Painted Faces

In the tiny dressing room

he sits carefully daubing grease paint

over old traces

of yesterday’s faces

pursed lips and frowns in the mirror

bid fingers to make corrections

to tiny imperfections

 

Then comes the waited knock on the door

and the dimming of the lights

the familiar upward crank of the curtain

and the hush of a dim sea of faces

the strong voltage of the current

flowing from him to them

connecting him to his lines

powering these few hours of life

 

Alive once again

a jerky puppet

steps motions and words

sure clear convincing

flash out into the hush

they, drawing life from him

and he from them

as a new reality unfolds

Then suddenly sadly

its all over

applause, curtain calls, bouquets

hurried handshakes

perfumed kisses on the cheek

accompany him back to the little room

 

Door closed now

he removes his clothes

one by one

in an untidy pile

and wipes the paint

from an expressionless mask

empty theatre now

empty face

just a little old man

with a battered suitcase

shuffling into the wind

and the sounds of the cleaners

removing discarded programs          

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© Johnmichael Simon

2004

.