(Paris, Hair, 1971)
Once through an ancient stage door, past a sign
“L’audition”, I’m ushered by hip Mercury, cocked
torch lighting his winged brow. My number’s the one
he hands me, though I don’t know how: to act or
if I can belt “Easy to Be Hard”. Which I do.
How can people be so heartless? I ask the
high notes. The day before I’d quoted de
Beauvoir with equal fire as a Metro creep
touched my leg, whining at me off-key. I shouted
my textbook French, which he instantly corrected.
Now an anonymous voice from a darkened row: asking
for more & that evening a callback at my Cité U dorm.
Direct to onstage, piping high notes at a Hell’s
Angel, missing back-of-chorus cues, half-rehearsed.
The first bars of “Aquarius” sound & I climb, hand
over hand, from scaffolding below the side balconies
into scripted light. But the Tribe didn’t take to me.
The only time I took my clothes off at the nude scene,
first act’s end, they hid my tie-dyed jeans. I couldn’t be
naked the way they were. I think everything is real.
Nude all interlude, I search, lost, behind the great
moth-eaten sway of cloth, beneath hanging skies.
In my forever-auditioning blond body, begging in each
failed language: “My clothes?”, “Pourquoi, mes amis?”
Funny joke, but these bright fake tryouts at Life, ongoing,
take a toll. Due to be paid up Mercury’s road. Everything
is real to me, even the big joke war over a woman’s body.
What I shout back, exiting, is how it will all be fought —
in a future when She, Great Moon, rises up, floods the Seventh
House, & Jupiter aligns peacefully at last, with his partner, Mars.