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The Red Mile ... A Poem

Updated on February 10, 2016
The design of the Oscar statuette was based on the figure of a knight, grasping a crusader's sword.
The design of the Oscar statuette was based on the figure of a knight, grasping a crusader's sword.

Having worked in the entertainment industry in LA, people sometimes ask me what Hollywood is really like. Actually, there is no “Hollywood,” as such, anymore.

“All that glitters is not gold,” for it takes more than talent and luck. Those who pursue acting to claim the prize often fail, while others who are truly gifted and deserve 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 that 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

River Phoenix

Heath Ledger



Elton John's 'Candle in the Wind'

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    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 17 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      The old studio system is all but defunct, yet "Hollywood" is still the name for the center of the industry. Thankfully, Independents have flourished. The production phase (as opposed to pre and post production) often takes place in Canada or other places since it's become so expensive to shoot in CA or the US. When you see the opening credits of a film, a few production companies may be displayed, "in association with," etc. They are usually the money in addition to production values. Executive producers essentially serve one to three roles; one of which is also "the money."

      I remember that entire scripts used to be bandied about like Frisbees by those who didn't understand how to submit a screenplay. I think you would create a terrific script, Nadine. Where you want to sell it may require some research. Initially, you always submit the pitch of the screenplay or treatment that serves as "the hook." Submitting a compelling synopsis of the project is not unlike submitting a book for publication. By the way, "The Martian" began as an eBook.

      Always copyright and protect your work, and keep drafts of everything you write. Someone stole my work years ago. Luckily, he was in the US; my attorney sued him, and I was compensated for the theft. Still, it left me paranoid about thievery, which abounds and appears to be getting worse.

      Anyway, good luck! :-)

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 17 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      You do have a way with words. Yes in SA Hollywood is still seen as the place where all the famous actors live and work. In Cape Town there is a growing film industry and many people hope to get called up to be an extra in one of the movies or an advertising shoot that is planned. I know of three people who have been in famous movies as an extra. Even around where we live a whole movie circus was parked. They blocked all the traffic with their huge vans.

      I still have this long term goal to one day learn how to write a movie script. but if I ever get there?

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 18 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill and Audrey. Oscar season reminds me of this poem; and what the entertainment industry is truly like. The red carpet walk is one that many actors seek. Sadly, there can be a dear price for this that hides beyond the cries of fans and the camera flashes that generate the lightning storms. Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you are enjoying the spring.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 19 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      What a glorious poem! I'm impressed beyond words. And the photos of our favorite 'stars' are a perfect addition to your message. I'll share this Genna and thanks so much!


    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 19 months ago from Cape Cod

      Glad to hear that you have almost more work than you can handle - but I hope you get a break as soon as the weather gets a little nicer. I agree completely with your film and Oscar analysis and I too am glad that Leo won.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 19 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill and Cris, I'm so sorry I missed your comments. I've been working pretty hard lately and had to take a sabbatical from HP. Thanks so much for your kind words. I wholeheartedly agree, Bill, about Spotlight; it deserved the prize. I didn't see the BS, having had about as much as I can take about the 2008 meltdown that a number of individuals in the financial services knew darn well was coming. I tried watching it, but found it sophomoric; I thought Margin Call was far superior. I don't see too many movies these days, but am also pleased that Leo won for Rev.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 20 months ago from Cape Cod

      I missed this fine work the first time around. Thanks for updating it around Oscar time. Great work. Though I miss the back lots and the golden age of film, I still like movies. Spotlight was great and deserving of winning. I hated the Big Short. I never thought I'd say that about any work with Christian Bale in it, but it just failed (for me) on all counts.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 20 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Damn straight- "All that glitters is not Gold"! Glad I am personally not that crazy about Hollywood stuff and such. But, I'm glad Leonardo finally made it this year. :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very true, Rajan. It takes far more than talent, which is not enough. Good to see you.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      So true Genna. For each one who make it out there, there must be several hundreds who do not. Truly no one really knows what it takes to click.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Pamela, for that special comment. This is one of the nicest compliments I have received. Blessings. :-)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      This poem is awesome. You expressed the reality of those stiving for fame, money or power very well. I always watch those that walk on the red carpet of fame, but the pictures you showed at the end of the hub shows the sad ending for some of those stars. Fame and money do not buy happiness, and we see that in your poem also. Very well done!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Peg. Thank you for that gracious comment…I appreciate those kind words.

      I agree. There is always a deep sense of loss when we lose such young, extraordinarily gifted and inspiring actors in some way to ‘the dragon.’ The great, selfless and enormously talented Daniel Day Lewis said it best when accepting the SAG award for best actor (‘There Will Be Blood’). He dedicated his award to Heath Ledger, and praised his work in 'Monster's Ball' and 'Brokeback Mountain.' “It’s always been the work of other actors who have given me a sense of regeneration,” he said. “Heath Ledger gave it to me.”

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Genna, This is a true Award Winning poem with such vivid imagery and onward cadence that it creates a clear picture of those who have lost the battle Hollywood rages. Heath Ledger and River Phoenix - what talented and handsome young men to have succumbed. And of course, the gorgeous MM - what a shame. So many others as well.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Thank you! I worked for a producer who once told me that, "Los Angeles is a town that eats its young" -- referring, of course to the entertainment industry. I never forgot it, and from what I observed, he was, sadly, quite right.


      Hi Mike...thank you for finding your way back. It's always such a pleasure to see you.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      My path led back to this poem. Shared and tweeted.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wow! I know we all keep saying this, but it is my first reaction after reading this. So well written. "Hollywood" so to speak is really such a gamble and it can reward or destroy. The three photos after the poem are chilling reminders of how ephemeral fame and fortune are in that city. You express it so well in your poem. Well done!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Denise. I like to write in rhyme, but do not have the opportunity to do this it's always good to hear such kind and lovely comments. :-)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! This is awesome, Genna-goosebump material. I appreciate the depth and truth of this poem, well done. UP/A and sharing. :)

      Love your photo by the way. :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you! I so appreciate those kind words, JP.

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      An instant classic! Wonderfully written and very entertaining...

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Martie. I remember that young and aspiring actors and stars would arrive in LA every day on buses, seeking their fame and fortune. A producer once told me that, “LA is a town that destroys its young.” One has to be very grounded in that business or they will lose their way. Very few “make it.” Good to see you. :-)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      ".... To pierce the veil of chance...."

      So true! Only 10% of those with talent get the opportunity to develop their talent. Only 10% of those who had developed their talent get the opportunity to expose it to an audience. Only 10% of those exposing their talent achieve success. Only 10% of the achievers become famous....

      Voted up, beautiful and thought-provoking :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @dahoglund Yes, in a way it is. Good to see you.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Sort of like trying to be a writer.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Thank you, dear friend. Your words inspire this humble writer to visit HP as often as I can, if only to share with others such as yourself whom I admire and respect.

    • Erin LeFey profile image

      Erin LeFey 6 years ago from Maryland

      I love seeing places I've never been through your eyes...and this is one place you would never find me. Thanks so much for sharing your insight into the industry and the people, the real people behind the town. I don't know if I could handle being so close to a town where so many dreams are put to rest, molded, only slightly realized, rationalized then faded. The other side of the coin would be amazing, but you can't have one without the other can you? Genna, once again, your writing is one of touching brilliance as only you can do. Keep it up, there are so few with your amazing talent in so studied a structure yet so willing to break rules and deviate for the sake of an idea. Up and awesome, once again my friend.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Doug;

      Thanks so much for the positive comments. :)

      The reason I picked the medieval theme is because Oscar is a statuette of a knight carrying a sword/lance. You were very smart not to take the “Hollywood” scene seriously. I witnessed many who truly lost their way. I saw a number of actors who were praised to the skies one day, then completely ignored and dumped the next and they couldn’t handle it. I wasn’t a fan of that industry…too many people use and hurt others. I was lucky in that I worked as an executive for a producer who was kind of a father figure to me. He once said, “LA is a town that eats its young.” I saw the pitfalls early on, and my common sense and upbringing did the rest. If you keep your feet on the ground, you’re good to go…many don’t; they literally get off the bus and naively think that LA is their oyster. Doesn’t work that way.

      I can’t honestly say if I’ve read a lot of period pieces other than some of the masters years ago – and Shakespeare who was the genius of his century. I just put my mind into whatever societal structure I’m writing about, and let my imagination take over from there.

      Take care, and keep writing…you are very talented.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

      Interesting direction to take this one in -- the medieval theme. You write well in high language; must have done your share of reading period pieces.

      I, too, worked, lived and played in Hollywood -- for seven years actually. It was fun; sure gave me some writing material. Fortunately, I was brought up well enough that LA didn't completely consume me, the way it does so many others. You convey this harsh reality well.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Jim. You are one of my favorite writers, so that is quite a compliment. Take care!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Truly a beautiful poem. You will be missed on HubPages. We rarely see talent such as your gifts display.

    • profile image

      Jon79 6 years ago

      The lightening storms are the camera flashes and the fevered cries are the fans sitting in the stands alongside the red carpet. Great poem, Genna. Still sorry to see that you are leaving!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Fay Thank you! It's always good to see you here and I appreciate the good words. :)

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 6 years ago

      Genna, anything I say about your poetry just never seems to give adequate praise. You are the best!

      up/awesome and beautiful

    • profile image

      DanWW 6 years ago

      Brilliant. I am still an enthralled facebook fan, Genna!

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA


      The title of this poem instantly brought to mind the movie "The Green Mile", one of Hollywood's better creations. It quickly dawned on me that your Red Mile is carpeted, with the chance to walk it as different in desirability as it is in the spectrum.

      Your allusions to knights and dragons, glitter and gold enhance the image of pilgrims drawn to Camelot only to be disillusioned by the reality behind the facade.

      Reading your poems is such a pleasure.


    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Peggy, Micky, Katie, Doc and Larry

      Thank you for your wonderful comments and for taking the time to read this poem. Your support means a lot to me.

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Genna...Lyrical, lilting, and lovely...Voted up and beautiful...

      Hollywood...the ultimate meat market sacrificed on the casting couches by oblivious bean counters...That lance Oscar holds does more than pierce dreams...Larry

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Of knights that fell as moths in flame

      To fires that lure the young;

      They should engrave this on Hollywood hills! truth with such poignancy and beautiful words, Genna. Your poetry is inspiring.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      Now that's a beautiful word craft. Amazing, deep and honest poem which screams out the depths of desire and failure. Great indeed and thank you for sharing. I love those pink pumps, gotta have them! :) Katie

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Very nice Genna. I was away for a few days. Sometimes that "dark side" gets to me a little. I cringe at the thought of emails. That's why it's so wonderful- to have people like you in my corner. God bless you dear Genna!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      There is undoubtedly a lot of truth in your poem and it was worded exquisitely. Applause for Genna East!!!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @CalVera Hey Cal...good to see you again. Thanks for the nice comments. :)

      @Bella Hi there...glad you liked it...there is a lot of truth in this poem. :) Thank you.

    • bellawritter23 profile image

      Erica Sanchez 6 years ago from California

      This Genna was just very rich!! It carried strength and truth!! I think you did a fab job on this piece I call it my Favorit!!!

      smiles :)


    • profile image

      CalVera 6 years ago

      Terrific poem, Genna! You are an expert at this!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @saddlerider Thank you, Ken. It's a tough business and one I am happy to be out of. Always a plesure to see you here. :)

      @writeronline Thank you for the visit, and for your thoughtful wods.

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      A beautifully-crafted evocation Genna, if I may humbly say... Cheers

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      I would agree that all that glitters is not Gold. Hollywood has been notorious for making and breaking starlets. I can't imagine the pressure, for the few who make it there must be thousands who crash and burn and end up back in smallville with empty dreams.

      Very well executed indeed Genna, you make us proud at the Hubs with your gifted talent as a writer. I am moved often by your scribes and this one was up there with the Masters. Bravo, take a bow.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Litte Kim Thanks for stopping by! When I see what TV offers today, I just cringe. And we wonder why our standards are plummeting along with our IQ's.

    • Little Kim profile image

      Little Kim 6 years ago from Any town U.S.A.

      So sad these days real talent won't make it and the schmucks of reality tv do. Famous for doing nothing! So many try and fail. Hollywood needs to be brought back to life.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Kashmire & Tumblweed

      It's a pleasure to see you here. Many thanks for your wonderful comments...this humble lady truly appreciates them. :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Epi Thanks, are such a treasure. :)

      @Kath No, you are quite right...all that glitters is indeed not gold...especially, in that town. Thank you for your support and vote of confidnece.

    • tumblintumblweed profile image

      tumblintumblweed 6 years ago

      Wow....what an excellent write! Gives us a new perspective on Hollywood ,too..Beautifully written! Voted up/awesome

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Genna East,WOW what a awesome poem ! Thanks for sharing it, enjoyed reading it !

      Awesome and vote up !!!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Excellent Excellent Poem Genna, all that glitters is not gold but the dream lives on, always will. Rated Up.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      .......well you're a star in my humble book Miss Genna and most worthy to be inducted into the Hub Walk of Fame - because you are such an intelligent writer and I am always moved by your solid profound words.

      And yes if I didn't have wonderful supportive people like you in my hub life I would have to go back to my old job of being 'body double' for Mickey Rourke in 9 and half weeks!!!!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Amy Thanks, Amy. I wasn't a star...I worked for a producer in BH. I am so happy to be out of that industry. :) Thank you for your words of support!

      Btw...thanks for the heads up on Chris...what an amazing young poet!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Genna, perfection in emotive message, each word so ideally chosen to combine precision and your great artistry, to tell the story in the sad trail of wannabes that must abandon their dreams of fame and fortune. Your gifts leave me unsurprised that you were a Hollywood star. You will always shine.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Sofs Hi there; thanks for the is always a pleasure to see you here. I appreciate your comments.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Bobbi I agree; there seems to be more garbage coming out than the good stuff. You have to wait for a really good film. They still make them, that is for sure, but not as much. And I think much of TV has gone to the dogs. I shouldn’t say that because I love dogs. :) Thanks for your comments.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Red That’s an excellent metaphor, Red about Don Quixote. Thank you for those kind words.

      @Randy Thank you! I didn’t like working in that industry and was relieved when we moved to New England. I’d pick redwoods over just about anything. :) Thanks for the comments.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @attempted Thank you; I appreciate your comments!

      @Cat True; it’s a tough business and very competitive. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Will Hi there; coming from one of my favorite authors, that is quite a compliment. Thank you.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      So rhythmic, so musical and smooth your words flow like silk. Genna this is beautiful, I want to give you a hug.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      I'm thinking that with the passing of people like Liz Taylor, so is the passing of a once great Hollywood. Directors with no imagination so they do remake after remake. Same with TV, Wonder Woman? Really, so old hat! Great poem.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Your poetry is always like a dance....Could I have this dance? Most certainly.

      I worked in Hollywood for a bit. Seemed as plastic as their stages to me. Couldn't wait to get back to my redwoods.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Fascinating analogy - knights winning their way onto the red carpet. Puts me in mind of Don Quixote and tilting at windmills. Lovely word-smithing!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona


      You have a gift Genna!

      Up and awesome.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Rare is the one who makes it in Hollywood these days- it does eat the young and spits out the broken pieces of those who have loyally worked for her. This is an excellent piece in perfect poetic form. Loved it!

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      This is a lovely piece of of work Genna, the content is simple but the execution is beautifully crafted. You really are a natural. Thanks.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Pooh Hi Pooh. I hope to never disappoint because the one person I disappoint with my poetry the the most is me. Good to see you, and thank you!

      @Uriel Well, this humble lady thanks you for your kind words. I am pleased you liked the poem.

      @Prasetio How nice to see you. I appreciate your supportive comments!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Mck That is so sweet of you. Truth be told, I am never satisfied with my own poetry, so it’s nice to hear such compliments.

      @Hyphenbird Well, I try. Thanks so much for the visit and for your thoughtful comments. :)

      @Maya Hey there my friend. Always a pleasure to see you, and thank you!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Jeff Thank you…I am very flattered.

      @Sunnie Hi there. Yes, that’s exactly what the poem means. Thank you for your kind words of support.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Well done, Genna. I really love your poem. Thanks for share with us. Rated up. Take care!

      Love and peace,

    • Uriel profile image

      Uriel 6 years ago from Lebanon

      GENNA this is AMAZING!!! Can't say anything more~ the soar truth in amazing verses! Simply brilliant!

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

      Brilliant! You never disappoint your readers!

    • profile image

      Maya 6 years ago

      You're still the master Genna. This is awesome!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is an excellent poem. The writing is perfect and laid out in a lyrical flow. The subject matter is relevant and haunting. Just beautiful Genna!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Once again, you have set a new standard of excellence.

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      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      I am in awe! Wonderful poem. High hopes and many dreams shattered seeking the fame and lights but if they nevered tried, they would never know..if by chance they are one of the lucky what cost? Very thought provoking. Thank you Genna. up and Awesome!


    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Excellent mastery of traditional forms. Great!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Breakfastpop Good morning! Thanks for stopping by and for your positive comment. :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Dio Thank you, Dio. I truly appreciate your comments! Kipling wrote about British soldiers, but I’ve always remembered him for Rikki Tikki Tavi, which I always loved. The Oscar statuette is a knight holding a sword that also symbolizes a lance, and stands on top of a platform that is a reel of film…so I based the poem on that image. I was once told by a producer that “LA is a place that consumes its young.” In some ways, it is. It can be a terrific place, and a very tough town as well.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      I love it!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      It's Kipling!

      Great, resounding stuff, Genna; that's what I call a poem Bob