Termite Art

© 2011 Katherine Williams
"Termite Art" appears in
Projector 3

From the film noir movie Gun Crazy. “Termite Art”, is a reference to film noir. “Chicago Lightning” is slang for arson.
The Muse’s gun is pointed at my face.
This gangland terminology again!
Shouldn’t we case the joint first? WRITE she says.
The page stays blank under my crapped-out pen.
Try something else, like starting with a verb
at the top of each line,
she says, her breath
metallic on my shoulder. I need bourbon,
I say. The muzzle presses on my neck.
To fence, to fink, to finish? What the hell
do I know from Chicago Lightning? WRITE.
All right, I’ll write. And while you’re at it, tell
about the one they shot—in black and white
and in a single take.
The drop without
the payoff—what this poem is about.