It seemed almost a joke those first few days, / our handsome soldiers yawning with ennui. / When Bismarck sneered “The Paris bourgeoisie / will break after a day without eclairs,” / we laughed. Then had a day without eclairs.
He saw teenagers carrying flammable cans / of kerosene and boxes of wooden matches, torching / the discarded carcasses of Fords and Chevies, / spreading flames through abandoned buildings / and unused factories, lighting one-story houses / on narrow lots in small neighborhoods.
“I generally work because I am struck by something that someone has said. Playwriting is an oral art; it’s not an art of a writer expecting to be read but a writer expecting to be heard. And so I think that if I hear a character speaking, either one I’ve invented or one I’ve confronted, it starts a process of creating which I can’t control or even describe properly. If I could describe it I probably wouldn’t do it.”
The dentist held out his hands, which trembled in the sharp autumn air. He was tall, silver haired, with a neck curved from years of bending over his patients. He looked like one of his instruments — the curved mirror, or the explorer, with its gently hooked tip.
My uncle killed a man and was proud of it. / Some guy with a knife came at him in Flatbush / and he knocked the fucker to the ground. / The sidewalk finished the job. // By then he’d survived two wives and / a triple bypass. He carried the plastic tubing in his pocket / and would show it to you, to anyone. / He’d unbutton his shirt right there on the street / to show off the scar.