POEM: Stage Coach

Stage Coach

One day
I lost my script
And was taken back
Only to have scene
The other actors
In the audience
Having won
More stage

This is a good example of one of my elegantly ambiguous , playing off multiple meanings, creating tensions for the reader to resolve on their own.  The general theme plays off “real” acting and the role each of us plays on ’s stage.  The stage is set in motion by losing one’s script.  For actors this could be a crisis.  In real , this could be a real and launchpad to . Being “taken back” can mean “surprised” or “to lose one’s footing;” or to return to an earlier , perhaps a more innocent or true ; or to be accepted back by the other actors for yet another scene. Is moving from “guise” to a stage?  Within the tension of guise and is the alternating roles of actor and audience member.  So how does one participate on ’s stage without either acting or simply being relegated to a passive observer?  Is “winning” getting a greater role on stage or somehow transcending the stage itself?  The last line, last word, “contracted” is at least a triple pun.  Contracted can mean having signed (won?) a contract.  Contracted can mean made smaller.  Contracted can mean coming down with a .

The title, Stage Coach, lies outside the formal purview of the poem, much like the realm of or , offering a hint, but ample uncertainty.

Of course, the poem and title conjure up the monologue and poem,”All the World’s a Stage,” in the , As You Like It, by William :

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the ,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful ,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Of course, if you are a playwright, everything looks like a stage…

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