The Third Man

1949, Vienna,                                    They take footage
Carol Reed and Graham Greene                     of the mist and fog some days
come from England                                for atmosphere

The end of the war                               The actors stand in overcoats
still goes on in the city                        later ending the film
crumble and ruin                                 a last evening

The hotel tablecloths dust                       Harry is dead again
and cloud afternoons                             like he was supposed to be
working on the script                            not hiding in secret

The enormous wheel Reed finds                    like end of the year coming
in the Praterstrasse                             like the dimmed streetlights'
is written in                                    dull globes

The steps beneath the streets
planned to ring and die away
the cat ready in a box

Trevor Howard jokes
about the cobblestones
the wet dowdy

end-of-the-decade feeling
he says clings to things
like the weather

The actors sip coffee
in a cafe they shoot in
"Four Ladies"

Orson Welles
sits with Joseph Cotton
sorting out

the next days
in the few pages
they leaf over

Shooting goes late each day
till the first moisture
rusts up from the streets

Dennis Saleh