Acting is an unsustainable remedy for telomere recession:
pumps of a gas can
glugging diatomic fumes into her tank,
her resuscitation impossible still, nor will she die soon enough.
Same for me.
Then we lie awake and still
during the dry run rehearsal,
drinking our own humidity from the room
and staring back at the audience.
We question our future in performing arts,
and winning the lottery.
My public displays receive critical reviews.
You know the ones.
My script instructs
<deplore your dancing partners>
<make immature outbursts – think tourette>
but I only adequately convey disgust
for some of the missteps
of some of the partners
defending their form.
They all happen to gyrate familiar flora across the floor.
It’s stage fright, is all,
and I should cast better talent.
That’s not all they criticize, though.
Then there’s this cyclical soundtrack that shrinks me:
Anxiety, Tape Delay – Organic Feedback Loop
neutralized by jerrycan spirits and rest,
mocked by cynics on deck
drive to our chassé.
I cover my ears
and I let her go
as that audible swell grows.
Our fuel lights come on.
This time, in this futile reproduction
of a play titled “Jackpot” –
where everyone exits
stage left at the fork
to merge back into the traffic
caused by the inevitable wrecks
of every winner –
in this scene, everyone wins
so everyone loses.
There is no protagonist or plot,
but I finally understand
our standing ovation at curtain.
And I leave the hall,
step into my hatchback,
and drive through the Third Street intersection,
and fingers crossed
that I’ll run out of gas
below a red light.