[First in a handful of carefully selected suggestions from Hailey Higdon, is poet and playwright Corina Copp. Corina is the editor of The Poetry Project Newsletter--the new issue of which features translations of Ilse Aichinger as well as poetry by Nathaniel Otting. More of her recent work is out by Antennae. What follows is an excerpt from her play, DON'T MAKE WAVES.]
A scene from DON’T MAKE WAVES
6. THE KNITTING CIRCLE
The three women stand outside of the car. They look down at the life-threatening whirpool. Better holds Ryan by the ear. They hear a noise in the woods off right.
What was that
They know we’re here
Who do you work for
Parakeet slaps Ryan hard across her cheek.
Date of birth
June 11, 1981
BETTER & PARAKEET
Of course, look at her eyes, they’re different colors
Are you or are you not a journalist?
Masseuse what is that
There was once a Roman captain who said
with the benefit of the wind
they would come. And I was the wind
and so they did come…
As did bunches, hahahaa, enthusiasm
for the delights of theatrical couture. And it helped me,
y’know to pay my bills, and in her therapeutic
community my mother was proud enough.
She only knew so much, I left late, had to rush off
timeagain. They were calling me, all different names, one had a
poodle and a bicycle act
Sheraton, snowflake sweater
Better lets go of Ryan’s ear.
I’m gonna tip-toe around the whirlpool
and avoid mines.
I think we’re being watched. I want to make sure.
And that hat you’re wearing looks ridiculous on you, I don’t know why you wear it.
I’m sweating. My head is going to explode.
No no it’s ok. I’m just going around
the corner. Don’t torture her Betts, I want to take my spiritual
poverty into account before we do anything
unreasonable plus she reminds me of a bedfellow
named Nancy, who incorporated before us, and had those
principles remember she wanted to start a salvation army and
used to stay up late counting, counting on her fingers and toes
all the beds she had ever slept in, skullduggery, but left
her mother out of it wished she hadn’t had a mother
The only way to be true to your country
To sacrifice your family
She is enraged and up close to Ryan, backing her up to the edge of the whirlpool. Ryan is not wearing a hat.
Soldiers with bayonets and gas masks begin to appear in the background.
The Swedish mother puts feelings into everything
The German mother stands determined in
The kitchen door, she knows what clothes
to wear and what clothes for her children. Now
the newspapers think they are our mothers because they
believe completely in our depravation. They say western men are doomed western men
have always been doomed, they don’t let their wives
work naked in the flowerbed they are doomed.
Then pain and joy have no social relevance but these
papers will ascribe bank robberies and kidnappings and wrongdoing
before they know who is rightdoing, right.
What effect do you think that has on a little kid locked into fucking upward
mobility but truly without recourse from his
poor tree in shambles on the sidewalk, that’s where he
will always live. Kid doesn’t know liberty has a pedigree,
aspect? He’ll still try to get out of his hole and will take
whatever Bip down the road with the same color hair
with him…and they’ll fight in the circus or become painters
fight that way doesn’t matter how’s the little
lady bootstraps etc., they read Dostoevsky
They want to describe the world in hysterical fits
to be in the world
What’s unworthy of literature now?
Nothin it’s for all classes!
Newspapers used to co-govern with their obstinance
and tabloidal homeland protection, now newspapers will happily compose an opposition of interests for an intellectual
plane of terrorism
is just a documentary movie, it’s not for reshaping
Or am I, mistaken. Am I…grabbing at loose blissful freedom
and licking its anus instead of caressing its fur
It’s my anus too
These ideas of reckoning that are around…!?
My ideas before I, it’s just that I,
the nature of the opposite sex, and green glass bottles of wine, and tea, and song
and bells, you know, these
are gifts and friendships, they don’t determine
class or ascent. They are steely, recognizable ships.
Given a beautiful day where you’re forgotten they will simply
to dance and motivate like Rita Hayworth
in front of the king
to get his head they want his head. But what am I,
circumscribed and barely holding on…to what…
these travel restrictions are getting tighter…we want
non-hierarchical, we want to brace up, we want
riveting machines instead of passive machines.
Or what if we want to stop wanting, what if
Fuck it you amorous child you don’t know valedictory
work you know erotic massage fuck you.
Parakeet walks off. They are surrounded but don’t yet realize.
I’M LOOKING FOR MY KNITTING CIRCLE
BETTER (to Ryan)
This is mostly 70s drivel,
decline of civilization stuff
moral disorientation. I mean I
believe in it