Eyewear offers an excerpt from a new verse play by Ben Mazer. Note that typos etc are intentional.
A City of Angels
Act Three, Scene One.
One month later. A barn outside of town. Tom Cross and Sam Cross drinking.
What movie do you say you want to go to tonight. I don't I want to stay in and kill Briggs. I meant Cross. I mean Crick. I'm Cross. Yes Cross. Specifically what kills the critics is the surfeit of success. It is not being looked at, it is looking over. I must kill a Cross. Crick. There I go again. This is not the half, not the double. Not the halve. No language no speak. To kill a Cross or Crick, for a Cross, a Cross. And another Cross before you look. It is no trick of a Cross to kill a Crick.
Yes, but how do you propose to kill him? Would it be a simple way?
Shall I give you a sample.
Do You be Cross.
I'll shoe you know punctuation
I am not taking liberties
or libertines for that manner
A Cross. A Crick. No I see Nothin in it.
Damned if I'd be
What do you see
I see - shut up !
Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you? They've got one newspaper, one magazine of any value, a literary magazine, and that is where this play will receive a favorable review, and it will be trusted and admired by intellectuals, and we've got one shit Crick up our ass. The whole lot of them.
I see where this is going.
You don't understand the milieu. They have gatherings of the students in the libraries where this sort of thing is read and discussed. But that's not where things are really happening, no. There are foolish people in high positions of power who have influence over popular opinion. It is a problem for literary people. But you and I don't care for all that. Our eyes are in a sharper focus.
Tell me the story again of the Crick girl and the to be bride of the Crick.
Twas on a moonlight avenue
I met that dreaded parvenu
like paint if a painter paint
moonlight and flowers
and herb scent
I waited for the hours
I weighed the hours and the weynted
then between the trees she appeared
but in front of the tree I was looking behind
at first I was oout of breath from being frightened.
I say this appear. I say this appears. Excuse me, what was I saying?
Draedful song. The evening hammered at me like a city
astride the ocean, like in south of Spain.
I can't forgive the tide of time that hires the midnight hour,
soar or spire, soar or sour, till the end of time. To time come.
All adjoins adjourns. Immured ammured. Commenceth.
And out wallow night poppycock by the lamsboro gate.
So much for meaning. They say he has sold out
because he's timed the opening with advance
notice in this little raggy paper
where poets publish poems and undergrads
spout off how art makes for better lives.
But we know that it doesn't.
You and I know that.
Yes, but I like hearing it because it makes me know that I'm here.
That is neither here nor there.
It is here, but it will be there.
It is not just the smell of the leather arm chairs that gat me
or the diplomas of the years on the walls
nor the flowers that fill every chair
green plush colored or tawn
times will be lives
what lives in me
lives in no man
They'll amplify the maps and views
of a thousand little people
who fall on the streets like acorns in the autumn.
Now is the time to sew the summer seed.
Easter proper. To martyr their review.
And I meet him in a room with people.
I'll know this John Crick in another world.