On Stage

The spring play brought this poem that I wrote last semester to mind. I edited it some and decided to post it,

I
The stage is a desert.
A no-man’s land
between heaven and
hell.

Eyes pierce from
foggy darkness
off the edge.
Don’t fall down.

Silence behind
large, heavy sheets.
Prayers go up.
You can hardly breath
in Purgatory

Take one step
On the hollow wood
Painted charcoal black
cold and empty before you.
They are waiting for
the show.
Eyes piercing
from the pit
where you can’t see.

II
Back behind closed doors
clothes thrown about
a hurricane of make-up,
voices, and electricity.

Before the winds
a family stands.
None quite the same
as any other.

Make-up hides scars
puffy sleeves cover deformities
bellowing out characters
to forget ourselves.

Never the same
ever drifting with the script
sands of time never fully erase
the scars of life.

Coat my face one more time
Hide the bruises on my eyes
Hide the pale skin,
muffle the cough.

Tighten the corset
stand up straight
don’t show the pain
the audience paid yet again.

III
It takes all kinds
to pull off the show.
Strangers come
and pull together.

Heave up walls
build a set
Mix the paint
trim the suits.

Prepare each costume
watch the others transform
stand quietly while
layers painted over
battle scars earned.

Harness yourself
next to your enemy,
forget your differences
for two-three months.

Gay, freak,
jock, nerd.
Holding small books
written lines, imaginary characters.

Do you learn each other?
Or just the character portrayed?
In life
or
on stage.
Do you see past the masks?

The knife sticks
the gavel falls
the poison sets to work
a hushed silence in the crowd.

Crack a smile,
release the breath.
The corpse pops back up
and bows.

How beautiful the painted
creatures on this cold rock
standing between
heaven and
hell.

Do you ever see,
the truth behind
the paint to cover
the scars and broken bones?

In life or
on stage
holding together
pieces shattered apart.

Wild-cards, jokers,
slight insanity
Freaks of society
Standing hand-in-hand as the curtains close.

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