after “Scarface”

Wakes up in the middle of the street
every evening at sunset, pinstripes crusted black
with dried blood. The last thing he remembers
is the slap of the water as he fell into the fountain.

Always charges the same route up the block.
Past the working girls skinny enough to be his sister
who all act like they don’t see him.
Makes it to the intersection to turn left

on 123rd street. As he steps his guts churn out
a white shock so hard and fast it drops him to his knees
to throw up a pile of hot ash. After testing two other corners
Tony has to lay on the side walk ‘til his legs stop their jelly wobble.

Crawls to the curb and sees a cornerboy with an oddly familiar portrait
embroidered over a leather jacketed heart. Tony calls to him with a howl
soft as free base wind. It whistles up from his punctured lungs
and out the holes in his bullet riddled limbs.

The boy chalks up the noise to an unfelt breeze.
It takes longer to forget about the shiver up his spine.
Tony always gets the same kind of furious
as he realizes what must be happening.

When he finally gets to his feet he catches his reflection
in the tinted window of a Porsche that looks a lot like one
he used to own. As the beads of sweat collect and run an oil slick
of filth down his face he tries to recall the smell of the store

where he bought that white suit. How the knot of hundreds in his pocket
felt like it added three inches to his dick. His scar begins to give
a wet and constant itch. An iron rake of exhaustion runs across his bones.
He stumbles through the wall of a project building. Finds sanctuary

in an apartment that smells like his mother’s. Lays down
on the old woman’s couch. Watches her hide twenty dollars
between the pages of the family bible. Her son steals it
the moment she goes into the bathroom and leaves

the front door wide open. With his last grind of strength Tony closes it,
turns the lock, and for a moment is on a beach. Too young to know
how poor he is. As the blue on blue water touches his toes
he wakes back up in the middle of the street.

NOTE:  For his self-interview, Geoff Kagan Trenchard asked his friend and fellow louderARTs’ fellow, Jon Sands, to chat it up with him.

Alrighty dighty. Geoff Kagan Trenchard live in full effect. Word. By the way, am I playing the part of you interviewing yourself?

Not necessarily. You can play the part of you. They just want an interview.

Word to the bird. Alright Mr. Geoff, “The Ghost of Tony Montana” is not your only poem that places classic movie characters into real-life environments. When you initially spark on one of these poems, which potential for discovery do you find draws you in first, that of the environment or the character?

The characters’ relation to the world outside of the original context. I think movie characters function as a kind of modern mythology. Tony definitely falls into this category.

So, do you find yourself learning more about Tony Montana, or about modern mythology in general when you take him out of the environment he was written into?

I’m trying to use the poem as a kind of midrash—something that uses a very recognizable character to make a philosophical statement. “The Ghost of Tony Montana” was inspired by how lionized Tony has become. Not only with young men who consider themselves part of the drug industry, but all young men who what the money to get the power to get the women (that is to say, most all of them). By putting Tony in a burned-out crack block, I tried to give his character a consequence that he doesn’t really have in the movie. While he does feel remorse for killing Manny, the blaze of glory gun battle doesn’t serve as much of comeuppance. In “The Ghost of Tony Montana” I wanted to make a kind of hell for Tony where not only did he have to see the devastation of the coke boom he was a part of, but also make him powerless to stop it. I think if we just do one more question it will be good to go.

Word. Cause I got a whole gang a shit. I’m going to ask three questions and you can pick the one you like the best to answer.


1) Which do you feel wields more influence in our world, Tony Montana or Martin Luther King Blvd? 2) Sticking with the ghost theme, if you were an invisible spirit traveling back to haunt the Geoff Trenchard who was writing his first poems, what would trouble you most about watching him? 3) Geoff, be real with me. Are you Tony Montana?  (a joke… but serious)

1) The proliferation of Tony Montana swag on most of the MLK boulevards makes them kinda like ammonia and bleach. Both intense in their own rights, and capable of making mustard gas when together.

2) Ghost Geoff would be most troubled by the massive pile of notes past Geoff accumulated that present Geoff just reviewed and threw out recently. Ghost Geoff would be most worried about how much past Geoff treated good ideas with a starvation mentality.

3) While I am not Tony Montana, I definitely see the appeal. In Trainspotting, at one point Renton ruminates on how easy it is to be a junkie. Your whole life revolves around one purpose. I think that’s some of the attraction to characters like Tony (or his wasp counterpart in the Oliver Stone mega-verse, Gordon Gekko). To be just a pure capitalist demon of consumption removes the need to worry about all kinds of ambiguity, both internally and externally.