Golden Days and Donkey D**k

Poetry Month has ended and I have to say I enjoyed the challenge of producing a new piece a day and posting it for the world to see. I found myself writing in the street, stopping on my walks to jot down an image ‘hung like a hunch that paid off’ and finding the right place for it in one of the Charlie Petch’s great Go Viral prompts. So I have 35 new pieces to polish & eventually perform. Some of which I have posted here on WP. It was also great to dip into my vast collection of pics to stick to the pieces as they got posted.

product placement?

A couple of the prompts took me into my past. As a result of ‘critic’ I dug out a batch of my old painting & posted them for the world to see. As a result of ‘golden’ I was nudged back to Mario Lanza:

Golden Days

before the Beatles held my hand

or Led Zeppelin shook me

Golden Days transported me

my mother was a Mario Lanza fan

Golden Days would transport her


when I finally saw/heard it

in the film Student Prince

it was his voice but not his body

not that he had such a bad body

a solid sexy Italian man

dark and real

on his way to being an operatic Elvis


but by the time of The Student Prince

he was considered too fat

couldn’t lose the weight

and attempts to make him perfect

killed him

leaving us his perfect voice

and sparing us the insult of

his pudgy imperfect sweet Italian body


‘Golden days, full of gaiety and full of truth’

the first song I remember that mentioned gay

though it didn’t mean it in the sense I knew it

but as much as those sweaty half-naked oars men

in sword and toga movies made me queer

so did Mario’s voice

us kids would sing along with him

but the words never filled our mouths

the way they spilled out of his


years later I read in a biography

he was a womanizer with a donkey dick

that Katherine Grayson called him a pig

I laughed and gave the biography to my mother

she wasn’t happy to have his perfect voice

pitched to this disharmonious tune


‘Looking back through memory’s eyes’

I’m sorry I did that to her

but today when I hear his voice

I get lulled back to

‘Golden days, in the sunshine of a happy youth’

Layers of memory came into play as I wrote this – those of me being a kid, along with my brother & sisters singing along to Drink Drink Drink on Sunday mornings as my Dad made pancakes. Seems that soundtrack was big in a lot of families. I knew it pretty well so when I finally saw The Student Prince I was shocked that it was Edmund Purdom (hey, that’s a right sexy name) lip syncing the songs. I recall a photo of Mario on the beach with his wife – I don’t think his package was well displayed but his hairy chest was fine. Needless to say I do enjoy the look of hunky Italian men.

diamond dizzy

His film career made me aware of how media creates & tries to control packages – Judy Garland & Monroe – to name two, were chewed up and damaged beyond repair by that system – even men, like Mario, got caught in the tyranny of the body. He spent as much time losing weight to please the studios as he did making films. Things haven’t changed – can you imagine Frank Black as Batman or Melissa McCarthy as Wonder Woman (I could, but that’s never going to happen.) Would Shia LeBeouf even have a film career without his abs?

In recent years, thanks to TCM,  I’ve seen many of Mario’s films – great singing, good songs & he has a real screen presence, that often transcended the formulaic crap he was given. I recently bought a DVD of The Student Prince. In some ways it like seeing it for the first time, in color, as my other viewings were in the days of b/w TV. Purdom is bland, generic good-looking. But seeing Ann Blyth was distracting – odd how memory changes every role an actor ever plays – I’m so familiar with her as Veda in Mildred Pierce, I found her sweetness hard to believe & anticipated a false pregnancy.

build like a brick wall

I inherited my mother’s Lanza records & have converted them to mp3’s. (2019 note: all replaced with fresh mp3). He was a packaged product of the times, treated in some way like an operatic Sinatra – passable arrangements, lots of big notes. All easy listening but nevertheless, Golden Days still transports me.

Loyalist calls to me
Loyalist calls to me
wall of the hand

2 thoughts on “Golden Days and Donkey D**k

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