The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano

The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano | click the image if you are interested in buying this book...


The day is like any other day in Paradise
where angels hang out on street corners in between gigs

smoking filtered cigarettes drinking ginger ale
and swapping stories about the Son of Man.

Everyone has an eye fixed on Jesus.
He’s on his knees in an alley shooting dice

with the Three Stooges
and the poor bastards are losing their shirts.

The Savior of the World is on fire.
In flowing red robe he rattles the bones in his hand

brings them to his ear shakes them like the Second Coming
and blows on them once for luck.

He arcs his fist before release and shouts:
Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

then tosses them with the same force his father summoned
to create the Milky Way.

When he flashes that wide resurrection smile
the one he showed the Romans right before they nailed him,

he scoops up his winnings with a wink and a nod
and everyone knows the Lamb of God is on a roll.

The Stooges are victims of divine intervention.
They make the sign of the cross and Jesus smiles.

I like you guys, he says, slapping their faces affectionately.
And just like that three morons become saints.

Leaning against a wall drinking beer from a bottle
always cold never empty is Charles Bukowski.

He shifts his weight like a man itching to start something
eyeing the action as if he’s writing his last poem.

Jesus stands now and introduces them.
The Stooges pull back unsure of what to expect from a guy

who once threw up on Norman Mailer and just last week
tried to look up the Virgin Mary’s dress.

Bukowski hesitates, too. He remembers almost losing an eye
in a pie fight and watches their fingers closely now

the air so choked with mistrust even the Holy Ghost is scared.
That’s when Jesus stands on his head.

It’s a minor miracle, not like changing a Beatles’ song
into a jingle for running shoes, but it breaks the tension at last.

Sighs of relief rise up like hosannas and everyone laughs,
especially the Son of God who isn’t wearing underpants.

Poem taken from The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano

The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano | click the image if you are interested in buying this book...

The Hollywood Catechism

© Copyright 2015, Paul Fericano Published by Silver Birch Press ISBN-13: 978-0692384459 ISBN-to: 0692384456 FIRST EDITION: April 2015 EMAIL: WEB: BLOG: – MAILING ADDRESS: Silver Birch Press P.O. Box 29458 Los Angeles, CA 90029. COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Burt Lancaster, Elmer Gantry (United Artists, 1960). (Publisher’s collection)


The author gratefully acknowledges the following publications where some of the poems in this book appeared in full or different form: MAGAZINES, BROADSHEETS, AND ONLINE JOURNALS: The Antarctic Review, A Room With A Pew, Askew, The Broadsider, The Bubble, Covered Wagon, The Cane Toad Times (Australia), Diario Catarinense (Brazil), The Dust Congress, El Espectador (Colombia), The Fault, Four By Two, Frankie, Haggard and Halloo, Heavy Bear, The Hil-ton Review, House Beautiful, Johnny Got His Gun, Le Fringe (Paris), Little City Review (Berlin), The Mas Tequila Review, Medusa’s Kitchen, Mine-strone, The Outlaw Poetry Network, The Oxford Journal of Poetry, The Parmesean Review, Planet Detroit, Poems For All, Poetry Now, Poets & Poetry (Rome), Porcelain Poem, Projector, The James Remar Review (Hong Kong), Silver Birch Press, Star West, Stone Turntable, The Straits Times (Singapore), Tape Cop, The West Australian (Perth), The Wormwood Review, Yellow Brick Road. ANTHOLOGIES: A Bird Black as the Sun (Green Poet Press, 2011) Bukowski: An Anthology of Poetry & Prose About Charles Bukowski (Silver Birch Press, 2013) But Buddy I’m a Kind of Poem: A Sinatra Anthology (Entasis Press, 2008) Corners of the Mouth: A Celebration of Thirty Years of the San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival (Deer Tree Press, 2014) Italo-American Poets, a Bilingual Anthology (Carello Editore, Italy, 1985) May Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press, 2014) Swallow Dance: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks (Silver Birch Press, 2014) Swift et Voltaire: Examen Comparatif (Editions de L’oreille, France, 1990) Tutti Stupi Frutti: La Poesia di Anti-Fascismo (Marco Citelli, Italy, 1978) AUTHOR COLLECTIONS Commercial Break (Poor Souls Press, 1982) Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets (Second Coming Press, 1977)

The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano | click the image if you are interested in buying this book...


“A poem is a dangerous weapon in this man’s hands.” The Journal of American Poetry

“Should work by Paul Fericano appear someday in The New Yorker or The Atlantic Monthly it would be a sign that a deal has been made to release the hostages.” The San Francisco Review of Books

“With his own original and distinct brand of humor, Fericano is in the big leagues with writers and satirists such as H. L Mencken, Lenny Bruce, Paul Krassner and Rita Mae Brown.” Gargoyle Magazine

“Fericano is that rare poet who tells the truth with a laugh.” The San Francisco Chronicle

“If a witness protection program for poets existed in this country Fericano would be in it.” Washington Post Book World

“Paul Fericano writes poems like a wanted man hiding out in the basement of Poetry magazine.” Chicago Sun-Times

“In the vast literary universe of sober careers and serious awards, it’s quite possible that Mssr. Fericano is the “Weird Al” Yankovic of modern poetry.” Litterature Nouvelles (France)

“One of America’s best poets.” Ludd’s Mill (England)

The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano | click the image if you are interested in buying this book...


The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano | click the image if you are interested in buying this book...

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3 Replies to “The Hollywood Catechism by Paul Fericano”

  1. Very cool. Layers and layers of meaning in many Fericano poems. This one is no exception. When it comes to the modern stuff it doesn’t get any smarter than this.

  2. Bravo! A terrific satire about the allure of pop culture, literary greatness and Jesus Christ. I’ve been familiar with Paul Fericano’s poetry for years and this newest collection is an important addition to the American poetry scene.

  3. I read the entire poetic filmography of Paul Fericano’s selective reasoning in The Hollywood Catechism and heard a voice nuanced and clever, yet never mean. There is sweet redemption between the lines of “Howl of Lon Chaney” and the angel of the lord abiding in “Joe DiMaggio Explains Where He Has Gone.” The Hollywood Catechism is a divine decree, an epistle to an industry that occupies America’s soul, a righteous revelation of the Hollywood condition.

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