“By Cock, they are to blame.”

Each night I dread putting on that costume,

pulling on that character, her plain

shift, knee-length stockings, the hated

“pair-of-bodies”, farthingale, bum-roll,

petticoat, kirtle, partlet, all topped with the

splendid silk gown and for “authenticity”

no knickers, so that I feel

naked despite so much clothing, so

obsessed with my bare sex, so

alive to “country matters”.

 

I think of the boys who played my part but

with a part I didn’t have, dangling—

did they have some codpiece, some

protection I am not allowed?

“Beginners” doesn’t mean me so

finally finished I can look at myself:

I am 26 but look 16 so if I were her I

could be married and

dead of my fourth child by now and

I think of it…..No

 

I think on’t. Think of being just a

poppet (but a poppet with thoughts and

hormones) bred to be bred,

pimped by my family for favours,

being prim and proper yet

panting like a bitch in heat when the

moment was propitious, and it doesn’t help that the

hero is hot, the lights broiling, the

clothes heavy and my inner nakedness a

weight within me, like lead.

 

The words strip me, stripe me: I look

66 in the mirror as the dresser

removes the baggage, leaving me my

shift for modesty, though what

modesty is left after such shredding?

Later there will be a club, me

rubbing myself against my boy, trying to

rub her off me, be 16 again, alive,

unharboured anywhere, an

ocean calling me.

 

But he will pull me to him, whisper

“Ophelia tits?”, snigger, and I will

suddenly be back on that stage in my

wet shift, amongst all those

other dead bodies.

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Comments

  • Life of Elliott... and all that jizz  On May 5, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I’m glad I read this piece. You took me back to the days of the Rose and the Globe… and beyond.

    p.s. I was Guildenstern once.

    • Life of Elliott... and all that jizz  On May 5, 2016 at 1:25 am

      Beg pardon… I was Rosencrantz… I don’t know why I said Guildenstern… but he got to hold a sword, and I was always pissed about that, so maybe I was wishing…

    • fridayam  On May 5, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you. I walked past the sites of the Globe and the Rose just yesterday, though it had nothing to do with writing this poem which has been on the stocks for some weeks, but it was nice to touch base with the master. I never got to play in Hamlet, but played Prospero once 😉

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