Unfinished Plays

Artifax, Vol. 1.1 (1971)

Rose Shade

There seemed no resurrected hope
On "Black Easter" 1865.  One bullet
In a darkened theater had
Stilled the play, rung down the curtain for a nation,
And no stand-in
Waiting in the wings could read the lines
The same.  Where was the Producer then?

And still he lets bullets close his
Brightest plays.  One crazed critic can, before the act
Is over, send the lead into light
In Dallas; one lone hater in a balcony
Can stop the scene
Before a motel door in Tennessee;
A despiser of one line of speech

Can so confuse the stage-sets that
A kitchen corridor contains a dying scene
Before the curtain's barely up.
Now the darkened theater, the stillness on the boards,
Makes us wonder
Why these voices were silenced entr'acte,
Why good "angels" let these plays close down.

Then is 'the play the thing,' or just
A sleight-of-hand, a veiling curtain for a
Subtle alchemy, each bullet the
Bombardment of an atom, converting bleeding mass
To energy
In endless fission as on that
Friday on a hillside long ago?

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Warren Wedin warren.wedin@csun.edu