I wrote this piece and submitted it to a local theater, but, alas, they didn't want it. I'm hoping they didn't want it because it just didn't fit and not because it sucks. Who knows? This piece was designed to be broken up into three sections and presented during an evening of one act plays. Sooo....if anyone out there ever wants to perform some of these for real, or needs some material for short films, let me know. You can read all the Open Mic Scenes here.
CONNIE—in her 60s or so. Still connected with the hippie generation. Believes words have the power to heal and transform.
CARL –30-?? A burly truck driver. A man’s man. Likes to write inappropriate haiku while he drives his big rig.
MELODY— Connie’s teen granddaughter who is being forced to live with Connie while her mom’s in rehab.
CONNIE: Hello. Hello, everyone and welcome! Now, I know you’re here to see some plays and that’s great, but I’m not actually a part of that. No. I’m here with my troupe of writers from the Open Mic And All You Can Eat Waffle Night Writing Group. Sadly, due to some errors in pyrotechnics the last time, iHop will no longer allow us to present our poems there. So we have been forced to make a desperate move of our own, in the hopes that we can continue our soirée with words, and each other. Thankfully, this theater was presenting some work tonight and said we could squeeze in here when the stagehands were resetting with a few readings…as long as there were no fireworks involved. Or drugs. Fireworks and drugs are strictly for the after party.
Tonight, we have a few readers for you to illuminate your minds and transform your spirit. My granddaughter Melody is in the audience and will perform a piece she has written about recovery. She is thrilled…
MELODY (offstage): Fuck you grandma!
CONNIE: (collecting herself)…to be here and I am thrilled to have her with me. All the time. Under my constant supervision. We were supposed to have Mabel with us as well, but Mabel was attacked by her precious tomcat and is recovering at home. However, I will read one of her pieces. First though, I’d like to begin by introducing Carl. Please welcome Carl.
(Carl enters. He’s not a great performer. He’s wearing jeans, boots, a flannel shirt, and an inappropriate baseball cap. He takes the mic, while Connie watches uncomfortably from the sidelines.)
CARL: Hi. Hi there. Hi. I’m Carl. I’m a big man and I drive a big rig, but I’ve got poetry in my soul. I like to write words, haiku mostly, while I travel the country. I’m inspired by beauty, hookers, and pancake buffets. I’m self-publishing a book of haiku and you can buy that on my website. Here’s my poem. It’s a poem from Spring to Winter.
From Spring To Winter Winter, I want to Lick your cold cleft with my tongue Til your waters gush
That there was a hai-ku. I like hai-ku most of all because it really gets my thoughts across. Here’s another one. This one is about one of them there roses or the like.
To One Of Them Roses Your moist petals … I want to nestle my nose In your bloom and breathe
And then I have one about a peach. A nice ripe peach. I call it Peach.
Peach Your pink succulence- Warm juice dribbling down my chin- My tongue lives in you
I’ve got bout a hundred more or so of these. When I’m on the road, this is what I like to think about. You know. Nature. Womany nature. I could go on and on…
CONNIE: Uhm. Thank you. Thank you Carl. That is quite enough. We will leave you momentarily and be back with more poetry to take you to the edge and transform you.
CONNIE: Well. That was certainly a play with notes of sadness, and desperation. My favorite notes of all. While we take this interlude, I would like to introduce my lovely granddaughter, Melody. Like her name, her words are a song. Melody?
MELODY: (offstage) No!
CONNIE: Come on, now, Melody. We agreed.
MELODY: I didn’t agree to shit, Grand-ma.
CONNIE: (containing her anger) You did agree to this.
MELODY: Give me twenty bucks.
MELODY: Twenty bucks. This bird doesn’t sing without some seed.
(Connie tries to pay her quickly without making a scene. Melody approaches the mic reluctantly. She is wearing all black, dark makeup, and looks generally disgruntled. Piercings would be a plus.)
MELODY: I’m Melody. But you can call me Pain. Here’s my ‘whatever’ poem. You think you know pain? You don’t know shit. Pain is me on the bathroom floor crying my eyes out The wind whipping through the busted-in window While mom is passed out on the couch. Too much booze and blow Too much hope snorted and released into the ether Too much regret and oblivion. I have regret too. You want to think life is poetry? There is no poetry here. Poetry is for the dreamers, the believers, the Justin Biebers. Poetry is for the demented, the escapers, the matinee crowd. I’ve got my boots firmly planted In the dung heap of reality. And when I’m old enough, When I can get out on my own I will climb this dung heap and make reality My Be-otch.
(She crumples her poem up and raises a fist then tosses it in the air and stomps off.)
CONNIE: Well. Okay. That was…just…lovely. I liked…the part…about the dreamers? The, uhm, idea, that poetry…can transform? And make…er…people…dedicated. Yes. We will return in a few moments with a final piece. Uhm. Thank you. Thanks.
CONNIE: (somewhat harried and downtrodden at this point)
Wonderful! Wonderful! I am so inspired by all of these words that your playwrights have penned. It’s, well, why I started my little poetry group in the first place. To inspire and encourage people to use words to express their soul…out loud!
CONNIE: And now, the piece from Mabel, who unfortunately was attacked by her Tom Cat when she was holding him and he scratched her retina. Both retinas. With his demon claws. Ah. And, ironically I guess, her poem is TO her Tom Cat. Here it is:
(Connie reads dramatically as if savoring every word.)
TO TOM, MY CAT
Tom Cat, Tom Cat Sit on my lap fat I love you so much That I have a hunch We will be Together Forever.
Tom Cat, Tom Cat Sit on the front mat And I will…
(Connie looks at the paper, half of which is shredded.)
Ah. It appears this is where the attack occurred and frankly…frankly it’s not a very good poem. There! I’ve said it. That was a terrible poem. I would’ve scratched her eyes out too! And you know…most of the poems people read at our Open Mic nights are awful. In fact, they’re so awful that I question the very validity of reading anything out loud. I question the whole point of any of this. I mean, Carl, and his cunnilinguist haiku is just…absurb! And Mabel! Your poem of despair is so…so…common! I could write a better poem without any words at all. In fact, I’ll do it right now. Here is my poem to every one who has given me such crap over the years, who’s made me work so hard to get words out there, who’s ignored my poems and books and collection of essays on the feminine spirit, who’s closed your eyes and ears to me and my words and my passion. Here’s my poem to you!
(She victoriously holds up her middle finger.)
In fact, here’s another poem!
(She holds up her other finger. Freezes for a moment. Withdraws her hands. Looks around. Collects herself.)
(Melody approaches Connie and does a slow clap, encouraging the audience to join in.)
MELODY: Grandma, that was…
MELODY: Amazing. Just fuckin’…like…wind beneath my wings worthy. I’m sorta proud we share DNA.
CARL: (to Connie) It makes me want to share DNA with you too.
CONNIE: Well. Okay then. Thank you. (Realizes the audience is still there). So. All right. Even though we only have three members, one of which is forced to be there, we will be holding an Open Mic night at Pal’s Indian Lunch Buffet next month. I hope…I hope you’ll join me there. Thank you.