Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Character B: First draft

(I'm certain changes will be made)

[the two women
besides being bound together
have a large satchel
the shoulder strap of which
is thrown around the neck of both
so it hangs at their side facing the audience
the contents not immediately visible to the audience
though it DOES bulge

lighting is full on Front
and Back is pretty much in the shadows

Back is the Ventriloquist
in the shadows
with active fluid movements
Front is the Front (wo)Man
in the limelight
with somewhat stilted movement
wooden facial expressions
and, at the beginning mainly


did you
do you
hear that?


do I hear what?


clickings and whirrings
cogs meshing gears grinding

wait! there’s more
now here is bubbling
like pudding on the boil
or hot springs

and voices
I hear voices
clamoring suggestively

I don’t know
the mutterings are unclear


those are the sounds
of life playing out
the coil unwinding
the line being written
effaced erased
pay them no mind


they bother me!
as does this continuous ringing in my ears
when I cannot tell if
it’s crickets outside
or brain sound
from within


that, my front,
is the sound of
growing old

[Back removes a gray-haired wig from
the satchel and places it
on Front’s head]


I need to see
I need to see
there must be fog
or perhaps an eclipse
that my vision returns
so little to me

[Back rummages in the satchel
and withdraws a mirror,
holds it before Front’s face]


this cannot be!
these lines
these blackened eyes
this hair
this is NOT

this is some other
I do not recognize
and you there a blur
in the shadows
I want to see you clearly
won’t you step into the light

[Front peers closely into the mirror;
and then tries unsuccessfully to turn her head
and look behind at Back]


so sorry but
I cannot permit it
I can only speak my mind
from the dark


just whisper
what is important
into my ear
I will not speak them
out loud

there are secrets
aren’t there?
and you are keeping them
from me


just look at you
[Back reaches into the satchel
and removes an even whiter wig
exchanging it for the inital one
placed on Front’s head]

ageing minute by minute
becoming invisible
to passers-by
my poppet, my moppet
what will I do without you!
my capacity
to encite
to entice
dwindles with every
every white hair
and inside
your mouth
though your tongue still
you are becoming
long of tooth
and snaggled

Front [still peering into the mirror]

what am I to you
that we are so inseparable?


you are the thrown voice
of my voice
which is thrown into me
by the unknowns
the itch of unattended wants and
fickle desires
I am not allowed to comprehend
for what I am told is incomplete
as the words I put in your mouth
are incomplete
as all words are no matter
from whose mouth they pour forth
are incomplete

I can only be seen in the words
emerging from your lips
just as the true face lies beneath
the mask my true voice
is the masquerade I tongue
through your mouth


you do not speak for me!
I am my own person and true
to my perceptual principles

Back [laughing]:

the time is coming,
sweet Front,
when you will cease all speaking
only then will I be muted
in stubborn unsuborned success against
the forces that speak through me

your white hair will thin
[she replaces the white wig
with one in which the white hair is
noticeably thinner than the previous wig]
your hands will shake
your voice will quiver
as your breath falters and then

and. . .


[in a quivering voice]
in my silence all your words
will cease



Front [no longer shaky]:

but wait
I am not finished yet
[she removes the wig and stuffs it
back in the satchel; shakes out
her long locks]

say what you will:
that I do not speak for myself;
that the free tongue is an illusion;
that I am controlled by forces beyond my control
beyond, even, my knowing
tell me I am a mute aunt
a mindless mummer of influences
thrown words as you might
throw bones to the dog

you think I cannot know you
the shadowed behind that directs my speech
and cannot know whether you are with me
or are my foe an exterior force
impinging insidiously upon my ability
to be at liberty to be a woman

but you have not noticed
an occasional phrase slipped in
unrestrained by possession
a speaking in tongue
before an audience
as bound as I am
and equally restrained

you think me mere
lap dancing puppet
your hand up my skirt
a rebellious toy
carved to bear your labels
to speak your cant
to be penetrated by your thoughts

what then are you?
who is pulling your strings
you, behind, also bound
in the dark
about what moves you
you too, merely a character
among others in this
play on words
you call life

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