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:

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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 Questionaire

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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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