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Alan Botsford – Ⅰ

a mamaist (bare) stage                       





Surrounded by screens but

coolheaded, clearheaded, hardheaded, levelheaded…

The truth is, everyone has secrets

shaping their history, even as they tell it.

Time now to board the time machine

to take you to the bottom line

where grave responsibilities (duty to help

those in need?) await your arrival…


In the meantime, open this door

to understanding more the rough past

looked back on (no end in sight?) and see

how by a shaping imagination is this room (to grow in?)

calling no one’s bluff but your own—

the room moonlighting as the house

with only one mirror seducing lover-like views

made to reorder the company you’re in,

and that keep you on the spot both outside

and inside yet hungry for neither.


For by this house we see and dream

each new room to life to mark the City

as a principle of art, hospitable to the big day

every day—even when or if there’s no one

to make it happen. Here every window

references a view you thought you’d disowned,

opening the gamut of hints and clues (& cues)

that nook the crannies you cannot see

with action you cannot (yet) imagine—the cranium’s


amphitheater-style steps leading to a stage

where, like everyone else, you’re a part

of the scenery, and where, with the intimacy

of the converted, you assume your latest role—

it’s true, it’s larger than life, it gives shape

to your desires—and, donning the disguise you will need

for the next act, like a woman fully manned (gasp!), you

grasp the overall picture when dealing

only with immediate tasks at hand. Watch


as the age queues without qualm to be front row

center, and as the music starts, the lights go up, the curtain parts,

and there…

like a bud in spring…

is your life—the one not knowing anymore how

things should go but offering a shadow–

a giveaway, a whisper—to illuminate what cannot

be recalled without being relived—better late

than never!—for that first time before calamity struck,

before your fall into translation found

you terrified by the blood

on the tracks that followed

you all the way across daybreak

to here.


It took some time

before the words It’s me. It’s me! mixed

your feelings into a reverie others could overhear,

while you and your heartbeat come clean

to insist, Who are you?

It’s then you realize you’re running toward

what’s running away from you into the next


self, a mission both plausible and inspiring to

those who would sign on, their suspended disbelief

tacit admission to the fact this act’s one we’re all in on, out

of necessity—whether lit or unlit by

ceiling fixtures hung like gleaming stars.

And the come-hither look of a non-believer holding

the atom like a crystal ball is all we’ll ever see

of the future, as extension of us, before

the final curtain comes down in that house the world over,

a sob story cribbed from the cosmos, that

entered bloodied, kicking and screaming, but left bone-dry

and good as new.