Sidekick Seeks Second Banana

You: the nerdy girl in glasses,
who gets all the good punch lines
while your best friend gets the guy.

Me: the fat guy best friend
to the guy who gets the girl.

Tired of being a supporting character?
I know I am.

Let’s reframe this film and get marquee billing.
We’ll meet cute in the lobby,
catch a case of mistaken identities,
chase each other down in airports
and have our first kiss during the slow
fade out
to the credit scroll.

We can fuck on the cutting room floor,
break up during the blooper reels
and make-up just in time for the sequel.
We’ll get engaged on the red carpet,
dipping our ring fingers in fresh cement
outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Our wedding registry will ask for two thumbs up,
four stars, a buyer’s frenzy at Sundance
and a Palme D’Or.
Years later an anthology of our sex tapes will become a part of
The Criterion Collection.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Send me your trailer and I’ll send you mine;
We can talk release dates from there.


Smoking Is Sexy When French People Do It

You used to kiss me
the same way cigarettes kissed
Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Your lips would hang off
the edge of my mouth
like fingers clinging
to the lip of a cliff.

Only a millimeter of connection
between us and the void—
I loved watching you hang in that space,
seeing how long you could hold on
before gravity turned you into
a third wheel.

The first time we watched Breathless,
you laughed everytime Jean-Paul light up.
“How does he do it? Is there glue on the tip?
How does he keep the cigarette from falling out
of his mouth? What’s his secret?”

If I knew that,
you’d still be just
a breath away from me.


That Time Sweet Baby James Called Warren Oates A Motherfucker

The best song James Taylor ever sang
was the motherfucker that tumbled out of his mouth
when he waved his dick
right in Warren Oates’ face
in Two-Lane Blacktop.

I never could stand his music—
Limpid, lithium ballads.
The James Taylor in Blacktop would
never sing “You got a friend.”
His only friend is the road.
Who needs money, camaraderie, pussy,
Sweet Baby James’ dead eyes sneer,
when you’ve got miles of virgin blacktop
begging for it?

Warren Oates
will never understand that he’s trying
to swim in a river
made for cold fish.
Oates is hot to win, hot to impress,
hot to shake Time off his trail—
The only thing Taylor wants
is to be a cold piece of metal
that keeps his primer grey ‘55 Chevy
in perpetual motion.

James Taylor didn’t act in many movies
after Two-Lane Blacktop.
It’s a shame.
He packed a whole lifetime into that one


Ashley Naftule is a writer & theater artist from Phoenix, AZ. He’s been published in Pitchfork, Vice, Ghost City Press, Bandcamp, Cleveland Review of Books, Occulum, The Hard Times, Amethyst Review, Four Chambers Press, Rinky Dink Press, The Outline, Hypnopomp, The Molotov Cocktail, SYFY Wire, and Ellipsis. He’s a resident playwright and Associate Artistic Director at Space55 theatre in downtown Phoenix. Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without A Face” is his go-to karaoke jam and Chico & Karl are his favorite Marx brothers.