Sunday, September 28, 2008

Character A's Soliloquy

[A diffuse spotlight hovers over Character A, but the other characters are still visible in the partial darkness. The spotlight is as unsteady as the erratic coursing of the character’s voice.]

I cannot speak
Except as

I cannot speak
Except through

Hear my voice

Here, my voice

It rises up
As he rises up
Behind me

My body
His wish for his
Self, alone as together

[The man behind moves moving the pair, glares, suggesting displeasure.]

We move together
He will not let go
He will not get out
Of me
He will not get it
Out of me

I will not
Say it

My father sat
On a stool
Like a pigeon
Under the light
Funneling out
From the demanding
Darkness of inquiry

He spoke
Like a man
On a stool
In the dark

They bludgeoned him
With their words
Questions like
A blackjack
And not even
Odd in fact

My mother
Was a waitress
And she asked
The questions

What would
You like?
What would
You like
With that?
Do you
Want fries?
To drink?

I am just
A speaking
A speaker
A set of words
Set out
Set down
On a mission

I do not speak
For him behind me

[Looking behind himself]

Why are you always
Behind me
At my behind?

Let’s begin
The Beguine

You say
You said

Like I can even
Beguine like this
What the heck?
How’d this
Even happen?

Keep your grimy hands
Off me, buddy
I’m set for something else
Someone else

There was a time
When I was a poet
And didn’t even
Know it
Or oddly so

I would stand on
A street corner
With you behind me
And dance for nickels
As I sang

[Singing to an extemporaneous tune, but I’ve recorded the tune]

When once I came
Inside of you
I knew the you
That wasn’t tame

When once I saw
That it was you
Who was so true
I’d only caw

When you were mine
And I was dead
You took my head
And called it fine

When you were me
And we were one
We had no fun
And never free

When children laugh
At how we are
We can’t go far
As only half

Whenever one
Were simply two
You know you knew
That we were done

I don’t remember many nickels
I do remember all your tickles
I wanted something more than prickles
I never wanted fat green pickles

But I lost
What I wanted
And I gained
What hurt me

Do you remember that?
[The man behind moves the speaker]
And why are you
Always moving me?

Why do you always
Move me?
Why am I still
Attached so to you?

What do you want me
To say?
What do you
Want me to say?

[Looking around at the other characters, in the semi-darkness around him]

What about
You freaks?
Do you have
Anything to say?
Why do you sit there
And stand there
So dumb!?

Why can’t you s-s-s-say any-th-th-th-thing?
Why can’t you s-s-s-speak!?

[Dejected the speaker drops his head, holds it in his hand]

This pathetic archipelago
Of the damned
This gerbil wheel
We call our lives

Don’t we even have
A voice?
Don’t we even have
Two voices?
Many voices?

There are many
Inside me
Who do not
Have a voice
Of their own

Pay no attention
To the man
Behind me

Pay no attention
To the man
Behind the curtain

Pay no attention
To his stuttering

Silence is golden
Like a watch
At retirement
An anniversary
Of a mistake
Like a snitch

My father
Was a snitch
But only
For a time

He knew that
Someone had to
Or there would be
No words

He knew that words
Were worth
The effort
He always got
His wordsworth
Confused with
His longfellow

“Take ’im
From behind”
He always said
“Or they’ll always
Take you”

That hurts
You know

[The speaker twists around, trying to see the man behind him. He looks over his left shoulder at the man behind him, trying to grab him with his hands.]

Come here, you
You’re not the boss of me!
You’re not the boss!
You don’t even speak!

Why don’t you say anything?
Why can’t you say anything?
Why won’t you say anything!?

[The speaker drops his head, his arms, his torso, slouches down, hangs in space, and whispers]

Why do you always
Say everything?

Why is it always
You who does the speaking?

Why don’t I
Even exist?

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