Pull Back the Curtain

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Poetry

CONTEXT: July, 2008

Poems written in the summer have to be extra good, or they don’t get slammed. Basically, if I am bored of them before it is time for the new Slam season, I am going to move on.

This poem is an example of that. I read it at a Oneness show, I think, but that is about it.

It isn’t bad, but it just didn’t pop. I like some of the ‘turns of phrase’ a lot, though.

Side note: I have performed in a stage production of Wizard of Oz. I played the ‘Kansas-equivilent’ of the Scarecrow and sang harmony on ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.

    Pull Back the Curtain

If all roads are paved with gold
And all stories have been told
Our lives have been sold
For paper to fold
Kept in cold storage trapped in ice.
As my story comes twice or thrice,
So what is new under the sun?

I see bricks of yellow beneath me
With no end in sight.
Follow the light
With no Emerald City as a false goal.
Instead it is a path
With no purpose, since all roads
Lead home.

But I have been the Scarecrow
Only looking to know where to go
Laid low by a foe internal.
It wasn’t a mind I had to find
But a way,
As I stumbled with bones of straw,
Insides raw and brittle,
Waiting for a spark that will transform,
To create or conflagrate –
Fan the flame to expose the brain
And no longer accept the purpose
For which I was built.

An object of fear as the crows
Picked hay from my ears
And laughed at the tears that
Showed a canvas face
To be really made of metal.

For I have been the man of tin
Whose weakness gave me my name.
A shell of a man who shares a facade
Of sheet metal, shining, shorn of
Feelings, shunted to the shoals.
But if the facade is shared,
It is impenetrable,
Immutable, inconsolable.
As nobody knows that the search
For a heart only comes from one
Who has too much heart to give,
That loneliness knows not of crowds
When the crowds are not allowed in.
I tried to scream,
Only to find my jaw locked into place
By tears behind my face,
Lost in grace and waste.
I still have no heart, because I have
Given it freely,
But feelings bubble beneath like
A god-can of WD-40,
Allowing me to feel like a king.

Because I have been that, too.
A forest king with fiery mane,
Presiding over a demesne
Of many, who follow my lead,
And my ego they feed, as I pretend
It is all true, while really knowing
How fragile a thing it really is.
I spent years hiding behind a fear
Of falling and failing,
Drowning and dreaming,
Knowing that something was missing
While pretending it was fulfilling
To be good at a job or a task
That helped naught but the bottom line.
Being the best salesman in the firm
Was like being the best fisherman,
From the view of the worm –
Helpful to those who need no help –
Suceeding at another’s expense
But afraid to try something else.

Until words hit paper,
Voice hits mic,
And I learned that this Lion
Was not cowardly after all.

For I am Dorothy,
Clad not in gingham
But aggressively aware naivety,
Knowing that the path of gold
Does not lead to the end
Of the rainbow or a city of green
And trying to get home
Never works because you have to let it go
To grow and learn that you
Can bring it with you.

No, I am the Dorothy that
Shouts back at the Giant Head
That gives and takes by
Mortally awarded divine right.
I pull back the curtain to find
A little man pulling levers
And speaking into a large
But still, I do not search for home.

Because behind the man
Is another curtain
And another truth to expose,
And then another
And another,
And finding one more truth
Is like one more raindrop
Refracting the light.

And every side of the rainbow
Is the other side to someone
And with each curtain you unleash
The bluebirds that show
You the way.
You watch them fly
And you ask yourself

Why, oh why can’t I?


Hmmm… maybe that poem is better than I gave it credit for…

Next up is a piece I wrote for my fairy goddaughter.

  1. Tammy MacKenzie says:

    Rusty, this piece rocks! Maybe it’s because i can totally relate to it, but I really like it. Would love to hear you do it some time.

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