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Sam Ambler

The Player

Act I

The stage is more quiet
than the eye of laughter—
no one steps out of it.
The player waits
in a tar of his breathing,
thick and murky;
he waits in a net,
resilient and strong;
he waits in a cobweb

Like the bead that glistens
in the black of his eye,
one light rises—
the player lives,
the player laughs,
the player transforms the air
and wrings from it a tear.
His hands are great magnets
attracting your thoughts.
His face is a jungle;
you watch fascinated.
His eyes pierce your eyes
like hatchets,
like a god
casting golden harpoons.

He looks into the light,
the answers are gone;
away from the light,
his face.


Act II

The stage is no more
than a handful of nothing—
no one could build it.
The player shapes
the lines of his movement
like a muscle of mask;
his wrinkles tremble,
becoming not his own.
He is almost relaxed
as you guess his intentions;
he pauses
exchanging secrets for acceptance;
he turns to respond
winking his eye,
stirring death
with the tips of his stare.

Your spine tingles,
like a gate swinging closed.
The player plays exposed;
giving up the ghost
who smiles a twisted smile,
unraveling the devils
who recede to a moan.
His soul is no machine
naked and shiny;
you can see his scabs and bruises
where his walls
have peeled away.
The player bends and then breaks,
before you can see it,
hurling out a tragedy
that embraces you
in shadows.

He belongs to you.
You are his child.
You are he.


The stage is more chill
than raw teeth in the wind—
no one can breathe in it.
The player sits
on the lip of the room,
not seeing the empty seats,
the darkened hall;
not hearing the din
of echo transit echo,
the faded foot fall.

has touched the scene tonight
like a brush on a palette—
and he—a wand
in the chalice of alchemy,
a pawn of sorcery
creating new worlds.
The player moves,
not speaking in tongues,
not listening to the myriad voices.
He has gone home,
with a hundred curious people,
a face they remember
in dreams.
He reaches his hand,
toward the curtain.
The touch of ancient grace
finds his heart.

He waits
in a crystal lens,
for the light.


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