It would appear to be
either a rundown vaudevillian/
burlesque theater, Poughkeepsie
or Buffalo, NY, circa 19-twenty-something,
or maybe an old, black and white,
“recorded live before a studio
audience” style television program;
“Days Of Our Lives,” and
German expressionist cinema
consisting almost entirely of various
stock caricatures and other tragi-comic
grotesqueries of the perverse
simultaneously hurling out hyper-dramatic
dialogue to no one in particular.
They orate, pontificate
and gesticulate, magnificently,
without ever seeming to be aware
of each other’s existence.
One of them is dressed as a World War I
Prussian Military commander, complete with
tall, shiny boots, walrussy handle bar
and singularly spiked helmet.
Another is, most likely, supposed to be
somebody’s booga-booga idea of an ancient
tribal shaman or witchdoctor.
Still another, wearing a bra and panties
and a thin silk cord running from his neck to the heel
of the high-heel shoe on his only remaining foot,
masturbates, dreamily, into the long shadow
of his nightly near-death excursion.
A chorus of mutts and street urchins
waits, attentively, for its cue (or a scrap
of food to fight over, perhaps).
And way in the back,
in the darkest and cheapest of cheap seats,
the lone, cigar smoking audience member
smacks out a slow and clamorous
-Jason Ryberg, 2010