and the directions, I had a sense of déja vu; I realised with a frisson of ****** anticipation that it was the very same beach described by Victor the ****** in his wonderful story "Confessions of a ******" which held pride of place on my toilet reading shelf.

I was at the wheel of my incredibly expensive and luxurious car just as soon as my servants had packed my essential requirements: icebox with chilled vintage champagne, lightweight folding gold-plated sun-lounger, vicuna picnic rug and of course my lunch hamper. My chef had rapidly prepared a delicious impromptu luncheon of smoked salmon, steak tartare and a selection of other goodies. I decided to dispense with the services of my chauffeur in the interests of preserving the confidentiality of my destination.

In less than an hour and a half I was there; and the place was exactly as Victor had described it in his immortal novella: a long stretch of mixed sand and pebbles, backed by dunes planted with wild grass, waving romantically in the sea breeze. Idyllic, and crawling with naked perverts as a bonus. I parked my car and transported my equipment to the dunes. I regretted not having brought one of the servants as the hamper and icebox were quite cumbersome and heavy. I was perspiring gently by the time I had unloaded everything and set it all up to my satisfaction.

I took some care in selecting what I felt was the optimum location as I needed to combine the potentially conflicting benefits of wanting to see as many naked people as possible (hopefully including some *** action) with the need for privacy. After all I am famous. I finally chose a spot where there were several ghastly specimens on view for a few laughs and where I could also see a potentially interesting couple who might be exhibitionistic perverts. The man was about 45, shaven-headed, skinny and prematurely wrinkled all over by the sun (yes, I do mean all over) and he had an interesting tattoo on his back: "I love hot ***** ***", which I saw as promising. The woman was plump with pendulous ******* and very prominent buttocks; additionally - how can I put this delicately? - her **** was totally bereft of hair.

Before settling down to my lunch, I felt a little perambulation would not come amiss. So, as bold as brass, off I went for a little **** stroll through the dunes. I will not describe in full detail the visual horrors I encountered: hirsute old men playing aimlessly with wizened, shrunken todgers the size of a thimble; obese old biddies, their rolls of sun-tanned lard hanging round them like rows of bloated udders on a pregnant sow; tattooed bald queens, muscles bulging under lashings of sun-oil, their pierced genitals glinting wickedly in the sunshine; the list was endless. How could such grotesques revel in revealing their corporeal repulsion to the eager world?

And then I saw him! It had to be him! In a dip in the sand dunes lay a middle-aged, paunchy little man, intently watching a couple of old ******* groping each other incompetently. It could only be Victor the One-Legged ******! After all, just how many unipod Peeping Toms are there?

I strolled over to him, coughing discreetly so as to give him a chance to stop his furtive *******. 'Do excuse me for disturbing you,' I said, 'but are you by any chance Victor the famous ****** whose confession I read only last week?'

'Why yes,' he admitted, 'but how on earth did you recognise me?'

I smiled and pointed to the cast-off artificial leg lying next to his beach towel (which, incidentally, was emblazoned by a giant "V", a bit of an identity hint, I felt). He patted his stump ruefully and laughed uproariously so that his average-sized ***** flapped like a pennant in a Force Eight gale. 'I forgot,' he bellowed deliriously.

'I'm just about to have a spot of lunch,' I said. 'My personal Michelin-starred chef, Jean-Claude Anusse, always over-caters ridiculously as he knows I often pick up people on my excursions, so there'll be more than enough. I'm afraid it's nothing special: some smoked salmon and some assorted cold meats, possibly a spot of pâté de foie gras, if I know Jean-Claude. And, naturally, enough champagne to drown a hippo in. Please do say yes, as I have so many questions to ask you about your hobby.'

'That's very kind of you.' mumbled the astonished Peeping Tom, 'I should be very happy to accept your generous offer. Incidentally, to whom have I the honour of speaking?'

I was, frankly, shocked when I realised Victor had not recognised me, and then I remembered I was naked. That explained it. 'Why, I am none other than Edna Sweetlove, poetess to the stars, creator of the Barry Hodges "Memories" poems and biographer to the intrepid and incredible superhero SNOGGO,' I murmured sotto voce, not wishing to be mobbed for my autograph.

'Edna Sweetlove!' he exclaimed, 'you mean THE Edna Sweetlove?' And so saying he glanced down to my genital zone in order to answer the question which so many of my fans have asked over the years. He grinned as he saw the solution to the great mystery.

Victor quickly strapped on his prosthesis and accompanied me (slightly lopsidedly) to my little luncheon site. He helped me unpack our repast and then made himself as comfortable as a naked one legged ****** could reasonably expect to be without a chair.

I must say Chef and his team had excelled himself in the thirty minutes I had given them: smoked salmon roulades, a magnifique plateau de fruits de mer including a three-pound giant lobster, steak tartare, a whole cold pintarde à l'ail, a few dozen sushi rolls, a monster summer pudding, and naturally a Jeraboam of Krug '92. No wonder the hamper had been so ******* heavy. I could see Victor was impressed as I offered him a chilled flute of the most expensive champagne he had ever tasted. 'Better than the pathetic, poverty-stricken muck you were going to gobble, I expect,' I commented in a friendly way.

'Mmmmmmmmm! Absolutely delicious, Edna. I was certainly not expecting this! exclaimed the grateful freak. But before we start on what looks like a truly exquisite nosh-up, I must give you a word of warning.'

'A word of warning? What about, Victor dear?'

'Well, you see, there's no, um....er,' he blushed charmingly.

'No what, Victor? Don't be embarrassed, sweetie. This is Edna you're talking to. Spit it out, baby.'

'Well, um, there's no ******* on the beach, Edna,' explained Victor uncomfortably. 'So, if you need to pump ship, you have to do it native-style "au naturel" in the dunes over there, which can be a bit messy what with all the filth lying about the place in that area, not to mention the lavvo-voyeurs hanging round. Or else you need to swim out a bit and unload into the sea. Judging by what's on offer at your stylish picnic, we'll both be bursting for a good old **** and crap afterwards.'

I shrieked with laughter and explained there was nothing I liked better than a widdle en plein air or a double act dans l'eau. We then tucked into lunch with a vengeance. It was ******* delicious, even though I say so myself. After about fifteen minutes' happy munching, interspersed with witty small talk, Victor suddenly went rigid. 'Look over there!' he hissed and indicated the middle-aged couple by the windbreak.

I looked and I was surprised. The plump woman with the big *** was on her knees in front of her partner, giving him a vigorous *******, and he was lolling back in ecstasy, a broad smile on his face. He seemed to be looking straight at us, almost visibly willing us to watch. He winked repeatedly in a conspiratorial fashion; maybe he had St Vitus’ Dance. Or even worse, he wanted me to get stuck into the action with them.

'They're regulars here, they normally put on quite a good show,' explained Victor excitedly, his hand reaching down automatically to his rapidly stiffening ****.

'Victor!' I admonished him, 'I would prefer it if you didn't **** yourself off during lunch. How about another oyster, you silly old ****?'

'Sorry, Edna, I forgot,' he replied shamefacedly. 'No more oysters thank you; they only make me more randy than I already am. But I'll have another lobster claw if I may. My compliments to your chef.'

So we sipped our champagne and enjoyed our luncheon as we watched the couple give us their little exhibition. After a few minutes *******, the fat lady turned around and leaned forward on her hands and knees and her gnarled bald hubby ******* her doggy fashion from behind with some gusto; this made her beefy buns bounce about like two ferrets fighting in a sack.

I glanced around us and realised that, totally unbeknown to me, the little spectacle had attracted quite an audience. Nine men, young and old, short and tall, fat and skinny, stood staring transfixed by the petite scène erotique before us, all ******* wildly. 'Oi!' I called out. 'Can't you see we're eating?' I admonished them, but to no ******* avail whatsoever.

Victor was visibly torn between his innate desire to watch the copulators and masturbators and with his understandable wish not to offend his lunch companion by manhandling himself unrestrainedly. But, thank God, his natural good manners prevailed and we continued to converse and enjoy our meal in the midst of this Bacchanalian scene of depravity.

I watched dispassionately as the couple came to what sounded like a very satisfactory mutual ******, accompanied by the observers' seminal tributes to their performance. I naturally had filmed the entire scene secretly on my state-of-the-art mobile.

'If you give me your email address, Victor my love, I'll send you a copy of that little show,' I promised. He nodded in gratitude. 'Victor  the ****** at yahoo dot co dot uk,' he mumbled rapidly, 'no dots, Victorthevoyeur is all one word.'

Once we had polished off lunch, I told Victor I would like to interview him with a view to writing a short story about his life's work. He was touchingly flattered and, with a little judicious prompting and probing, told me his saga, which I recorded on my Edna-phone. I naturally don't want to pre-empt my forthcoming mini-biography of Victor, but suffice it to say that Victor told me how and why he became a ******, he regaled me with some of the staggering things he had seen, he gave me a list of some really ace ******* locations, he shared all his best peeping places with me, he gave me the ultimate lowdown on the world of Britain's most celebrated *** snooper and I was touched by his burning honesty. I felt a tear ***** my eye at this tragic tale.

All too soon it was time for us to part. After thanking me profusely and making me promise I would visit him one day so he could repay my generosity, he re-attached his metal leg and limped away towards his beach towel. I knew he was raring to go as the best of the action normally took place in the early evening.

'Farewell, dearest Victor,' I called out as he tripped clumsily over a fellow pervert who had been eavesdropping near us.
"Victor, Victor, Victor."

"Mr. Victor."

"Victor!"

"Victor! Victor! Victor!"

"Mr. Victor!"

"MR. VICTOR"

"VICTOR!"

"VICTOR!"

"...Yes?" I quietly reply with a brief exhale.

"What do you need?"
Kids become too much sometimes.
Cyrus Gold Apr 2016
Victor stumbles into the room faster than
his mind has time to assess what had just occurred.
Sweat drips down his face as he pants heavily,
trying desperately to catch his breath.
It's vacant. Good.

He’s asking too much of his left hand
as it holds the Astra 600 semi-automatic pistol
given to him by his father,
but also attempts to stop the bleeding
from his lower abdomen.

His grip of the weapon loosens;
soaked with so much of his own blood
that he could taste the metal.
Never use it unless you’re dead, his father would always say.

Right palm open on his chest, he begs his spirit
for a sliver of peace, waiting for his
heart and mind to see eye to eye one last time.

He takes a moment to survey the room;
the wallpaper, once bright, symmetrical and gracious,
is now torn, revealing the ugly foundation underneath;
a frame-less door hangs on a corner of a wall,
ironically leading nowhere.

His eyes turn to the center of the room;
a chair, made with traces of oak
and other synthesized material,
sits at the center.

Victor's pistol slips from his hand,
and he uses the energy he has left
to drag his feet, each step harder than the last,
to take his seat.

The chair is positioned
to give the sitter the best view
through wrecked windows,
but the real show was about to begin.

“Sam. Sam I am”, Victor begins to mutter under his breath.
“I do not like… them. Sam, I am. I do not like… green eggs…”
He pauses.
“This is the beginning of the end”, he says.

His mind wanders, and then begins to project images
of a life, once colorful, beautiful and happy,
now unrecognizable, yet familiar.

The show starts;
he was knee high, playing with the neighbor’s Jack Russell Terrier
for days on end, only to be told he wouldn’t see the dog again.
He was sick, and had to be put down.
When he asked his father what that meant,

“He'll suffer if we do nothing, Victor.
Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind."


Another scene plays;
A young adult, taking an English literature course,
decides to study The Importance of Being Earnest,
a tale where individuals use different personalities to
escape social obligations, thus wearing masks of sorts.

It's ironic that Oscar Wilde was hiding his true self
when he wrote that garbage
, Victor thought to himself,
now chuckling at the thought.
What was it he once said?
I can resist anything, but temptation.

And another scene;
the woman he spilled coffee on
the first time he met her
was now saying “I do”,
feeding him a slice of their wedding cake.
It tasted bittersweet.

Nothing lasts. Couples fight.
An unstoppable force opposes an immovable object.
I always lie is something
Victor would yell at her in a passive aggressive manner,
but was he being truthful?

"I do not like… them. Sam, I am. I do not like… green eggs, and… ham."

Green Eggs and Ham.
His daughter’s favorite book.

My daughter... my baby girl, Victor wept.
Her life was taken
the day after he read her Dr. Seuss,
unknowingly for the last time.

It took him three agonizing years
but he finally found the monster responsible
for taking her life;
until five minutes ago,
that man was living a floor below the apartment
that Victor is now dying in.

Seconds before the skirmish,
Victor vaguely remembers the murderer
shouting something to the effect of,
"Leave me alone! I'm nobody!"
He was neither right, nor wrong.

Victor's 9x19mm parabellum+ slugs
pierced the murderer’s chest and neck,
but that man fired first with his
long-range carbine rifle;

it was the ricochet
of his 5.56x45mm round
that ultimately did Victor in,
striking his abdomen from behind, with the bullet
traveling through and through
and the residual shrapnel
poisoning his blood.

Victor killed a murderer,
and narrowly escaped death, only to die.

He leaves this world believing
that life in and of itself is a contradiction
full of negations, deceit, and divisions by zero.

To honor life, he chose to ****;
revenge in the name of harmony.
Never use it unless you’re dead, his father would always say.

His father would be proud.
The bullets fired from Victor's pistol are known as parabellum rounds; para bellum is a Latin phrase derived from Si vis pacem, para bellum,
meaning if you want peace, prepare for war.
Temitope Popoola Aug 2013
How could you love someone this much and allow your parents' decision and choices to mar your future? Why does this matter anyway? Hasn't this happened several times and are the people involved not happy? Can't everyone just pretend not to see things and carry on with their businesses? So many questions played in Fiona's mind! There were answers, but she was unsatisfied! She wanted things to go her own way! She parked a few metres from her house and stared into the thin air!
Keji, her friend had told her "Babes, you gotta do what gotta do!". She chuckled, when she'd told her that; it sounded like a slur! But now that she's faced with the reality of making that decision, she'd gone bizarre! Flayed emotion and uncollected thoughts. She took a deep breath and started the car,  what does it matter anyway? She's an adult, and at twenty six she had the right to live her life and live it to the fullest!
She drove into her parents' house and  was received warmly! She'd called her mum ahead of the visit and was pleased to know her father wasn't home!
"Look who we have here, Fiona!" Her mum had said heartily hugging her. She raised an eyebrow, something's definitely up! Her mum sure could act!
She settled herself into one of the comfortable chairs as her mother excitedly moved about!
"Remember Jude? He's in town and I heard he'll be around for long. He asked after you." Her mum offered her juice and eyed her, searching for her reaction and waiting for her response! She got it, Fiona was clearly irritated and moved restlessly in her chair.
"Mum, not again please! I could make my own choices! Stop making me feel like I have a problem hooking up with men." She blurted out. Her mum wasn't surprised, it was just the anticipated reaction.
"You sure don't. Considering that you've never brought anyone home as your boyfriend" her mother answered, sarcastically.
"And every of your friends' sonos are always showing up in town and asking after me. I met Emeka under the impression that he was after me and I discovered he'd never heard about me and was treating me with pity! Like I had an issue with men. I do not like it" She explained to her mum, her voice laced with emotion.
Her mum bowed her head as if in deep thought, let out a sigh.
For minutes neither of them spoke! Fiona's beautiful face was shielded with the long peruvian hair that hung carelessly on her head! Her eye ***** were huge, and looked like they were going to give in to tears any moment from now. She'd worked at different companies before she finally settled with a top oil and gas company. She'd had different challenges with guys and wasn't willing to try anymore when she met the man she'd actually gone home to tell her mum about!
"There is someone and I want you to meet him" she walked around the house. Her mother's face lit up and then concern crept up it. "Do I know him? Is it serious?" She answered, "He's nice, caring, and loves me"
Smiling nervously, she picked her clutch bag and moved to the door. "You would meet him, tell Dad. And mum," She paused "Please be nice"
She was glad that phase was over. She told her fiance about the outcome and prepared him for the much dreaded visit to her parents' house.
They decided to make it on a sunday, her father, Lieutenant Joseph was home and was so pleased to see his daughter after all. He looked at the man beside her on the sofa and gave her a meaningful look. She shifted uneasily in her seat. The mother joined them in her sweeping gown and looked suspiciously at her daughter. She had on her the look of 'I smell a rat'. She sat beside her husband who fondly pulled her to his side. They watched a popular soap opera, Edges of Paradise and for a long time everyone seemed caught up in the family opera.  Fiona's mother coughed eerily, and everyone's attention was forced to her, she batted her fake long lashes and spoke "So?"
Fiona picked it from there, "Dad, I came over some weeks ago and told mum I was going to bring over my fiance so..." Before she could complete her statement her mother cut her short!
" Yes, you did Sweetheart, but don't you think it's rather rude for you to rush us by bringing in his father instead? You should have brought the young man instead" Her mother said eyeing the man with contempt.
Fiona was shocked, how could her mother refer to her fiance that way? Yes he's older than her but what? Does age hold the key to happiness. She looked at her father quickly, pleading for help with her eyes but he seemed somewhat humbled by his wife presence and speech.
"Mother, that's not fair. How could you speak about him in that tone? This is the man I want to marry." She said with heat. At that moment her fiance was getting uncomfortable, he tried holding Fiona's hand but it was hot, his too was moist with sweat. He didn't expect things to go too well but at the same time he was caught unaware! Her mother shifted forward in her chair, "Now gentleman may we know you?"
"I'm Victor Okon, I'm an entrepreneur and run a chain of businesses within and outside Nigeria. I met your daughter few years ago but we started seeing each other two years ago. I like her ma and would be pleased if I could marry her." He stated flatly. He was tired and didn't like the way both parents stared at him. To him, he was doing something noble by going to their house but the look they were giving him made him feel like a child molester. Would they have preferred it if they'd met in another way, like him going there to say he's responsible for putting their daughter in the family way?
The father didn't say a word and that made him wonder what kind of family they were. Then he gave it another thought and concluded perhaps, it's the way of military personnel. When it comes to family they are always cool headed but duty time, they are as hot as hell. Occasionally, when they let out their anger, they are unrestrained. Fiona's mother's eyes narrowed as she started speaking again.
"How old are you?" She had hit the nail on the head. That was the bone of contention and Victor Okon rubbed his hands. His hair a mixture of grey and black had somewhat given him out. But there was no point lying, if he ended up marrying her they would have to know sooner or later. He was a man of integrity and worth who didn't value recklessness. He was responsible.
Fiona took over, taking the bull by the horn,"He's forty-five, younger than you by three years, so what?". She spat out, a look of disdain played on her face. Her mother retorted " If he's young enough to be my brother then he's old enough to be your father" that stung, drop of tears rolled from Fiona's eyes. Her father, who'd let the conversation flow for a long time spoke,
"You ladies should keep it cool in here, why don't you go into the kitchen and get us something to drink in here? We want to have a tete-a-tete." Fiona jumped from the chair and stalked out of the living room, her mother followed swiftly. Even as the kitchen door closed, one could still hear their voices .
Her father spoke with Victor and he found out he really liked the man. But he was concerned about them understanding each other, relationships like that most times comes with huge load of commitments. He was worried about her future, and how long it might take for them to really connect. There were lots of people in the society with that kind of situation and they were doing fine. Some too on the other hand had failed at it. They spoke for a long time and Victor was able to voice out his mind. He felt it was a normal reaction for the mother, considering the fact that they were about to give him their eyeteeth. They heard a crash followed by a loud sound in the kitchen and stopped abruptly, Fiona stormed out holding her hand to one side of her face, she picked up her hand bag and asked Victor to meet her at home. She left the house and Victor rendered his apologies. He shook the father's hands, nodded at the mother and walked out calmly.
He met Fiona outside crying, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead. He drove in silence, she played with her fingers and finally let out a sigh, she was scared of losing him and said,
"I'll do whatever it takes, I will" He didn't say a word, he just nodded!  
He wondered in his mind, what's there loving someone older or younger? Isn't love the most important thing?
In Nigeria, the society kinda frowns at stuffs like this and age doesn't grant one liberty from parents' guiding eyes.
Hannah McMullan Nov 2013
"To the victor goes the spoils"
This everyone knows.

However, not all spoils are created equally.

Wealth--especially material--is wondrous.
Territory--especially far-off-- is tempting.
Power--especially political--is promising.
Influence--especially cultural--is intoxicating.

Not one, however, can compare
To the greatest spoil of all.

The greatest spoil of all
Is neither tangible nor immediate.

The greatest spoil of all
Is the ablity to control history.

The ability to control history
Is not to be scoffed.

It is but the victor's voice we hear
As accepted history.
The loser's voice is silenced,
Heard at most as a murmur.

The victor's voice is a trumpet,
Sounding loud and clear.
The loser's voice is a wooden flute,
Unheard except by its fellows.

The victor's song is one of rejoicing
Echoing in the cathedrals and palace-halls.
The loser's song is one of mourning
Heard in the taverns and shanty-towns.

We hear what the victor
Sees fit that we hear.
His crimes never see the light of day,
While the sins of the loser are displayed at e'ery chance.

Think for a moment,
The next time you hear a victor's speech.
And remember that he is in control
Of the greatest spoil of all.
nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly
added

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle
Sol

and started a worm farm)
RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI

— The End —