Tag Archives: Lord Capulet

April’s Greatest Hits: Audio Poems

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So it was that during all of April I wrote poems, 32 of them to be precise, in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month. And they all, or most of them, turned out to be about this guy, or at least inspired by this guy, the Bard from Stratford Upon Avon, because, as you may or may not know, I had Shakespeare on the brain again as I was deeply embroiled in a performance of Romeo and Juliet as Lord Capulet.

For a friend who is making a film, I recorded audio performances of seven of my favorites.  For your listening pleasure, here they are:

Curtains

Lord Capulet Speaks the Unspeakable

A Poem from Director’s Notes

Capulet Speaks of His Daughters Grief

During Act II, Capulet Writes a Poem

The Actor Attempts to Meditate in the House During Fight Call

Lord Capulet Interrogates Michael Jarmer in a Closing Night Sonnet

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#214: Lord Capulet Interrogates Michael Jarmer in a Closing Night Sonnet

First things first: Happy birthday, Bill! It’s been a super rough year. The loss of Bowie, Rickman et. al., and just days ago now, the devastating loss of Prince, makes one super conscious of the fragility of life, especially when our heroes fall, heroes who seemed to us untouchable and timeless, almost god-like. But now, involved as I have been over the last 8 years of my life in a close relationship with the Bard from Stratford-apon-Avon, I am reminded how great art never dies. Right, Bill? “So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,” or ears can hear, “so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” Bowie, Rickman, and Prince are still with us and every time we spin one of their records or see one of their films,
they are very much alive and well, just as Shakespeare is still, 451 years later, alive and well.

So, to celebrate the timelessness of great art, the final performance of Romeo and Juliet, to be a good napowrimo student, and to inadequately express my gratitude for all three, I pen today a sonnet, another persona poem from Lord Capulet. I fought a great battle against adding two more syllables in that final line. Iambic pentameter wins the day.

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Lord Capulet Interrogates Michael Jarmer in a Closing Night Sonnet

So what did you to me bring forth and what
did I give you? Imagine that we are
one soul: why must I hate Montague gut?
And why, dear actor friend, is this young star,
this boy Paris, of such interest to me?
And why must I insist Juliet wed?
It’s clear, we don’t need his royal money
and did I not say those too early bed
are marred? It’s true, I contradict myself.
I know, in part, I hoped to quell her grief;
instead I heaped it on. Her mental health
disturbed, distressed. So actor, please, be brief:
Your task demands that you do know me well;
What kind of father makes for daughter hell?

 

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#209: 35 Years Later, The Actor Playing Capulet Remembers Auditioning for Romeo

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I was 16 when I auditioned for Romeo.
I got Mercutio instead and I was happy
about that because that guy has the best
death scene in all of literature.
But in preparation for my Romeo
audition I carved out a space in my brain
for Romeo’s balcony soliloquy and I still
know it to this day, 35 years later.
Today, I am cast as Lord Capulet
and the girl who played Juliet with
the dude that took my Romeo role
so many years ago is cast in this show
as the Nurse. Here we are full circle
in the same play and at the same location.
We’re playing different roles, but both of us,
I imagine, have spaces carved out
in our brains for the parts we played
(or the part we wanted to play)
when we were teens. I don’t imagine
that Capulet might ever deliver
“but soft, what light through yonder window breaks”
to the Nurse. That would be unseemly.
Instead, I have a fantasy that R&J
might be cast as old people for the lovers
and the kids can run around meddling
and spoiling all the fun for once.
That space I have carved out in my brain
for Romeo may yet be of some use.

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#208: Lord Capulet Cleans Out His Chakra House

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Down there in the red Root the ground is slipping.
That navel orange Sacral space is pretty much on fire and
my Solar Plexis spins like a drunken dervish on a yellow sun.
All the Heart Stuff bubbles and boils dangerously
toward destruction, comes up green in my throat and
I find myself shouting all the time. Finally, I spy
with my Third Eye something like a clearing out,
a cleansing, a purple purge of everything that’s broken.
Violent delights have violent ends and a violet Crown
now sits on my head.

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#206: The Actor Attempts to Meditate in the House During Fight Call

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and is successful in his way.
The swords clash and clang
and the combatants exclaim
their shouts of excruciating pain
and the crowds riot in the streets.
The actor meditating in the house
allows the clamour to disguise
itself as a kind of tumultuous silence.
The bell chimes inaudibly underneath
his theater seat just in time for
him to go up on the stage
and throw his daughter Juliet
to the ground.

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#205: Lord Capulet Takes an Almanac Questionnaire

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The optional assignment from the napowrimo website:

Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers.

It took me longer than five minutes, but here’s the result:

Lord Capulet Takes an Almanac Questionaire

Weather: Unseasonably warm.
Who’s idea was it to build a fire?
It’s summer for Christ’s sake and
the room is grown too hot.
Flora: Holly, cork, oak, pine and olive groves.
Architecture: renaissance, chiefly, stone and brick.
Customs: We dance, fight in the streets,
arrange marriages for our 14 year old daughters.
Mammals/reptiles/fish: yes.
Export: mostly olives and wine.
Graffiti: Down with the Montagues.
Lovers: I have seen the day when I wore
a visor and could tell a whispering tale
in a fair lady’s ear such as would please.
‘Tis gone, ’tis gone, ’tis gone.
Conspiracy: Friar Lawrence is a shifty guy.
I don’t trust him. He’s up to no good, I can tell.
Childhood dream: I wanted to be rich
like my father and his father before him
and his father before him. Having watched
siblings die, even as a child I knew that
when I became a man I wanted my
children to survive. I wanted boys.
I have one daughter and she’s been
weeping non-stop for 24 hours
about the loss of her cousin. My brother’s son has set.
Found on the street: Tybalt’s dead body, not cold yet.

 

 

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#204: During Act Two, Capulet Writes A Poem

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I know what’s coming.
It’s happened before, as if in a loop,
in exactly the same way each time
and it never ends well.
But I’m always surprised:
the shouting in the streets,
the alarm, the subsequent chaos,
my wife charging into the fray
screaming bloody murder over
the death of nephew Tybalt.
And I’m like: what the fuck. Not again.
The prince demands an explanation
and Benvolio gives it to him in spades;
he goes on and on and on
defending that little Montague shit
and I stand there, for once,
speechless. No words.
Mercutio and Tybalt are dead
and Romeo is banishéd.
Here I am, again, picking up the pieces.
Things have fallen out, sir, so unluckily indeed.
Not much to do during act two; again
I pick up a pen and listen for my cue.

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#203: Capulet Speaks of His Daughter’s Grief

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Today’s assignment from napowrimo is to write a thing called a san san (three three in Chinese), a form that incorporates a particular rhyme scheme pattern coupled with the repetition of three images three times throughout the eight line poem. That’s a mouthful. It was difficult. In fact, I failed somewhat with the form. My poem is 9 lines long and I’m not changing it. I like this better, actually, because it seems more appropriate: 3 images 3 times in 3 sets of 3 lines. Maybe my poem should be identified as a san san san san. Again, I borrowed from Shakespeare and specifically from Capulet’s speech about his daughter’s prolonged grieving for the death, as he sees it, of Tybalt.

Capulet Speaks of His Daughter’s Grief

When the sun sets, I see the drizzled
dew envelope the grass like a blanket
over the sleeping earth; it’s spring.
I’m feeling, truly, a bit grizzled;
grief weighs her down, my daughter Juliet,
like a blanket, the sun having set on my brother’s king,
his beloved son. Grass grows on graves,
leaves of grass, and as sun is still setting,
the dark blankets all; my mind it depraves.

 

 

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#201: ABC Shakespeare

The Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations (Jane Armstrong).pdf

This may be obvious to anyone paying attention, but I have of late had Shakespeare on the brain. It’s a pattern with me, I think. The last time I took on a role in a Shakespeare play the same thing happened: my entire creative output became infused by the bard. Trying to write songs in that era, lyrically I could think of nothing but references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now, in my poems for National Poetry Writing Month, it’s all about the Romeo and Juliet. Today’s prompt from napowrimo challenges us to write a poem from entries found in an index. In keeping with the Shakespeare theme (because it appears there is no other option for me), here’s my index poem from the Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations. I’ve used brackets to indicate those places where I have bastardized (or amended) the found material. I also took liberties with punctuation with interesting results, I think.

ABC Shakespeare

Angels, by that sin fell the
Angry, who is the man that is not [in]
Anguish of a torturing hour [in which]
Appetite had grown by what it fed on?
April, he smells.

Babe, like a naked newborn [must]
Banish all the world. I love
Bastards, I love [them].
Blade, with bloody blameful
Brain, [of which the nurse has one]
no more [or less] than I have in my elbows.

Captain of compliments, his
Care killed a cat, [you]
Cat, hang off thou thrice the branded
Centre of my sinful earth and, [lest we forget]
Capulet says, what ho, bring me my longsword again.

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#197: Lord Capulet Speaks of the Unspeakable

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Note: Here’s a persona poem in which the speaker is aware of his author/creator and for which the writer/actor slaved all day to make the damn thing rhyme and then asked one of his fellow actors to take a picture of him as Lord Capulet. Also, this poem responds to the napowrimo optional prompt in a kind of cheater way: write a line that you are afraid to write. Well, here’s a few, but alas, they are not mine, but Daddy Cap’s instead.

Lord Capulet Speaks of the Unspeakable

What I am afraid to say
could fill a book or another play.
They say brevity is the soul of wit,
but Shakespeare didn’t know the half of it.
Or, if he did know, he left it out
and here I am alone to speak about
the unspeakable. My world is one
of obfuscation, and I am done.
Lady Capulet, my partner, my wife,
I must confess was not the love of my life
or anything like it. It’s my own fault
and this will die with me in the family vault
but, still, I have this nagging fear,
as long as we are being honest here,
that my loving wife is loving another
and worse, for shame, I suspect my brother’s
son. For this, I am in discordant tune;
Tybalt, that rat-catcher, nearly ruined
everything, my happiness and my party,
and I have been so angry that I could hardly
keep up appearances, maintain my composure,
risking a certain and most awkward exposure
when I cursed him and later introduced
him to the door. Now this Paris wants to seduce
my child, wants the hand of my daughter.
He’s a good man, I know, but no farther
can I trust him than I could throw him.
He’s rich, and while he’s a little dim
in the head, I think he’ll treat my Juliet
with as much respect as one would expect
in this time. Tybalt pissed me off to such
a degree that I must confess I was not much
paying attention to what Juliet thought of the guy.
I was thinking instead: if Tybalt were to die
it would not be so great a loss of life.
One nephew down and I’d have back my wife.

 

 

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