Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Diner

Edward Hopper’s Nighthawk

Gottfried Helnwein
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Alone he walks

Down the empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
He walks a lonely road
When the city sleeps.

Silence shouts in the shadows
A diner on Murly Square

Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
Hidden among the sleeping streets
Disillusionment echoes

Darkness skitters, dancing with light
A solitary man, a felt fedora
Counterman, bent, washing cups
A man - a woman, a silent fight

Like Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer
Wearing his trademark fedora,
Lingering over a cup of joe
Vigilant, he waits - his normal manner

In my fantasy, the detective remains
Stacy Keach tipping his fedora

Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
Opening the box Pandora
I hear his voice over, speaking the refrain

Lyrics by Green Day -

“I walk a lonely road,
I walk the empty street,
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
When the city sleeps
I’m the only one, and I walk alone”
Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
The credits roll - the image of the diner fades
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Research Notes

  • Edward Hopper painted Nighthawks in 1942
  • Gottfried Helwein painted Boulevard of Broken Dreams replacing Hopper's characters with pop culture icons (1984)
  • Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer detective novels were printed in 1947 first movie 1953
  • Stacey Keach is a classically trained actor who played Mike Hammer on the TV series.
  • Green Day is a punk rock group that recorded "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (Who nicked the title from a James Dean Poster - Helwein's painting)

Links for further discovery


  1. Hard to believe, Ruth, but I just wrote a poem from one of Hopper's paintings also.  What serendipity.  I will post it tomorrow or later in the week.  I love this mystery that you included in the poem-"darkness skitters, dancing with light...a man, a woman; a silent fight."  Beautifully done.  His paintings are evocative & I always want to know the story.  I didn't know the further story that you added.  Thanks for that too.  Wow-others are interested in this artist too!

  2. I've always liked the Hopper painting.  Film noir is one of my favorite genres of movies.


    Places I Remember

    Wrote By Rote

    An A to Z Co-host blog

  3. Ruth Ferris/StorykeeperApril 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    I think this is one of my favorite paintings.  He is such a master blending the light and shadow.

  4. Ruth Ferris/StorykeeperApril 4, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      I look forward to reading your poem.  I love the back stories.  They bring a richness and further understanding.  I found a new word that fits here "disambiguation" removes obstacles to understanding.  

  5. Wow, thanks for the word! Very cool!


Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment.