Jenny Powell lives and writes in Dunedin. Her most recent collection of poems is Trouble, Cold Hub Press, 2014. Montecillo Child, her performance piece for voices, soundscape and images, debuted at Toitu Settlers Gallery, Dunedin, in 2015.
The Dietrich poem is one of a number that arrived after conversations with Peter Olds about transferring Berlin and Paris to Dunedin and Gore-Invercargill.
Marlene Dietrich in Gore for the Gold Guitar Awards
Marlene is waiting in the street,
her breath a silhouette
in the night. She shivers and shrinks
into her coat, swan down scraping
the gutter. It was never meant
Marlene is waiting under the light
of a lamp post, guitar
at her feet in its well-travelled
case. They are scheduled to sing
after the break, he promised
to be early.
Even through the gloves her fingers
grow numb, her fists
tight. Soon she will not be able
to play, the ripple of strings too slow,
and soon her honeyed voice
will ice over.
Even through the final duets
Marlene is waiting,
a blonde Venus always falling
in love with love. Inside, the judges
shake their heads and cross
First published takahe 86