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Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
As a child he remembered Cardiff as a city with red asphalt roads and yellow trolley busses. On a Saturday morning his grandfather used to take him in his black Sunbeam Talbot to the grand building of the Council of Music for Wales. There Charles Dixon presided over a large office on the third floor in which there were not one but two grand pianos. At seven a little boy finds one grand piano intimidating, two scary. He was made of fuss of by his grandfather’s colleagues and – as a Queen’s chorister – expected to sing. A very tall lady who smelt strongly of mothballs took him into what must have been a music library, and together they chose the 23rd Psalm to Brother James’ Air and Walford’s Solemn Melody. After his ‘performance’ he was given a book about Cardiff Castle, but spent an hour looking out of the windows onto the monkey-puzzle trees and watching people walking below.
50 years later as the taxi from the station took him to the rehearsal studios he thought of his mother shopping in this city as a young woman, probably a very slim, purposeful young woman with long auburn gold hair and a tennis player’s stride. He had just one photo of his mother as a young woman - in her nurse’s uniform, salvaged from his grandparents’ house in the Cardiff suburb of Rhiwbina. Curious how he remembered asking his grandmother about this photograph - who was this person with long hair?– he had never known his mother with anything but the shortest hair.
He’d visited the city regularly some ten years previously and he was glad he wasn’t driving. So much had changed, not least the area once known as Tiger Bay, a once notorious part of the city he was sure his mother had never visited. Now it was described as ‘a cultural hub’ where the grand Millennium Opera House stood, where the BBC made Doctor Who, where in the Weston Studio Theatre he’d hear for the first time his Unknown Colour.
Travelling down on the train he’d imagined arriving unannounced once the rehearsal had begun, the music covering his search for a strategic seat where he would sit in wonder.  It was not to be. As he opened the door to the theatre there was no music going on but a full-scale argument between the director, the conductor and three of the cast. The repetiteur was busy miming difficult passages. The two children sat demurely with respective mothers reading Harry Potters.
The next half hour was difficult as he realised that his carefully imagined stage directions were dead meat. They were going to do things differently and he had that sinking feeling that he was going to have to rewrite or at the very least reorganise a lot of music. He was then ‘noticed’ and introduced to the company – warm handshakes – and then plunged into a lengthy discussion about how the ensemble sequence towards the end of Act 1 could be managed. The mezzo playing Winifred was, he was forced to admit, as physically far from the photos of this artist in the 1930s as he could imagine. The tenor playing Ben was a little better, but taller than W – again a mismatch with reality. And the hair . . . well make up could do something with that he supposed. The baritone he thought was exactly right, non-descript enough to assume any one of the ten roles he had to play. He liked the actress playing Cissy the nurse from Cumbria. The soprano playing Kathleen and Barbara H was missing.
He was asked to set the scene, not ‘set the scene’ in a theatrical sense, but say a little about the background. Who were these people he and they were bringing to the stage? He told them he’d immersed himself in the period, visited the locations, spoken to people who had known them (all except Cissy and the many Parisienne artists who would ‘appear’). He saw the opera as a way of revealing how the intimacy and friendship of two artists had sustained each of them through a lifetime chasing the modernist ideal of abstraction. He was careful here not to say too much. He needed time with these singers on their own. He needed time with the director, who he knew was distracted by another production and had not, he reckoned, done his homework. He stressed this was a workshop session – he would rewrite as necessary. It was their production, but from the outset he felt they had to be in character and feel the location – the large ‘painters’ atelier at 48 Quai d’Auteuil.  He described the apartment by walking around the stage space. Here was Winifred’s studio area (and bedroom) divided by a white screen. Here was the living area, the common table, Winifred’s indoor garden of plants, and where Cissy and the children slept. As arranged (with some difficulty earlier in the week) he asked for the lights to be dimmed and showed slides of three paintings – Cissy and Kate, Flowers from Malmaison, and the wonderful Jake’s Bird and White Relief. He said nothing. He then asked for three more, this time abstracts –* Quarante-Huit Quai d’Auteuil, Blue Purpose, and ending with *Moons Turning.
He said nothing for at least a minute, but let Moons Turning hang in space in the dark. He wanted these experimental works in which colour begets form to have something of the impact he knew them to be capable of. They were interior, contemplative paintings. He was showing them four times their actual size, and they looked incredible and gloriously vibrant. These were the images Winifred had come to Paris to learn how to paint: to learn how to paint from the new masters of abstraction. She had then hidden them from public view for nearly 30 years. These were just some of the images that would surround the singers, would be in counterpoint with the music.
With the image of Moons Turning still on the screen he motioned to the repetiteur to play the opening music. It is night, and the studio is bathed in moonlight. It could be a scene from La Bohème, but the music is cool, meditative, moving slowly and deliberately through a maze of divergent harmonies towards a music of blueness.
He tells the cast that the music is anchored to Winifred’s colour chart, that during her long life she constantly and persistently researched colour. She sought the Unknown Colour. He suggests they might ‘get to know the musical colours’. He has written a book of short keyboard pieces that sound out her colour palette. There is a CD, but he’d prefer them to touch the music a little, these enigmatic chords that are, like paint, mixed in the course of the music to form new and different colours. He asks the mezzo to sing the opening soliloquy:
My inspiration comes in the form of colour,
of colour alone, no reference to the object or the object’s sense,
Colour needn’t be tagged to form to give it being.
Colour must have area and space,
be directed by the needs of the colour itself
not by some consideration of form.
A large blue square is bluer than a small blue square.
A blue pentagon is a different blue from a triangle of the same blue.
Let the blueness itself evolve the form which gives its fullest expression.
This is the starting-point of my secret artistic creation.

And so, with his presentation at a close, he thanks singer and pianist and retreats to his strategically safe seat. This is what he came for, pour l’encouragement des autres by puttin.g himself on the line, that tightrope the composer walks when presenting a new work. They will have to trust him, and he has to trust them, and that, he knows, is some way away. This is not a dramatic work. Its drama is an interior one. It is a love story. It is about the friendship of artists and about their world. It is a tableau that represents a time in European culture that we are possibly only now beginning to understand as we crowd out Tate Modern to view Picasso, Mondrian, Braque and Brancusi.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
He said I’m the wrong shape. I could do with putting on a few pounds and, almost as an after thought he said, you’ll have to cut your hair – yourself.  I know she was an artist, and a mother, and a gardener. I had to admit to him I didn’t know any painters. My cousin Julie’s a sculptor – same thing he said – but I had to tell him I hadn’t yet looked at her painting, only what he showed us in his presentation.  He then told me exactly where in the National Museum of Wales I could see one of her paintings – Gallery 14 – and its from this period, a Parisiene picture. He suggested I might go to Cambridge and spend a day at a place called Kettles Yard. There are more Winifreds there than anywhere else in the UK, and many pictures by her close friend Christopher Wood.
Oh dear. This is difficult. The only thing going for me seems I’m about the right age and I’ve have children, though mine are older than hers in the production. I was so surprised to get this part, but as Michael said over the phone, your profile fits. Except for the weight and the hair, and I know nothing about painting. Why should I? Jeff told me, the composer Morton Feldman once said if you haven’t got a friend whose a painter, you’re in trouble. I’m in trouble. But he has very kind eyes and when he touched me gently on the shoulder after Lizzie and I sung that shells duet I had to look away.
Reaching down arm-deep into bright water
I gathered on white sand under waves
Shells, drifted up on beaches where I alone
Inhabit a finite world of years and days.
I reached my arm down a myriad years
To gather treasure from the yester-millennial sea-floor,
Held in my fingers forms shaped on the day of creation….
They sleep on the ocean floor like humming-tops
Whose music is the mother-of-pearl octave of the rainbow,
Harmonious shells that whisper for ever in our ears,
‘The world that you inhabit has not yet been created’

Mind you, I don’t envy Lizzie being Kathleen Raine. Now that is a difficult part, even though she’s only in Act 2. Raine was definitely odd. He says I have to understand their friendship, because there was something about it that made them both more than they were. I don’t understand that.
Jane and the children are amazing already. Martin (my ‘other’ half Ben Nicholson) said they’d been rehearsing with Robert because his wife (Robert’s wife Debbie) is at WNO and they were scared about this one. I’ll say this for him he knows exactly how children interrupt, constantly. It’s clever the way he uses the interruptions to change direction of the dialogue. Conversations are often left unfinished. The bit when that ***** Barbara visits the apartment unexpectedly is brilliant. She’s completely demolished by these kids of her lover.
But those letters . . . he said, can you imagine your husband writing to you over a period of 40 years? Quite a thought that. David wrote to me a few times when I was in Madrid for Cosi just after we’d met, but it was all telephone calls after that. Why waste paper, time and a stamp. But I take his point – their letters are so beautiful – and they were separated for God’s sake. He’d gone off with another woman, and even brought her to Paris. And you could not have two totally different women – she ,slight, chain-smoking, work-a-holic, sharp-tongued with that Yorkshire edge, and me with ‘a quiet voice, trying always to be gentle and kind ‘– W would be called an earth-mother these days. She was a kind of hippie, only she had money – mind you most of those hippies of the 60s had money otherwise they couldn’t have done drugs (heard that on Radio 4 last week in a programme about Richard Brautigan). But they wrote to each other almost every day.
Dear Ben,.
            Do you know there are several kinds of happiness, and there is one sort which I have found. It is the sort that is within oneself, enjoying fresh promise, and taking all the experiences of life that one has been through, so-called sad ones and so-called happy ones, to make up understanding that is further on than joy or sorrow. I have been extremely lucky – I have had ten years of companionship with an ‘all-time’ painter, working in the medium of classic eternity and that has been better than a lifetime with any second-class person – isn’t it - I have found it so…
Best love Winifred

What’s clever about the letter sequences is the way the two-way correspondence is handled as a duet and right in the middle of it you’ll get a flashback – like Winifred suddenly remembering her first meeting with Ben.
I heard this voice
In the room next door
I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t move
I knew, I knew for certain
This was the man I would marry.
And when we were introduced
He seemed to know this too.

We gaily call this an opera, but it’s not. It’s something else. It simply doesn’t do what you think it’s going to do. Even when you do something for a second time the accompaniment doesn’t do what you expect and remembered. It’s this open-form business. Something else I know nothing about. He mentioned Umberto Eco – now I’ve read Name of the Rose. When Braque or Mondrian or Jan Eps visit unannounced I have no idea which one it’s going to be – these guys just used to turn up. Sometimes two at once. W didn’t invite them. They came for her English hospitality (home baking I think) and her beautiful apartment come studio – beautiful, because she made it so. Her French was appalling, and this is difficult because I speak quite well, and now I have to speak like an idiot. Bridget  (playing Cissy the Cumbrian nanny) having her French lesson is a hoot, and with the children correcting her all the time, it’s lovely.
He was very sweet when we broke for lunch. Sara, he said, as I collapsed into an auditorium seat to find my bag and mobile, Sara, we’ve got to find you a painter to spend a day with . . . so you’ll know how to stand in front of an easel.  I phoned Sarah Jane Brown who has a studio in Cardiff and she’d love to meet you. Here’s her number. She paints flowers and landscapes – as well as the abstract stuff - just like Winifred. Her tutor at the RCA actually knew Winifred. And with that he disappeared to a dark corner of the theatre and unwrapped his sandwiches. You can tell he’s not into break discussions with Julian or Michael. I think he’s terribly shy. He’s interested in the cast and so he picks them off one by one. Julian I know doesn’t like this. I think everything needs to go through me, he said at the end of yesterday’s rehearsal. Who does he think he is?! Lizzie reminded Julian he was the composer and what he doesn’t know about this whole period and its characters isn’t knowledge. Liz thinks he’s a sweetie – and she’s sung his Raine settings at Branwyn Hall last year – with Robert who was his MD with BBCNOW. Liz knows Julian hasn’t done his usual homework because he’s got this production in Birmingham on the boil. Unknown Colour is a distraction he can do without.
This afternoon it’s back to the mayhem of those ensemble scenes in Act 1. They’re quite crazy, but I’m already beginning to feel I can start to be someone other than me. Did you know I have this lovely song? It’s quite Sondheim . . .
*I like to have a picture in my room.
Without one, my room feels bare
however much furniture is there;
Pictures play so many roles.
My room has too much going on in it
for something extravagant.
In the morning it is a sanctuary,
in the daytime a factory,
in the evening a place of festivity,
and through the night a place of rest.
I want a window in it,  
And a focal point, something alive and silent.
A bunch of flowers on the window sill?
Yes, but they will wither.
A cat curled up on the hearth?
Yes, but it will go away and prowl upon the rooftops.
A picture will always be there.
It will make no sound. It will wait.
If it is true I shall never grow tired of it.
I shall see something fresh in it
when I glance at it tomorrow.
It will always be my friend.
D Conors Sep 2010
Is this not what it's all about?
Waiting in the wings,
stretching, turning, churning,
anxious and adrenal,
living for the dream,
wishing for the dream,
the dream,
dancing on beams,
beneath the streams
of lights and fans,
arrayed like a bird
in tulle, crinoline, silk, satin and linen
white plumage,
acting only on command,
the music soft and flowing
their frail, slender figures
take to air,
arms and legs,
torsos tender,
slender necks,
wisps of downy hair,
melding colours,
sights and sounds,
the stage a pedestal of fate,
their beauty
in gilded cages
for all to watch and see,
recaptured yet again,
by the artist on the easel'd window
of his canvas,
a maestro of sorts,
tapping his baton-brush,
coating the blankness with sweet
like angels heavenly
brought to earth,
serenaded by strings,
life from the blankness begins,
covers the void,
bejewels the mind's eye
and beckons the ballet
rehearsal to begin,
yet shall in oil paint now
and for all time
never cease to be...

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
Edgar Degas

Inspired by the painting by Impressionist artist Edgar Degas,
The Rehearsal.
--to view the painting:
D. Conors
03 September 2010
Jeff Gaines Mar 2018
OK Reader, I'm going to tell you a tale … with great trepidation. You see, this tale, well, it's kind of like telling someone that you've seen a UFO. They want to believe you, but … it's never really been proven scientifically. Not to mention the fact that most folks who believe in such things are often the tin-hat wearing types, written off as … lets be nice and call them “odd”. And, of course, the more you swear to it, the crazier you appear. It's an epic tale, spanning 30 years of my crazy life.

  But, It's a story I want to tell, because it happened to me. I can barely understand it myself, let alone explain it. So … I'm just going to launch into it and you take it any way you wish.

*  *  
Where Can You Be?

Where can you be?
Where can you be, my love?
Oh, can't you see?
You're not with me!

I'll search with gazes and I'll search with cars,
I'll search the cities and I'll search the stars, well …
I'm gonna find you, oh, wherever you are,
I'm gonna find you baby …  near or far, but …

Where can you be?
Where can you be, my love?
Oh, can't you see?
You're not with me!

I thought I'd found ya, but she wasn't you,
that girl she left alone and blue, well …
I know that's something that you'd never do,
your love has always been strong and true, but …

Where can you be?
Where can you be, my love?
Oh, can't you see?
You're not with me!

If you must settle for some other man
and deviate from our immortal plan, well …
I hope you realize I will understand
and I'll try and do the best that I can, but …

Where will I be?
Where will I be, my love?
Hoping the next life sees …
our destiny!

Where can you be?
Where can you be, my love?
Oh, can't you see?
You're not with me!

~Wednesday, April 1st, 1987
10:30 P.M.

  I was singing in a band back in those days and, as it happened, this was the last song I'd ever write for it. Just after this, as it does, it all came crashing down and the band was finished. But in those last days, they pondered this song, with great puzzlement. You see, it was unlike anything I'd brought them before. It wasn't rock … It wasn't a ballad … it wasn't even structured like a “normal” 80's rock song.
  No bridge, no solo, no loud grinding guitars, etc. It even had bits where I hummed, yes hummed, the melody, like a lullaby. As they read the lyrics and I described how it went, they all looked at me like I had three heads and asked where this had come from. It was nothing like anything I'd written before. I could only tell them when and where I'd written it, but had no explanation of what inspired it. It had just came to me, so I wrote it down. They didn't know what to make of it, or even what to do with it.

  One of them said it sounded like a late 70's or early 80's adult contemporary song or even in the vein of The Eagles. Another asked if it was about reincarnation … And I honestly, until that moment, hadn't thought of it that way, I didn't think like that at 24 … but then, one of them said it was “Haunting” …


  “Wow”, I thought, I'd never had anything I'd written described as that before. When I asked him what he meant by that, he told me that it was haunting to think that this poor guy is desperately seeking a girl, that may or may not even know that he exists … in a world with billions of people in it. To top that off, he fears that she may off and marry someone else if he doesn't find her in time.

  This, along with the suggestion of it being about reincarnation made me rethink and rewrite the song. Well, a few lines in the last verse and chorus anyways. It actually made the song flow better and seem more complete. In a way, it actually made the song make more sense … to me and them. Sadly, we never did anything with it. There wouldn't be time. Ha … Time … how ironic. Over 10 years later, came this …

For Someone I've Never Met

Please save a place for me,
deep inside your heart.
Always know that I think of you,
as we both practice our arts.

Our worlds are full of temptations,
so very hard to resist …
and the good Lord knows
we're both far from,
sixteen and never been kissed.

Wealthy men with jaws divine …
Temptresses with looks so fine …
Paths that lead our hearts away …
Paths that surely lead astray …

They'll lead us there every time.
They'll leave us there … so  unkind.
Our hearts must shine,
night and day.
Through any darkness … they'll light our way.

If you never touch my face …
If I never look into your eyes …
We'll always have the comfort of sharing
the same
big, blue sky.

If I never smell your hair …
If you never kiss my lips …
Always know the search for your smile
has launched a thousand ships.

So, I hope you save a place for me
in your heart so sweet and kind.
Please, save a place for me …
Heaven knows you've one in mine.

~Thursday, September 9th, 1999
9 A.M.

“For Someone I've Never Met ” poured out of me in the midst of another breakup from the second, and last, girl that I wanted to marry. That emotion, never found me again. I looked at it on my computer screen and smiled, seeing “Where Can You Be”, in my mind, on my tattered old note pad that I called my “Song Book”. The memory of me writing it while sitting in my Z-28, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico as a beautiful heat lighting storm sent bolts across the sky, came flooding back; as did the debate of reincarnation I'd had with my pals in the rehearsal room all those years before. Here I was, again, writing about “someone” that I sensed, for lack of a better term, was out there … somewhere.

  Well Reader, do you believe in reincarnation? I was never really certain, but, as you can see, I had twice written pieces to someone I wasn't completely sure existed. I had always “sensed” someone out there beginning with the period after I wrote “Where Can You Be?” and thereafter. So, there they were, each written after losing someone I was deeply in love with. Each came out of nowhere, as they usually do. By the time I was in my 40's, I began to think I was either imagining it all (a side effect of being a hopeless romantic) or that I had just somehow missed this person and our “moment”.

  And then …


There was a place.
There was a time …
There, I stood … still unknowing
and everything seemed fine.

But there in that place …
at that moment in time …
the moment I saw the eyes,
I'd never believed I'd find.

Well, what could I say?
What could I do?
In a world filled with billions …
and there … was a you.

I'd always known you were out there …
even written of something amiss.
I never, ever stopped looking for you …
because my heart always said you exist.

My breezy Fall became harshest Winter.
My crazy life left my health running out.
I'd resigned myself that our moment had passed …
but this moment … it removed all doubt.

Well, what could I say?
Tell me, what could I do?
There we stood, staring … alone … in a city of millions …
yes, there … there was a you.

Oh, that mistress fate, she is just so cruel.
Frustration, a curse to be mine.
   I'd searched for you my entire life …
but now … my clock … knows a limit of time.

You see, I would never venture a love with you,
while knowing I'd have to leave you … hurt and alone.
I could only admire from afar … stoic and aloof …
while turning my heart into stone.

Nothing I could ever say and nothing I could ever do …
But now, at long last … at least I finally knew.

There, you stood … green seas, gazing up … into skies of blue.
My long-awaited revelation … become sorrow-laced realization.
There really is … a you.

~August 12th, 2009

  Typical of my life-long Charlie Brown syndrome … After being told in 2005 that I had “the lungs of an eighty-year-old man” and that I had “Six to Ten years” to live, I made a conscious decision in that Doctor's parking lot that I could never have another girlfriend and that I must face this alone. I don't see woman as objects. They are glorious creatures that are here to be our partners and friends and to make our lives amazing. I could never, ever knowingly let a woman fall in love with me, all the while knowing I was going to die and leave her. It's not in me to do such a thing, lonely or not.

  Yes, I'm still alive, I'm stubborn like that. But, some days are better than others and my new doctors say that they don't give people “time limits” anymore … because of people like me. I can't afford the lung transplant. So, as Bono so aptly put in one of his songs: “The rich stay healthy, while the sick stay poor”. It is what it is … and like the energizer bunny, I'm still going. Good for me.

  In the moment that I met her, the morning that followed, and the amazing speed of our nexus over the next several months combined with a string of synchronicities (Coincidences? Did I mention that she too, was a poet and writer?) that not only came after I met her on the sidewalk in front of the publisher we shared, but in those pieces I had written before and in several after; I was pretty much convinced I had actually found her. I have NEVER experienced anything like this, or her, in my entire life.

  So, after all this time, here she was … and there wasn't a **** thing that I could do about it. Besides, she was much younger than I and it probably would never have worked anyways. ****, the universe is rotten sometimes, huh? Maybe, if I'm lucky, things will balance out better in the next life. I can only hope. But I'm reminded, worryingly so, of the **** The Alarm song: “Collide”:

“All of these thoughts pounding in my head …
with the words I've wrote, in the letters I've never sent.
The distance in our lives may change …
Times that you can never erase …
But will our worlds collide?
Will our worlds collide, the next time?”

  Only time will tell.

  “Colors”, and a few others, were written about/for her. But, I could never show them to her. I would never endanger my friendship with her. I just wanted to keep her in my life. That, and that alone, was the only motive I'd ever had with her. I looked forward to seeing her marry, hearing her stories of her three kid's adventures; Hubby, all greasy, working on the car in the driveway, rabbits in her garden at night, eating her precious organic veggies or even about her new curtains. Just to know that she was alive, happy and doing well. I found a solace in her voice I could never describe and I was completely content to just have her in my life and watch hers unfold. Only I could end up in this odd position.

  I feared that she might get weird-ed out because I'd never displayed any romantic inklings toward her, so, to suddenly read these might make her feel a bit, lets say: uncomfortable. Actually, I didn't write them with any romantic intentions, per se; I just did what I always do … write what comes out. Still, there's no denying that they come across romantic. Again, so, so Charlie Brown. (long sigh)
  It is what it is. I also have to ponder the fact that maybe all those Charlie Brown moments in my life were preparing me for this one big, painful one. That does makes sense … ******' Universe.


Well when you're Green, I'll be your Brown.
Like the earth that loves the flowers,
I'll will be your solid ground.

And I'll be your Azure, when you are Verdigris.
We'll be thee most beautiful ocean
that eyes have ever seen.

And when you're Black, I'll be your White.
Mixing all of the colors … I'll make everything alright.

Now when you're Blue, I'll be you're Red.
If something should make you wanna cry,
I will feel your pain instead.

And I'll be your Orange, whenever you are Pink.
We'll be thee most amazing sunset,
that the sky could ever ink.

And when you're Black, I'll be your White.
I'll mix all of your colors … and make everything alright.

Should you be Violet, I will be your Beige.
Like a sleepy moonlit desert,
pasteled in dunes and sage.

And when you're Grey, I will be your Rainbow.
We'll be thee most soothing rainstorm
the world has ever known.

And when you're Black, I'll be your White.
I'll mix all of your colors … yes, I'll make everything alright.

With love on my palette, painting a glorious sunrise …
I'll color all your mornings with a smile and brighten up your skies.
If you should find yourself in sorrow from someones hate or lies …
I'll take the stars down from the heavens … and paint them in your eyes.

So whenever you are Black, I will always be your White.
I'll mix all your colors with a promise … everything will be alright.

Yes, I'll mix all of your colors with a promise … Everything's gonna be alright.

~  Winter 2012

  I wrote this after she had rang me up one afternoon lamenting about her life at the moment, troubled that her latest novel hadn't done as well as she'd hoped and now she had to be waitressing to make ends meet. I tried my best to cheer her up and assured her that she was strong enough to handle anything and that she must keep chasing her dreams. I wrote it as a poem, but I can't help but notice it looks like a song, though I've never heard music for it. Those repeated verses look just like choruses to me.

  Earlier in the day, I had been looking at a booklet of paint swatches. I guess, up there on my roof looking at the Manhattan skyline, her sadness and me looking at all those colors melted together somehow and, as happens, out came this piece. Even this, became another synchronicity as she would name her next novel “Show Me All Your Colors”. I remember seeing it in the bookstore and looking straight up … shaking my head at the sky. Was this the universe telling me to show and tell her all this?

  Well, if it was, I stuck with my gut and kept it to myself. My God, if you only knew how many of these synchronicities there were between her and I. It simply boggles my mind. I wanted to call them “coincidences”, but there were just so **** many of them … Each so unique, they just couldn't be called that. I don't want to tell them all here, because like I said, the more you swear to it, the crazier you sound. And I'm sure your questioning my sanity by now, aren't you? (Smirk)

  OK, OK … this one is definitely romantic. I wrote it one night, drunk to the bejeezus. I'd done what we called “The Crosstown Crawl” with my pal Tristan and a gaggle of assorted waitresses we knew. This involved starting at Brass Monkey on the west side highway in the Gansevoort District and ending at my favorite hookah bar, Karma, on the Lower East Side … Drinking in, and often being “asked to leave” (Read: Kicked out of) every bar that took our interest as we walked (Read: staggered) west to east, staying below 14th St.

  On my way home from the city on the J train, I thought about all the phone conversations we'd had while I was on this train crossing the Williamsburg Bridge. Being drunk, I guess, I caught a bout of sadness that I'd never get to tell her any of this or even how I felt about it all. Before I hit my elevator, this piece was swimming in my head. It's about as mushy a piece as I've ever written … if not thee most! Not the norm for me, but this is, after all, a lot to keep pent up inside you. I wouldn't wish this predicament on anyone.

For My Little Red-Haired Girl …

You …

My Love.
My Queen.
This Shining Light in my eyes.

My Laughs.
My Dreams.
My Soft, Contented Sighs.

My *****.
My Lavender.
My Dew Covered Rose.

My Smile.
My Cinnamon.
The Joy in my heart … ever inspiring my prose.

My Best Friend.
My Co-Star.
My Fearless Partner in Crime.

My Breath.
My Cohort.
My Side-kick throughout time.

My Snow-capped Mountain.
The Wind caressing my face.
My Vast Green Field.

The Ivy Covered Wall
that harbors my soul … ever refusing to yield.

In a different time ...

You … would have been my Life.

You … would have been my World.

You … would have been my Everything

and I will always love you for my own special reasons.

It is just a shame … and I'm so, so sorry … that you … must never, ever know.

Maybe next time.

~Charlie Brown

   When I came-to in the morning and read what I had wrote, I had to laugh a bit. It is borderline corny, very beautiful, very telling and very sad … all at once. I shook my head, laughing and told myself :

  “*******, Sam … yer losin' it. Get your **** together, will ya?”

  I guess in my stupor, I was imagining what it would have been like to write something for her. I don't know … There it was and I was stuck with it. I almost deleted it, but, my finger wouldn't press the key. As I told you before … I'd NEVER show this to her. She'd probably never speak to me again.

   As a sadder epilogue, that eventually happened. I still don't know why, but we haven't spoken in years. Maybe she sensed this emotion in me and ran away. Or maybe, just maybe … she thought I'd pushed her away somehow … but for whatever reason, we drifted apart. I guess I'll never know.  As you can see by reading this, that was never my intention. But, like I keep reiterating … It is what it is.

  One day, I called her number to catch up and shoot the breeze. I hadn't spoken to her in a few months as she'd been busy promoting her new novel and I didn't want to pester her. But … it was disconnected … I checked my emails … nothing. I'd never been so confused, she just closed me out. I didn't want to bother her. I was sure she had her reasons and if she wanted to reach out to me again, she would. She had my email and my phone number. But, for now … she was gone … and that was that.

  So, what do you think, Reader? Do I get the Tin hat … or a Badge of courage? Am I bat-**** crazy … or just eccentric? I'll leave it up to you to decide, because as I said, this all happened to me and there isn't a thing I can do about any of it. I just had to get it off of my chest. Thanks for letting me vent.

  Wherever she is … she will always mean the world to me. I can see her green eyes if I close my mine and look for them. Sometimes, on occasion, her face haunts my sleep. Still, I like to picture her, kids playing in a sprinkler behind her, digging in her garden, wearing gloves too big for her hands and a smudge of fresh dirt on her cheek … it makes me smile.

-Sam Webster
Brooklyn, New York
OK, you can stop scratching your head. I'm sorry if you feel like I tricked you or was playing a prank … That was not my intention. This piece is experimental writing, of sorts. If you are wondering, it's titled “Somewhere … Out There”. But I didn't want to put a title at the head of the page, as that might have clued you in too early.

I also confess that “Sam” the narrator is, on no uncertain terms, based loosely on myself. But hey, what better way to string you along? Besides, as Stephen King said, you “Write what you know”. As far as I 'm aware, using poetry within a short story like this, or in this manner, has never been done before. Welcome to the future!

It really belongs in my “From Thee Edge” Collection with the rest of my Twilight-Zone-esque short stories. (You can now read some of these fiction short stories here, posted in my "NoPo@HePo" posts, along with some non-fiction essays. I hope you enjoy them.) But, because I pieced together several of my poems to not only tell the story, but as a vehicle to carry it along as part of it; I wanted to put it here on Hello Poetry just to see if I could convince you long enough to get you through the story … while having you believe it was me speaking to you and that it was all very real to me. Thus, making it feel real to you as you read it.

Was I having you along right up until it was signed by someone else? Or, at least until the narrator addressed himself as “Sam”?

If so, then I accomplished my mission. I'd love to hear your comments on it. If you've been reading any of my other posts, I'm sure you've figured out that I like to run wildly outside of the box sometimes. This was just, as I said, an experiment in a different way to tell a story … fiction or otherwise. As always, I hope that I took you on a journey and, more importantly, that you enjoyed it.

~Jeff Gaines
(Lower Alabama)
Kelly Rose Feb 2018
A not so perfect sestina
For me the sestina is a perfect way to tell a story.
This is a wedding rehearsal dinner told from different points of view.
The rehearsal dinner

Father of the Bride
God, she’s beautiful.  My poor blind baby
Girl.  She thinks he is some kind of white knight
Tomorrow will be the blackest of days
Married to a gold digger. No more time
No, the thought…Tomorrow will be his last
Lost her to a cur. Pain colors me blue

Maid of Honor
Oh my God, he has gorgeous eyes of blue
What he sees in her, ug! She’s a baby
She’s kidding herself, this will never last
She’s so gullible. Yeah – he works nights
Like the night he’ll have with me, our last time
On to the next, tomorrow’s a new day

Groom’s Mother
What a farce! Tomorrow is a wasted day
A loveless marriage is living life blue
This smile hurts.  Unfortunately time’s
Run out.  She’s gotta be knocked up – poor baby
But we need the money; right now, this night
****, how much longer can this agony last

Best Man
He’s such a man *****.  No way will this last
Getting married is just another day
She needs to be saved. I would be her knight
If she were mine, her life would not be blue
She’s perfect. If only she were my baby
It should be us.  If only there was time

Too bad she’s not the bride, she’s a good time
God, how much longer can this dinner last
At least her friends are hot, oh yeah baby
I don’t know how I’ll get through this long day
Marriage, ick, man I’m crying the **** blues
I’m gonna bang the bridesmaid all through the night

Oh my God, he’s mine, my shining white knight
I’ll love him always, until the end of time
He’s so perfect - I’ll never sing the blues
He’s my first, my only, he’ll be my last
My wedding will be the most perfect day
Perfect, I can’t wait to have his baby


He’s no white knight and she is such a baby
She’s doomed to sing the blues, while he’ll be caught time after time
At long last, the day will end
I hope you enjoyed the sestina

Rehearsal to Ourselves
Of a Withdrawn Delight—
Affords a Bliss like ******—

We will not drop the Dirk—
Because We love the Wound
The Dirk Commemorate—Itself
Remind Us that we died.
Paolo C Perez Oct 2012
His Funeral was today.  Well, his wake rather.  It was in his old colonial home on Elm Street, a bought of irony that Paolo would never get.  Anyway, it was an odd set up at his house. Family and friends downstairs in the living room, acquaintances and honorable mentions meandering through the hallways clearly more interested in the intricate little floral patterns that adorned the wallpaper than how his family was holding up.  The company of the house was split, everyone either legitimately full of sorrow, or completely full of ****.  In everyone’s grasp either handkerchiefs or hand grenades it was as if the invitation read “Come see it to believe it!” In the study across the hall a small memorial was set up.  Big cards, tons of photos, some flowers, anyone who actually cared stayed there and stared at his once happy face, who knew what it looks like now.  
He had died of some sort of overdose, one that destroyed his heart, so he would have looked fine in an open casket.  The doctors say it was *******.  I don’t believe them.  Paolo had his fun in college, ***, *****, sure, but coke?  There’s no way.    The services weren’t to take place for another two hours, so his family rolled him onto the second floor balcony.  It was actually his dad’s decision, something about a “disgrace” and not wanting to look at his face.
Apparently his mom had felt bad letting her dead son chill on the porch for a few hours, so she rolled him across the hallway to his own room him and kind of laid him out on the bed, as if letting her baby boy take his eternal sleep where he’d have had most of his shorter ones.  
Picturing him lying up there was the first negative connotation I ever had with the image of him on that bed.  He had that kind of headboard that when we started getting at it the bed would hit the wall with each rhythmic movement.  Steady and almost tribal as our bodies danced to the ever increasing beat of a talking drum.  Our clothes off and our skin glazed with sweat it was like my own personal method for getting high. Now don’t get the impression that our relationship was based purely on a physical connection, we’d been dating for three and a half years, the love was there all right.  
We had met in the strangest of ways, through a mutual friend that I was kind of, almost, sort of, but not really having a “thing” with, you know?  Cisco was his name.  So we were together one day and he, being the adorable spaz that he was, had forgotten that his own birthday party was that same night.  He asked if I didn’t mind tagging along, it was a celebration for him and two friends whose birthdays followed his in sequence.  
This had been going on for several weeks, and I know we weren’t dating but I still had a feigning interest in the guy.  So we arrive to this girl, Cristina’s, house and I noticed this other boy almost immediately.  In a backwards cap and pair of boot cut jeans he was jumping around, tossing his arms, right in the middle of reciting some hilarious anecdote to any of his friends who hadn’t heard it yet; even those who had seemed riveted.  He was so full of charisma and with such assurance.  Besides that he was kind of cute so, though pathetically, I tried flirting with him for the rest of the night; he didn’t really catch on.  We left that night without having exchanged more than ten words between each other, I thought I’d never see him again, turns out I was wrong.  
“Broadway CAREols.  Show others that you care by enjoying a night of with your favorite blend of Christmas ditties and Broadway biddies” And before you ask, Yes, I did come up with that title, I think it was great and it was at the top of each flyer in big red and green letters and if you asked me “If you could do it again…” I would do it the same each and every time don’t judge me.
It was a show I had to direct for a community service project and of all people he played the piano for my show.  Only me and several other girls made up the cast, and I knew how easy it was to mistake a positive attitude for flirtation when it comes from a handsome young man.  He ran the music over three or four times individually with each cast member before the night of the show, but when Paolo and I worked that night he stopped me and just sang. For me.  
Each night after rehearsal I had to give him a ride home, I was a year older and thus had my license a year sooner.  I’d never mind allowing myself more time to bask in the glow of his perfectly understated confidence, so I was happy to oblige.  Technically Connecticut state imposed a law forbidding new drivers under the age of 18 to be on the roads past 11 at night.  My mom, being a government employee, really stressed this one.  His house was a solid ten minutes drive from our rehearsal spot, and my mom often warned me to allow myself enough time to get back home before 11.  What started as me beginning to drive faster and faster during the trip home ended as a routine each night, where I would finally allow him to step out of my car just as the clock read 11:00 PM.  
Our first kiss was in that car, my first uncontrollable breakdown was in the car, hell the first time he told me he loved me was in that car…right at the lip of the driveway.  I learned to ride my brakes perfectly to the point where I could park just beyond the edge of the sidewalk yet just before the point where the porch light would flash on, reminding his mother that his son is out past ten on a school night.  It was so warm.  I’ll never forget the cadence of his laughter as it trailed off, seamlessly merging with that next statement “Anna, I love you”.  I could have sworn the porch light went on.  

Now I know it may seem like I don’t care for his being dead right now, but the thing is, I did something.  I did something really bad.

You see, I had mentioned that he was up in his room, right?  Still, stiff, simply waiting to be brought down in a few hours as the catalyst to another round of tears.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did my share of crying the night before.  He’d been in the hospital for only a few days and when they told us he was dead…God, he was just so young, two years into college, the friend you have who was chasing his dreams down with a brand new pair of sneakers.  That kid the whole town knew because of the multitude of silly town functions he attended.  He would always insist.  Every other weekend was one silly thing or another “Oh you’re gonna love this.  Two words – ‘Poetry showdown’.  If you can’t take the heat, don’t stay in the kitchen”
The day of the funeral I just had to see him.  I snuck up the two floors to his room on the third floor.  As I neared his door at the top of that final flight of stairs each creak of the floorboard seemed to resonate through the house, followed by the hollow silence of my stillness.  I paused with each step as if stepping in larger spans of time would make what I was doing seem less suspicious, should someone hear me.  Upon touching his doorknob I felt an immediate chill. I couldn’t tell whether it was some ghostly feeling of being in the presence of a dead person, or the fact that the thermostat had been turned down to keep his body prime for viewing.
I held my breath as I opened the door, and blinked a couple times when I saw him.  He was wearing what everyone else was in downstairs, black tuxedo and a dark tie.  I know he would have scowled had he known he was going to be buried in a constricting penguin suit.  We had a conversation about it, you know?  Out on Academy Hill, right in the middle of a picnic. We were in enough shade that his transition lenses were only half tinted, and when he sat up, it was abruptly.  Pushing my head off his chest he kind of leaned in to the cemetery in the distance and pointed out how sad it is that no one really ever gets the chance to choose how they want to spend the rest of eternity dressed in.  He would have preferred his puma sneakers, still white after seven months, his striped green and blue socks, his only pair of ripped designer jeans and that express shirt he loved so much because it showed off his natural physique.  
I moved closer, inching toward him at first, then quicker as I broke through a place where I just relaxed, and for a moment he wasn’t dead.  For a moment he was just sleeping, all ready in his fancy get up simply waiting for me to wake him up.  I found myself sitting next to him, my eyes cast downward, half expecting his gaze to meet mine, and while stroking his hair I got an idea.  It happened quickly, and I kind of have a problem with acting upon my impulses, it’s something he used to criticize me on that and I never really improved.  Without thinking I threw open his drawer and pulled out what I knew he’d have wanted to be dressed in, should he have gotten the chance to create a will concerning his death-wear.  As I pulled of his starchy shirt my hand brushed against his chest, chilled as the room was, eerie as nothing else.  I finally got him down past his pants and saw, of all abominations, that he was outfitted in a fresh pair of tighty whities.  God, it’s as if the funeral home was asking to be haunted by his tormented soul.  I found his single pair of silk boxers and reassembled him in the way I knew he’d have wanted to be.
So great, now everyone will think I’m a loon for having desecrated his body.  Well what do they know; I’m the only one who ever really knew him! But how the hell would I explain it to his parents when the pallbearers march in and there he is, laying face up in his street clothes?  
This wasn’t right.  He didn’t belong here, he needed to be somewhere comfortable, someplace he enjoyed, not sitting upstairs in a suit with the lights off and the air blasting.  He hated the cold!  Certainly he would have hated a hundred people staring at his dead and lifeless shell, and he would, without a doubt, hate being six feet under, pushing daises at the Nichols Road cemetery.
I wrapped my arms around him, and as the building adrenaline made my breaths deepen I inhaled several moments of ecstasy off his clothes that still clung to his musty scent.  I lowered him gently to the floor and took care as I dragged him across the carpet to his door.  After fumbling, for what felt like several minutes, on his door handle I got him onto the awning introducing the stairs.  I even made it down the first flight of stairs without freezing up at the tiniest creak when I heard someone coming my way.  ******, they must need to use the bathroom, why couldn’t they just use the one downstairs like any normal person?  Without hesitation I throw open up the window near bottom of the stairs, heaving myself and him, sending us tumbling onto the garage roof.  Ignoring my probable bruises I spring up and slam the window behind me while taking special care to hide us both as far away from the bathroom window as possible.
Sitting up there, my heart racing, I felt his hand in mine and it was probably because my palms had gone clammy but I swear for a span of time he was alive again.  I closed my eyes and felt the breeze in my hair and was transported to a place where I spent a single moment in each day we ever shared.  Each beach side sandcastle, each afternoon spent cloud gazing, those same afternoons turning into evenings of star gazing, each and every night spent utterly and irrevocably lost with this silly boy that chose to love me.  
I was torn from my oasis as I heard the bathroom’s occupant exit and continue downstairs.   Knowing that my van was parked on the other side of the street I pushed his body as close to the edge of the roof as I could without his falling off and let him be. I hopped back inside and ran downstairs, but not before flying through the doors of the memorial and interrupting his mothers eulogy.  In an act of sheer brilliance I mustered a few tears and tore out the back door.  Everyone figured I was just so taken away by his death that I couldn’t stand to be there anymore.  Who knew anxiety could be mistook for remorse so easily?
I ran down the driveway, losing the grace I had composed in my dress in high heels the moment I slammed that door.  I jumped into Emmet, my van, because only crazy people drive around in un-named vehicles.  
I pulled out of my spot, nearly ruining the paint job on both my and his Uncle Ed’s car.  I flew my trunk door open and set the third row down, the general idea being his landing securely in my back seat.  I reversed up the driveway with the precision of a surgeon and the speed of a leopard right back to the edge of the garage where I had tossed his body.  I jumped out of my car nearly forgetting to put it into park before I shut off the engine.  I barely got halfway around my car before becoming transfixed on his hand, hanging off the gutter as if reaching for mine to grab hold and pull him to sweet salvation.  I jumped up a few times, unsuccessfully before I took off my shoes and got a good running start.  I flew up, grabbed his arm and ****** towards the car in a sideways downward motion.  He nearly cracked his head on the pavement coming down, he would have too if it wasn’t for my body breaking his fall.  I got up, too distracted by the sheer volume of my own heart to realize the pain I felt.  I shoved him into my back seat, slammed the trunk, stumbled into the car, stuck it in reverse and stepped on gas without even putting my shoes back on.

I told you I had done something bad.
This is a first draft, please, I welcome your critiques.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
Good afternoon, she said, it’s me.
I thought I might phone today
because . . .
I was wondering you see
how your voice would sound,
how you might speak to me
(if you would speak to me at all
that is).  

It’s probably an intrusion,
but I’m curious to know if
what you write is how you are,
and how you are . . . she paused,
then said, I meant to say . . .
but she didn't.
She’d not prepared herself
for silence at the other end.

The most wonderful
of December days,
the distant cliffs had glowed
as afternoon had slowly
wound down into dusk.
The tide had turned,
and turning itself about,
was going out.

Picking up her mobile phone
from an ever-cluttered table
(where she watched the sea
and sometimes wrote)
now spurred by the moment
said aloud - I can. I shall.

Oh and this imagining
they were out with the dogs
on the sand, these two writers
talking seamlessly about this
writing life, their poetry please.

Are you there? , she said, knowing,
though his number dialled,
she hadn’t really placed the call.
A rehearsal, she told herself firmly,
that was only a rehearsal after all.
K Mae Oct 2012
Dress rehearsal for
All Souls Day
All Saints Day if you believe
Day of the Dead is coming
Liam Jul 2015
reality abruptly removed the veil
  realization mercifully provided the light
a binary being seeking his own level
  attempting to rise to the surface of himself

if peaceful existence is based on choice
  then personal dogma tablets need chiseling
if afterlife is fashioned from belief systems
  then intimate mysteries need conceiving

dialogue of a dress rehearsal for an actual life
  faithlessly hidden within lines of complexity
alliterated ambiguously, expressed equivocally
  setting the stage for reincarnation's passion play
Bailey B Dec 2009
Once I took one of those blot tests, the ones that that Rorschach guy invented.
Or maybe it's Rorscarch.
I don't know, but I call him Roar-shark.
The ones with blots of black paint that you're supposed to find pictures in.
There was this one blot, and I saw the profile of a lady's face, with long windblown-looking hair.
I was supposed to find a butterfly.

I've always had a different take on things, a weird memory association.
Well, I guess I can't call it memory. As far as I can recall, I've never seen that Roar-shark blot lady in my life, or anyone like her. At least, anyone that I can remember. And I only remember the truly remarkable.

I had these really great microwave burritos that I would eat after school, before rehearsal so I could just pop them in and go.
They were warm and gooey and really realllly bad for me, but hey.
I'm in a hurry. I'm allowed to be fat.
They were soft and I could eat them in the car on the way to the theatre without spilling things on my rehearsal skirts.
But then my grandad got throat cancer.
I was house-sitting my Nana's house one day and opened the fridge to get myself a glass of milk while I fed her cats.
Those very same burritos were in their freezer.
The other day I shoved one of them in the microwave so I could grab it and go,
and I hopped in the car and took a bite
But I couldn't eat anymore.
I looked at it and my stomach turned and for some reason I could not eat that burrito.
My mind had decided that if I were to take another bite out of that food,
I would be eating cancer.
I told myself that I was being ridiculous and stupid and I was hungry, so eat it.
But I couldn't shake it.
So I threw it out the window.

My mind's ALWAYS doing stuff like that, playing tricks on me.
I can't touch the page numbers on the pages of a book. I think they're spiders.
Sometimes I think my oboe reed blades are actual blade blades
and I'm afraid to put them in my mouth.
Weirdness doesn't go away.

So now I've switched my before-rehearsal food.
Tortilla. And milk.
I don't know why this strikes me as appealing, but it does.
My mind equates tortillas and milk-- warm and cool-- with happiness,
just like it equates my face wash to orange and honeysuckle.
(Though it smells like neither.)
and Christmas angels to pillows.
Rugs remind me of Egyptians.
Theatre seats are associated with a certain animated clownfish.
Leaves are reminiscent of the Sistine CHapel.
Pleas don't tell Roar-shark.

Once my English teacher told my class to write everything important in ink,
which brings us back to that one guy,
in pen.
Since everything I write is important, I write everything in pen.
Of course, you can see everything I scratch out, too.
The unimportant of the always important.
I like to think I'm not afraid of mistakes.

But sometimes, when my iPod is on shuffle,
it decides to get inside my head and play that song
that reminds me of you--
back when I bit my lip,
back when you owed me a slow dance,
back when I actually LIKED the scent of apples and pine trees.
And my mind does this "freeze" thing that
makes me stop breathing for a second.
and I hit the next button really really fast and then
fly off to the kitchen to find a glass of milk
because nothing can go wrong when I've got happiness in my hands.
But it's no use.
The thought gets to me before I can stop it.
YOUR mistake.
And then I just get angry and the milk quivers in my glass and I have to set it down before I throw it at the wall or something drastic like that.
Because I am dramatic, maybe.
Because even though I have played it over in my head
because even though I try to think it's my fault
because even though I try to blame it on myself
I can't.
Because it's not.
Because I'm not afraid to make mistake.
But I'm afraid to remember you.
Even if you were remarkable.
You aren't.
Roar-shark would have a field day.
Shannon Ulmer Jul 2010
Chapter 1
A man wearing a black suit and tie stood at the pew of a church. He had an anxious look on his face. Where is she? He thought. It was his wedding day, yet the room was strangely empty. Not a single person had showed up so far. Not even the priest. There were no flowers, no music, nothing. All there was were empty chairs and an occasional cockroach scuttling across the floor. Maybe I got the date wrong...No, I doubt that. We talked about it all night. Just then the large mahogany doors creaked open and he saw her. Her dress…god it was gorgeous. Pure white, not a speck of dirt on it. It flowed around her shoeless feet. She appeared to be walking on air. He was utterly stunned, not able to say a word, not able to think. She was so beautiful…Her eyes, a deep shade of blue stared back at him and they became all he could see. But as he stared, something in them died. The light just left. The glimmer she always had disappeared. They looked more and more like glass eyes on a doll than the ones that belonged to his lover. Dark circles surrounded them as a thin film covered them and took away every bit of life that was left. And then they shut. The next thing he knew, he was standing over her dead body, crying. The soft velvet lining in the coffin turning the tears into little beads that rolled down the creases.
Chapter 2
My eyes opened and I took in my surroundings, wondering where I was until I realized it was just my own room. My pillow was wet with tears and my hands shaky. Then I remembered, she died. But that couldn’t be. It just wasn’t right. I rolled over in my bed too see if she was there. Much to my relief she was, her brown hair resting on the pillow. I reached out to touch it and took in the soft scent of lavender. It felt like silk slipping through my fingers. A soft moan escaped from her throat as she rolled over and faced me.
“Hi,” she whispered in a voice that was scratchy and barely audible but **** at the same time. I just stared back at her deep blue eyes and felt the tears build up behind my eyes. “What’s wrong?” she asked a pitiful look on her face.
“Nothing, just another bad dream.” I replied nonchalantly.
She sat up in the bed, stroking her hair. “You didn’t take your sleeping pill last night did you? You were tossing all night long.”
I just stared at her back. We both knew the answer. I hadn’t. I’d been skimping on my meds recently. I was getting married in a week and needed to give the meds time to completely wear off. I didn’t want the pills taking away my feelings. I wanted the full experience. Besides I thought I was getting better. There were no more voices whispering my name and I no longer talked to my dead sister, who apparently was just a hallucination my mind created to help deal with the pain of losing her. They said that it in no way meant I was insane. They called it a defense mechanism. They said it was my body’s way of protecting me. But I saw their thoughts in their eyes. I saw how frightened they were at my insanity, how they kept their distance from me, avoiding me like I was infected with the plague.
I remembered how healthy, how happy she had been. She’d had her whole life ahead of her but when she was nineteen I had taken her down to the Gulf of Mexico with Kasey, my fiancée. I couldn’t have one without the other. It was through Sarah that I met Kasey and through Kasey that I saved Sarah. I had figured that I would take the two most important people in my life to the beach for spring break but now I regret it.
I just remember Sarah’s smiling face, mocking me and Kasey as we held each other on the shore, our toes tickled by the gentle water.  Without warning a scream escaped her mouth as she was pulled under against her will. She didn’t leave the water until the following morning when her body washed up on shore. A shark had bitten one of her legs clean off. Her face was pale, her eyes open, not seeing through the milky film surrounding them and her lips stained a dark blue color. For so long I had been convinced that she had escaped. I saw her on the streets, in my apartment, in my car everywhere. Sometimes we just waved or said hi and we went on with our days but sometimes I had long drawn out conversations with her. I remember the day I proposed to Kasey that she had been waiting for me outside the apartment and we had talked for hours about how happy I was going to be with her and how I am so lucky to be able to have someone like her. Even seeing her body in that black coffin surrounded by white lilies didn’t bring the truth to me. It just felt like an insane dream when I stood up and recounted our good times during the eulogy and when I held Kasey tight in the cemetery where she now rests. I was absolutely convinced that she had lived. She couldn’t be dead I saw her, I talked to her, I hugged her. But all those psychologists said she was. They all said the hallucination was just how my brain was choosing to deal with it. Instead of becoming clinically depressed, I just chose to deny it.
Other than the hallucinations, I haven’t really dealt with her death. It still doesn’t feel real; even if I don’t see her anymore. Although she’s six feet under next to our parents, I can’t believe it. I’m just waiting for the day it hits me. The day I’ll want to do nothing but look at pictures of her as I’m locked in my room crying. But surely it won’t be soon. I’m marrying Kasey in a week and then everything will be perfect for a while.
Chapter 3
The weeks before our wedding was spent running about the streets of St. Augustine. Kasey boasted to me for days about how gorgeous she would be in her dress and how I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off her. We were having a small wedding, neither of us really had a family left and we didn’t have too many friends being as I could never keep one job for too long, let alone live in one place for a while. I usually ended up working as a waiter somewhere or in a small store. I really relied on Kasey for most of my money though.
Kasey had modeled at one point in her life and still had some money left over from it. I kept telling her to get back into it but she always said no, claiming the people in the business were shallow and ignorant. A little over a year after we’d met, she was getting pretty well known. Her agent was a scumbag who would milk absolutely everything he could from her, even if it meant turning to pornographic modeling. He was going to get as much money as he possibly could from her so he paid, literally paid, a new male model to date her. His name was Jacob Fischer. Apparently the guy was stupid enough to tell Kasey that he hadn’t been paid enough to take her anywhere really expensive. I remember when Kasey showed up at my house drenched in rain, crying. I tried to make her as comfortable as possible in my dinghy apartment. Apparently all she needed was my love. That was the first time that we admitted how much we loved each other. The only other time we admitted it was when I proposed to her. Our wedding day drew nearer and nearer until the night of our rehearsal dinner.
It took place at the Sun Dial, where I worked. We were all wearing our dress suits and the ladies wore dresses that glittered and shone in the dim lighting. We sat and drank champagne as we watched the city of Atlanta revolve around us. You could see the street lights and malls and other buildings. From our view the Golden Dome looked beautiful. I sat down sipping my wine and letting the constant chatter of the place engulf me. I was completely lost in my thoughts as Kasey sat down next to me and everyone began clapping. “Go on,” She whispered, “it’s time for the toast.” I stood up and the volume of the clapping increased.
I cleared my throat. “I can’t tell you all how flattered I am to be able to have Kasey’s hand in marriage. It’s very rare that a guy like me ends up with someone as beautiful as her,” I paused, listening to the dead silence and continued, “No really though, I am honored to be able to have her become part of my family.” I looked at the very last table and saw Sarah sitting there smiling at me. “And I’m sure that Sarah is excited to have her as her sister-in-law. Isn’t that right Sarah?” There was no reply, only stunned faces staring back at me.
Sarah was gone. I could feel all those eyes boring holes in me as my face grew hot. Kasey stood up and took my arm, “Will you excuse us please?” she pulled me of the rotating floor and towards the door of the restaurant. “What is wrong with you?” she was practically yelling. I could see the tears welling up behind her eyes. “She really was there. Sarah was sitting in the back of the room smiling at me.” I tried to tell her the truth. “No. No Parker. You’re the only one who saw her. She’s been dead for over two years now.” She looked me straight in the eyes, begging me to believe her. “You can’t just quit taking your meds like that! Normal people don’t see their dead sisters at the rehearsal dinner and most of them don’t talk to her during the toast!” I couldn’t say anything; I just looked at her. “I love you Parker, I really do. You’re the only person in this world that I feel truly understands me but you’re insane! Nothing will bring her back. I know you don’t understand that she really is gone but you have to move on. It hurts me as much as it does you. I loved her too and if you would just pull your head out of your *** you would see that there are so many other people that did too but we’ve all dealt with it and moved on.” I could tell she was trying really hard to hold back the tears but they just kept rolling down her face, painting it with bleeding mascara.
I reached out and hugged her. “I’m so sorry Kasey. I just don’t know what happened back there…” she pushed me back and stared at me in disbelief.
“You know what? **** it. You’ve completely lost your mind. How do you expect me to be able to marry someone who talks to dead people?!” her chest was heaving with effort. She was yelling at me louder than she ever had before. “Just…Just come find me whenever you find your ******* mind.” She shoved me away from her slipped in the elevator just as its doors closed.
“Kasey! Wait!” I called desperately after her. I stood by the window completely dumbfounded. My breath fogged up the glass that my hand rested on.
Chapter 4
I lay in my bed that night, staring at the water stained ceiling. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Thinking about how I had hurt her, of how she had run away and how I had been too stunned to go and face all those people that had just witnessed me talking to a hallucination. I hadn’t done that in so long…What happened? Why did she blow up like that at me? It’s not like I meant to, I mean just because it’s the first time I’ve done it in a couple months doesn’t give her a right to get so mad does it? I’m not insane…at least I don’t think I am. But maybe she’s right. Maybe I am. Insane and depressed. I thought as I rolled over in my bed and brought my legs up to my chest. My eyes landed where her head would usually be. I felt a wave of extreme hopelessness rush over me as I thought of her. I really did love her. But maybe she just can’t make herself love me. Maybe the insane aren’t meant to be loved. We’re all destined to a life of loneliness and tears. All those who try to help us don’t really care. They all just come and go like birds in the change of seasons. The world never stops changing, never stops moving. Neither do we, but we never go up, we only fall deeper and deeper until we’ve lost it completely. That’s when we start sitting in a rocking chair all day mumbling nonsense to ourselves. By then no one cares anymore; we all just become lost causes. There is no hope anymore. Not for us.
It felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest. That was how bad it felt to know she didn’t want to be with me. I would rather her have died knowing that she loved me than have her living knowing she doesn’t give a ****.  This way she was dead to me, but only me; just like my sister was dead to everyone but me. She told me to come find her when I found my mind, but how do I find it if I’ve never lost it? I just can not believe I’m insane. Surely she would come back to me if I could just talk to her. She had always loved me no matter how crazy I got. What made now different? I had to make it up to her. I would find her in the morning and hold her tight for the rest of the day. We didn’t have to get married if she didn’t want to. If she was just looking for an excuse not to marry me, why didn’t she just tell me that she wasn’t ready yet? That would’ve been easier for me to take than this. Anything would be.
The beast that had my heart in their hands rolled it around, feeling the warmth and stickiness of blood on their hands. They held still for a moment and then squeezed it until it burst, gushing blood between their fingers. I screamed into my pillow and then succumbed to the unavoidable sobs.
Chapter 5
Sleep never came to me that night. I just lay there; thinking about her, imagining her, missing her. She was all I thought about. She was the only thing I thought about as I slipped some clean clothes on and headed out of the apartment that smelled like mildew.
The streets were too crowded for me to take my car and after ten minutes of waiting for a cab, I decided to walk. Besides, I didn’t even really know where I was going yet. I tried to think of where she would go if she felt like she needed to get away. Then it hit me, Oakland Cemetery. She would probably be visiting Sarah’s grave. I flagged down a taxi and went to find her.
Upon stepping inside the cemetery I became aware of the ancient graves. In a way it was a beautiful sight. The headstones jutting out of the ground; it just brought me a feeling of peace. A thousand souls rested here, many centuries old. Most people find it somewhat creepy, but it’s fascinating to me. There’s so much history buried beneath this earth, it just astounded me to think of all these people coming to rest all in one place. I could just imagine all the things these people did, all their accomplishments. I walked up hill towards Sarah’s grave. There it was. The graves were more modern here, no headstones stuck out of the ground, they all lay parallel to the bodies beneath them.  And just as I suspected a human figure was kneeling on the ground. It had to be Kasey, I mean how many people go the cemetery this early on a day when the sun shines bright and a light breeze tussles your hair? No one. No one would want to come here this morning.
I quietly crept towards the figure, whispering Kasey’s name. There was no response from the figure so I drew nearer and nearer.  With every step I took I noticed that something wasn’t right. Their backside was bare, and so far as I could tell, so was their front. They sat there, no movement at all, trapped in one moment of time. From the back, they looked like Kasey, they had the same hair and lying next to her was the dress that she’d worn last night. “Kasey?” I called out, waiting for an answer. Nothing stirred except for a couple of squirrels off in the distance. I reached out and touched her on the shoulder. I drew my hand back immediately as the awful stench of death filled my nostrils. I stood there stunned as the body fell back into the grass with a thud. It was definitely Kasey. She lay there, on top of Sarah’s grave staring up at me. There were long, deep gashes up her wrists. A knife clutched in her right hand, she had died, staining the earth with her blood. Her bloodshot eyes stared up at me with an eerie emptiness. Her face looked pained; you could almost see her last thoughts on it. Life isn’t worth living anymore, I’ve been betrayed one too many times so I’m just going to end it all right now and stop waiting for someone else to do it for me. My mind and body went completely numb. This wasn’t happening, No, I would wake up and it would all just be a dream. She couldn’t have killed herself, no, not her. She had always loved life. Always loved to go somewhere new, to get out there, try everything, and live life to the fullest. So why would she **** herself? It couldn’t possibly be my fault. I had never done anything to hurt her. I never could have. I had loved her way to much. I couldn’t be the re
Copyright Shannon Ulmer 2008
Elicia Hurst Jan 2019
to Emilia,
you are the method to my madness

I will cry my heart out now
for every hypothetical tragedy.
I’ll break my heart now
so I don’t have to— in another life,
or a life yet to come,
drown myself in some apocalyptic loss.

departures. Haunt me for life.
Mourn you for all the ways you’d die.
Prepare myself for inconsolable grief
in a simulation of a graveyard.
Tombstone upon tombstone:
Dug, prodded, buried, sunk.

My dear,
to my dismay, you are but a mortal,
implicated in the immortality of love.
In the book of all conclusions,
written in an indecipherable tongue,
your name engraved in feeble marble,
an expiration date in bright, blinding red.

How can we cheat Oblivion?
How do we defy Death?

You shrug with a confident nonchalance.

What is Death to Love Imperishable?  
What is Eternity of a moment to Oblivion?

We are in the dress rehearsal
for the season’s première and the grand finale.
The Universe has been on our side all along,
it’s poured every blood, toil and tear into
years of conspiration and orchestration,
for our one delicate point convergence.
One chance against all odds.
One intersection against all parallels.
So come what may—
Take my hand and break a leg.
Jan 2019
W Winchester Jan 2016
Call #1:
I was excited. I was going to tell you about the new friend I'd made. She sits next to me in rehearsal and has a pretty laugh. And the girl two seats over who had long hair and funny jokes. Or the blonde on my right who had great music taste and a contagious smile. As soon as we had a break, I dialed your number. It rang three times, you didn't pick up.

Call #2:
We'd just finished rehearsal. I turned my phone back on, no new messages. But I wanted to tell you about our conductor with the sarcastic comments and the irrelevant analogies. I was going to tell you about the breakfast buffet or the church campus we were on. I dialed your number, it rang three times. You didn't pick up.

Call #3:
You called back! The conductor was calling us back inside, our break was already over. We exchanged mutual apologies and goodbyes. I promised I'd call back in a half hour. And I did.

Call #4:
We were finally out for lunch, I dialed your number. It rang three times. You didn't pick up.

Call #5:
I shouldn't have bothered. I had nothing left to tell you. I just wanted to hear your voice. I dialed your number. It rang three times. You didn't pick up.

Call #6:
It's dinner time now and I don't want to eat. I know it's late where you are and you're probably busy. This time I even stopped to listen to your voicemail greeting. It wasn't the same. I sat through dinner waiting for my phone to flash with a message, a missed call, a voicemail. Something to show you still cared.
And it did. I eagerly flipped my phone over, it wasn't from you.
I spent that day clinging to the hope that maybe you'd call, maybe you'd remember. You promised.

Call #7:
It's after midnight. I'm on the balcony. The air is cold and I'm crying. Even if you'd called, what could I have said? Would I tell you my ex girlfriend is a dropout? That my insomnia's come back? That I nearly fainted during rehearsal, or that I was actually proud of myself for only having four nervous breakdowns?

The one time I felt like I needed you most, you weren't there.
I waited all day for a call that never came.

I was going to leave a voicemail, on that last call. I had climbed onto the railing, looking down at the street. I wondered what would **** me first: the fall to the ground, or a broken heart. I called again. It didn't even ring.

If you'd answered...
Maybe I would've told you that I'd twisted my ankle when I finally came down from that railing. Maybe I would've told you that I couldn't eat at all that day because I was too hurt. I could barely fight the tears hard enough to choke back a glass of water. Maybe I would've told you how everyone stared when I spilled my coffee because I couldn't even see straight. Maybe I would've told you how stupid I felt that I was even crying over you. You're a friend, nothing more- so why the hell do I care so much?
Maybe I would've told you. But I didn't. You broke your promise.

And maybe I'm obsessive, maybe I'm annoying. But I called seven times, and on the last it didn't ring.
It took too long for you to call back, normally I would just forget that. Except for the fact it was my birthday. My ******* birthday. (If anyone remembers that Aly&AJ; song.)
Wrote this two years ago on this day.
Sean Hunt Feb 2016
Don't forget
To rehearse
Every night
You must die right
Amitav Radiance Jul 2014
Continuous change is ubiquitous
Scripting a new script for us
Without rehearsal we take the stage
Diane Feb 2014
Resting on a stack of
original vinyl’s
a cowboy hat of black felt
the dresser was blonde with gold handles
a collection common in the 1960’s
a small turn table, red handkerchiefs
harmonica, guitar picks and cigarette papers
a diorama of his life
as kids, we would pull out the blue song folder
and sing Your Cheatin’ Heart
into an empty microphone stand
the aroma of rosin and pipe tobacco
guitar cases and Fender amps we dare not touch
when the babysitter’s boyfriend, one night
played Hey Good Lookin’ on the record player
I shot after him like a bear cub
my heart racing in my throat
saying I’m going to tell my Daddy!
a picture I drew found its place by
his fiddle, the one that
sits in my closet today, someday,
I will learn to play Lovesick Blues
because every time I hear that song
my dad is wearing his hat
tapping his feet
and singing like ol’ Hank Williams
2 am coffee rings on my bedside table
procrastination at the expense of a letter grade
Nana's hand-stitched quilt has never felt so soft
But her funeral hit me hard
That quilt draped over her coffin
matched the color scheme
of the one she made for a little girl
who love butterflies and spring time
I remember pool side juice boxes
stuffed animals from a pretty lady
she was nice to me
her mom was mean to her
she cried at the funeral
Nana was a better mother to her than
her own ever dared to be
her sister found cigarettes
shes so thin now
I remember her lipstick
its always been red
it looks so red on her skin
the color of the ash
that falls from her stick
matching the skin of Papa
Nana's son
He sang at her funeral
He cried the whole time
Everyone cried
Not me
but I cant cry
Jade Green words
she read them
spotty reading with bad rehearsal
but I remember
her and I and him and my brother
juice boxes
that pool
its all her
I wish I had known her well enough
to miss her
My Nana's funeral was today. Her quilt is still in my room. She made us a few. It means a lot more now that im out of chances to thank her for it.
Abandonment in the form of a 8 year old who's most loyal friend triped n left him to be beaten by the 5th graders

Abandonment in the form of a 10 year old boy, told to wait outside before going to the park only to wait an hour n see his siblings return in a sweat from the park.

Abandonment in the form of a 15 year old boy, told to wait in front of school for rehearsal only to be told a lie n wait there for countless hours while rehearsals were somewhere else.

Abandonment in the form of a 17 year old boy, told to come out to eat with friends only to return from the restroom n be left with the bill.

Abandonment in the form of a 21 year
Old man, who realized people aren't what they seem n abandoned them all.
Tommy Randell Aug 2017
I want to speak in couplets for a day
Shaping beforehand what I have to say

Not to utter words without rehearsal
Blindly squirting thoughts into dispersal

It seems old fashioned to your ears no doubt
Like bedtime books you used to read out loud

Rupert the Bear perhaps or Dr Seuss?
Too contrived, too quaint, of very little use?

But think a moment, take your time to hear
What magic couplets make inside the ear

I'm starting with a Facebook Rhyming Day
Hoping at least my Friends will play the game

Some I'm sure will even match my verses
Some I'm sure will even catch my urges

Death to prose and its simplifications
Extermination Extermination

A lexis of war upon the Nation
Decasyllabic Versification

Tommy Randell 02nd August 2017
Bailey B Sep 2012
it's a lot harder than you think.

you have to be from the South, like me
or the North, like I want to be
or somewhere entirely more interesting than Dallas
and you have to have the ginger gene
(because there's no way I'm having
blonde children)
and you have to like aquariums
specifically the seahorses

don't wear too much cologne or
pastels and don't ever smell like
frat parties, barbecue, or beer
and DON'T ever say that ballet is stupid.

you have to ask before we choose
the restaurant because I don't eat Italian
or Thai or Greek or Subway
and you have to hold the door open for me
even if we're in my own room.

listen to my monologues for class
and rattled-off to-do lists
as you lazily push the basket
and I grab it from you because you're going too slow
and mockingly call you a princess

know that I am busy, VERY busy
in fact so busy that I may not see you
because I am an independent woman
and there are stories to be built, dragons to be slayed,
and there are things my hands must finish
before I can start on holding yours

make fun of my Crocs
and the way I hiccup out of nowhere
and the days that I don't have time to eat breakfast
so I bring a Fuzzy's cup to class
full of off-brand Cap'n Crunch
shoving handfuls into my mouth between
snide remarks about Morrison
while you laugh inside your eyes
about what a cynic I pretend to be

hate me when I tell you
that I don't need a hug
and that I'd rather be dating Hemingway
or that I have rehearsal
painting cities, building histories

ignore my comments about you needing to shave
or on how I think I'd rather I'd never get married
and live the rest of my days writing stories
with organic vegetables and rainy days and
walks in the Carolinas

call me a ***** when I'm being one
(because I know I am about 97% of the time)
and tell me you would help me
if I would ever let you
whether it be Christmas lights or
physics lab or the gnawing pain
of lonely lonely lonely

let me read my books, propped up on
my pillows and nestled into a glaze
and let me have my expectations
of Rochesters and Darcys
even though I say I don't
and when I have to sew a blanket for class
and I say the stitching looks awful
tell me no, it doesn't
because I desperately want you
to know that my favorite color is lavender
and I love watermelon and stationery and
online shopping at 2 am
and I desperately want to know
your elementary school, your favorite song,
your middle name
even though I pretend I don't

and sometimes when I say I'm right
and you know that I know I'm wrong
just pick up your spirals and turn to leave,
then stop and say
"my favorite book is Gatsby, too."

and smile and call me crazy.

it's a lot easier than you think.
Raj Arumugam Aug 2011
The young Musicians  are at rehearsal...the ladies and the lords will soon gather in the music chamber...and Caravaggio's musicians will play them some music and sing them various  songs...but first, they must rehearse...

The Musicians at Rehearsal

Let us continue…
Let me tune a little of this lute
while you peruse the notes
and you clear your throat
And what’s our Cupid doing?
Crushing grapes again between his teeth

Let us rehearse well
to render a song of softness
and ease and grace
A song of love
with sweet music
that will charm our guests

And we shall present it
in the private chamber
of honored lords and ladies -
and we shall sing like angels
and one of us will be as Cupid
dancing and flying as fancy takes him

Let us hurry now
though let us not forget polish
and pace and perfection…
come, let us again rehearse together

...and soon the ladies and the lords will arrive...and the musicians will perform and sing their songs of love, passion and sadness...

...and the ladies and the lords are seated in the music chamber...and Caravaggio's musicians play and they sing a song of love and passion...

Song of Love

O luscious Ladies
and brave Sirs

the clouds join
with one another
and the streams sing;
the birds sit amorous
on the branches
and the trees sway
while the flowers spread their scent
in the air
and the bees dance in a daze

ah, Ladies are made for men
and men for women
and each so shaped for perfect fits -
embrace then the lover beside you
O Sirs pick the red berries
on the lips of the luscious ladies;
and O lovely Ladies,
yield to the embrace
of the gallant beside you
and feel flowers bloom within -
for men are made for women
and women for men
and each so shaped for perfect fits

O embrace and kiss
dear luscious Ladies
and most accomplished Sirs
for Cupid seeks that you make love
and produce heavenly cherubim
who in turn, nights and days,
will make love like you do
now in this chamber of pleasures

...and so ends the first song...and the musicians prepare to sing one more for the charming ladies and the elegant lords...a song of sadness to end the night...

...the beautiful ladies and the lords want more from Caravaggio's musicians... the musicians are always glad to oblige..they sing their song of sadness, of loss and love...*

O this ecstasy we call love

O this ecstasy we call love -
what is it?
why do we crave it
when there is such pain
that weighs on the body and heart?

O this joy we call love -
what is it?
why do we fall
when there is so much deceit
and betrayal?
why do we love
when there are lies
and hidden motives?

O this curse called love -
it has dried my heart out
and my being is smeared
as cloth with oil and grime;
my best times have been taken away
and there is left only
contempt and scorn
and derision…

O this darkness we call love -
what is it?
why do we still move to it
even as it teases us
and leaves us broken
and forlorn?

*...and it is time to go...and the ladies and lords bow and they depart...some depart hand in hand...silent...some depart alone, sad and contemplative...
complete text -  series of 3 poems based on the painting "The Musicians" (c.1595) by Caravaggio
Conor Letham Jan 2014
The kid’s quiet
then she teeters in,
all glamour and glitz.
The Ritz is asking,
Mademoiselle, for your
curtain call dress,
a glitterball gown,

dragging by your feet—
oh, but her shoes!
Duty bound cardinal
red swim in the eye
like the carpet you
ought to premiere on.
It matches the lipstick

rub, your lips a yolk
as though you had drawn
over the lines, a smear
having caught the pearl
shawl around your neck.
Those your grandmother
passed down, you say?
She would be so proud.
Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That’s such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat’s very shabby, he’s thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats—
But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn’t the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree—
He has acted with Irving, he’s acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.

“I have played,” so he says, “every possible part,
And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I’d extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag,
And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail;
With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I’d a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts,
Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell;
When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat,
And I once understudied **** Whittington’s Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.”

Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin,
He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger—could do it again—
Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: “Now then kittens, they do not get trained
As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe,
And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop.”
And he’ll say, as he scratches himself with his claws,
“Well, the Theatre’s certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well,
But there’s nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,
That moment of mystery
When I made history
As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.”
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
There was this time before the going home. The supers bowled off with cheery parents or elder brothers a good fortnight before the big day. There were lessons, but despite the best efforts of the staff who remained nobody could take this between time seriously. Mr Gayford for maths was hardly a substitute for Alfie's lively lessons. But Alfie we knew was climbing in the Alps this Christmas and would return with photos and tales that kept us enthralled despite the sums he invented - calculate the air pressure at 4107 metres on the Jungfrau. We all loved him with his self-raising Citroen Safari that smelt enticingly of Gitanes and that scent Claudia his girlfriend favoured. Oh Claudia, so wonderfully and exotically dressed, who seemed a world away from any boy's mother or sister.
Mornings were quite different. A later breakfast and then a two-hour practice with Dr. B . Hard work, with new music to learn. But the carols! Oh those sounds, and so different from what we sang all year. Boris Ord's Adam lay y bonden, Praetorius A Great and Mighty Wonder, Torches, In Dulce Jubilo. and as Advent progressed that magical verse anthem by Orlando Gibbons This is  the Record of John.
I was just eleven when Dr. B said, as we opened the music folder for the morning rehearsal, 'St Clair, Can you do this for us please?' Not so much a question as a command; you didn't say no to Dr. B. The introduction was well underway before I grasped it was to be me. How I stumbled through it that first time I don't know. I could never hear this piece without tears welling or indeed falling. ' Look Mog is getting tearful' said Richards the head chorister, and the little boys would snigger. And I would blush:  through my freckles to the roots of my auburn gold hair. Did nobody understand what this music did to me, what it said and expressed? At eleven I think I had began to know, and later when I heard it in Kings Chapel, and then conducted it variously to those bemused American students, listened to my gramophone recording, its affect always, always the same. I was experiencing truly what Vikram Seth has called an equal music, something so entirely right, a true conjunction of words and music, a coming together beyond anything as a composer I could ever imagine, a yardstick life-long; it became an acid test of sensitivity to my love of music and has been passed only four times by serious friends and lovers. To know me you must know and feel this music . . .
And so on the second Sunday of Advent at Evensong I sang this jewel, this precious flower of music's art. The candles flickered in Her Majesty's chapel and we stood for the anthem. The chamber ***** began its short introduction already weaving together the four-part texture - and then the first solo statement. This is the record of John when the Jews sent priest and Levites from Jerusalem . . . and then the tears fell and the music swam in front of me as though glazed in the candlelight.
Who art thou then? And he confessed and denied not, and said plainly, 'I am not the Christ'.
Oh that melisma on the 'I', that written out ornament, so emphatic, and expressing this truth with innocent authority. I sang it then as I hear it now. Nobody had to demonstrate and say 'Don't let it flow, let each note be separate, exact, purposeful'. So it was and ever shall be, Amen.
And they asked him, What art thou then? (Art thou Elias? x 2). And he said I am not. ( Art thou the prophet? x 2) And he said I am not.
The verse anthem is such a peculiar phenomenon of the English Reformation. Devised it is said to allow the hard-pressed choirmaster to train the main body of his singers in a short response, the soloist singing the hardest and most expressive music on his own: the verse. It is also so well suited to the English choral tradition with its Cantores and Decani ordering of voices. I was always a ‘Can’, even later when I joined the back row as a tenor.
Then they said unto him, What art thou? That we may give an answer unto them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? And he said I am the voice of him that cryeth in the wilderness. Make straight the way if the Lord.
And so I wonder still about the place of this text in the liturgy of Advent and why, cloaked in Gibbons’ music, it has remained affecting and necessary. And who is John? a prophet of the desert, the son of Elizabeth to whom Mary went to share the news of her pregnancy and whose own son quickened in her womb as she heard of her cousin Elizabeth's own miracle - a childless woman beyond childbearing age unexpectedly blessed and whose partner struck dumb for the duration of her confinement. Is it just another piece in the jigsaw of the Christmas story in which prophecy takes its part?
When I was eleven I thought to 'cry in the wilderness' meant exactly that - tears in a desert place. I learnt later that this was a man who stood apart, was different, a hippie dressed in the untreated skins of wild beasts, who lived amongst those who sought the wild places to mourn, to place themselves in a kind of quarantine after illness or bereavement, who then became wise, and who cried.
Such meditations seem appropriate to the season when there is so often the necessity of travel, much waiting about, the bearing down of the bleakness of winter time, though strung about with moments of delicious warmth when coming in from the cold as with the chair by the library fire I craved as a chorister to escape blissfully into fictioned lives and exotic places.
How these things touch us vividly throughout our lives; as we watch and wait and listen.
King Tutankhamun Aug 2018
I'm a Kool g rockin' coogis poppin' coochies
Haters get murked like Colhese my rap lease
Debutin' numero uno the heavy weight sumo  
Born on Jupiter raised on Earth my heart's colder than Pluto
Mic judo flows stickin' of ya corticals
Check me in the articles I be the broken particle
Of the universal ya need rehearsal **** goin' commerical
I lay raps like a hearse flow for rappers funeral
I a criminal none keep gats by the abdominal rhymin' phenomenal the mighty Apollo
Blazin' my cocoa flippin' crime like Bardellino
One luv to my nino got it locked like a Vegas casino
We checkin' ya dough at the front door so stop ya show
Fronting and stunting once my nines get the hunting
Bullets spikin' like kickers punting raw taunting
Game hungriest similiar to the lochness
Mon-star far from subpar rhymes ride bizzare
A pharcyde takin' ya into a spiritual homicide converged to the angelic hide

Still a crime shame all of 'em say the same
Thing flexin' diamonds on they pinky rings yet another sad soul that sings sub siblings
To the underworld debators contract initiator so you can create a
Pace between the stage and the audience face
**** that rather keep a gat tucked in the front or the back
With wisdom to rack
Imagine that fools breakin' for stats? see where my heart at?
Diggin' reachin' into the minds of the youth with the brutal truths
Chippin' my tooth
From killin' booths once I plot ya will ya loose
bringin' the ghetto blues and cruising *****
Still a sober jealous God am I call me Jehovah
Tactics of a Cobra one strike it's over
Venomous ridiculous hataz so conspicuous
Hatin' us only to anger my artillery surplus and who bust?
More rounds than Matt Dillion coatin' ya brains
With my lyrical penicillin stealin'
Back the spotlight
Catch the bright sunshine that stares into my mind
A Pharoah prophecy laid in the back of me
Head til I touch my final resting bed I'll embed
The realist **** ya ever heard shooting a bird
To all my enemies I blast at 'em with as the bullets herd
Margo May May 2015
middle of rehearsal and she says,
“mix it up! stand by someone from...
a different section.”
making eye contact with that choir boy,
secretly wanting to stand together,
wondering if he did too.
so without hesitation
i moved.

one quick glance,
determination in our eyes,
we were ready;
and we plunged into our song,
harmonizing to the soprano melodies,
making our voices climb and sink
back into our lower ranges,
supporting one another.

the entire medley-
my voice strong
his voice stronger,
my adrenaline rushing
his calmness securing,
my exhilaration rising
his soul smiling.

nearing our triumphant conclusion,
closing together in perfect unison.
today in choir :) never get to stand near my friend since he is a bass and i'm an alto.
Lame Poet Mar 2014
I want you to be my last words.
A quiet whisper in my mind--
or your name slipping from my lips
for the last time--
I wonder.
And I hope that I can pull it off,
that I could remember in a moment like that.
If you're around, I want to see you
and tell you I love you before I go
(I always say I love you before I go).
If you're not around, I'll just
whisper your name
to the air beneath my nose
one last time.
And if I can't speak,
I'll conjure up your essence
inside me.
My last words,
My eternity.

I have been breathing underwater for so long I cannot remember the last time I breathed air.
I cannot remember the last time my oxygen wasn't clogged by a mouthful of loneliness.
I cannot remember the last time I laughed and my voice didn't sound hollow in my ears.
I cannot remember the last time I opened my eyes in the morning, excited to see the new day.
I have been plagued by thoughts that drown me everyday a bit further down.
Voices in my head are turning circles trying to find a way out of my twisted mind.
I am going insane.
I stand on the edge of my roof and wait to see if the wind will give me a push.
I stare at myself in the mirror, hoping to find something alive in my features but all I see is dead tissue.
I try to rip the Band-Aid off to let the wound breathe but I rip my skin off instead.
I cry when I see people holding hands and laughing because I haven't laughed in years.
I have been dead inside for a month and I feel like time has stopped and eternity has already passed.
What is a life without a smile?
It is miserable.
I am miserable.
Miserably broken.
I am tired of trying and being broken again and again and again and again and again.
How do you live that way? How do you push through and get out on the other side?
I have done this so many times and yet I seem stuck in quicksand.
I struggle to get away and I get deeper and deeper in.
I cannot get away from my own thoughts.
I cannot get away from my own loneliness.
I am broken and my soul is leaking outside my body, my fingers are shaking and I cannot keep it inside.
I feel like I am dying everyday a new death when I wake up and realize I am still here.

Perhaps love is a dress rehearsal for death.
Inspired by a song "love is a way to die".
Liisi Kilpelä Jun 2013
Wind chime, dinner bell
Vast entity in one bite
Tattered fantasy wings,
As legs lay open—
Churn the inborn mist,
Skirted gentlemen in the
Doorway, I squat on the
Edge, bite into the meat
Like a pecking baby bird,
Tease the dogs till they howl—
I suckle on the hope through
A pink bendy straw,
****** and raw,
My fingertips bearing
Microfilaments of magic.
Throw your smiles, my dear,
Viewers take a crazy catch
Blush, it is all they wish
Cheer up, to cheer the peering eyes

Pep up your pleasing lips,
Veering eyes carry the sips
Laugh louder, you are allowed
Cry all out, they enjoy no doubt
Sob, nothing to feel sorry

Reflex your face, keep ready to face
Wink your eye, it sprinkles lust
Frown, you are the crown
Voice your tongue, it caters

Let the pearls in your cup of lips radiate
  fragrant flowers of joy and jubilation
May your breath resonate cool
  in the ears of the audience for years!

Sweeten your words, toast the taste
Sing, for an all-round swing
Synchronize your body language
With the symphony of the scene

You are the debonair in debut,
Heralding heroine of this film.
The quick buck of this movie,
Much depends on your quirk
Lens is ready to sense your synergy
Bless you my budding artist, go ahead!
naziirul mubiin Apr 2016
Life is like a play,
but there's no rehearsal to it.
It's not like writing an essay,
where you can just change and delete.

Life is like shooting a gun,
once you trigger, it's all done.
Or like squeezing a toothpaste
which you can't put it back into its case.

Life is a one way journey,
once you've done something
there's no turning back.

So live your life
the way you want it to be,
lest in the future you'll regret.
Third Eye Candy Jul 2013
And Ennui Go...
our curmudgeon's malaise is strapped to an anvil cloud of distinct mist. He trundles through the eye of a needle in his Eye. He blinks when God says " Nothing ". And the choir in his soul is late for rehearsal every minute of the daze. our curmudgeon's malaise is strapped to an anvil cloud if distinct mist. He trundles through the eye of a needle in his Eye. He blinks when God says " Nothing ". And the choir in his soul is late for rehearsal every minute of the daze.
First thing is we'd climb a tree and then maybe we'd talk
Or sit silently and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal, this is our life

And that's were the hornet stung me
And I had a feverish dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight we smoke them out

You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century

Stare in the morning shroud and then the day began
I tilted your cloud, you tilted my hand
Rain falls in real time and the rain fell through the night
No dress rehearsal, this is our life

But then that's were the hornet stung me
And I had a serious dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight we smoke them out

You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century (this is our live)
You are ahead by a century

You are ahead by a century (this is our live)
You are ahead by a century (this is our life)
You are ahead by a century

And disappointing you is getting me down

Gord Downie
Tom McCone Jan 2014
does a lion lie                                                                     do lies settle here,
beneath these sheets                                                             in these nested enclosures,
i've found myself strewn upon?                                      or corridors, from i to places
                                                                                                   never invented?
or just clusters of stars,
too distant                                                                               seven things
from wherever i found myself,                                        burnt oceans into sand;
or what breathing was,                                                         two glimmering points.
or emptiness?
                      there you were,                              a sign of rehearsal,
pulling life down, on trails hung                               or omen, or,
in perfect lines from                               just kind of nothing
each &every; spark in the sky                                         at
nine. sharp.
am i
always just
this unmotivated?

do i truly perceive
the embedding nothingness                                                      does this get
from life, or just in dream still?                                                          any easier?

                                                                                                         i'd rather find
                                                                                                               myself at
                                                                                          the bottom of the ocean,
                                                                      i guess.                                   sorry.
"i had a dream you picked up your feet and walked on over to me
i had a dream i finished those songs i gave up on
it doesn’t seem fair to be alone in the spring air
but i added the numbers from those long ****** up summers and i found myself there
with you.."
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
Prosecco cocktails, être pour la danse,
cassis pour moi avec limoncello,
madame, passion fruit, and blood oranges

très grownup, breakfast at Tiffany's,
she is all sunglasses and Audreyfied,
me and George P., struggling writers,
checking if i got enough cash
or have to exit smooth, just in case,
maybe we leave our
coats behind, as ransom?

lincoln center plaza cross-dressers,
past the opera,
the sun, a balmy thirty five degrees,
laughing at us teasingly,
cause tonight and tomorrow,
******* all the day,
winter kisses
in case we forgot,
early March
first belongs to the Ides of Winter

Afternoon of a Faun,
another ballet, origin,
a Mallarmé poem.
(you begin to comprehend)
yes quite so,
a perfect synopsis of the day,
Acheron imported from Scarlett Liam
who lives in the U.K.,
but comes to choreograph here,
for gloria Americana

sundown, soul cold back,
"lest we forget,"
but the dancers bid us adieu
with a rousing waltz, frenchified,
La Valse, une poème chorégraphique,
by Ravel, bien sûr!
aroused and heart gladdened,
return home for

for veal chop love

two hours of *** banging,
kitchen banishment, (Yay!)
chanterelles steeped in red wine,
coverlet for a non-vegan tasting,
English peas, red and purple potatoes,
and for desert,
a diet dream of verbal exchanged of detailed
I love you's

He: I love you,
She (happy), replies: I love you more.
(this repartee ballet, has been rehearsal danced before)
He: Why?
She: Because you are kind and generous, to street beggars, my single friends, good and smart, love art,
and never let me down, and love my cooking, leave space for others when you park, go thru life making waiters and ticket takers smile and laugh, sleep for hours your head on my hip, write me crazy love poems about veal chops
He: What's for desert tonight?
She: A ****
Just an afternoon in the city...whatever
LaNita Oct 2014
I can't believe all of the things they say about me
Walk in the room they throwing shade left to right
They be like "Ooh, she's serving face!"
And I just tell em, "Cut me up, and get down!"

They call us ***** 'cuz we break all your rules down
And we just came to act a fool, is that all right? (Girl, that's alright)
They be like "Ooh, let them eat cake!"
But we eat wings and throw them bones on the ground!

Am I a freak for dancing 'round? (queen)
Am I a freak for getting down? (queen)
I'm cutting up, don't cut me down
Yeah I wanna be, wanna be Q.U.E.E.N.

Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror?
And am I weird to dance alone late at night? (Naw!)
And is it true we're all insane? (Yeah)
And I just tell 'em "No, we ain't" and get down

I heard this life is just a play with no rehearsal
I wonder will this be my final act tonight
And tell me what's the price of fame?
Am I a sinner with my skirt on the ground?

Am I a freak for dancing 'round?
Am I a freak for getting down?
I'm cutting up, don't cut me down
Yeah I wanna be, wanna be Q.U.E.E.N.

Hey, brother, can you save my soul from the devil?
Say is it weird to like the way she wear her tights?
And is it rude to wear my shades?
Am I a freak because I love watching Mary? (Maybe)

Hey, sister, am I good enough for your heaven?
Say will your God accept me in my black and white?
Will he approve the way I'm made?
Or should I reprogram, reprogram and get down?

Am I a freak for dancing 'round?
Am I a freak for getting down?
I'm cutting up, don't cut me down
Yeah I wanna be, wanna be Q.U.E.E.N

Even if it makes others uncomfortable
I will love who I am
Even if it makes other uncomfortable
I will love who I am

Don't shake 'til the break of dawn
Don't mean a thing, so duh
I can't take it no more
Baby, we in tuxedo groove
Pharaohs and E. Badu
Crazy in the black and white
We got the drums so tight
Baby, here comes the freedom song
Too strong we moving on
Baby, this melody
Will show you another way
Been tryin' for far too long
Come home and sing your song
But you gotta testify
Because the ***** don't lie

No, no, the ***** don't lie
Oh no, the ***** don't lie

Yeah, Let's flip it
I don't think they understand what I'm trying to say

**I asked a question like this
"Are we a lost generation of our people?
Add us to equations but they'll never make us equal.
She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel.
So why ain't the stealing of my rights made illegal?
They keep us underground working hard for the greedy,
But when it's time pay they turn around and call us needy.
My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti
Gimme back my pyramid, I'm trying to free Kansas City.

Mixing masterminds like your name Bernie Grundman.
Well I'm gonna keep leading like a young Harriet Tubman
You can take my wings but I'm still goin' fly
And even when you edit me the ***** don't lie
Yeah, keep singing and I'mma keep writing songs
I'm tired of Marvin asking me, "What's Going On?
March to the streets 'cuz I'm willing and I'm able
Categorize me, I defy every label
And while you're selling dope, we're gonna keep selling hope
We rising up now, you gotta deal you gotta cope
Will you be electric sheep?
Electric ladies, will you sleep?
Or will you preach?"
Queen Lyrics
from The Electric Lady

Janelle Monae -
"Queen" is track #3 on the album The Electric Lady.
If you haven't heard this yet, you should! The beat sings to you and demands you get up and DANCE!!!

— The End —