The Albany Neglected

Here am I, where no one knows the way.
I sleep in shadow through the creeping day.
I think it best to not get up again
And haunt once more the avenues of men.

My sister lives here too, she was the first
To find this place; before our bubbles burst
And spent themselves, quite useless, to the air,
So we this silent watch could ever share.

She ran alive into a hail of life,
While I lived angry, cultivating strife –
But none remember where we lived, or how;
We lie, forgotten, underneath this bough.

So each day, try to add another friend –
When none remain you knew, you die again

Into the Arena

Arena

Early and dark, Arena lies
In shadows — Long and empty halls
Where later, streams of bubbling crowds
Pour into seats in rivulets;
But dark, Arena lies.

The girl who dreams, the boy who sleeps,
They rise and tumble, lift and fall;
And later, stand enormous, proud —
But now lie calmly at their rest;
The girl who dreams, the boy who sleeps.

Live for life for heaven’s sake
Find the time your chance to take
Bring your heart, your will to soar,
Or don’t come near Arena’s door.

Bright in the sun, Arena waits
And welcomes all who come its way
Although most never win its game
The countless still line up to try —
Bright in the sun, Arena waits.

Arena lights up with the night
To win, to lose, to gain, to pay;
To wander in without a name
And leave with one money can’t buy —
Arena lights up with the night.

Live for life for what is worth
Take your shot at joy and mirth
Bring your passion through the door
And play out on Arena’s floor.

Two Poems – “Rondo” and “The Great Invisible”

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RONDO

The story’s new, the day has just begun
And eyes shine brightly in the morning sun
Which runs its smooth quotidian arc
To hand the same old story to the dark.

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THE GREAT INVISIBLE

I am the great invisible –
Not a part of any story,
Biding in no category,
Somewhere, lost in inventory,
Covered up, inside a drawer:

I am the great invisible –
Advance words, but you repel them,
Have vague hopes, but you dispel them,
Comments – but then I misspell them,
Taken into un-rapport.

I am the one who isn’t here –
Never, never I assail you,
I don’t try, so I don’t fail you,
Passing by, I will not hail you,
I, your conscience guarantor.

I am the great, although unseen –
I the one who’s never harried,
Always dragged, and never carried
When asleep, or when I’m buried
I’m no less when I’m no more.

The Inevitable

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Life is a night
Dreams fade in and out of focus – drifting –
Flights of freedom; visions of passion;
The heart moves; the heart breaks;
While time goes by unnoticed.
Knowing the alarm will ring – we may even know when –
It surprises us when it comes, nonetheless.
The morning comes, inevitable.

The Christmas Letters

This isn’t a theatrical review in the traditional sense.  If it was, I would talk about the Red Door Theatre in Union Springs, Alabama; what all was involved in staging “The Christmas Letters”; and the many fine performances that comprised that staging, both dramatic and musical.

But I’m not going to do that.

I would like, instead, to talk about how I rediscovered today, in an old church converted into a theater, that live drama can touch the heart more immediately and deeply than any of the other art forms.

In a story that spans 50 years, three generations of women are followed through their lives, as told in annual “Christmas letters” written to update family on what all has been going on.  Through elopements, births, deaths, war, deception, and divorce — and all points in between — the characters lives unfold.  The production was filled with beautifully understated bluegrass songs that helped shape the mood, reflect the characters struggles and joys, and even convey recipes.  Its an odd mix, but then, so is life.

Men sort of come and go in the story, leaving for reasons like premature death, divorce, or even sudden disappearance.  The women of the family stolidly (or not) continue on: loving, growing, sorrowing.  I felt as though I had relived my own mother’s life, and part of her mother’s seeing this story.  The sweep of history, and the way our love-of-mate or children shapes our lives, flowing as it inevitably does into either deepening, or, turning meaningless over time is shown over and over.  It is a beautiful and terrible and very real thing.

I’m grateful to the writers, composer, musicians, producer, director, and actor/singers for this wonderful production.  I know I will never see anything quite like it again.