Deuced Pas de Deux



‘I am alive today, and dancing in the wind
that cools the grass the sun is burning brown
The dunes demur, and gliding gulls rescind …’


‘His splayed legs, in shorts, displayed from calves to toes
are dead ringers for plucked turkey tom cadavers
as far, too far, as epidermis goes.’



stage direction

She makes a wish and writes it on a paper
and seals it inside a bottle with a kiss.

they dance, both singing:

‘We laze upon the littoral and think
we are thinking. Thoughts as thoughtless as the waves
advance and crest and surge onto the sand
in which despite their fecundity nothing grows …’

her variation:

‘A plucked turkey carcass, bled and oven bound
shows better skin tone than the hide that’s found …’

his variation:

‘The deadpan surly words mask how we flirt …’



The stake-fried chicken sizzles and goes out
for waffles.

[Shurly chicken-fried steak? Ed.]

Staged Fright, a play

It could be worse, unlikely as that seems.
We have paid to watch an angry woman talk.
We get more than we’ve bargained for: she screams.
About unfairness. She says choices stalk
and mess her up. She says she tires of Free.
She strides unlady likely on the stage
demanding Structure, hating Sartre. ‘He,’
nonstop she’s shrilling, ‘has saddled me with rage!’
I could ask how, but fear that would incite
her formulation of a louder answer.
I cannot stand to sit here stunned all night.
There is mostly monologue, no song, no dancer.
I watch my watch and realise some days
the ticket’s not the only price one pays.


Three roles, all different facets in one person who exists only really as dialogues in himself: Maarten the Muser; Renaldo the Reactor; and Chorus, a trio of ornery kids he might have been or be becoming, circumstances permitting.

As the stage lights come up Maarten stands to the left. Renaldo sits looking at his hands. The three Chorus members stand on the proscenium wearing short trousers, silver masks, and silver-tipped tap shoes that they stamp as they shout each beat of their Chorus lines accompanied by drums and sheet lightning.


Maarten: Where go our thoughts when we loose them?
Renaldo: Who is bothered?
Chorus : We all are!

Maarten: Would thoughts lose their hues should we find them?
Renaldo: They’re hewed lower.
Chorus : Renaldo!

Maarten: Richer than music, thoughts come back
Renaldo: I’m atwitter.
Chorus : He’s solo!

Maarten: like sun in a clear stream remembered:
Renaldo: I could bridge it.
Chorus : A cards pro!

Maarten: walking to very first school day
Renaldo: On the boardwalk!
Chorus : No dunce, so!

Maarten: with biscuits she made for my pleasure.
Renaldo: So delicious.
Chorus : From best dough!

Maarten: Box lunches we lost in the shadows
Renaldo: I still miss them.
Chorus : Helped birds grow!

Maarten: when she stood much taller than I did
Renaldo: How I loved her.
Chorus : We all go!

Maarten: mimosa trees that I could climb then
Renaldo: Hid from brother.
Chorus : No help though!

Maarten: were cut down much later and bundled.
Renaldo: They had blighted.
Chorus : Ebbing flow!

Maarten: Found under dikes from my childhood,
Renaldo: Were they planted?
Chorus : We can’t know!

Maarten: they loosen emotion this evening.
Renaldo: Who is bothered?
Chorus : We all are!