She’s the one who told me how to write A sonnet. I got to take the class she taught, And I fully expected Mrs. Whatsit it to alight Before the blackboard and comfort all us fraught Meg Murrays with soothing words about how Writing would be the tesseract to link Us back to all that gaping space now In need of saving. She took us to the brink Of repair–cantankerous tenacious–saying things Like, “Don’t go looking for pain. Pain will find You,” and, “Fighting for peace is like fucking For virginity.” This near-octogenarian blasted my mind. Ms. L’Engle you taught me that writing is a gift For author and reader to spell a universe shift.
O brutal. Full of specious cries for clamber, Waives of brain. Usurpal–mounting travesty Above the muted pain. Ameri… Amber Waves were meant to image majesty And plenty for all us huddled masses yearning For free breath, space to grow a vine And fig tree. Oh say, can you see the burning Bombs bursting the image of the Divine Right out of our knowing? The only spark of God We strike in our neighbor is the wrath we ignite accusing Them of demonic identity. Angels’ feet trod By the river’s margins, their futile hubris losing. Please God submerge us in that crystal stream. Wash our eyes of the soul wasting dream.
I have an Epiphany for us today, and it’s Something I know from experience, so it’s firm In my understanding: I’m calling quits On the expectation that my lizard brain won’t squirm Its reactive way under every sunny rock In the personal wilderness we call us. My kid just threw a book at nap time, and “Knock Him on the head!” Was the clear preconscious Directive from my nervous system. I amble Down the stairs hearing one boy scream And the other whine. I regard the scramble Of my cerebrum, useless nipples, and ear steam. So, my Three Kings Day advice is this: Be kind and unsurprised when you surely miss.
It’s the first thing we forget to do When we sing or get stressed. For many Of us those can be the same. Too Many to count–thats the total uncanny Times my guts locked or voice cracked In front of paying people, so I know What it is to shut down the allow, backed Into a stifled corner by the foe Most formidable–unchecked brain chatter. Melting your chompers, opening your lips And letting some oxygen through: “How can that matter?” Your survivor insists, mis-naming tummy flips. Blow out and open your mouth just a smidge. Thoughts are just currents, and air is the bridge.
First thing I’d say is know your lines. Your eyes look different when you’re reading cue Cards taped beside your laptop. Other signs You’re not prepared include inserting new Text into Chekhov or actually choosing A speech from Vanya in the first place. I don’t even understand misery-musing Russian plays, and I’ve done my face- to-my-navel share of introspecting. None Of us are old enough for that. All right– Here’s the actionable counsel: when you’re done Learning your words and gotten your images tight, Open the door of your heart and say, “Come in.” The gold of you shines when there’s nothing to win.
(And it takes forever to learn because it feels like you’re not doing anything.)
(And there’re about 58 other things you need to be good at to do a monologue well, but at 18 years old, start by laying off the Chekhov.)
Hey!! That was my attention grabber. Now I’m going to brood and look intense As I move into my next beat and jabber On in a sarcastic up-speaky way to incense My imaginary scene partner– certainly An elder authority figure I’m standing Up to at last! Now…I’m still. Hurt and lee- ward against the wind I widen my eyes demanding My bold choices be seen by the adjudicator Who clearly holds my academic fate In her or his clipboard or track pad. Oh educator Of the theatre! I must matriculate! Now I take that pause my coach instructed. He said…so that my score won’t be deducted.
This Day we’ve demarcated as a new Beginning–agreed upon by most of the globe– Feels much like an extension of the few Days before that covered us like a damp robe That needs airing in the sun. I got To do a show in school, and the last Song said every blessed moment of what We call our lives is the beginning. The past Is the little playground rock climbing wall I cling to because the resin approximations Of foot- and hand-holds seem sturdy. And if I fall I’m two feet up: risk ameliorations. This day is new like every clock tick. Seeing the ceaseless birth, now that’s the trick.
Our second son is the loudest human I’ve heard, And I’ve met loud people. I’m a singing Teacher and a musical theatre nerd Card-carrying misfit toy ringing In the new year with a solid rendition Of “The Impossible Dream” because that’s what I’ll be doing At midnight–dreaming. Last midnight was an audition Of a different color, though, when our normally cooing Room-sharing nuggets kicked off with a call- And-response of abject wailing (from big brother– He’s more “I Dreamed a Dream”) and metallic wall- Cracking, cognition-halting screams from the other. Somehow we got those belters settled down. By “we” I mean Melissa–wearer of the badass crown.
We call it Goose Poop Park because The landscape has been commandeered by fowl Of the aggressive Canadian variety imposing laws Of territory with slow stalk, hissing growl, And fecal sidewalk overlay. Navigating That with a stroller and independently-brained Humans relatively new to the planet while mating Rituals by the avian occupiers ensued trained My mind on times driving from work when a goose Family had chosen the road median as home. I glanced with jealousy at the gaggle, their loose And easy middle-grass fecundity in the weekday gloam. I didn’t know our goslings were on the way. They poop enough to rival the migrating fray.
Okay, so twelve days of Christmas seems Really long. I think it’s because The lights and tinsel were out at Target, and dreams Of sugar plums were moshing on Santa Claus Themed pop tunes well before November. Everyone was ready for Some Christmas whisky because this protracted war Of a year has delivered some soul beat downs more Bruising than a Wile E. Coyote gorge plunge. While I’m ready to say goodbye to the red And green conifer facsimiles, the 90s grunge Drummer in my soul shakes his head. “I feel stupid and contagious,” he sings. I think today’s the five golden rings.