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Night of the Republicby Alan Shapiro
Everything the Traffic Will Allow
The two boys dont suspect they dont exist.
And Ethel Merman is the shade of a shade — what Plato says all poetry is — a record spinning beneath a needle as the boys lip-sync into imaginary mikes her glottal swagger, brassy, large, streetwise and from their mouths so touchingly naive for being so . . . Theres no people like show people . . .
Their parents clap and whistle from the bed, propped up on pillows . . . Everything about it is appealing . . . They are shouting Encore! Bravo!” when the boys, like chorus girls, arms on each others shoulders, step-kick their way across the room and out of it, then back . . .
stealing that extra bow . . . Shades of a shade.
What poetry is. Because theres nowhere else for them to be except inside the room in which it isnt when it is, in which there is no room unless I think of it —
the boys their arms flung wide on one knee mouthing the last words before the needle slides off into silence, the parents propped up on pillows, half laughing, half shouting Bravo!
Encore!” All now just the shade of a shade — like no people I know . . .
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