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Poets are Present is a poetry residency in conjunction with David Ives’s adaptation of The Metromaniacs. As part of this unique theatre/poetry exchange, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to host more than 30 D.C.-area poets in the theatre’s lobby. Throughout the run, we will share with you the poems that this residency inspired our guests to write. Visit our Poets are Present page to see a list of upcoming poets.
Jessica Young‘s award-winning writing can be found in her book of narrative poetry, Alice’s Sister (Turning Point, 2013), her chapbook, and her individual poems and essays that have been published in venues such as The Massachusetts Reviewand Rattle. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan (MFA) and MIT (BS). She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and their two cats.
Regie Cabico is the first Asian American poet to win the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and has appeared on 2 seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and NPR’s Snap Judgement. He received three NY Innovative Theater Award nominations for his work in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, which won the 2006 Award for Best Performance Art Production. With Don Mike Mendoza, he also curates and co-hosts La Ti Do: A Weekly Cabaret & Spoken Word Series. Photo credit: LES TALUSAN
Which none dare call cliché
for Sophia – a future poet and a present poet
By Jessica Young
Another play unfolds itself under the condos
of 7th St NW—a fern slowly opening, its shape
revealed under the canopy and its wealth of life—
and I cannot help breaking from the moment
to picture the many scenes stacked atop one another:
couples watching tv, flashes of color pulsing on walls;
roommates leading separate lives in such small
square footage; young women sitting at tables, feet
puzzled underneath them. And below all this, here
we are. Dazzle of the stage, anonymity of the entire
theater laughing in unison. What a lovely thing
to hold on a mid-March evening—the energy of
it all. Outside, ice is melting, running silent rivulets
down 7th, and inside it is so very warm. So warm I
wish for another couplet, then another, another. So
warm the poem comes to me, which it never does.
Daylight Savings Time Flies
Like an Instagram of a Weasel Riding a Woodpecker
You Feel Everything Will Be Alright
By Regie Cabico
I wonder whether you’re
afraid that my hug lingers
a little too long
after I rub your feet
or maybe you’re
just a Scorpio
& I know I have 3rd
world Daddy issues
but I don’t want
to bring up hopes
I struggle with granola
& soy milk, dental bills
accumulate like snow
& the potatoes I forgot
The giant slinky
of Spring approaches
& I have nothing to sport
after spending a fortune
on sweaters that make me
look like I’m searching
for the Holy Grail.
I’m broke & broke
& broke like a bowling
ball spiraling down
staircase of doubt.
The night I fled for
the gentrified grids
of 14th street &
landed in Playbill,
I left Brooklyn throwing
televisions & futons
like bombs in the bowels
of hipster bohemia.
In the electric piano
karaoke bar, I met Kevin,
a Peter Pan Tennessee man
who spun quips & wit
like pixie dust about me.
A puckish chariot fueled
by moxie, this lean tambourine
of charms, stood over
me like a hot flamingo
in the midnight light
& admitted his fetish
for Laotian men in his youth
& I wanted him to fall for me
like he stumbled into the inside
of an Oriental mansion
shaking the chotchkies
in my heart, steeping my
crush into sweet green tea.
Kevin would be my model
of elegance, unabashed
confidence, a dragon
fierceness. He said,
There’s more to Rainbow
Pride than Rupaul
& Stonewall kickball.
So he sought queer storytellers
like me to the Speakeasy
Woolly Mammoth Stage
& I felt like I belonged to DC.
Kevin’s jaw ached.
He showed up at The Black Fox mumbling.
Jumble garble through tears.
His feature was canceled.
After the first break
of winter grey to blue,
Kevin going to hospice,
I teach Donmike how to make pancit noodles.
We become the curse of gossiping Filipina spinster aunts.
Why do we both fall in love with Scorpios,
staying silent like lilly pad princesses giggling
behind invisible hand fans in the dark
waiting for our potential suitors to make the first move?
Maybe I’m in love with you
like that baby weasel riding
the flying woodpecker’s back.
It’s an Avatar magical, sci-fi, unexpected flash of bliss
when really, the woodpecker is fighting for his life.
The weasel doesn’t know what its gotten itself into
but for a thrill that will never come again, something better
than a feathered Baby Jane din-din.
Tomorrow, you’ll want to go to Rehoboth to Kite Surf
At the beach house of the guy who lusts after you.
The priest’s sermon makes no sense: Forest Fires in the Bay,
Water Well Maidens & “Let It Go” from Frozen.
It’s not that I hate white people
Or that we’re Soul Mates.
It’s that, You’re beginning to wash
Off of me like ashes in holy water.