Letter From the Middle Row


You invite all these actors to become someone else, to loosen their imaginations,

to frolic like animals within each other’s preserve.

“Go.  Mingle with the others.  Here are some words to say.”

They gradually take stock of their hides.  Festoon their skins.

Show each other off to best account.  They roll in the dirt and itch. Trumpet at intruders.

Stand in the sweltering, hot spot.  Bawling in the dirt, stage front.

Parading and squabbling – as if in a dream.

Then, something that doesn’t respond to our caresses, Enters! a pure opportunist…

this indestructable vanity of the air which takes root…

Inflating its phrases – outlining a move – getting a confection, a conceit rising…

and with now and then a tender scene… life germinating.  Some keepsake brewing.

Possessions and insanities are not that far removed.

While getting paid for it is the ticket!

Too excited to sleep.  Will people like my play, or find it disgusting…

or be too uncomfortable to comment?


Around me everyone is retiring.  Squirreling their little pile of income, and now they no longer work. They travel, garden, continue all of the chores of life…

try to stay healthy and to stay alive.


I keep working.  I keep lining up words.  I keep assembling scenes.

Like a God-damned gardener I re-arrange.

This flowery speech is too much in the sun,

and would prefer the shade and more moisture.

And I’ll march these two fellows out into the hot spot where they may upbraid one another.  The hot spot’s for banter and the death struggle.

You try and you struggle.  And then the stage manager says, one day at the end of tech rehearsal, “It’s beginning to look like a play.”


Struggling to keep myself alive, like a man digging himself from out of a grave.

I’m pushing the earth here and there, vainly trying to resuscitate myself.

Life is moving faster than the plays can be written.

People are copulating faster than their motivations!… (can be established).  What is this?

And love is blooming larger than the vase which contains it.

So much is left spilt or spoiled.  How little can be saved, to get it down,

and then to get it up there.


This comedy of frustrations, like so many hurdles we tangle our limbs in:

the essence of playing off one another in a whirlwind of escalating event.

The audience, the players…

As if you couldn’t make a big enough fool of yourself  just by loose convention.

You have to mount something?  Flap your social fabric in the air!

Take a chance on insulting.  The cap and the bells are sitting there.

Can the thing make it enough over the lip and gums, and waggle the tongues,

so that whatever it is they enjoyed will re-generate and blossom?


For the whole enterprise is made of air.


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