Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Drake Hotel for Pontiac Quarterly ("Excuses")

Caucasian woman, late 30s, wearing a black-and-white polka dotted blouse. Her hair is red and full and, remarkably, never frizzy, always bouncy like a commercial. She stands on the stage bathed in an overwhelming emptiness, in this case, a red flood light eclipsing her save for the white dots.

All In Together Girls, Kate Sutherland (Thistledown Press)

"My mom can't believe she shelled out cash for contact lenses and I've only worn them once. It was the first day I got them, and it took me hours to get them in, then my mom and dad took me to a movie to try to distract me -- the one where Julie Andrews goes topless."

Beside her, an empty mic. To the other side, an empty music stand. Beyond that, an empty easel. Off stage, an empty piano. Beside that, an empty screen filled with "Clue". (Someone's at the door.) The front half of the room is topped up with the velvet red of a Los Angeles Mexican restaurant, the main course indistinguishable from the melted cheese that swallows the plate whole. It's not a bad thing, how could it be? It's just full everything, but nothing much. Until she speaks. And her voice, thankfully, fills, spills, the shadowy folds of what is surely a felt background. She emerges.

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