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The Red Mile

Updated on April 14, 2019

Sometimes, I dust off an old poem, lost over several years and no longer featured on the Hub. This is one of those rare occasions.

The Oscars
The Oscars

Having once worked in the entertainment industry in LA, people sometimes ask me what Hollywood is really like. Actually, there is no “Hollywood,” as such, anymore. Although the major studio system of The Golden Age died out many years ago, the pressures and risks inherent in this business still thrive.

The Oscar is a statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film, gripping a crusader’s sword. But "all that glitters is not gold” for it takes more than talent to walk the red carpet amidst screaming fans and camera flares. Those who pursue acting to claim the prize often fail, while others -- truly gifted and deserving of the crown -- may sadly and tragically lose their way...

Each day they rush the kingdom gates

To joust their way to fame

And walk the mile of crimson tears

Their childhood sought to claim;

The promised land that calls the knight

To streets of glittered stone

Forsakes the dream in shadowed maze

To find its way alone;

The dragon lairs that guard the mile

Have warned in tales unsung

Of knights who fell as moths in flame

To fires that lure the young;

If shielded well the marksmen charge

To strike with ready lance

And cast their mark through endless suns

To pierce the veil of chance;

While golden knights that grace the mile

Entice of princely things,

The lightning storms and fevered cries

Decide the fate of kings.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
River Phoenix
River Phoenix
Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Written and copyrighted by Genna Eastman; all rights reserved.


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    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      10 days ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Ann. I couldn't agree more. And you are so right about Doris sad to lose one so gracious and with such a positive outlook. She led an extraordinary life. Thank you.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      10 days ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Patricia. Thank you for the visit...and the angels. What a lovely comment! :-)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      10 days ago from SW England

      A poignant and powerful poem, Genna. Fame and fortune really aren't all they're cracked up to be, unless you're wise and careful. We lost one of the best of that Hollywood era in Doris Day; now SHE knew what she was doing and kept her character and integrity in tact.

      Enjoyed this immensely; you got the message across perfectly.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      13 days ago from sunny Florida

      Behind the smiles of those who walk that mile must be untold stories---you have captured the moment well I think---in my limited experience having only viewed the goings on through a screen. Never disappointed when I visit here Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      2 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi everyone. My sincere apologies in being late but work has been stretching out to six days a week, easily. (Sheesh!)

      Mike, I couldn't agree more. Well said. And that is a stunning quote from Lee. I will remember that, my friend. Thank you. Happy Sunday. :-)

      Nell, I imagine you were superb on the stage. There is always time to go on TV for your book and articles -- whenever you feel it is right. Thanks so much for the visit and comments.

      Mark, I began watching GoT about three years ago, and am now an unabashed addict. Unusual for me, since I don't watch much television. I didn't think I would like it until a friend advised otherwise. (I've never read Martin's books.) "You'll like it, Genna -- it's a multi-layered, complex storyline." He was right. And I love surprises in writing which GoT has presented us with more than once. Thank you for that thoughtful comment.

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      3 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Beautiful poem. Can’t help thinking of the Game of Thrones. Perhaps, instead, The Game of Oscars.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      I have always wanted to act, but not have the fame, lol! I have done stage plays, and in fact, asked to go on tv quite a few times for my articles and a book. Never went, in fact, nobody wanted to go with me!

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - Happy Easter. The two of them, with the South as a backdrop, children destined for literary fame, observing the grown up world, and building trust and offering creative support to each other is the essence of a good story.

      A few years ago there was a story where 'To Kill a Mockingbird' could not find a publisher. Harper Lee's comment was, 'Ah, the end of the wine." That stuck with me, and revealed part of her life's philosophy.

      There are armies of people who think there is value in the fast buck.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mike. Happy Easter.

      It's hard to imagine the two of them (Truman and Nelle) as kids, sitting in front of houses or on dusty porches, creating fictional accounts of the people who lived inside, while typing up endless stories on an antique Underwood. But they did.

      I wonder if 'To Kill A Mockingbird' would have been written had it not been for the years-long friendship and encouragement of "Dill". Or if 'In Cold Blood' would have reached the publishers if it weren't for the exhaustive research and interviews in Holcomb, Kansas conducted by "Scout." They understood each other well. But they handled their fame very differently.

      As for Lee (one of my favorite writers) and her '2nd book,' I suspect she may have been victim of what happens when the vultures take wing -- those "protective" individuals who take control of the wealthy and/or famous who are not as keen, mentally, and their earthly lives are coming to a close.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - That Harper Lee and Truman Capote knew each other as children, always amazed me. It is one of those 'mysterious ways' we hear so much about. His 'Grass Harp' is every bit as descriptive as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (I have yet to read her 'second' book.)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      5 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      (Mike, I forgot to add that one of the elements of the film 'Capote' (a rather elegant writer of clarity) I found fascinating was his relationship with Nelle Harper Lee.)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      5 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Verlie...

      Thanks so much for the visit and kind words. "Chance" (luck?) plays a substantial role in this business -- I think it does in all art forms to a certain degree. So I had to somehow fit that word into the poem. And I've always thought the knight and sword caricature of Oscar was rather fitting. Happy Easter and happy Spring. :-)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      5 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Peg & Mike....

      Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a favorite of mine as well; his untimely passing was tragic. A remarkable character actor -- even in a couple of his smaller roles -- he just seemed to pull you into the screen. His performance in 'Capote' was supernatural. Thanks so much for the comments, and the heads-up on 'Almost Famous,' I will definitely watch this film. Happy Easter. :-)

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 weeks ago from Canada

      Genna, it's great to read your poetry. The rhyming couplets give lots of energy to this passionate (and tragic) write of those who strive "to pierce the veil of chance" (love that line). Enjoyed how you reveal the true form and meaning of 'Oscar' something I never realized, even though I've watched the academy awards a gazillion times over the years. Good eye Poet.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Peg - 'Almost Famous,' is a movie I have watched several times. It reminds me of my youth, without all that fame stuff getting in the way. Genna, I think you would also enjoy it. It is light and breezy.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 weeks ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Genna, I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman, too. My favorite of his roles was in "Almost Famous," another movie I've enjoyed watching many times. I'll have to check out "Brokeback Mountain" as I've never seen it through completely.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Tim - thank you. And the irony of it all is that the fevered cries and lightning storms (the screaming fans and camera flares), decide the fate of kings. I appreciate your kind words and for taking the time to read my little poem. Elton's beautiful song deserves so much credit; it's one of his best. I hope you are enjoying your week.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Dianna... What a generous comment, thank you! I'm pleased you enjoyed the poem and the symbolism.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      6 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Superb poem about those who sought that elusive trophy, fame. Yes, they walk the crimson mile and pave it with blood, sweat, tears and bountiful heartaches. Your poem captures this reality skillfully. By the way, Elton John is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and that song was a nice touch to your article.

      Thanks for sharing. Respectfully, Tim

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Peg. It's good to see you. I first wrote The Red Mile after we lost Heath Ledger, and cried upon hearing the news of this death. I don't watch many films anymore, but 'Brokeback Mountain' literally me stunned me with its artistry. Heath's performance moved me to tears. I'll never forget it. Based on your recommendation, I will make a point of finding and watching 'Knights Tale' -- thanks so much for the visit and thoughtful comment.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Perspycacious, thank you. I couldn't agree more. We all believe in imagination and the creative genius -- we wouldn't be here if we thought otherwise. After all, film begins with the writer. :-)

      There are some good people in the entertainment business; I was lucky as I worked for a couple of them who owned a pre-production firm; they very well known and respected throughout the industry. (Film has three phases: Pre-production; production and post.) But for every good guy, there was a Harvey Weinstein waiting on every corner. And the users and the takers. My goodness, look at what Hollywood did to F. Scott Fitzgerald (Zelda didn't help, of course).

      Bill Holland was right in that this can apply to writers or anyone in the arts. We have to first take care of our inner demons before dealing with the ones waiting on The Mile.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 weeks ago

      What an exciting poem! I put this right up there with the adventures of Sir Lancelot and King Arthur.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 weeks ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I love this tribute to those who seek eternal fame on the silver screen along with those whose arts and talents are deserving of the coveted Oscar.

      Heath Ledger was among my favorite actors whose character delights us again and again. We love "Knight's Tale" as we re-watch that movie often. That is (or will be) a cult classic. River Phoenix was another whose life was cut short.

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      Well worth this re-release. Without dreams of greatness we would have missed out on some stellar performers. That some dreams exile to other realms, and some end in dissolute lives and heartache is known, and as it should be. but I still believe in the saying that goes "What ma can imagine, he can do." After all, imagination is part of filmdom's creative genius.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Doris. It's kismet that you mention James Dean because that is exactly who I also had in mind to include with the photos of these wonderful talents whose lives were tragically lost. But HP has begun to "snip" photos ("snip" is such a charitable word they use to describe hacking away at someone else's ideas and work without so much as a by-your-leave, isn't it?) if too many are presented in a shorter hub. :-)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      6 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      So well spoken in rhyme. So glad you republished this one since I missed it the first time around. Your photos of those talents gone too soon are sad reminders. One is missing: James Dean.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Ruby :-) Marilyn was a natural beauty. I was surprised to learn that she had a little cosmetic surgery on her nose and chin; she certainly didn't need. It always saddens me to think about how she was exploited and misunderstood. She was indeed a "candle in the wind." Thank you for that lovely comment. Hugs, my friend.


      Hi Bob. The moth and flame are popular images. I first wrote The Red Mile on Hubpages about eight years ago. (My goodness - I have been here that long. But it's been a journey and experience I wouldn't have missed for the world.) Thus, the "dusting off." And I have not published an anthology of poems. Thank you for the visit. :-)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA


      It certainly does. It takes more than talent; it takes discipline, focus, determination and more. And the road is never easy. Hope you are enjoying your week. Thanks so much for the visit and comments.


      You said it well. Sacrifice solely for fame is almost always a heartbreaking endeavor, and the costs are never worth it in the end. Good to see you.

      Hi Pamela...thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the poem. This one wasn't easy to write.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Hi John. Thanks so much for those encouraging words. I love to rhyme, but it's not always easy, to say the least; the rhythm is always some form of music in my head, if that makes any sense. :-)


      Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.


      Hello Mike. Thanks so much for the heartening and generous comment; it means a lot to me, my friend. :-)


      So true! And the entertainment film industry is a combination of just about everyone in the arts. The stories I could tell about Tinseltown... I only spent two years in that business -- and that was enough. Thank you for the read and kind comment

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      Had to read your poem several times and will read it some more.

      I have used the "moth and flame" imagery, too.

      Have you published an anthology?


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I have been here for awhile, listening to the beautiful video. Marilyn was so beautiful as a brunette. What a shame, she lost her way when she had it all. Now your poetry, beautiful and so tragic, yet so true. You have the gift of rhyme and the words instill a desire for more. This is a treasure my friend. Hugs.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I really liked this poem that says so much. I am sure the road to fame must be very tough sometmes. Great article Genna.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 weeks ago from USA

      Beautifully rendered, Genna. So many have sacrificed their childhood, privacy and health for the chance to become famous for their talents. It does make you question the allure.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Thanks for the perspective, Genna. Fame, fortune, and the hard road that leads to it is often more than a human can endure.

      I'm glad you dusted this one off. Very thought provoking.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The same could be said about writers, or anyone in the Arts. Loved this poem,Genna! So many truths about life in this. Well done!

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - Your writing shimmers as brightly as the golden Oscar statue award presented for excellence. This piece of writing tells the Hollywood story with keen insight. There is an allure to Hollywood that is tough to resist and heartbreak. Great to have you publish, this is a gem and so glad you brought it out of the treasure chest.

    • charity mtisi profile image

      charity mtisi 

      6 weeks ago from Johannesburg

      Great poem, thank you, enjoyed reading it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      What a wonderful poem that captures the essence of "Hollywood" or the Oscars. I truly loved everything about this, Genna. The flow and rhyme scheme were a delight. Thank you.


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