“It’s Happening Fast for Sharon Tate…” by Ronnie R. Brown (ottawater)


intones the deep voice of the MGM announcer.
One of the many “short subjects” made to rev up interest
in stars on the rise, this little black & white clip
from the sixties features the soft-voiced and lovely
Miss Tate telling the camera, that she is already
signed for a second movie,
is anxious to see just what
the future will bring.

…a star on the go-go…
the announcer quips as the lens zooms in
on the beautiful blonde
dancing in a club, sequined mini-
dress a-glitter.

Some forty years later,
watching this short on the
Classic Film Channel you want
to shout warnings at the screen, tell her
that during that next movie she
will meet Roman Polanski, will be expecting
his child when Charlie Manson targets
their home for his motley crew. Yell out
once they arrive things will, indeed,
happen fast…

that Sharon Tate, starlet, will quickly be
transformed into the woman who begged for
her unborn child’s life; forever
famous thanks to a helter-skelter
twist of fate.

– Ronnie R. Brown

Originally published in ottawater 9, January 2013;
edited by rob mclennan

Foreshadowing – when you’re reading “The Cask of Amontillado” in seventh grade and the teacher is explaining the elements of writing – the word always sends a little chill down the back of your neck. This stunning  and sensitive poem explores that element in a cinematic way, befitting its subject. The points of view of announcer, of  Sharon herself, and of the viewer of the ex post facto clip, are rendered deftly in such a way as to both “be along for the ride” and “put on the brakes” in the foretelling — in a kind of gothic, myriad-viewpoint, Wuthering Heights fashion. I am so personally intrigued by the notion of “old news,” in collections of ephemera, prognostications and  media hype. Ronnie R. Brown captures this dichotomy of transience/permanence expertly. The piece contains a kind of maternal tenderness that comes not only from Sharon in her desperate plea, but from the narrator herself, and so it transcends that sensationalism and horror of that terrible outcome and resonates in a more poignant space.

An American-born poet based in Canada, Ronnie R. Brown has devoted a portion of her six published collections to the exploration of photographic renderings and their resonance. In reflecting upon these works,  she shared:  “as with the short black-and-white film produced to promote the then up-and-coming career of Sharon Tate, many of the  photos I depicted as poetry, were taken to present an image to the world that was artificial (and would, in the future, prove  to be prophetic–at least to those ‘in the know’).”  In exploring narrative approaches and celebrity, and, within those realms, notions of artificiality and authenticity, the upcoming collection of work (of which “Sharon Tate” is a part) contains poems about a narrator’s life and celebrities.  Tentatively entitled Biting Reality, the collection “tries to explain how the woman in question became who she is, while the celebrity-based pieces  try to expose various elements about the celebrity  (and the nature of celebrity.)”
– RK

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://minotaursspotlight.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/rose_koch_133.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rosemarie Koch earned her MFA in Poetry from Arcadia University in 2013 – the culmination of a lifelong dream. For her, poetry is an art form that crosses all forms, and is also a great source of joy – both reading it and writing it. She has recited Hopkins’ “Windhover” at many poetic and non-poetic gatherings, regards William Blake and Emily Dickinson as close personal friends, and finds poetry in everything she hears and sees. Her work with Minotaur’s Spotlight is an extension of her love of verse. [/author_info] [/author]