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Posts Tagged ‘theater’

 

 

 

She watched herself on stage,

and though she wept for the sad parts,

she didn’t wish them away—

they made the story better.

She easily laughed every time she forgot her lines.

And several times, though the play wasn’t done,

she gave herself an ovation.

Why not, she thought. I’m doing

a damn good job up there.

I wonder what took me so long

to see I got the lead. I can’t wait to see

where this play is going.

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What was the best advice you got as a teenager?

Question asked in the Positive Youth Development Training

 

 

Sitting in the old one-room schoolhouse

and trying to remember any piece of advice,

I come up blank, which makes me think brain scientists

are right: the prefrontal cortex had not yet kicked in.

Makes me think, why give a teen advice?

They won’t listen now. They won’t remember it later.

 

But then, clear as a clap, I am standing on stage

in my pedal pushers and my fake Izod shirt, and I hear

John Klug’s voice howl from the theater’s back row,

“I can’t means I won’t.” That is right before

he strides to the front of the stage, picks up the easel

and throws it into the empty audience,

 

where it lands in the training I attend thirty years later,

and I stare at it beside me, astonished he threw it,

but even more astonished at how simple it was,

the way he changed my life, how that afternoon

he guaranteed that every time I hear the phrase I can’t,

I see the chance to say instead, I can do it. I’ll try.

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after the curtain call

the mind still rehearsing

how to shine

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that Sunday afternoon in Madison

when we went to brunch, then found our seats

in the theater where the French Revolution

is waging again and a man falls in love

and the woman dies and her daughter is horribly

enslaved, and my brother, a bear of a man,

the heavyweight champion wrestler who

routinely pinned behemoths to their backs

and threw keggers to “make me clean

the floors,” my brother beside me

cried enough tears for the whole globe,

a lightning rod for sorrow, as if his heart

were big enough to take on the burdens

of the whole world, how I loved him then,

his face radiant and glistening,

both of us weeping near to heaving

and holding each other’s hands, smiling
at each other in the dim light, both of us

seeing ourselves as the other as the players

built a barricade and all our walls fell down.

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