Improv Shakespeare at Fort Mason. Actors query us as foghorns moan:
"What was your grandpa's job?" Beside me: "He made bird-whistles!"
"What word sums up your home town?" The loge: "Insane!" And thus is born
Our play: "The Mad Bird-Whistle Maker". King of a birdless realm
Seeks a Macbethian witch. Her spell instills cunning to carve birdluring
Magic flutes. But the lore-download (O royal road to bird!) costs dear: king
Forgets state. All but carving lost! Crowded the crown from the royal brain.
The witch decrepit only wants her fair youth back; and so the four
Shakespearean doctorfools wax her and rack her. Slow beautorture!
As shy lovers meet despite her gothic Pa; and brothersister in the wood
Pray to quench their incestuous flame; till guided by a flutterbird hand,
Meet the bear who ate their Mom. Knives out and duel! As the king's wit
Re-knits, he confronts usurper. Duels too. Gutted bear or man? And then,
Bear or man?
Out from intestinal beast doth flounder... Mom! Undeath scene. Tells her son
Longing for his twin, "You were adopted." Then winks at us ere she re-dies;
To balm their guilt, a deathbed lie. So beauty, birds, and perverts win the day.
After, Q&A. The cast has trouped for years, except first-timer ZZ Moor, the shy
Daughter tower-locked--but, too, that witch! Sly ingenue, brimming wicked fun.
Wide kissable grin; and by the end, on improv's high, she smooches every one.
Smooch us every one.
Here in the Rainy Isles, folk call me mage--though I haven't a spell!
But they do lack two senses--hiss "witch!" when I'm seen to feel
Seen to feel
Imprimis: a dim nimbus, a candle-glow round each creature here--
Two legs or four. Pain, desire, and secrets flare, embarrassingly bare;
Any wonder I'm so dour? Unwise to show that I'm a staring ear.
Secundus: magnets, lightning, copper and iron all call
From yards away--through wood, stone, flesh, or soil.
Stone flesh or soil.
That steel shot burns in veteran's shoulder; na´ve, I ask of the war,
And if it aches. Just spook the old man uselessly! For I've no skill
To surgeon out the sphere; all I dimly know is where.
But veins of copper hum, through that low hewn door
Green-plumed in fern, down into belly of the low red tor,
Beyond sun or rain: the Isles' lone copper mine. I'm still unsure
That I sonar veins deep enough through matrix rock to be
Of real use to lifelong miners, though. I only recently
Deduced they lack my metal-sense! How often, after all,
Do you parse stereoscopy, your balance, sense of smell?
Sense of all.
I woke astounded. Seven-sensed! How can a dream
Let a mind heft copper in its secret seam?
The dream's no metaphor. Imprimis, I do scent auras; awkwardly suppress
Insights I can't have. Mustn't spook the rubes! But that's old news
If closeted--although, dear players, to you I now confess.
No, the dream's shock is Secundus! For I sensed ferrous metals, back
In my library days--close up, near my brow. And I never got
lost. Incompassed. When I was eight, we toured a great cave; our guide
Claimed "Underground, we all disorient. Guess true north if you dare!"
A tall man pointed south. Adult dolt! In shock, for once I broke cover.
Blurted "You blind? It's over there!" Flawless foil. The crowd guffawed
And hulking stalagmites echoed, ghosts in the dark hall. The next nook
Had a brass marker inlaid in rock, arrowing true north. I was off a bit:
I'd pointed (loud and fool) to magnetic pole--like any migrant bird.
When I left the catalog, the metal-sense did fade. Yet even now,
I can't disorient--that mute vestigial compass, still on task.
Mute on task.
My post as priest (now obsolete) tending that catalog vast
Was ideal milieu to unlid a latent bird-sense: I worked amid
Eight thousand brass and old steel rods to pierce the horde of card;
No other metal near. When I shut two eyes, the rod-lattice swam, dark,
Fish-ponderous in my third. Radar bogeys thrummed. I never found
A practical use, so I never told. Till now. But the dream's no fantasy--
Though that alone would challenge known neurology! How can a brain
Feel a new sense with no lobe to process, no path to present? But can.
So the dream just amplified, then offered healthy uses for
An orienting sense as overlooked as kingship--yet a lifelong lure.
After the death of usurper-bear, those actors spoke of slow rapport
Nurtured over years. I wondered--could sixth, seventh compensate for
My face-blindness and Aspie na´vetÚ, steer my flight through your
Human world? Ashamed by my lacks, I've long hermited; ignored
Or taken for granted bird-guidance. The dream insinuates even more
Senses I still don't notice you sane folk lack. And the only stage
Where I can test my seven's out among you fives. Uncloset the mage.