Monday, October 19, 2009

BECALMED : A 10 Minute Play by Liz Duffy Adams, Part II

CALIBAN: You’re back.

MIRANDA: I’m back.

ARIEL: Slumming?

MIRANDA: Back for good, back forever, exiled. Again.


ARIEL: Exiled?


MIRANDA: I’m exiled, it was a disaster, those people are lunatics. I thought they were so beautiful, so lovely, so kind. But I couldn’t please them, they had the craziest ideas. All I did was go to bed with men. Why not? They’re such fabulous creatures, all stubble and sweat and smooth flesh. Just looking at them made me want to kiss them and touch them and roll around on them with my clothes off. But it made everyone lose their minds. Just go absolutely nuts. And the more I loved them the less they liked me till suddenly it was Go get out back in the boat you fishy whore. Brave new world my ass.

CALIBAN: You can roll around on me naked, heh heh.

MIRANDA: We’ll see.


MIRANDA: We’ll see, we’ll see, I may. You’re a monster but I think I’ll miss the touching, now I’ve gotten used to it.

[She sees the staff ends finally.]

What are you doing? Give me that.

[She takes the staff halves.]

What are you still doing here, anyway? Didn’t my father free you?

ARIEL: Why didn’t he come back with you?

MIRANDA: He’s dead.

[They stare at her.]

I know. But he is. They burned him on a pyre and fireworks shot out. Scared everyone witless. I still can hardly believe he’s gone. He would have protected me from the rabble, but it was after the funeral they all turned on me. I’ve lost everything. Except this island, and these bits of wood. So I guess the question is, am I my father’s daughter, or not?

CALIBAN: He’s dead?

ARIEL: He’s really gone?

CALIBAN: He’s dead?

ARIEL: He’s gone for good?

CALIBAN: He’s dead?

MIRANDA: The sorcerer is dead. Long live the sorcerer. As soon as I fix this. Don’t bow. It’s not going to be like before.

CALIBAN [confused]: It isn’t?

MIRANDA: No. I’m not going to be a tyrant like my father.

ARIEL [skeptical]: You aren’t?

MIRANDA: No! Well, I’ll hold absolute power at first, of course. That’s all you’re used to. And I can see you’ve let the place go to hell, so we’ve got that to deal with. Easier if there’s someone in charge. But eventually, when you’re ready, I’ll teach you guys how to think for yourselves and we’ll be a democracy. Or a parliamentary monarchy. Or something.

ARIEL: Right. You’ll give up power.

MIRANDA: I will.

ARIEL: I’ll believe that when I see it.

MIRANDA: Shut up.

ARIEL: You’re all the same, you idealists; velvet gloves aching for a fist.

MIRANDA: Fuck you.

CALIBAN: Hey, hey—

ARIEL: Nice, very parliamentary.

MIRANDA: Stop goading me!

ARIEL: You’ve got the staff, why don’t you use it? Afraid to rule over a fairy and one half-assed monster?


ARIEL [continuous]: You aren’t your father’s daughter, you’re just an everyday random little orphaned slut.

MIRANDA: I said shut up!

ARIEL: Make me.

MIRANDA [brandishing the staff]: Be still I command you!

[She has put the staff back together. Special effects! Thunder and lightening! Ariel and Caliban cower. Even Miranda is staggered.]

CALIBAN [aside to Ariel]: That’s more like it.


ARIEL: Welcome home.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

BECALMED: A 10 Minute Play by Liz Duffy Adams, Part I

[On a beach. A tall pile of sand where something has been dug out of a deep pit. Caliban, a young man/monster, is sitting on top of the pile. He’s holding two ends of a long staff, splintered and rough where it was broken. He’s twisting and turning it, trying to make it fit back together. He keeps at it, with dull and dogged concentration; he’s been at it for a long time. Ariel, a sardonic young fairy, appears, magically, dropping from the flies or popping out of the ground. Caliban ignores him, continuing to puzzle over the staff.]

ARIEL: That won’t work.

CALIBAN: Shut up.

ARIEL: You’ll never get it.

CALIBAN: Shut up .

ARIEL: It isn’t fixable.

CALIBAN: Shut up.

ARIEL: Not by you.

CALIBAN: Shut fucking up I command you.

[Ariel, who’d been about to speak again, promptly swallows it.]

Go fly a fucking girdle around the earth why don’t you.

ARIEL: That wasn’t me, that’s from—

CALIBAN: Get out!

[Ariel disappears. Caliban keeps working at the staff. He sings an artless song.]

Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Because I’ve got the staff
Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Although it’s broke in half

When I put it together
How happy we’ll be
The ruled and the ruler
The fairy and me

Oh I’ll be the king of the island
Because I’ve got the staff

[Ariel reappears, slightly winded.]

CALIBAN: That was fast.

ARIEL: Obviously.


You’ll never get it.


ARIEL: I command you to stop.

[Instantly Caliban stops and looks at him.]

Give that to me.

[Caliban comes down off the pile of sand and hands the broken pieces to Ariel. Ariel climbs the pile of sand, and begins trying to fit them together. Caliban stands uncertainly for a moment in silence.]

CALIBAN: What do I do now?

ARIEL: Whatever you like.

CALIBAN: Come on.

ARIEL: What?

CALIBAN: You know. It’s your turn. Command me something.

ARIEL: Not in the mood.

CALIBAN: Not fair. I did you.

ARIEL [mocking]: You did me.

CALIBAN: I gave you one. Give me one.

ARIEL: Alright fine alright go fetch some wood.

[Caliban instantly looks resentful, goes off.]

CALIBAN: Fetch some wood, fetch some wood, I’ll fetch him some wood one of these days. I should be king of the fucking island, me me me me me me me…

[He’s off. Ariel works away at the staff. He lays the pieces down end-to-end and points at them.]

ARIEL: Mend.

Come together.

Be as one.

Even from beyond the seas you’re ruining my life. “Then to the elements be free and fare well.” [bitterly] Right. And leave show business?

[Caliban comes back in empty handed.]

ARIEL: What’s this?

CALIBAN: No wood.

ARIEL: What do you mean?

CALIBAN: There’s no more wood. It’s all cut down. Nothing bigger than a twig from end to end of the place.

ARIEL: Then fetch some water.

CALIBAN: No water.

ARIEL: Excuse me?

CALIBAN: Well’s dry, spring’s brackish, and the stream’s filled with dead fish.

ARIEL: That can’t be good.

CALIBAN: Birds are gone too.

ARIEL: Migrated?


ARIEL: You ate all the birds?

CALIBAN: Have to eat something don’t I?

ARIEL: Well, that’s it for me. I’m off. I’m not staying on a brackish bare dead-fishy island with one greedy rapacious half-witted monster for company.

CALIBAN: It’ll be alright. Soon as we get that fixed, we can put everything back.

[They stare at the staff ends gloomily.]

Or I could bash you over the head with one of the ends and eat you.

ARIEL: I command you not to do that.

CALIBAN: Is it still your turn?

ARIEL: Yes it’s still my turn.

CALIBAN: You’re no good at this. When he commanded me I knew it.

ARIEL: Well he’s gone isn’t he. How do you think I feel, you command like a three-day-dead carp.

CALIBAN: Fuck you.

ARIEL: We talked better when he was here too. Verse and everything.

CALIBAN: I know. You suck.

ARIEL: That’s it. I’m gone. I’m out of here.



[Caliban dives for the staff, gets one end, Ariel has the other end, they circle around swiping at each other and missing. Maybe Ariel disappears and reappears to avoid getting hit. Altogether, an ineffectual sweaty grunting ridiculous battle. At the height of it, a small dingy enters suddenly as if thrown up onto the sand out of the sea, and a young woman is thrown out of it onto the sand. Miranda. Caliban and Ariel stop and stare. Pause.]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Poem by Gabbert and Rooney: Vision Looks Outward


“Making is thinking”—can it be true?

Function perfectly married to form? (It had to be shiny, it had to be this gleaming blue.)

Many wrong attempts. Men in black suits. Black soot.

Volunteers are encouraged for the hands-on demo, but must wear safety gloves.

The hand is the window to the mind, Kant said. Or so somebody said.

Edison slept only minutes per day. I don’t mind giving up my literal dreams.

The best inventors are bright, but uneducated & disorganized.

Tesla dreamt of flying machines.

We see our inventions against the sky-colored backdrop of our inner eye.

How else to satisfy our sense of proportion?

We have yet to master the direct perpendicular climb. The body breaks down before the technology.

There are reports of restlessness among the investors.

That’s where we are, riding just to the point of maximal change.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Book Forthcoming from Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney

The new book by Kathleen Rooney and Elisa Gabbert was a collaboration between them, one of a rare breed in the poetry world.

One Poem by Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney


“Women have more nightmares than men, though the scent of roses can improve their dreams.”—Harper’s Findings

Lightning has no special affection for
women, it’s women who are drawn to a
smell of ozone & a camera flash.
Are roses objectively romantic?
Is it real & did it happen? Dreamy
melodies in a minor key? You may
experience reduced fragility,
even euphoria. But the damage
of the admixture to flighty young things
is apparent as an undercurrent.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Poems from The Sea by Rauan Klassnik

Rauan Klassnik is the author of Holy Land. He resides in Mexico, where he works as a cutman for amateur boxers. He speaks Afrikaans, and when there's no boxing he's a fluffer at cockfights in his adopted land. His e-chapbook Ringing is out now.

Three Poems from a set called The Sea


Two girls are dragging a bag of trash. Blossoms drift down. I skin myself. Graft them on. And on. In a trance. Saving us all. Last night something was crying. On the balcony. In the sky. River. Garden. We searched for it. And searched. Lonely. Hurt. Dying. In the darkness crying. Like a sun dying. We gave up. Lay down. Smashed into a billion pieces.


Angels stand round me——wings curved in. And a bell starts ringing. Monkeys. In the tallest trees. Howling. And we’ll sing to them. Till they doze off. And we’ll shoot them. Down like dust——skull-white fire. There are so many ways to die. In your sleep’s a favorite. Dogs curled up. A small shrug. I want fire. Eyes. Hands. And teeth. Come to me.


Flowers, shot through with stars. Bent. Trembling. Fired in heat. Smeared——at my feet. So majestically. So perfectly. Birds. Fish. Nets. Cold-burning: everything.