A play: The Poem

Lights come on. Two characters appear examining something between them. They stand one meter apart from each other, staring carefully at what seems to be a patch of invisible air between them.

 

Albert: It’s a poem alright.

Ruben: Never doubted it for a moment.

Albert (pensive): Is it one of the modern ones? (stating the word ‘modern’ slowly, too self-consciously, as it were a complicated word like Otolaryngology.)

Ruben (unsure, quickly scanning the poem up and down again): I would say so.

Albert: It has a certain sadness to it, wouldn’t you say?

Ruben: I’m afraid so.
Albert: You don’t like emotional pieces?

Ruben: Normally yes, but this one is a bit disturbing.

Albert: Is it because it makes fun of the human condition?

Ruben: I don’t like the second part, the bit about how ‘bodies betray the raw aura and war sinks the glass of meaning crushed’.

Albert: I don’t understand how you dislike that; I thought it was a profound image.

Ruben: My father died in the war.

Albert: Oh, sorry to hear that.

Ruben: Not your fault, he was one reckless fighter.

Albert: Did he die early in the war?

Ruben: They never told us, until the war was over; and he was brought to us in a can.

Albert: Just like that.
Ruben: Yes.

 

(Silence)

 

Ruben: What is this poem doing here?

Albert: Must have been left here by someone.

Ruben: A poet?
Albert: Probably.

Ruben: Should we leave it standing here or maybe cover it with a blanket.

Albert: Can it bear any weight, what if the stanzas collapse to the pavement?

Ruben: Don’t you think the poet secured it in some way, (pointing quickly to several points within the poem) by arranging the consonants like this and so many vowels like ripening figs hanging from a strong tree?

Albert: How would I know? Let’s just drop the idea.

Ruben: Should we move it in any case, leave it under the awning of that shop over there? (pointing to what seems a distant shop)

Albert: What if the poet comes looking for her poem here and can’t find it.

Ruben: Her poem?

Albert: A wild guess.

Ruben: Ok, let’s leave it here.

Albert: Yeah.
(Silence)

 

Ruben: Should I read it again?

Albert: Yeah, but this time we each read it silently. I can’t follow the flow of the poem when you read it.

Ruben: Ok

(they both screen left to right with their eyes, slowly lowering their sight until it reaches the sidewalk, half way down Albert chuckles, Ruben sighs).

Albert: I think this is one damn fine poem.
Ruben: It… is.
Albert: You still find it too, what do they call it… pathetic?

Ruben: The bit about how ‘the clouds floated like cloves of garlic in the blue almost green sky of her childhood’. (he pauses as if reminiscing) Reminds me of lying in the fields of my home country, back in Romania.

Albert: Yes, the imagery is striking. I was impressed on this second reading by how she portrays thought as a natural element of the earth, with fissures and cracks, slowly eroding under the weight of time.

Ruben: That was too artificial for me, I was more impressed by how she began to study the hands of her grandmother and close to twilight the wrinkles became words, almost speeches about a time long ago when every minute was warm and slow like a curl of smoke rising effortlessly from the hearth.

Albert: Indeed, a touching metaphor.

Ruben: Look, it’s turning yellow!

(both gaze with eyes wide open)

Albert: Gosh, you’re right!

Ruben: Why yellow?

Albert: Maybe it’s supposed to turn yellow. Like a leaf that’s had too much sun.

Ruben: What are you implying?

Albert: We’ve been staring at it too long.

Ruben: Ok. Let’s turn our backs to it and wait a while.

Albert: My very thought.

(They turn and wait 20 seconds with their backs to the poem – )

Ruben: Is it enough?

Albert: No, let’s give it another minute.

(30 seconds pass as they attempt to hum or scratch their beards.)

Ruben: Now?

Albert: I’m afraid it’s too soon.

(30 seconds more, Albert scratches the back of his neck and Ruben shamelessly his inner thigh just beside his crotch).

Albert: OK, let’s have a look.
Ruben: Agreed.

Albert: Look, it’s almost blue now!!

Ruben: Holy molly!

Albert: And the words have changed too!

(Ruben agape in utter disbelief.)

Ruben: Are you serious?!

Albert: Yes, read this part- (pointing to the middle section of the poem) – it wasn’t there before.

Ruben: The part about the storm?

Albert: Yes! It now says the sky could hold a storm in its mouth like a dose of mouthwash.

Ruben: Oh my legs (genuinely trembling)- it’s true!

Albert: It was something about the sun before.

Ruben: Yes, I remember. About how ‘the sun has deleted the world with its light and the air is blind with currents of glow’.

Albert: It has turned comical!

Ruben: Sadly so! I preferred its previous sorrowful mood.

Albert: I thought you weren’t so fond of it because of… ehem (clears throat) what happened to your father.

Ruben: I’m not sure what I think nowadays. But I prefer it as it was before.

Albert: Should we read it out loud, maybe it has changed in other areas as well.

Ruben: Great idea.

 

(Ruben and Albert are about to begin reading the poem when an old lady enters the scene)

 

Old Lady: Gentlemen, can you tell me the name of this street?

Ruben: We’re not from this part of town. Where are you heading to?

Old Lady: The marketplace, they said to keep going this way until I reach Dolores street.

Albert: I know it, just walk down this way for another 3 blocks until you hit Agonia street, there turn right and you’ll see Dolores street.  The marketplace will be at the end of Dolores street.

Old Lady: Thank you kind sir, have a nice day! (walks away)

Ruben: So, you are familiar with this area?

Albert: Not at all, I was just getting rid of that nutcase.

Ruben: What?!

Albert: She’s probably another lunatic mumbling words without any precise meaning.

Ruben: But she was only looking for the marketplace! Maybe she needs eggs and tomatoes for breakfast tomorrow!

Albert: Don’t be so naive Ruben, crazy people don’t have motives. They just act, without rhyme or reason.

Ruben: But how can you know she’s craz…

(Albert interrupts him violently with a wave of his hand)

Albert: The poem has changed again!

(Ruben scanning quickly up and down the poem).
Ruben: Where exactly?

Albert: The final part.

Ruben: Oh yes and what an ending!

Albert: Sublime!

Ruben: Sharp!

 

(reading the last part out loud together:)

 

for all the things

that can be grasped,

I leave behind

words so transparent

they can reflect

the luminosity of the void

anywhere in the world.

 

Albert: But who could have… rewritten it?

Ruben: An ever bigger enigma.

 

(Actors remain silent. Traffic noise is heard in the background, honking, changing of gears, a bus door opening and then closing.)

 

Ruben: Albert, why didn’t you bring your sister today? I thought we had an arrangement?

(Albert staring into the void either mimicking despair or genuinely troubled)

Albert: I guess, Ruben, that I have no sister.

Ruben: I thought you were too young to have a sister.

Albert: There’s a bench over there.

Ruben: My legs are killing me.

Albert: I have an apple in my pocket we could share.

Ruben: Sweet or sour?

Albert: I’m not sure, I didn’t put it there. Let’s sit and find out.

 

They walk slowly, awkwardly toward the bench. The shadow of a bird crosses the pavement in front of them. They sit and stare into the audience. Albert puts his hand in his pocket and takes out the inner lining of his pocket. There was no apple there after all.

Lights out.

 

– THE END –

 

Bio:

Pablo Saborío is a Costa-Rican born artist and writer living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark. His art and poetry can be found in the following sites: pablosaborio.com and beyondlanguagepoetry.com

© Pablo Saborío

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Only A Few Have It

Only A Few Have It

by

Donovan Wilkins

 

EXT. Blue Comet Bar & Grille – Night

The bar has only a few people sitting at it. A small tv hung on the wall above all the liquor and beer. On the screen played It’s A Wonderful Life, without the sound and in black and white. In the back of the bar was a small stage for live music and entertainment.

Tonight’s entertainment was replaced with Christmas decorations for the season. Christmas music played over the speakers but only low enough to not upset the mood of the bar. In the last booth towards the stage was a young couple who was using so much PDA it could have been a porno. A bartender approached one of her customers at the beginning of the bar.

KADEN WORTHY, African American, 22, sipped on a Jack and Coke with a lemon. Kaden was the kind of guy who was liked by everyone but hated everyone. His hair was way too wild almost like he didn’t give a shit. His shoes were falling apart at the soles but couldn’t really afford more than 3 pairs of shoes at a time.

BARTENDER: Hey, do you want another one?

Kaden looked up from his phone to see the beautiful bartender looking at him. He thought about what his life would be like if he married her. Yes, Kaden likes to fantasize about his life with beautiful women. He’s weird like that.

KADEN: Yes please.

This would be Kaden’s 5th Jack and Coke but it wouldn’t be his last. Kaden went back to his phone while the bartender went to make his drink. Kaden happened to be searching for ways to commit suicide without feeling pain. Kaden should know that when you die, you HAVE to feel pain.

He knew that he would not get better results than the last time he tried, 3 days ago. He made his way down the Google search page, clicking every web page hoping for some good news. Reddit, Facebook community pages, health websites and Yahoo Ask all offered the same thing, bullshit and pain.

BARTENDER (sitting a fresh drink in front of Kaden): Here you go sir.

The bartender looked at Kaden and then at his phone screen. Kaden felt the judgement radiating from her eyes when he looked up.

BARTENDER (smiling): Are you ok? I couldn’t help but see you what you are researching on your phone.

KADEN (sounding happy but wasn’t): Yes I’m fine. I’m just looking up some stuff for my Psych class.

BARTENDER: Oh cool, where do you go?

KADEN: Arcadia.

BARTENDER: I assume you’re studying Psychology?

KADEN: No. I’m studying Photography.

BARTENDER: Wow artistic! That’s deep.

Kaden didn’t think it was that deep. Females.

KADEN: Yeah I guess. If you don’t mind I would like to get back to work.

The bartender was confused, she thought there could have been something there. Instead she left to tend to her other guests. Such a dick move Kaden. The bartender took that personal and left to attend to her other guests. Kaden watched the water from the side of his drink slide down onto the napkin under it. There was something about watching this play out that made him crack a smile.

EXT. Blue Comet (Bar) – Night

The night moved on as people came and went. Even though it was a Friday night, the bar never seemed to fill up. Kaden couldn’t care less, he hated crowds. By his 7th Jack and Coke he was drifting in and out of reality. He could barely make out the two girls in the far corner swapping tongues. The bartender approached him.

KADEN (waved her off): I’ll take the check.

Kaden looked over at the girls again only to see them having sexual intercourse on the top of the bar. Nobody else seemed to notice them or even cared.

The bartender came back with the check 3 minutes later.

EXT. Blue Comet – Night

Kaden stumbled out of the bar into the cold night air face up. Looking up to the dark cloudy sky while rain fell made him feel even shiter than the alcohol was making him feel. His phone buzzed in his back pocket. Kaden had 5 unread texts from numbers he couldn’t make out but knew they were not important.

A pool of blood formed under his hands, a piece of glass was lodged in his left palm. Weird he didn’t feel any pain. He closed his eyes and laid there. PAIGE HARTMAN, European American, 24 stood over Kaden as he laid there.

PAIGE: Hey, are you ok? I see blood.

Kaden opened his eyes. Paige was holding an a blue umbrella over both of them, little drops of water clinging to the sides. She held out her hand to help Kaden up.

KADEN: What are you doing here?

PAIGE: I’m trying to help you.

KADEN: No I’m fine. Just wanted to lay down for a minute.

PAIGE: There’s a bench right across the street.

A park bench stood across the street at a poorly lit bus stop. Anybody could have missed that.

KADEN: Huh imagine that. I must be drunker than I thought.

A huge gash has opened on Kaden’s hand. Blood kept flowing out hitting the already wet pavement. He needed medical attention.

PAIGE (pointing at his hand): You need medical attention. It looks pretty deep.

KADEN (muttered under his breath): Not deep enough.

PAIGE: What?

KADEN: Nothing, I’m not going to the hospital. Thanks for the concern.

Kaden started walking away. Paige followed with her umbrella.

PAIGE: Why won’t you go to the ER!?

KADEN: Because nobody talks about what happens after they check you out.

PAIGE (confused): What?

KADEN: You have to pay all the medical expenses. They care you for getting help, which I never understood.

PAIGE: You don’t have insurance?

KADEN: I can barely afford rent and you think I have money to cover if I get hurt.

PAIGE: Let me take care of you.

KADEN: I’m fine. Don’t you have somewhere to be?

PAIGE: Nope, I have all the time in the world now.

KADEN: Can’t you bother someone else, like your mother?

PAIGE: I’ve talked to my mother earlier. I’ll see her again very soon.

EXT. Wine & Spirits – Night

The Wine & Spirits store lights shined bright through the window as Kaden walked through the doors. Special messages hung in the window advertising beer.

INT. Wine & Spirits – Night

The store was really empty. Kaden went straight to the Jack Daniels whiskey. He popped off the top and took it 3 long sips before walking to the front counter throwing money as he walked out.

The cashier was stunned but took the money without a word.

EXT. Wine & Spirits – Night

Paige was waiting outside of the store leaning against the stone wall. She had put the umbrella down and was now smoking a cigarette. Kaden continued to walk down the street.

Once again Paige followed.

KADEN (once Paige caught up to him): You know those will kill you.

PAIGE: You should do stand up. That’s fucking gold.

KADEN: God you are so annoying.

PAIGE (teasing): You didn’t always used to think so.

Walking past an alley, Kaden could see a male shooting heroin while 2 other males took turns fucking what seem like a hooker. The girl looked up from the ground to see Kaden staring. While on all fours, the hooker gave Kaden a wink.

Kaden continued to walk down the street under the pouring rain. He looked around and Paige was gone.

Nothing was said, only the sound of rain hitting the street could be heard.

EXT. Glenside Train Station – Night

The train station had only a few lit lights. Cars flew past under the tracks on the bridge. Kaden sits on the bench and waits.

The rain comes to a slow drizzle.

EXT. Ticket Office – Night

The waiting room was empty. Train schedules hung on a gigantic black board in the middle of the room. The white walls offered no comfort only conformity.

Kaden walked to the ticket window. A lady sat behind the window watching tv.

KADEN: Can I get one ticket to Philadelphia?

Lady: You can’t outrun it you know. Some things are meant to be. You can’t live your life in the stars.

KADEN: Umm I’ll keep that in the back of my mind. Thanks.

LADY: You know they are all right.

KADEN: Ma’am, it’s late.

LADY: What do you do for a living?

KADEN: I work in the food service.

LADY: How many jobs?

KADEN: Two.

LADY: Why?

KADEN: Why what?

LADY: Why do you work 2 jobs?

KADEN: I don’t get paid enough for one job. I have camera equipment to pay for.

LADY: So quit. It’s not like you are going to make it.

KADEN: I will. I don’t know how to do anything else.

LADY: What do you hope to gain in life? What is your purpose in life?

Kaden didn’t know why he was talking to this lady. Just take the ticket and go.

KADEN: Right now to get on this train.

LADY: Then after the train?

Kaden knew nothing of what she was talking about. He just wanted to go.

KADEN: I have no idea what you are talking about lady, I just want a ticket.

LADY: If I give you this ticket, will you leave or will you run?

It made no sense…

Yet.

KADEN: I’ll have to get back to you on that.

The Lady gave Kaden his ticket.

KADEN: Thanks.

LADY: You look lost son, but you won’t be for long.

KADEN: What do you mean?

LADY: You will see…

Kaden just took the ticket and went back out on the platform. Something he should have did before.

EXT. Glenside Station – Night

The rain had stopped but fog now occupied the skies. The only person standing on the platform was a old homeless guy in shabby clothes. The train pulled into the station. The homeless guy waved at the lady in the ticket office who gave him a smirk before getting on the train.

INT. Train – Night

The train was quiet with only a few people on it. Kaden took a seat in the far back of the cart. The homeless guy came into the cart and sat right beside Kaden.

He smelled of shitty whiskey and cheap cigarettes.

HOMELESS GUY: So, how’s life treating son?

Kaden looked over at the Homeless Guy. Besides his appearance, there was something about the guy that made him seem inviting. At this point, it wasn’t the worst thing he did tonight.

KADEN: It sucks. You know how life is.

HOMELESS GUY: No I don’t. I’ve never met her. Your life can’t be that bad.

KADEN: You don’t know the half of it. I mean, what is the purpose of it all if we lose it all in the end?

HOMELESS GUY: Do you believe in God?

KADEN: No.

HOMELESS GUY: Why not? No faith?

KADEN: I don’t live my life the way some guy in the sky told me to.

The Homeless Guy flashed a small smile at Kaden. He had the whitest teeth ever, which didn’t make sense for a homeless person.

HOMELESS GUY: So you have no faith?

KADEN: That shit was beaten out of me a long time ago.

HOMELESS GUY: What makes you get out of bed every morning?

KADEN: I don’t really know. I guess after a while it’s automatic. A cycle I’m trying so bad to break. Everytime I take a step forward, I take 12 steps back.

HOMELESS GUY: Stranger things have happened my son. Are you happy with your life?

KADEN: No. I just really need a second chance.

The Homeless Guy looked at Kaden for a while. He was trying to find something that couldn’t be seen right now.

HOMELESS GUY: You know there are no second chances. The only thing you can do is try to make a living following what you love. Have a little faith.

KADEN: It’s not easy.

HOMELESS GUY(smiles): I never meant it to be…

The Homeless Man places his hand on Kaden’s forehead. Kaden’s eyes shut and he drifts off.

INT. Blue Comet – Night

It’s a Wonderful Life plays on a small black and white Tv. No sound came from the Tv. Christmas music lightly played throughout the bar. Around the bar a few people sat talking about the latest Snapchat update. Typical college kids with nothing else to do but waste away. All following the trend of the world until something new comes along.

Kaden opened his eyes to find himself staring at the bar counter. His drink half empty next to him. No one around seemed to care about him falling asleep at the bar. In his pocket, his phone buzzed rapidly. There’s a text from Paige saying, “Don’t forget to pick up some flowers for my mother”. Shit he forgot.

A bartender comes over to Kaden.

BARTENDER: Could I get you one more?

She points to the half empty glass of Jack and Coke.

KADEN: Umm…No…I’ll just take the check.

The Bartender starts to walk away. Kaden stops her.

KADEN: Did I come in here earlier?

BARTENDER: No you were in here the whole time. Are you ok?

Is he?

Something is really wrong here.

KADEN: Yeah…

Kaden goes to grab the glass on the counter and it slips out of reach. The glass shatters into a million pieces like the galaxy. The music stops and everyone looks at Kaden. They all wear the same motionless expression as Kaden scans the room.

There is a large scar on Kaden’s left hand.

Very deep and very fresh.

THE END

Bio:

Donovan Wilkins is a writer and photographer from Philadelphia. After dropping out of Community College, he decided to focus his time on his passion for writing. His love of independent movies played a huge influence in his writings. His first full length screenplay, The Road Less Traveled, is being considered for numerous small film festivals across the United States. He also works as a philly scene reporter for a small music website. When he is not writing, Donovan is working on building his photography business, Donnie Vintage Photography. His website is http://www.donnievintage.com

© Donovan Wilkins

Confronting Fog

Confronting Fog

by

Chris Bryz-Gornia

(An empty stage that portrays three areas, each segregated by curtains, LS is the captain’s cabin, RS is the crew’s quarters and CS is the deck of the ship)

 

Characters: Captain, First Mate, Sailor, Entity and Narrator.

 

First Mate

This night, where we to go in such dangerous conditions? There presents a distant fog ahead, if we venture any further we will forfeit the idea of where we are at this position?

 

Captain

Hold your tongue for I am at hindrance of thought (Pause). Do you feel that, this balance beneath our feet? How does this cradle’s sway begin to cease, when we’ve been constantly sailing at sea?

 

First Mate

May it be a dream sir? Upon deck a mere minute ago, I was staring out into the midnight horizon. I witnessed waves after waves crashing into the haul while drinking from this Rum of Morgan. Out there is only the speech of the oceans howl, the frantic winds that shake us about, and that mysterious fog approaching inbound.

Captain

Yes, but that isn’t the case right now, it’s as if the ship has tightened up somehow from the stern to the bow. Hand me that Morgan from your grip and wake the men, something rather strange is abound this ship and I am not going to give her in.

First Mate

It is strange how this ship has separated itself from the ocean, it feels as if it’s stubborn with anger and absent from emotion. What is to happen among us out here in the open?

 

Captain

I do not know, now please would you….!

 

                                                                                                            First Mate

Aye Captain, I will wake the crew, and notify them immediately of this peculiar phenomenon.

 

Captain

Very well, I will be on deck promptly to gaze upon, this report of this unknown obstacle that has set us off course.

 

Narrator

The first mate rushed through the cabin doors that exposed him to the blanket of dense fog. This entity smothered his body whole infiltrating his lungs, conflicting into his brain activity as well as manipulating his tongue. He soon found himself amongst the slumbering crew harkening obscure things that are wrong.

 

First Mate

Wake up lads and place yourselves above awareness, our captain has violated our trust and has turned against us!

 

 

Sailor

What has happened, the captain conspires against his company? How did you come across such treachery?

                                                                                                            First Mate

He ordered me to retrieve explosives, and rig them to blow. There is an approaching fog that holds a threat to us both. We must vanquish ourselves from this foreboding exposure for it may bring sadness with torture.

                                                                                                            Sailor

Whoa!!(Stands up) What is this awkward lore? Has our captain gone mad with scurvy?

 

First Mate

No, but quick, we must hurry!

 

Sailor

Wait (Feels that the ship is motionless)? Have we breached the shoreline or am I still drunk from the night before this time? I could have sworn that we are miles away from the nearest harbor. This makes no sense nor conjures any notion for certain death? What beguiled encounter has struck our captain to provoke such squander? This is not like him; he is a good natured fellow with a strong will and virtues that follow. This voyage means a great deal to his heart, why do you bear news that would shatter all that we have achieved thus far?

 

Narrator

Meanwhile, as the first mate arouses the slumbering crew below deck, the captain collects his instruments of valor: his sheath and sword, his scope as he throws on his coat, and the hat of warn honor that dignifies his suit. Before his departure through those oak cabin doors to the bridge, he grabs a letter written in his own words, a proclamation to the purpose of this voyage. He holsters the parchment in the breast pocket beside his chest, and then embarks a stupendous step into the darkened abyss. As he confronts the desolate air, he is bewildered and fazed upon this dreary sight of cynical shades, the captain collapses crashing his knees hard to the splintery floor boards.

 

Captain

My dear god what have I come towards, some sort of entity dispersed among this fog? How dreadful I feel for this may yield an end to my ship and cause! I have ventured long and far to claim victim to an infringed heart, but now I am enthralled to throw myself off into the angry waves of this oceans mouth!

 

Entity

Have no fear my loved one, I am yours among this fog. Take that piece of parchment and read it to send your last breath off.

Captain

(Reaches for the scripted letter in his broach and reads it) My dear wonderful counterpart, I write to appease my conflicted heart, to explore these open waters in hopes to come across the desired truth of what became of you, but so far no albatross. It has been months since your disappearance, an event that I can’t resolve, I won’t submit to failure until you are safely in my arms. . . . .

 

Narrator

As the captain professes his strife through a letter and psalm, the first mate encourages the sailor to hastily move along.

 

First Mate

The captain is anxious and awaits my return to him with the explosives.

 

Sailor

Hold it right there my lad, we are not sending this ship to sleep with the fishes! I’ll see if the captain is feeling well upon this eerie motionless vessel.

 

First Mate

I can’t allow you to do that, He is infused with fear captivated by an enemy full of deceit; we must carry out his command to avoid such a pitiful defeat!

 

Sailor

Silence! You have pinned no sense against my free thought to such an occurrence. We must seek the safety of our captain, he deserves it!

 

Narrator

As the sailor makes his way upon deck, his blood flow thickens at the sight of his captain with this ghostly apparition! He is entranced, stricken with fear and confusion, an emotional wreck misguided by a fabrication.

Captain

………Oh wondrous mistress where shall I end my search, in this monstrous rush of water that will purge this grief into a peaceful submerge. Or shall I surrender my worth to you and release this burden for an afterlife that I have been forever yearning.

Narrator

All that is between the captain and this entity is a white knuckled grip on the rails that prevent his fall towards the angry sea. In his delirium he accepts this false fate into thinking that she was her and begins to move straight, while bleakness bleeds from his face.

 

Sailor

NOOO! My Captain, my friend, where is your mind if your heart has collapsed from within?! Break free from its captive grasp and look forward with faith, she is out there I promise. Don’t give in to its deceptive ways!

Captain

(Looks toward sailor) My devoted sailor, you are mistaken of this plea, are you blind and cannot see? Here is what I have been searching for, my maiden who was lost at sea, she has finally returned to me!

 

Sailor

No captain, that is a manipulative force, scorned with the plight to deceive. It captures lost souls filled with despair only to feed it to the sea! I have read of this in ancient lore, this is nothing more than a vile corrupted engagement that saturates itself in meaningless accords. Break free I say, break free from its lure!

Narrator

The First mate makes his way from the belly of the ship with dynamite in hand. He is conflicted with sorrow and confusion while igniting the fuse in hopes for all of it to end. But before he makes it top side there is an explosion, causing the ship to sway and splinter but the integrity seemed not to falter.

 

 

 

Entity

I am losing you oh captain, I am losing you again……come with me to extinguish your anguish, bury that loathing existence by letting go of everything from within.

 

 

Captain

My dear, I am strung from a height that I wish to fall from. I want to be with you as you are with me now, I have finally found you, and I won’t let our flame die out!

 

Sailor

(Rushing toward the captain) Sir! Take my hand before you plummet toward that watery grave, you are delirious and know not what you are doing! This is a mistake!

 

Captain

Goodbye my good mate, you have served me well. She is here now to save me from hell.

 

Sailor

Please captain! This is not my story but yours to tell, you want to live with her, not see her at the bottom after falling over those rails!

 

Narrator

The captain looks down at the fury of the sea, retaining a blissful impression as he releases his grip to the ships frame. While grasping the letter tightly, he is motionless falling to face the crashing waves that soon bury him toward the deep.

 

Sailor

Captain!!

 

Entity

He has submitted himself to the failure of the damned, (Turns toward sailor) and where do you fit in this tourniquet? Have you stricken immunity to my enticing nature?

 

Sailor

I am aware of your stories and murderous tenure, what you do to those you captivate and where you hither! I heed no warning to your docile ways you shouldn’t have killed him, and now you will pay.

 

Entity

See that you survive this desolate plain of a watery grave, for there lurks far more disastrous instances than your little heart could muster enough courage to be saved.

 

Narrator

With that utterance of character, the entity vanished releasing the ship from its captive stasis. Submitting the end to this insidious encounter, she left the sailor to pick up the pieces.

END

Bio:

My name is Chris Bryz-Gornia and I am a Rutgers Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I consider myself a writer and a musician. Currently, I write short stories and fiction, but I have experience in field reporting; I am a published journalist and music-performance reviewer. Apart from writing, I enjoy a dog’s company, playing in my band as the guitarist, and reading. 

© Chris Bryz-Gornia

Cloud Mirror

CLOUD MIRROR

By

Olena Jennings and Wanda Phipps

Scene 1

 

An apartment.  Bedroom. Night. 

 

(SARAH and DAVID are lying in bed sleeping.  SARAH suddenly sits up and her eyes open wide.)

 

Sarah: What was that?

 

David: An earthquake?

 

Sarah: No, I don’t believe it.

 

David: Here comes another one.  Can you feel it coming?

 

(Sarah shakes her head.)

 

Sarah: I can’t remember the dream I was having…

David: You’re sweating.

 

Sarah: It was so dark.  I think I was dreaming about being in a chapel.  There were these ornate decorations and…and this amazing stillness.  For some reason I had an orange tulip in my hand…What do you think it means?

 

DAVID: I don’t know. Go back to sleep.

 

SARAH: How can you sleep through an earthquake? Shouldn’t we do something?

 

DAVID: What? Like duck and cover?

 

SARAH: Huh?

 

DAVID: Hide under a table?

 

SARAH: Or in a bathtub? Or call somebody?

 

DAVID: I think it’s over now. (They both sit very still as if listening for another tremor.) Nothing’s happening. Let’s just go back to sleep.

 

 

Scene 2

 

Same apartment. Living room. Afternoon.

 

(Sarah poses on the couch as David sketches her but she can’t seem to stay still.)

 

David: What’s the matter?

 

Sarah: I was just thinking of an old friend. We knew each other when we were kids.

 

David: What made you think of her?

 

Sarah: I think that weird dream was about her. Once when I was depressed she gave me an orange tulip she’d picked from her mother’s garden just like the one in the dream.

 

DAVID: So now you’re a dream interpreter?

 

SARAH: I tried to search for her online and found out she just passed away a few days ago.

 

David: Oh, no, I’m sorry.  Were you close?

 

Sarah: She was my best friend in high school.  I’m thinking of going to the funeral.

 

David: That’s a long way to go.  Does she still live in the Midwest?

(Sarah nods.)

 

David: Maybe you should give it some more thought?

 

Sarah: Hey, why don’t you want me to go?

 

David: I didn’t say I didn’t want you to go.

 

Sarah: Are you jealous?

 

David: That’s ridiculous!

 

Sarah: You sound jealous.

 

David: Well, I’m sorry. I just thought since you’ve lost touch with her and moved on then…

 

Sarah: That’s kinda cold of you.

 

David: Cold?

 

Sarah: Yeah, we were close back then….I remember when my mom used to make us casseroles and shrimp curry in our little kitchen—the walls were cotton candy blue and the windows decorated with lace curtains.  Me and my friend–

 

DAVID:   What was her name?

 

SARAH: Margaret. Her name was Margaret. Margaret and I wanted to make fancy dinners for each other so we hung a curtain between the dining and cooking areas so that we could be as messy as we wanted.   Once, we went to a fancy restaurant together. I wore a plaid pants suit but she wore the cutest thrift store dress with shoes trimmed in gold.  I ordered oeufs a la neige for dessert and then I was so impressed by what looked like clouds on my plate.

 

 

Scene 3

 

Flashback. Light grows brighter.

 

Coffee shop. Late Afternoon.

 

(SARAH and DAVID are at adjacent tables.)

 

DAVID: What are you studying?

 

SARAH: A book by Bachelard. He’s a phenomenologist.

 

DAVID: Phenome-what?

 

SARAH: He’s a philosopher. He writes a lot about space. I’m studying philosophy. (SARAH looks back down at her books.)

 

DAVID: Oh, yeah? I’m an artist.

 

SARAH: What kind?

 

DAVID: I do a lot of portraits. I’m haunted by the images of faces.

 

SARAH: Really? Bachelard writes a lot about images. Maybe he was obsessed with them too.

 

DAVID: Oh yeah? What does he say?

 

(SARAH looks at her notebook.)

 

SARAH: “The Image has touched the depths before it stirs the surface.”

 

DAVID: Very eloquent.

 

SARAH: It’s Bachelard, not me.

 

DAVID: A visual image can hold a lot of emotion.

 

SARAH: Well, he’s talking about a poetic image.

 

DAVID: An image in a painting can still be full of emotion. Maybe I can paint you one day?

 


Scene 4

 

Present. SARAH and DAVID’S apartment.  Night. 

 

(Sarah wanders through the rooms as if sleepwalking.  David hears her and shakes her to consciousness.)

 

David: Sarah.  Are you okay?

 

Sarah: I couldn’t sleep.

 

David: Let’s go back to bed.  Do you want some water?

 

(They go to the kitchen.  The sink is filled with dirty dishes.  Sarah drinks so quickly that water tumbles down her chest.) 

 

Sarah: I think I was looking for Margaret.

 

David: Looking for Margaret? Maybe you really want to go to the funeral?

 

Sarah: I keep thinking about her.

 

David: I guess it’s natural.

 

Sarah: We did so much together.  We even went to prom at The Public Museum together.  I remember wandering around the Rain Forest section.  I remember the fossils.  They looked like they were longing to be touched. We loved each other so much. Then we drifted apart. Maybe it was just impossible to keep things going that way. It was too intense in a way.

 

David: Like us?

 

Sarah: I never felt that way with anyone again.

 

David: Hmm. Really, not even with me?

 

SARAH: I’m not sure.

 

 

Scene 5

 

Flashback. Light grows brighter. DAVID’S apartment.

 

DAVID: Thank you for letting me paint you.

 

SARAH: (a little giddy from alcohol) It’ll be fun!

 

DAVID: I’m glad someone thinks so. I think it will be hard work.

 

SARAH: How do you know I won’t get comfortable on your couch and you’ll

never be able to get rid of me!

 

DAVID: Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing?

 

(SARAH laughs.)

 

SARAH: That was an interesting bar.

 

DAVID:   It depends on what you mean by interesting.

 

SARAH: Is it your neighborhood hangout?

 

DAVID: I heard from a friend it was good. I don’t go out much myself.

 

SARAH: I loved those Chihuly-like sculptures.

 

DAVID: Oh, you like him? I love Dale Chihuly’s work too!

 

SARAH: Yeah, they’re like these floating glass clouds.

 

DAVID: There’s an image for you.

 

 

Scene 6

 

(DAVID is working on a painting as SARAH comes into the apartment.)

 

SARAH: Hey, I got this handout from this lady on the street.

 

DAVID: What?

 

SARAH: It’s a deal on that gym down the street–a week for free just to check it out and a tour and everything. I thought you’d like it.

 

DAVID: No, thanks—I hate gyms.

 

SARAH: Why?

 

DAVID: They’re always too crowded–too expensive anyway.

 

SARAH: Well, I know how you like to stay in shape. Why not join the Y around the corner? I heard they have a great pool.

 

DAVID: Not my style. I like working out at home.

 

SARAH: I just thought you might like to get out of the house every once in a while.

 

DAVID: Why? Afraid I might be turning into the new post-modern hermit?

 

SARAH: Very funny.

 

DAVID: I just like being comfortable and…

 

SARAH: In total control?

 

DAVID: (DAVID goes to the window and stares out.) You know, the other day I looked out this window and I saw this woman. She was very well-dressed and in a really big hurry. She walked to the end of the block and then she turned around and walked back to the corner she’d just left. At first I thought she was lost and couldn’t find an address or something. She seemed like she was late for some important meeting. But then she must have repeated the same steps a hundred times, again and again, up and down the block. She could have been a hooker but her clothes were too expensive. Then I realized she was lost — lost in her mind. I wondered why she chose this block? Why did she always stop at that corner? What kept her from walking across the street and moving on?

 

When I go out sometimes I get caught up with the energy out there. And someplace deep down I think I’m afraid I might end up like her: just running a groove into the sidewalk day after day.

 

SARAH: That will never be you. Your painting keeps you going forward…changing. Aristotle said something about that. He said you can make a sculpture out of a block of marble because it can be transformed. Maybe people are like that too?

 

DAVID: What, like a block of marble?

 

SARAH: (SARAH laughs) No-o-o!

 

 

Scene 7

 

SARAH and DAVID’S apartment. Living Room.

 

(DAVID is alone at the easel)

 

DAVID: Sometimes when I’m painting I feel so…alive. When I’m painting Sarah and she suddenly touches her face I can feel a light touch against my skin and when the brush reaches her hands it’s as if a feather brushes or tickles my hand. And when I get to that light in her eyes, for a second, I see what she sees: a cobweb on the ceiling or the curve of my back.

 

 

Scene 8

 

SARAH and DAVID’S apartment. Kitchen.

 

(They are washing and drying dishes)

 

SARAH: I’ve never had anyone close to me die before. Have you?

 

DAVID: Yes.

 

SARAH: Who?

 

DAVID: My mother.

 

SARAH: Oh. I didn’t know that. Why didn’t you tell me before?
DAVID: I didn’t think you’d be interested. The past is the past.

 

SARAH: And your father?

 

DAVID: You know I talk to him every weekend.

 

SARAH: Do you miss her? When did it happen?

 

DAVID: When I was a kid. I was so young that I don’t remember much of anything about her.

 

SARAH: What do you remember about her?

 

DAVID (sits down): I remember crying after she tried to feed me lobster.

 

SARAH: You didn’t like lobster? Everyone likes lobster.

 

DAVID: It just looked so red and angry.

 

SARAH: What else do you remember?

 

DAVID: The baths she used to make me take.

 

SARAH: Did you have a rubber ducky?

 

DAVID: No, I had a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

 

SARAH: Oh you would!

 

DAVID: She had elegant hands with long fingers.

 

SARAH: How did she die?

 

DAVID: She was in a car accident.

 

SARAH: Oh.

 

DAVID: She was on her way home from rehearsal one night and she got sideswiped on the highway and swerved into a ditch.

 

SARAH: I’m sorry…I had no idea.

 

DAVID: I was only 8 years old and that’s the story my father told me when I got older.

 

SARAH: I wonder how Margaret died.

 

DAVID: I’ve been thinking maybe you should go to the funeral after all…just to answer all your questions.

 

SARAH: Maybe. I can look into the plane fares.

 

DAVID: Why did you lose touch with her?

 

SARAH: I don’t know…I think it was after the first time she slept with a boy. His name was Dallas.  It happened in the locker room of the swimming pool in her grandmother’s building.  I remember swimming in that pool decorated with white Christmas lights.  The lights reflected in the water.  Then I could already feel her breaking away from me.

 

DAVID: So, she was more into her boyfriend than she was into you?

 

SARAH: Yeah, maybe he was the one who pulled us apart. I’m not really sure what happened.

 

DAVID: Well, maybe you do need to go to the funeral?

 

 

Scene 9

 

SARAH and DAVID’S apartment. Living Room.

 

DAVID: There you are…my ballerina.

 

SARAH: What are you talking about?

 

DAVID: Why are you always tiptoeing around?

 

SARAH: I’m worried about the neighbors. I don’t want them to hear.

 

DAVID: Hear what? What are you afraid they might hear?

 

SARAH: I don’t know. I want to be quiet.

 

DAVID:   You should be comfortable in your own body…in your own home and make as much noise as you want.

 

SARAH: I don’t have to be loud to be comfortable. Sometimes you stand perfectly still in front of your canvas for ages.

 

DAVID: Yeah, when I’m staring at a canvas like that I feel calm like part of me has floated away.

 

Scene 10

 

SARAH and DAVID’S bedroom.

 

(SARAH packing her suitcase.)

 

SARAH: I’ll miss you, David.

 

DAVID: We decided it’s important that you go.

 

SARAH: Maybe you need to get in touch with your past too.

 

DAVID: What do you mean?

 

SARAH: What if you go visit your father?

 

DAVID: I talk to him on the phone. It’s enough.

 

SARAH: Maybe he’ll tell you more about your mother. You don’t want to lose those memories.

 

DAVID: I have those memories. I remember once when my mother came home tired from work she still played catch with me.

 

SARAH: And your dad?

 

DAVID: My dad was more into solitude.

 

SARAH: More like you?

 

DAVID: Yes.  I remember at night he used to pace the hallways of our house, back and forth.

 

SARAH: Why?

 

DAVID: Just trying to develop a rhythm.  I think he’s kinda like that woman I saw on the street…

 

 

Scene 11

 

SARAH and DAVID’S Living Room.

 

SARAH: My mother always said that before you leave on a trip you need to sit down and consider whether you’ve forgotten anything.

DAVID: Let’s sit then.

(They sit down on the couch in silence for a moment.)

SARAH: I think I have everything.

DAVID: I think you’re just trying to put off leaving.  I’ll miss you.

SARAH: I’ll miss you too, but I’ll be back soon.

 

(SARAH steps out the door. DAVID watches her disappear before shutting the door. He goes to the phone and picks it up.)

 

DAVID: Hi Dad…Yeah, Sarah just left to go to a funeral and I already feel lonely…something is just not right…I’ll work on my painting while she is gone…Yes, I’m painting her, painting Sarah.

 

(DAVID goes to his easel pick up his palette and starts mixing paints but puts them down. He starts to pace back and forth in front of the window.)

 

 

Scene 12

 

SARAH and DAVID’S bedroom.

 

(DAVID lies on the bed daydreaming. He suddenly sits up.)

 

DAVID: I keep seeing these flowers on a casket. The casket is being lowered into the ground. I keep seeing bright spots of orange against the black, orange tulips. There’s no sun, just clouds. The tulips seem especially bright. Everything else is dark, black casket and everyone in their black mourning clothes like the black suit I wore to my mother’s funeral and my father’s black suit when he held my hand.

 

 

Scene 13

 

(SARAH returns from the funeral. She turns the key and opens the door. DAVID is sitting on the couch reading a magazine when she comes in. He gets up and hugs her.)

 

DAVID: Oh, Sarah. I missed you so much. How did it go?

 

SARAH: It was really sad, but the funeral was beautiful. I saw so many old friends. There were lots of flowers.

 

DAVID: Tulips?

 

SARAH: How did you know?

 

DAVID: I just had a feeling.

 

SARAH: They were Margaret’s favorite flower. How could you know that?

 

DAVID: I had some kind of visions about what the funeral was like.

 

SARAH: Visions? That’s impossible.

 

DAVID: Maybe it’s impossible, but it did happen. Remember the dream you had earlier?

 

SARAH: Oh, I almost forgot.

 

(She starts to carry her bags into bedroom.)

 

SARAH: What have you been doing?

 

DAVID: I’ll help you with those.

 

(He takes the bags into the bedroom and comes back out.)

 

DAVID: I’ve just been painting, but I did call my father. I told him I felt like something was missing while you were gone.

 

SARAH: Oh that’s sweet. I’m going to go unpack now.

 

 

Scene 14

 

(SARAH finishes unpacking and goes into the bathroom. She stares into the mirror.)

 

Sarah: I felt a little faint so I went to the bathroom, splashed some cold water on my face thinking that would bring me back to normal. But when I looked in the mirror my face looked so odd. The more I stared at it, the stranger it seemed. At first I could identify the edges of my face, the general shape and where my hairline started—the varying shades of my skin. Then the edges started to blur and I had a sense of expansion, something about me expanding out beyond the edges, my edges. In the mirror I saw these fragments, geometrics pieces of my face moving apart, breaking apart and spreading out towards the edges of the silver mirror frame. Only my eyes seemed to stay stable, though hazy, floating in the center as the rest of my face moved away, eventually disappearing, leaving only these dark brown eyes floating in a kind of cloud.

 

 

Scene 15

 

(SARAH feels a little faint and staggers into the living room where DAVID is painting. DAVID doesn’t notice that she’s a little wobbly.)

 

DAVID: I finally finished the portrait of you!

 

SARAH: How is it?

 

DAVID: It’s not the way I thought it was at all. Do you want to see it? Sarah? Sarah?….

 

(SARAH disappears through the audience, wobbly. DAVID turns the painting around. The painting is a portrait of DAVID.) 

End.

 

About the Playwrights:

Olena Jennings’s poetry collection Songs from an Apartment is scheduled for release by Underground Books in January 2017.  Her translations from Ukrainian have been published in Chelsea, Wolf, and Poetry International as well as by Underground Books.  She has published fiction in Joyland, Pioneertown, and Projecttile. She completed her MFA in writing at Columbia and her MA in Ukrainian Literature at the University of Alberta.  Her website is olenajennings.com.  

Wanda Phipps is a writer/performer living in NYC. Her books include Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems. Her poetry has been translated into Ukrainian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician and Bangla. She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Theater Translation Fund, and others. As a founding member of Yara Arts Group she has collaborated on numerous theatrical productions presented in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia, and at La MaMa, E.T.C. in NYC. She’s curated reading series at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. Her website is mindhoney.com.

© Olena Jennings and Wanda Phipps