Baroque stage contrivance: little men, I’m sure, cranking blue cardboard across three
roasting spits. The caps on the waves are cellophane lilting under the vent of conditioned air.
No electricity: the flickering light on the plastic is small-worlds-collapsing, and so on.
But somebody has to do it, right? Men and women must wake every morning to their
guttural alarms and spend time mimicking other men and women from-when-time-must-
have-begun: the Jazz Singer begot Will and Grace, somehow; American Family begot
American Idol—and I am caught silently nursing my ego, bunching bits of melted carpet in my
fingers from when I left the iron on, listening to the earnest waver of boys and girls from the
mid-west follow their dreams of being known by people whom they do not know.
They stand on a stage that looks black, the camera disregarding the troughs where a
stiletto heel has dug a biome, where the piano’s glide has cut a channel for cleaning solution to
gather and drain. They enter from a curtain pulled back by magic, by uglier students. They
wear clothing kept together by special thread, I think.
I am supine, hand-under-jaw, and the elbows push the shoulders to a shrug.