Poem: Burlesque in a Minor Key

Burlesque in a Minor Key

The clouds creep in. The morning turns grey,
the sun hidden, the cold a hard thing.
The last thing you want to do
is get up.

You do of course. That is what you do,
your only weapon against the curse of bad weather
in your head. You push. You pretend
you are normal, if there is such a thing. You pretend
you are stronger than you feel,
an actor on your own stage,

waiting for the lights.

And they will come. They always do
for an actor who has learned his lines,
migrating from rote to becoming the role.
The stage cannot resist you when you dance.

And when you do not,
you die.

It is a simple equation.
You pull your legs out from the covers,
wave them in the air like a dancer
and leap, yes leap, out of bed.
“It’s showtime!”

And it is. Watch me.
Watch me push back the clouds
like a Vegas magician, all flash and color,
bringing life to the stage. A burlesque show
in a minor key.

About this poem.

Funny where inspiration can come from.

There was a wonderful article in the New York Times this morning about all the burlesque performers in New York that have lost their jobs since the pandemic. It was touching, thoughtful and made you see the performers in a new light. I could relate to their depression, and the need to be lighter. Not unlike my own battle with depression. Only they have better costumes.

Tom

PS – The picture was taken in Surry County, Va. At what was once our family farm.

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