Oct/Nov 2009 Poetry

Bruce, an Apprentice Stagehand, His Esthetics

by Oliver Rice

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Bruce, an Apprentice Stagehand, His Esthetics

He is, himself, incidentally, a protagonist.

Notice his apparent lack of presumption.
Of presentation.
Yes, he is preintellectual, yet impressionable.
Good natured, dutiful, quick to learn.

Observe his attention to the action on stage.
He understands the wayward uncle,
the abused wife, the returning soldier,
love, anger, grief, joy —
what is explicit.

But, intent nightly from the wings,
he begins to sense that unspoken things occur.
Overhears fragments of talk among the players
that provoke him to listen more closely,
watch more precisely —

her past arriving,
the great souled thing to do,
a place from which there is no turning back

that leave him, however, more often bewildered —

the darkness of the father,
an artifice of the audience,
rumors out of the undermind

beguiled, imperiled —

the humanistic urge,
a conditional light,
art is the opposite of habit and banality

apprenticed to the ambiguity of experience.


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