Merging elements of Frank Sinatra’s public persona with Biblical and mythological representations of divinity, the poems in this collection weave a complex and engaging gospel narrating the life of an American icon. With wit and power, this sequence uses (and misuses) styles and forms from Greek mythology, the eighth-century Irish epic Tain Bo Cuailnge, the Welsh medieval tales of The Mabinogi, and the Old and New Testaments to construct a fresh portrait of The Chairman and the cosmos he still occupies. Renowned Sinatra scholar Gilbert Gigliotti, author of A Storied Singer: Frank Sinatra as Literary Conceit, provides the insightful foreword to the expanded edition of this poetry collection, published originally by New American Press in 2002.
“XI. THE HEAVENS”
All the moths of Nevada seek out
these infamous lights, immolating themselves
in countless sparks on the ”S” and the ”d”
of the Sands Hotel.
With all the shuffling, rolling, clanking
money machines, the infinite décolletage
and spinning ice cubes, the smoke
and the mirrors, no one sees
this dusty descent of bodies and wings,
antennae and legs, the steady yearning,
the tiny deaths that don‘t stop.
No one sees, that is, but Frank,
staring up from the balcony of his three-bedroom,
second-floor suite, cigarette poised between fingers,
a Jack Daniels on the rocks with a twist
and a swizzle at the ready.
Where do they come from? he asks,
as if a flunky with an answer was waiting.
Why, he wants to know, don’t they stop?
Frank leans further out and squints.
But no stars dot this desert sky. No meteors
beginning somewhere, ending elsewhere.
No revelations beyond what revolving numbers can tell.
Here, the earth casts its brilliant shadow
over all the heavens, everywhere and forever.
Frank shrugs his shoulders,
checks his watch, tightens the knot
of his tie, flicks a half-inch of ash
over the railing for the desert breeze to dissect.
Downstairs, the Copa waits.
PRAISE FOR DAVID LLOYD
“The figure of Frank Sinatra is a myth that draws other myths to it. David Lloyd has capitalized upon this fact and found analogies from ancient legend that help to visualize the glamour that surrounds the man. Employing parable, proverb, psalm, and tall tale, The Gospel According to Frank places the singer in a more universal context than even Sinatra might have imagined. Daring, enjoyable, wryly ironic.”
— FRED CHAPPELL
winner of the Bollingen Prize
and former North Carolina Poet Laureate
“Lloyd’s deft coupling of the Hollywood biopic and the traditional epic, of Louella Parsons and Cuchulain, of Marilyn Monroe and the Belle of Amherst, of the profane and the sacred, captures in a wonderfully trenchant but affecting way those aspects of the man/meaning dichotomy that informed my work…and the work of many other Sinatra scholars and creative artists ever since.”
— from the foreword by GILBERT GIGLIOTTI
author of A Storied Singer: Frank Sinatra as Literary Conceit