They Write By Night: Pandemic Noir No. 3, City Gone Missing
Pandemic Noir No. 3, City Gone Missing
Businesses disappear, your favorite restaurant (the Cha Cha Cha on Virgil!), or the last remaining news stand in that part of town. People disappear, maybe a rogue husband who’s cleaned out your bank account—the money You earned—and skipped town. Vanished. Happened to a college teacher I knew, back in the day. Species have a way of disappearing. On occasion, a section of a city, one with people in it, goes missing, and not by accident.
What lies behind most of these disappearances? Money, usually, or something like it. When that guy said, “Follow the money,” he said a thing worth following. Yet, I’ve heard stories…. Sometimes even the money goes missing. Or tax returns. Something like money.
It’s good that Mike Hammer pursued a suitcase stuffed with radioactive material through and around Bunker Hill, so we got some of that storied neighborhood on film before it went missing. And, here’s another good thing—William Archila caught the noir mood, atmosphere, landscape, and glimpses of the City’s dark-running, and disappearing, narrative, in his poem “Cine Negro.”
– Suzanne Lummis
Top image credit to www.Poetry.LA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne Lummis, noted practitioner and exponent of NOIR POETRY, unpacks a genre infused with the ethos of mid-20th Century hard-boiled fiction and crime movies, presenting examples from poets both living and “quite dead.” An influential teacher through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and co-founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, Lummis produced a 2011 city-wide, 25-event series, “Night in the City: L.A. Noir Poetry, Fiction and Film.” Her 2012 essay “The Poem Noir — Too Dark to Be Depressed” (Malpais Review, Vol. 3, No. 3) is essential reading on the subject. Lummis was awarded a 2018/19 C.O.L.A. (City of Los Angeles) fellowship to create a series of new poems. Her most recent collection is Open 24 Hours (Lynx House Press). Her poems have appeared in three Knopf "Everyman's Poetry" anthologies, including Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem, and in The Antioch Review, New Ohio Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry and The New Yorker. She edited the anthology "Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond" (Pacific Coast Poetry Series/Beyond Baroque Books) named one of the Ten Best Books of 2015 in the Los Angeles Times. (Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher)
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