Sunday, August 7, 2022

Never Was an Opening

What the hell was going on,
Really, in this theater
In a barn near Poughkeepsie?

One counselor was supposed
To be the director, and
Another to teach singing,

But they were both college kids
From mostly white suburbs, while
The adolescent campers

Were from majority Black
Urban neighborhoods.
This was no one’s comfort zone,

An old barn with a raised stage
In a grassy meadow far
From anyone’s neighborhood.

The tiny singing teacher
Was a spindly opera
Program dropout, virginal

At twenty-one, with a crush
On the foreign counselor.
The theater’s director

Was an Ivy League failure
Who’d put on one college play
And had no leadership skills.

The cast were beyond annoyed
At having these sad white kids
Trying to boss them around

In this strange, isolated place
Supposed to be for their good,
Where mainly they were absorbed

In each other’s romances,
Friendships, and rivalries,
Like all cohorts everywhere.

By the week’s end, the drama
Was shut down and never staged,
And everyone went back home

To whatever amounted
To home right then, familiar
Places, problems, just not these.

The grasses around the barn
Grew until the mower came
And then grew right back again.

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