Article Category Archives: Poetry

Show People

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Author’s Note: This poem is quite personal to me, as it highlights many of my experiences in musical theatre as a teen. In fact, I chose to reference specific musicals I was in (e.g., I played the witch in a production of Into the Woods). As a young adult trying desperately to find a sense of identity and build self-confidence, theatre helped me immensely by allowing me to take on roles larger than life. The more comfortable I got on stage, the more comfortable I became with myself. In this poem, I tried to capture all the feelings of being a young actor, from the anticipation to the nerves to the joy of performing.

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A palpable suspension of disbelief
audience of skeptics enthralled beyond conscience
façade in foundation, shade: too light.
beauty mark drawn high on a supple cheek
A trill of a piccolo and—
My cue.

This is what I live for.

Left wing. Downstage. Head high. Smile bright.
Stand. Deliver. Pace with purpose.
A punchline landed a thousand times in rehearsal,
punctuated with rich laughter for the first time;
a flickering triumph as I listen

This is what I live for.

A fly comes down—it’s the roaring 20s
Underground speakeasy upstage of bar stools
I am the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow
Giggle juice in hand, fringe dress a-flutter
A glistening sheen of sweat as I Charleston

This is what I live for.

The fog whirls in—it’s a Sondheim fairy-tale
Enchanted forest of burlap plagued with tragedy
I am the bringer of evil, conjurer of curses
Hunched in all black, deceptively frail
A menacing scowl as I beguile

This is what I live for.

The curtains drape. It’s over.
Local theatre dimly lit, upholstered in red velvet
I am your daughter, your friend, your demure student
Swelling with emotion a stage cannot contain
An unfaltering smile as I bow

This is what I live for.

Recurring Dream

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I’m in the wings, downstage right,
opening night. Old proscenium stage,
heavy dark curtains. Invisible
on the other side a full house, expectant,
sound waves like surf on a pebble beach
swelling, ebbing, swelling. Dust,
sweat.

House lights fade to black.
Silence.

Someone comes up behind me. Who?
I can’t see. Sudden adrenalin — every hackle
shivers alert. Oh, Christ. What’s my first line?
Who am I? Fumbling for costume cues, my hands
sweep my body, meet naked flesh.
What show is this?

Dark curtains open on a growl.
Behind me, urgent, someone hisses
Go! Go! pushes me on stage. Lights up.

Discussion de Famille

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Je sais que tu es là,
Ma voix ne sait pas,
Il joue une clé de sol sur un alto;
“Je t’aime,” ne signifie rien.

Mon esprit est avec vous.
Mes mots ne sont pas.
L’espace entre nous est l’air,

Perdue dans la traduction.

Mon cœur se bat,
Ma mère hurlant jusqu’à ce qu’elle pleure.

Le vôtre cœur et le voix ne peuvent pas pleurer.
Un petit viola joue des chansons brillantes.
Saute,
Sauter,
Sourire.
Tes sons bouillonnants sont une symphonie du joi.

Mes mots ne sont pas le vôtre.
L’espace entre nous est l’aire que le bruit ne passera pas.

Saute,
sauter,
les petit mains,
me serrant.

Il y a pas d’espace entre nous:

Une clef de sole et une clef de base.
“Je t’aime,” est quand ma petit cousine me prend dans ses bras.

Mémoires d’une vieille maison acadienne

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Jeune homme
C’est toi qui m’a bâtie et soigneusement réparée.
Jeune femme
C’est toi qui m’a aimée, nettoyée, remplie avec ta famille.
Ici vous avez passé toute votre vie ensemble.

Homme
Tu as rempli le poêle à bois
Fabriqué six chaises, une table et le bureau blanc dans la chambre de Marie-Hélène
Caréné le châssis du suête
Joué le violon
Mangé et bu ton saoul.

Femme
Tu as lavé le plancher avec une brosse
Boulangé, six jours par semaine
Broché des bas et des mitaines.
Tu as chanté, en travaillant
Récité le chapelet, le soir après souper.
Tu as berçé tes neuf enfants.

Ici, vous vous êtes aimés.
Vous avez grandi, en riant, en pleurant,
Avec vos enfants.
Vous avez vieilli
Vous êtes morts maintenant
Mais votre maison demeure encore
Et elle parle de vous.

To Dye or Not to Dye

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Fifty Shades of Grey by Robyn Martelly

 

To Dye or Not to Dye

To dye or not to dye, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler to let the grey hairs win
And reveal the age she truly is,
Or to take arms against the march of time
And hit the Clairol aisle at Shoppers. To dye—to streak,
Or more; and by dyeing to hide
The roots and faded follicles
That dot the ageing scalp: ‘tis a temptation
Difficult to resist. To dye—to streak;
To streak, perchance with foils—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that choice to dye what costs may come,
When she must colour every month or so,
Must give her pause—there’s the price
That makes expense of so long life.
Yet who would bear the tyranny of age,
The dismissive glance, the cheery “Dear”
The assumed discount on Seniors Days
The insolence of youth and the scorn
Of techie geeks
When she herself might fix it all
With a single flask of dye?
She ponders highlights, hues, and tones,
Till a nagging question wracks her brain.
“Why not be who I truly am?
To hell with turning back the clock!”
And thus the needless plans to dye,
Are cast off with a single thought:
“I’m free of this, let the grey begin
I shall embrace my silver locks.”

With apologies to William Shakespeare