12 August 2016

[Untitled]


I will love love love
Until I descend into dreaming
The heart is a voluntary muscle
And as long as I say the word
It will keep on beating
Love love love
Don't stop, or the body will grow cold
Love love love
And we never will grow old



24 June 2016

Please Forgive Me

The title of this song is not an apology for not posting in so long, because I'm not actually sorry for that. Much.

Also, although I put a lot of heart into this song, I should warn you that there is a little explicit language in it. I suppose it justifies the title ;)





V.1

I’m sorry, my brother
I treated you so wrong
I turned around and beat you down
When the bigger fish was gone

Oh, I tried, inside
But I never could be good
You would have forgiven me
If you had understood

(Pre-chorus 1)
That I’m a toxic neurotic
Perverted and psychotic
Defensive, offensive
And immensely despotic

And I don’t wanna say it
But I know it’s true
Won’t stop running
Though none pursue
And I keep on learning more
Of what I wish I never knew

(Chorus)
So please forgive me for what I’ve done
I am weak in more ways than one
And the more that I try the more I realize
I can’t stop now that I have begun


V.2

I’m sorry, my father
I tried to run away
Hid in bushes from the cops
And lied to you for days

And I was so scared
To tell you the whole truth
But when I opened up my mouth
I knew you always knew

(Pre-chorus 2)
That I’m a toxic neurotic
Perverted and psychotic
Defensive, offensive
And immensely despotic

Thought it was easy
Till I tried to change
I blow out the fire
But it feeds the flames
You can travel all around the world
But your soul remains the same

(Chorus)
So please forgive me for what I’ve done
I am weak in more ways than one
And the more that I try the more I realize
I can’t stop now that I have begun (x2)


V.3

I’m sorry, my Jesus
For all the pain I reap
On my brothers and sisters
And the One who made me

Now You have washed my hands
And I will wash Your feet

(Pre-chorus 3)
And I don’t wanna say it
But I know it’s true
Won’t stop running
Till I run to You
I may be full of shit but I’ll admit
I knew that too

(Chorus 2)
So please forgive me for what I’ve done
I am weak in more ways than one
And more that I try the more I realize
That You ended what I had begun




-The Minstrel Boy


06 June 2016

Jesus Laughed

Later that day, Jesus was dining with His disciples in the house of Peter.

Jesus, who was weary from the day’s teachings, was eating quietly at the end of the table and saying nothing.

The disciples were talking amongst themselves, arguing over which one of them had the biggest hands.

Matthew was saying, “Because I was a tax collector before our Lord commanded me to follow Him, I was required to hold many coins in my palms, therefore my hands are the biggest.”

Peter, the son of Jonah, said: “It is not so. For before our Lord took me away, I was a fisherman, and the brethren know that only I had hands big enough to hoist up the nets.”

Luke was also saying, “You both are wrong! For behold, I am a doctor, and would not be able to care and nurture my patients if it not were for the great size of my hands.”

While the disciples were arguing, Peter’s dog came among them at the end of the table where Jesus was.

Jesus, seeing that no one was paying attention, took the last loaf of bread from the table and fed it to him.

Jesus then addressed the disciples, saying, “Peter, pass the bread.”

Peter and the others looked all around them, but there was no bread to be found.

Peter, in great distress, said to Jesus, “Forgive me, Lord, but the bread is gone!”

Jesus said to them, “Which one among you ate the last loaf?” But none of them knew who it was.

Jesus laughed.

And the disciples were all amazed, saying to each other, “How can this be, that He who performs such signs and wonders should laugh among us like a mortal?”


14 May 2016

Lady Beauty Part III: The Youth and the Maiden

I had once read in a book by George MacDonald the following words: “when a youth and a maiden look too deep into each other’s eyes, a longing seizes and possesses them; but instead of drawing nearer to each other, they wander away, each alone, into solitary places, and die of desire.”  A year ago I would not have known what that meant. But now I do.
Last week, I drove the Girl with the Curly Hair to the airport. She asked me, what time is it now? Ten till twelve. And now? It is still ten till twelve. The airport was always empty at this particular time of day. I said that I wished her the best of luck, and she said thanks, you too. But I didn’t mean it. I knew that time forbade that I stare too long (for time pays no heed to urgency) so I turned away. And that was how it ended.
The poets teach us that when a man and a woman in love gaze at each other, a lovely harmony is stirred, and it draws them, closer and closer together, until the lips caress. But you see it is not always. One must be careful not to gaze too deeply. To look into someone’s eyes is to embark on no small journey. You must wander through forests of memory, cross seas of abandonment, ascend stairways of excellence and desire, and, atop some remote mountain, place your glowing finger on the still glass pool your find there. The film is disturbed with ripples that, in spite of your trespass, sparkle like galaxies with all the intricacy of a fingerprint. At last, you say, I have penetrated life within life. Have you now found the answer?  Is this what it means to know someone?
Alas, I am here to tell you the answer is no. For now I see that I had made the fatal mistake: I had looked too deep. I had, in my careless passion, broken through some forbidden frontier, and instead of falling in love, fell into inconsolable longing. Only after this frontier is crossed does a man realize that he is truly alone, and that not even human love can grant him his deepest desires. One look draws the youth and the maiden together, but a look that travels beyond this, and touches the sacred pool of life within life, turns them away. When our eyes interlocked in the airport that day, it contained a certain quality of desire I could only find in her eyes alone and yet her eyes alone could not fulfill it. And so I turned away, down a vacant road, damned into the deep of profound dissatisfaction. 



18 April 2016

A Garden of Samanthas

On a hill, on the west side of the river, five miles from the nearest town, a ladybug took the liberty to sunning herself on a rock.

At the foot of the hill, in a house that must have grown up there a hundred years ago, the Wilson’s cat sat erect, staring at the pantry, trying to decide if was worth the effort and whether he could finish the job before the Mistress and man-child returned.

On the other side of the hill, where sun was still shining (and some say it still is) the Mistress and the man-child were concluding their evening meal, he his crackers and almonds (which he would not eat without peanut butter) and she her sandwich (which she preferred lightly toasted).

“What are you drawing, dear?” asked the Mistress.

“Issa samantha.”

“Samantha? It looks like a flower.”

“Uh huh. Issa flower.”

“Did you name it Samantha?”

“No, issa samantha,” said the boy impatiently.

“It’s a Samantha?”

“A samantha is a flower,” he explained.

“Oh, I see. I’ve never heard of such a flower before.”

“Uh-huh,” the boy conceded.

The boy often said odd things like this, and the Mistress had come to accept it. His father had tried to teach him about the names of Cows and Horses, but in spite of all his training the boy would never call trees “treesif for some reason he preferred them to be called elephants. When he spoke, his word was law. There was no convincing him out of it.

The drawing did not remotely resemble the yellow and pink rhododendrons in front of him. It was more purple than yellow (whether from artistic choice or the limitations of his color palette she could not decide) with vibrant, fiery appendages shooting out from the roots. She smiled to herself, and considered how dearly she loved him. And yet—when you really looked at the drawing, you couldn’t help but feel that it was somehow right that it should be called a samantha. And when she turned her gaze to the rhododendrons he was supposedly modeling, wasn’t there something very samantha­-like about them? Perhaps the man who had named them “rhododendrons” was the one who had got it wrong. Let it be known, world, that these flowers shall henceforth be called samanthas.

She checked herself. Of course this was nonsense. They were rhododendrons, not samanthas. She must explain this to him later. But not today. Some other time.

The Mistress said, “It’s time to go,” and it was. The boy took her hand and they turned their backs to the sun. But if they had been listening closely, they would have heard the faintest tingling music washing over the hillside. They did not know that the samanthas were singing, rejoicing quietly over the sound of their new name.



02 April 2016

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed


Cast:
Model 1
Model 2
The Store Clerk
A family of three: Father, Mother, and young child
A young man
A teenage couple

Two plastic clothing models stand behind the glass window of a store, perfectly still, with deadpan expressions. Model 1 wears a wide brimmed hat and a brightly colored floral dress. Model 2 wears a fitting leather jacket and a mini denim skirt. Shoppers periodically pass by the window in silence.

The store clerk comes up and changes the sign from “CLOSED” to “OPEN”. He continues to appear periodically throughout the play to adjust the model’s positions. Model 1 yawns, as if waking up.

Model 1: [to the second model] lovely day out, isn’t it?

Pause.  M1 clears her throat. A shudder runs through M2 and she wakes up.

Model 2: Sorry?
M1: I said it was a lovely day out.
M2: Oh. I’m so sorry. I misheard you. I thought you said it was a lovely day out.
M1: I did.
M2: What’s that?
M1: I did!
M2: [with disgust] oh.

A pause.

M1: Well, what are you wearing today?
M2: Oh for God’s sake, stop trying to make conversation.
M1: They gave me this lovely floral dress. I like floral. Don’t you?  I’m sure it would be exceptionally pretty if I could twirl around in it. Some girls, you know, they twirl in their dresses. I’ve seen them do it. I wish I could twirl around in this. Sometimes I think a pretty dress is all a girl needs in life.
M2: Child, don’t say such things. It’s not good for our customers. If they could hear you (thank God they can’t) they’d actually start thinking they have enough!
M1: Well what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it our motto? “Customer satisfaction guaranteed”—it says so on the window.
M2: Now don’t you start believing our own propaganda, child. The last thing we want is for them to be satisfied. If they were satisfied, they’d never come back!
M1: But why shouldn’t they be satisfied? Don’t they want what we’re giving them? Hats, coats, skirts? That’s what we’re here for.
M2: Oh, good gracious, no. We don’t sell clothes here.
M1: What do we sell?
M2: Customer satisfaction, child. It says so on the window.
M1: It’s the same thing.
M2: Of course it’s not the same thing! We don’t want to sell things. Things don’t last. “That which is seen is temporal.”
M1: Where did you hear that?
M2: I don’t know, I read it in a book once. Now listen: we want to sell an idea—a promise. A promise is eternal, you see. They come in every day to pick up this promise, and we tell them “we’re all out. Come back tomorrow, and then it will be ready.” And they will always come back, till their bones crack and their hair falls out, as long as we don’t deliver the promise.
M1: What’s the promise?
M2: That they will one day be like us. But every time they buy one of our outfits, the store clerk comes and puts new clothes on us, so they won’t be like us anymore. Hence the promise is never delivered.
M1: [with genuine admiration] you sound very wise. You seem to know a lot about this sort of thing.
M2: [pompously] I’ve been around.

A mother and father with a small girl walk by the store. The small girl stops and stares at the first model for some time. She begins to cry.

Mother: Sweetheart, what’s the matter?
Little Girl: I’m sad.
Mother: Why are you sad?
Little Girl: Because [points to plastic model in floral] because she’s sad.
Father: The model? [laughs] Oh sweetie, there’s no need to worry about that. It’s not a real girl. She’s made of plastic. She doesn’t have feelings.

The little girl continues to shake her head and point, and the conversation continues in pantomime as we switch to the other side of the glass. The family eventually exits as the following conversation ensues:

M1: Is it true? Are none of us real?
M2: It’s true. You’ve got nothing. Now people, if you opened them up, you would find all sorts of interesting things: bones, blood, lungs, pizzas, cancers, kidneys—the list goes on. But if they opened you up, you know what they’d find? Nothing. You don’t breathe, you don’t eat, you don’t sleep. You don’t even have a heartbeat. You’re empty.
M1: Then I’m an empty promise.
M2: Ugh, stop saying such intelligent things. It’s disgusting.
M1: Is that all it means to be real? To have things inside of you? Even if I don’t have any of those things—I feel real.
M2: [guffaw] we all do at first. You’ll get used to it eventually. That’s what happens when you stare at real people for too long. It rubs off on you—you start thinking you’re one of them. You’re not. That girl had a Mom and Dad. You never had a Mom and Dad: you were made in a factory, popped off a conveyor belt, along with five hundred other plastic women who look just like you. That girl could cry. That means she’s sad. You can’t cry: you can’t even close your eyes.
M1: [dejected] Then the man was right? I can’t cry. I don’t have feelings.  Why would they ever want to be like us—like this?
M2: That’s the genius of it! Don’t you see you’re the envy of them all? You’re the thing everyone wishes they could have.  I saw a man once break up with his girlfriend when he realized how little she looked like me. You should consider yourself the privileged. We’re practically at the zenith of society.
M1: Envious? What’s there to be envious of? My plastic face, my stiff joints, stuck behind this miserable glass wall watching the world pass me by, people laughing and walking and texting and paying parking tickets with those beautiful hands of theirs, while I can’t even lift a finger to join them? I’d give my right arm to be one of them.
M2: Be grateful you don’t work in the jewelry section. They don’t even have arms.
M1: I suppose.
M2: Or heads, for that matter.
M1: Yes, isn’t it a pity? [Another pause] Even so, they’re still better at conversation than you.

A young man walks past the models and stops at the window. He stares at M1.

M2: Oh brother, not this one again.
M1: Who is he?
M2: One of the romantics. He wants that pretty hat of yours. He’s been coming here for weeks now.
M1: [laughs spontaneously] him? In this hat? How funny!
M2: Not for himself, nitwit. His wife. It’s their anniversary. Look at how he gawks and the price tag. He can’t afford it, the poor thing. [To M1] Quit laughing. It’s unprofessional.
M1: I like him.
M2: Well, hate to crush your dreams, but I don’t think he likes you back.

Young man looks up from the price tag to stare at M1’s face intently.

M1: [with almost uncontrollable delight] he’s seen me. He’s looking at me!
M2: Don’t be a fool, he’s looking at your hat.

Store clerk comes up from behind M1 and removes her hat, replacing it with another one. The young man, instead of continuing to look at her, follows the hat with his eyes and eventually, as if suddenly making up his mind, walks briskly inside the store. Visible disappointment registers on M1’s face.

M2: [triumphantly] hah! See? He was never interested in you.
M1: [dreamily] did you see the way he looked at me?
M2: Looked at you! He only looked at you [shudders] like that because he was imagining the expression on his wife’s face when she tries on the hat for the first time.
M1: [sadly] lucky girl. [Brightens up again] Maybe, when I’m real, someone will look at me like that, and not just while imagining I’m someone else.  But still, it did feel wonderful.
M2: When you’re real? What makes you think you’re ever going to be real?
M1: I don’t know. I read it in a book once.
M2: [scornful laugh] you stupid girl, where do you get such ridiculous ideas? [Getting increasingly furious] We’re not human, you and I! We’re hunks of plastic that happen to look human! When they’re done with us, they’ll melt us into pools of sticky liquid and turn us into Tupperware. That’s all you are: Tupperware! You’re not real—never have been, never will be. Do you understand?

Pause.

M1: [downcast eyes] I liked him.
M2: [exasperated sigh] you know what you are? Hopeless. That’s what you are.

More silence.

M2: Store closes in an hour. They’ll take off our clothes and put us in storage. That’s the procedure.
M1: The sunset is beautiful, isn’t it?

M2 does not answer.

A little later, a teenage couple walk up, hand in hand. The boy takes his phone out to text, and freezes in position. The girl drops his hand and advances to M1.

M1: Who is she? I’ve never seen her before.
M2: Hopeless. [More to herself than anyone else]

The girl reaches up and puts her hand on the glass. M1, straining from the effort, slowly begins to move her own hand towards her.

M2: [seen M1 moving her hand] Look—hey! What are you doing? You can’t do that!
M1: I can almost—touch her!
M2: Stop it! Someone will see!
M1: I just want to touch her—
M2: Stop moving your arm—
M1: Just for a second—
M2: It’s unprofessional—oof!

Her shouting is muffled by the store clerk who comes up behind her and throws a black sheet over her, carrying her away as she continues to yell at M1. She is eventually silenced.
The girl and the model continue to stare at each other, palm to palm on the glass.

Girl: Look at her.
M1: Look at her.
Both: You’re beautiful.
Girl: You’re seen.
M1: You’re touched.
Girl: You’re admired.
M1: You’re loved.
Girl: You’re perfect.
M1: You’re alive.
Both: If only I were you, someone might actually notice me.

Boyfriend looks up from his phone.

Boyfriend: Let’s go.


Girl drops her hand from the glass and walks away with her boyfriend. M1 remains with her hands on the glass, but her expression freezes and becomes as lifeless as it was in the beginning. The store clerk comes up with a black sheet to throw over her. He hesitates, startled to find her hand on the glass. He shrugs it off, throws the sheet over her, and changes the sign to “CLOSED” on the store window.

15 March 2016

A Letter to Miss Crofut


To: Jane Crofut;
The Crofut Farm;
Grover’s Corners;
Sutton County;
New Hampshire;
United States of America;
Continent of North America;
Western Hemisphere;
The Earth;
The Solar System;
The Universe;
The Mind of God.1

May 7, 1901
My dear Miss Crofut,
I hope your health is improving.
It’s a shame to be marooned abed
With the weather like this!
But don’t expect it to last, my dear
It is that time of year, after all.

We missed you last Sunday.
Everyone was asking
Where you were.
Mrs. Stetson gives her regards
And also the little one—Lucy.
She adores you, you know.

I preached today on Exodus
Chapter 16, verse 3.
The Israelites are hungry
And say to Moses,
“If only the Lord
Had killed us back in Egypt!
There we ate all the food we wanted
But now you have brought us into this desert
To starve us all to death.”
Poor blighters. They never learn, do they?
I sometimes wonder, Miss Crofut:
Do humans ever really want freedom?

Oliver died yesterday.
Not much of a shock to any of us
He was getting old anyway.
Gina—my youngest—wanted a formal funeral
“He’s goin’ to heaven, Dadda
Animals are human too, you know!”
Oh Gina.
I’m sorry you never had the chance
To see him
Before he passed away
I know you loved the old fellow.

Gina asked me, “Dadda,
Why do dogs
Live so much shorter
Than humans?”
I told her, of course
“Because God
Made them that way, dearest.”
Gina asked me, “Why?”
To be frank, Miss Crofut
I don’t reckon I ever asked why
But I gave it a hard think
And this is what I told her:

“I reckon
He made them that way
To remind us
That nobody lives forever.”

The tulips are blooming again
I mailed some to you
They’re probably withered
But Esther insisted.

Sincerely,
Rev. Roland

P.S.
I suppose you have heard by now
That Annie Leston and Sam Crowell
Are engaged!
The date
Has not been announced yet.






[1] Thornton Wilder, “Our Town” Act I p.46