Richard Fein: Selected Poems
Poetry » March 2002

Not a Thespian Emoting

I'm not an actor reciting other people's words.
My lines are my own, and my character is not learned by rote.
There are no footlights to blind me to the audience.
No director prompts me to display more feelings or less,
and every one of my ers or ahs is unrehearsed.
I'm not paid to play another's life;
my fee is that I play myself.
Like the Marxs Brothers I've thrown the prepared script away
and just ad lib.
I needn't thumb through the morning paper to read my review,
for I concoct my own notice even if no one notices me.
My performance is always Tony award caliber,
even if in certain scenes I cast myself as an extra.
And when I give my acceptance speech,
I'll thank my mom and dad and all you lovely people,
even the waiter at the corner greasy spoon,
who gives me free extra coffee each morning
though it's part of the breakfast special.
And if he ever asks, I'll give him my autograph
on something other than a credit card receipt.

Little Red Riding Hood, the sequel

The town criers cried my story,
a gold piece a cry,
and minstrels got bagfuls of yellow
from wide-eyed salivating courtiers.
As for me, royalties---in those days---were for royals.
When grandma finally croaked all she left
was that thatched cottage with a leaky roof,
to be shared with three---of course wicked---stepsisters.
Was cheated out of the dump completely,
after all I was just a babe in the woods.
My woodsman rescuer did his fairytale deed out of love,
love for mankind, and how he loved mankind.
Besides I had no dowry, except
my basket already eaten from,
and my red cloak.
My red cloak, not a sissy white one, but a flashy red one.
The next wolf this babe meets,
gets charged a gold piece a nibble.
I'll save enough for a deluxe ginger bread condo
for when my looks go.
Then I'll get down to some serious dining.

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