“Theatre”

 

I helped clean the church building today

because we needed cleansing.

We also moved rocks from one place to another

like Sisyphus

or Cool Hand Luke,

because we committed cosmic treason (yet we are pardoned).

 

At a local cemetery, I read the gravestones of renowned men

but I had never heard of any of them.

Made me ponder the silliness of everyone’s opinions.

 

I walked, like an apparition, among the grounds of the art museum

in the city: a man played 600-hundred-year-old songs for me on a lute;

Italian or Spanish pieces.

We were under a shade tree, which was under the sun,

which was under heaven.

The lute player and I were under heaven

as the songs’ aroma ascended.

 

I played guitar, sang, worked on my own songs (I am finding them).

 

Later that evening, I went to listen to a woman sing like Billie Holliday.

The doorman told me the place was full

and he invited me to sit at a table with him outside along the sidewalk.

 

We talked for hours about

life

marriage

separation

poetry

and the people who feel entitled to be let inside the venue,

the interesting characters he encounters as a doorman,

how today’s weather is great –

and how tomorrow’s weather will be even better.  

 

At one of the other tables outside

is a group of young people.

One of them is dressed like Zorro:

black flat-brimmed hat, black coat,

black pants. Theatrical,

flamboyant.

 

 

He is the loudest one at their table.

But I think he is not actually saying anything.

There is a quiet one – I want to hear that one talk.

I want to know what that person is thinking.

 

Isn’t that the way of it?

 

So many words,

so little said.

So much volume,

so little substance.

Taking so much space,

yet so empty.

 

There are people like this.

 

Do they puff themselves up because they know

there is actually nothing in them?

 

Must they sound bigger than they are because they feel small?

 

Minor infirmities are portrayed as life-threatening events,

skirmishes are spoken of as wars,

missteps are framed as utter failures.

 

Everything they say must be theatrical and inflated,

much like their thoughts.

 

Eventually, however,

the play ends –

whether it is I, II, or III Acts.

The audience goes home,

the curtain falls,

and the theatre of the small-minded wind-maker

is acknowledged as the mere distraction it always was.

 

The conversation with the doorman comes back to mind:

today’s weather is great

and tomorrow’s will be even better.  

 

 

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