Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011

Carol Pearce-Worthington
New York City, New York, USA


first performance

A friend talks me into attending a musical comedy class. For weeks I climb the creaky wooden stairs on the west side of Manhattan to be intimidated by Broadway belters and lyric sopranos, red-haired showgirls carrying special musical arrangements, baritones wearing platform shoes. A Brooklyn woman collects fees while Mervyn the guru moves about smoking cigarettes and hugging people: so happy to and where have you and oh my god and wouldn't you know and darling I would have to be and look who's here . . . After many weeks, I finally decide I am too scared to sing; I will instead recite a poem. OK, my friend says, if that's all you think you can do. Do that. I feel like throwing up. As I get onstage, I hear noisy chatter over coffee: names of agents, who's casting, open call, let me write that down, yeah she's on tour, but did you hear. Somebody laughs, the door slams, Mervyn shouts OK everyone quiet down, and strikes a match for another cigarette as I begin.

              For a long time now
              I have not been able to write you…

The room is listening. I go on.

              The attendants here
              Steal words . . .

The match burns down in Mervyn's hand.

falling rain
my view
through this window







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