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An Ode to Hollywood

By Don Marquis
1929

Marquis wrote this rude and bitter poem after a screenwriting stint in California. Like many other prominent authors of his day, Marquis found the demands of Hollywood’s movie studios insulting and impossible.

City of sterile striving,
Where brains have not begun,
I sing thy Idiot Faces,
Thy leagued Commonplaces,
Bright in thy silly Sun!

Thy Ballocks have no Semen,
Thine Udders have no Milk;
Ever thou seekest Bliss
With Hard-ons swoln with Piss;
Thy Gods are Bunk and Bilk

Fertile in naught but faking
Futile each season passes;
And scrutiny discloses
Thy most prodigious Roses
Are really Horses’ Asses.

Strange Cults are thine, strange Cunts,
Dry Nymph and arid Venus;
Or should a hymen bust
‘Tis but a puff of dust
Powders the satyr’s penis.

Diffuse, wide desert reaches
Where no Mind ever wrought!
Peer from thy cloudless skies
Demons with lidless eyes,
Scorching the buds of Thought!

Thy passions all pretended,
Thy pulses beat for pelf–
But should more Irrigation
Bring dustless fornication,
Go fuck thy Suffering Self!

———-

NOTE

Variorum reading: Third line of fourth
stanza, ‘cundum’ for ‘hymen’, as being
more in accord with local probabilities;
albeit, hymen, to the nicer ear of poesy,
hath the sweeter sound.

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