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Sunday, October 14, 2007


by Sherman Pearl

Looking regal in kingly costume
it strides onto the stage

sure of its lines, confident
its tremulous voice will shatter disbelief,

drown out the balcony's
nattering doubters. The script, concise

as a bumper strip, is pure poetry--
lines that explain

the corruption of culture, the betrayal
of history, the bad weather.

The lighting allows no shadows.
In the glaring clarity

all threats and conspiracies
are exposed, all traitors unmasked.

The set, filled with facades
from less timorous times, is a miracle

of revisionism; the music a symphony
of togetherness, all instruments

in sync with the rousing tempo,
the majestic arc of the maestro's baton.

Harmony resonates from the walls,
the louder the sound the more vibrant

its echoes. The words, intoned
over and over, build to a crescendo;

the audience joins in, converted
into a choir of believers

who rush for the exits, still chanting
the lyrics, then down marbled steps

and into the square
where the simple, out-spoken truth

that fled at intermission
hangs from a lamp post.

Sherman Pearl is a co-founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and author of four published collections (most recently, The Poem in Time of War, ConfluX Press, 2005). His work has appeared in more than 40 literary magazines and anthologies (including Sam Hamill's Poets Against the War). His awards included first prize in the 2002 poetry competition of the 2002 National Writers Union, judged by Philip Levine.