Monday, July 03, 2006

Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (2 of 10)


Written in sand or carved in marble,
the shape of words once shaped

stay shaped in something, somehow – something
other than whatever

softened first to the writer’s touch.
An actor acts and actions

(with an audience or not) somewhere,
somehow, accumulate.

During the third day
of his researches, Professor Martel

outlined his theory
to an attentive young librarian.

The attentive librarian nodded
and straightened her skirt.

She suggested dinner and drinks.
Professor Martel declined,

saying his work came first.
The attentive librarian shrugged.

Professor Martel returned
to his researches, more or less

sure his outline remained outlined
in something, somewhere, somehow.


I figured my obsession
might attract a romantic’s eye.

Back then, I understood
that the number of my future days

matched the pages in my notebook.
I didn’t want to hurt her

by letting her fall in love.
Love and words cast different shadows.

This thing
that I now call “accumulated expressiveness”

started as just the hint
of a thought when a drama teacher

told me a story
about a freshman student’s performance.

The teacher, decades earlier,
had witnessed a rehearsal

in the dressing room
of a famous actress. The performance

never happened
because the actress committed suicide

later the same night as the rehearsal.
The drama teacher

never detailed the events
of the final rehearsal, but

more than two decades later
this drama teacher, the only

witness to that last, complex rehearsal
of an intricate

performance, watched a freshman actress
lose herself in the depths

of her involved portrayal
of the same scene – a portrayal

capturing the same spark,
the same life, the exact same essence

of the rehearsal in the dressing room
two decades before.

What if somewhere, somehow – I thought – something
connected these scenes.

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