I wanted to be a serious poet, but they are prone to heart attacks,
so I lightened up and became a playwright, rented a little studio where
I could audition the truth, ran an ad in the paper, “Desperately seeking reality.”
And some very interesting characters came to read. There was a sage
addicted to soap opera, a drunken lover who puked backstage, a lute player who was
cute, but really underage, a pot smokin’ bad boy rocker, a Rolling Stone cliché.
Then one moonless night a woman dressed in white:
She was crowned with stars, had a serpent round her right arm
Made a stripper roll with her hips, so I shouted, “Take it off!”
She peeled off layers, but every one showed only more clothes underneath
until the whole stage was a pile of costumes. This bored me,
but when I last looked, lightning sparkled under a black harness
and her tits glowed like skulls in the ovens of Auschwitz.
As any seeker would, I sat back and considered this, then gave her the lead
in a play I could never direct.
When the circus came round, as it did every year, I took work as a lion trainer,
And one eye on the rear view, left town for good.
Not a poet but a puppeteer, Rayn Roberts dangles figures on stage to share insights, protest or poke fun. Robert Frost & Charles Bukowski are partly responsible for teaching him to do this, but there are other perpetrators as well.
His work appears care of the good folks at Oddball Magazine as part of our ongoing collaboration.