Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The murky middle lies in men painted gold, dying of metal poisoning for your amusement.

There are two types of theaters. Grand palaces, cathedrals to the arts. Red carpets, crystal chandeliers, marble, gold lief. Tiny naked baby angels. People in best dress, wearing clothes they wouldn't otherwise be seen in. But that's the point of that half hour between when the doors open and the lights in the auditorium dimming: seeing and being seen. Being seen in your expensive seat. Being seen in your moderately-priced seat. Looking up at the poor fellow sitting practically next to a support beam in the very last row. Raising your eyes in fake brightness and waving; you know him from work. The golden palace is a social event, a ritual and a rite, as much as anything. Chat with your seatmates, flip through the program only to the advertisements. Marvel at how every actor has been in Law and Order. The new summer stock house training ground.

It's different when the lights dim. It becomes a place where the imagination plays out in front of us in grand detail. We feel the highs, the lows, sharply and fully, and we leave with a smile, whether from happiness or from catharsis.

Then there are the ones that exist in darkness. Maybe they're an old storefront or a tiny space rented from an absentee landlord. Everything is painted black, the smell of must and old wood hangs in the air, the apron hangs out well past the proscenium  into the audience, or the stage is a circle in the middle, like a bull fight. Folding chairs circle the area of action. The budget is low and there aren't enough Fresnel lights to go around. And they're always Fresnel. Because they are the cheapest to rent.

Cables taped to the floor with black duct tape because gaff is to far too posh a commodity for a director sleeping in his 1986 shit-brown hatchback Rustang.

The lone musician is on an electric keyboard--his own that he's donated to the production. The tickets are photocopied on red paper and the fliers for the production are hand-drawn and mimeographed like an Indy  band playing at a coffee house.

Most of the tickets are given away for free to friends and family and schools. But the show always starts on time, and when it gets dark there is no shushing of the audience. The first light queue hits slowly, and the first words are nearly a whisper.

These are the theaters where the dark magic happens.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

10 word story

Candles melt. Wicks burn, smoking upward. Taking prayers to god. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

10 word story

Bob's Christmas tree blew into our driveway. I murdered him. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stripped Away

I'm not a sentimental person
by nature. I've never
cried over a Kodak
commercial. I've never
watched an entire
Hallmark film. I rooted
for the boat when I saw
Titanic. Nothing means

Anything. Except for
the meaning we give it;
entropy pushes the universe
toward chaos.We believe
meaning gives order.
We're hideously, horribly

Wrong. I lack those
verklempt stirrings
in the chest and womb
every time I hold
a child. I am more likely
to romanticize dog ownership
than child-rearing. Or actual

Romance. It is what it
is. That is what I always say.
The thing is the thing; no
more, no less. No artificial
sweeteners, no preservatives.
No shelf-life extenders, no
red dye number five. Or

Eleven. The not-poisonous
one. Even if, when you are not
looking, life becomes
a cake from a box. A half-made
deal. There's no crime in
cheating. Making cake from scratch
is a time-sucker. Leaching
the moments in boring necessities.
Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Breakfast.
Something else, unremembered.
Unmemorable. And a half-made

Cake. I cheat at cake. I harbor
pastries, resentments and
time. I hold them in a secret
room; a vault in my head
full of nice things and bad.
The taste of fresh mint. The scraping
of a knee. Yellow boxed
cake with chocolate ice cream
over-beaten by ten year olds. I'm

Not impressed when children
help cook. It's a teaching
moment. A life skill. Not
a perfect Kodak moment.  But still...
I will take pictures. Of every
imperfect cake. Every childish and
professionally arranged delivery
of flowers. Something to hold onto
forever. Tangible proof that
someone once liked me. Tangible proof
that I exist, even when
I have trouble believing it myself.

Tangible proof of whatever you like.
But moistly, a list of all the those times
when I interacted with the Real World.
For when I inevitably forget.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ten word story

A shattered stone mossy bridge
crossing over a dried riverbed.