A contemporary prose poetry play.
To begin at the beginning:
It is fall moonless night in the big city, starless and uncharged
black, the asphaltstreets whisper and the hunched, beggars -
and - teens shuffle invisible down to the fast packed, fast
packed, crampacked, swayingcarsoftheseven line. The
apartments are as as nosey as crones (though crones nose
not to-night from their frosty, window ledges) or nosey as
Taxi Man there in the huffled middle by the pool and clock
tower, the shops in take down, the Medicaid Office in the
peaky projects. All the people of the wound and spent city
are sleepy now.
A second world verse fantasy play.
Eelain? Gone? They are seldom far from the prince. Though perhaps this is not cause for worry - yet
I am. Eelian leads such an unmoored life—
And I’ve fault in this. Their Eastern mother died
Bringing them to the world. And I’ve not claimed them.
Aaniyen stationed me in Lowaar as a diplomat
Two decades ago, when tensions were high,
Alone- I represented the interests of the kingdom.
I grew restless in my solitude-
Until a sweet chambermaid built a fire
Not only in the hearth. She cared not I was foreign,
She made me forget my name and status.
Time with her was like a bubble in glass-
A beautiful anomaly- separate and safe
yet fragile. Because long it could not be.
We conceived. And she began to show
Lowariaans have strict rules about unwed mothers
I could not protect her. Her master was cruel.
And nearly flogged the baby out of her.
She left sweetly, though her body was torn
“This is Eelain,” she whispered through tears.
“Love and protect our child, my heart.”
But the baby was too strong a reminder
Of the love that I had just lost.
And I left them to suckle with the prince’s wet nurse.
I wanted to give them a better life
A courtly life, here in Goliaar
Instead I’ve given them life without family
Without a name— without a class.
Yet they thrive - - straddling boundaries.
Rejecting gender, family, names, and class.
Did my rejection inspire this?
I hunt men. I’m a Kumiho, “the fox that lives for a thousand years.” When you are around as long as we are, eating a man feel about the same as picking a grape. If you leave them on the vine they whither anyway. Their liver is my favorite part. Men do so many delicious things to their livers: marinate them in alcohol, pepper them in pills, dehydrate them with salt. It’s sort of like a spongier jerky. Mmm.
When I feed, it is not on flesh alone. I flutter my eyelashes, lean in for a kiss, and suck out men’s souls. Then I taste their memories.
Some are a dark chocolate. Mr. Peterson, oh... HE was one of these. I felt bad for a second after our “kiss” cause he was married and had kids. But I think the 3 unknowing Mrs. Petersons in Utah, Wyoming, and Delaware will be better off without him. These are the cheaters, the liars, the ones who store up bitter contradictions the way squirrels do nuts.
Some are honey. Sticky, slow, sickly sweet. These are the stingy ones. The ones who save a buck at the expense of others. Cosgrave was this kind of man. Owned a factory. Had a thousand employees and the highest injury rate in the county, and he always got out of paying workers’ comp.
Last week though, I fed on a boy who tasted like broccoli. I nearly choked.
When I kissed him - - -
I saw his mother, coughing in bed, while his wife, baby in one arm, dabbed her forehead with a damp cloth. I saw his landlord warn him This Was The Last Time he would let him be late with his rent. His boss denyed him a raise. I saw the rusty pan he placed in the kitchen to catch water from a leak in the roof. I felt the pain in his stomach as he lied to his wife that he ate before he got home as he handed her a loaf of bread.
So - I’ve been thinking about becoming vegetarian. I don’t want the bitterness of unfulfilled souls on my palate, or their families’ grief on my shoulders. My grandmother went veg a thousand years ago and became human. She seemed to like it. Going out in the day, having friends, being able to have a long term relationship, and actually sleeping seem like pretty cool things.
I made friends with the man who tasted like broccoli’s wife. I recognized her from his memories… she was begging in the square the other day. She’s actually a funny girl. She chanted “diaper change” with her pants-less baby toddling around her. I invited her for dinner. Wonder what I’ll make.
The Culture of Now
A contemporary frame play.
I became an artist in my twenties. I loved to write but there were things I couldn't get down in words. Especially dreams. I had really vivid dreams in my twenties. A tulip would wilt into a dancing girl who would scatter her petaled skirt and become a breeze tickling branches.
Everything connected. I took drugs, more to see the world differently than to escape it. Mushrooms, ayahuasca, LSD... they made me see patterns where I hadn't before.
The way that we look at clouds as kids became the way I saw everything. Especially negative space. I would go to the movies and find myself fixated by the combination of shapes made by the audience's heads. This type of seeing came out in my art. I drew women made of family and creatures made of wind. There was no negative space.
Until my husband died.
When my husband died... (breaks)
We met in our twenties, he was a writer and I was an artist. We taught each other. I illuminated his poetry with illustrations: he wove words into my drawings. The walls of our apartment became drawing boards for us to come together. Poems, art, song... when he died...
I couldn't be there...
I sequestered myself in my studio and painted wall size canvases black. Demons peeked out at me from my own brush strokes and I painted in red to define their faces. Everything black and red. I lost my sense of up.
Negative space emerged and gravity twisted through it.
After a few months I painted clouds on the floor.
The sky was somewhere...sunken... I didn't recognize my old routes. The park across the street. Myself. I painted women with blank expressions and red lined eyes.
I built a shelter out of sticks in the corner of my studio and worked in there. I could keep track of time and space if I went somewhere small enough.
I painted hundreds of grey faced women. Sketched maps. I built mirrored slippers with wings on their backs. I found a way to move, although the earth swerved under my feet.
Eventually I came out. My studio looked like it was hit by a hurricane. Paintings tilted all over the black walls, clouds on the floor. Unfinished sculptures scattered everywhere. But I knew where I was.
I was in a room I made of my own grief.
And in it I saw myself.
DisCards: A Shakespearean Reshuffle
A Shakespearean riff play.
Scene opens in a press conference.
Jake: (reads from a card):
How happy some ‘or some can be
I think, I suppose, If we just discard
those ideas of fairness and liberty.
What a piece of work is man! How noble
In treason! How finite in faculties!
In form and moving how deprest
and trivial. The beauty of the world! The
paragon of animals. And yet, to
me, what is this quintessence of dust?
Rich: Greeting cards help people say the right thing during life's important moments. But up until now the market only covered positive events. But what if you don’t want to say thank you, happy birthday, or congratulations? What do you say to a doctor whose malpractice cost your father his life? What do you say to a cheating wife? What do you say when a friend cost you your job? Now, allow me to introduce the solution to the problem of what to say when people let you down, DisCards.