Nick Flynn Reads “Embrace Noir”

nick-flynnNick Flynn — memoirist of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City — gave us this reading of one of his own poems: “Embrace Noir.” It’s a bonus on his appearance on our show about Boston Noir last week. Kunal Jasty mixed his reading with the John Coltrane classic, “A Love Supreme.” Have a listen, and have a noir week….



I go back to the scene where the two men embrace
& grapple a handgun at stomach level between them.

They jerk around the apartment like that
holding on to each other, their cheeks

almost touching. One is shirtless, the other
wears a suit, the one in the suit came in through a window

to steal documents or diamonds, it doesn’t matter anymore
which, what’s important is he was found

& someone pulled a gun & now they are holding on,
awkwardly dancing through the room, upending

a table of small framed photographs. A chair
topples, Coltrane’s band punches the air with horns, I

lean forward, into the screen, they are eye-to-eye,
as stiff as my brother & me when we attempt

to hug. Soon, the gun fires & the music
quiets & the camera stops tracking & they

relax—shoulders drop, jaws go slack
& we are all suspended in that perfect moment

when no one knows who took the bullet—
the earth spins below our feet, a murmuration of

starlings changes direction suddenly above us, folding
into the rafters of a barn,

& the two men no longer struggle, they simply
stand in their wreckage, propped

in each other’s arms.


2 thoughts on “Nick Flynn Reads “Embrace Noir”

  1. This is beautiful! The Coltrane music fits perfectly in my (untrained) opinion. I’d love to hear more poetry put to music in the future.

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