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Page 60

I'm filling this page while pretending
to listen at a poetry reading. I hear
the best and worst that way -- good
or bad enough to seize my delinquent

Is the air in this room blank?
Can voices fill it? A large, resonant room
presents to a performer a temptation comparable
to a blank page's attraction for a writer.
Could Olivier enter a room without wanting
to try out his best voices on its walls
and ears (the ears that walls always have)?

Perhaps, sated by bouncing his voice across
vaulted auditoriums and filling movie theaters
with it, he could join a small party and sit
quiet, listening, learning new voices.

Do performers (slightly less vulnerable
to critics' cuts because they can SEE
their audiences) encounter performance block? --
air in the room solid as concrete, voice
become the same old voice, why must my
voice always be only my voice? -- even
divas stammering to silence in the shower,
head under the water water water,
a blank noise on all sides.

Note: In case these poems last long enough for some to forget, or in case some have already forgotten, I will note that "Olivier" refers to Sir Lawrence Olivier (please fill in his two grave numbers yourself) , English actor (stage and screen), generally considered one of the finest actors of the Twentieth Century.

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