I saw a Bette Davis movie
On Insomniac Theater,
After Johnny and the PTL Club.
She played a sad ingenue,
Shady past, shadowed future,
A barmaid in some desperate pub.
Well that woman’s as old
As my grandma,
That script’s old as original sin.
But I fell in love
For an hour and a half anyway.
Dropped a few hundred tears in my gin.
Well it’s been eight years since I believed
In anything publicly,
For I promised some things to myself.
So this thing with Miss Davis
Undermines my security,
Stirs dangerous dust on my shelf.
Yes I remember the girl
Who took tickets
At the art movie house off the square.
She was as real as the three bucks
I paid every Friday
Just to see her and a subtitled foreign affair.
We were in love in slow motion,
Across a meadow,
In a Midwestern motif.
Well there was sunshine and a rainbow
And gentle rain
On her long raven hair.
Tall buildings fell to the earthquake.
We were consumed
By the consummate relief.
And it all happened inside
I read this thing in the paper
‘Bout a man and a woman.
They met up in World War 1 Paris.
He was a soldier, she was a dancer,
And every moment was stolen
‘Til the peace called him back across the sea.
Well she had the Yank’s child
And she married.
Lost her husband and child in a firestorm.
Then that Yank soldier found her
After half a damn century
And died in his mademoiselle’s arms.
Well I’ve never been a soldier
But I got me some battle scars.
Spend half my time shocked in a shell.
And you aint Bette Davis
But we’re here in this city bar.
And baby, my war has been hell.
And you need not dispense
With the sweetness.
We both know where the other has been.
And when you smile you look just like
That girl in the theater.
So here’s to the movies, salt water and gin.
“The Movies” appeared on The Bathroom Tapes demo, 1987.
© and ℗ 1987 Marques Bovre