John Amen, Curtain Speech

John Amen

for Michael S.

after the final show
we attend the final party
encouraging ourselves to stay in role
nothing’s a failure
unless everything is
death’s always advancing & always plants its flag
we do what we can
to hold the line for a while

frustrations spark in the wings
flaring towards the open mic
as we raise our drinks
lamenting the end of the theater
soliloquizing how the advisory board
could’ve eluded this checkmate
kept the lights on
the doors open

fact is every dream ever conceived
was at its best
prior to being scripted
before its author was even born
before the big bang
making all these dramas possible

a week later
we’re back to our usual improvisations
the hungry gas tank
illnesses that stalk us
the math that keeps us up at night
love we hold at bay & to which we finally surrender
we straggle into our familiar & unfamiliar lives
how comedy keeps becoming tragedy
keeps becoming comedy…
& there’s just no telling
how this one’s going to end

Bio: John Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer (Uccelli Press, 2003), More of Me Disappears (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2005), At the Threshold of Alchemy (Presa, 2009), and strange theater (New York Quarterly Books, 2015). His work has appeared in numerous journals nationally and internationally and been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian, Korean, and Hebrew. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine.

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