More Poems From “The Place Where You Started”

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Hannah Consenz stars as Meredith in the Portland State University production of The Place Where You Started.

Director Kristine McIntyre asked me to write some poetry, for the opera The Place Where You Started, in Meredith’s voice. Kristine then displayed the poetry in a projection on the back wall of the stage for Meredith’s final aria. In the aria (think monologue in a play) Meredith discovers her passion for writing again.  In this poem Meredith addresses her frustration with screenwriting, a career she chose for all the wrong reasons. She describes it as a barren house.

1
Words reflect the place
where you live
screenwriting
for example
very little in this house
chair
computer
mouse
I once thought it elegant
an interconnected series of
entertaining scenes
held together by three *brads
and an agent
dizzying
spell-binding
but the dazzling wheel cracked
caked with dirt of a million dead dreams
the rain never comes here to renew
broken yearnings stretch back 100 years
deep into the orange grove
soil
now paved with cement and sorrow
Los Angeles

*Brads are the brass prongs that hold screenplays together.

In this next one, Meredith writes to her boyfriend Steve who takes her for granted.  The screenplay she writes during the opera, a vampire romance, features Roland, a brooding teenage vampire. It makes sense then that she calls Steve, Roland. Both are emotionally stunted. This poem is somewhat of a “Dear John” letter to Steve and to screenwriting.

2
Goodbye
Roland
I cannot stay
a wind blows
my obsession
away
Goodbye and
Good luck
Sorry for the mess
The dirt
The dust
I could not clean up
after you
you’re stunted
eighteen
playing video games
sitting in the last chair
Vampires might live forever
But I do not

Here Meredith reflects on the unique beauty that exists in Southern California. Her relationship with her friend Macario, a genius in the garden, has connected her to the earth. The falling rain is, in a way, a symbol for Macario, but it’s also simply rain doing what rain is supposed to do.

3
The rain falls
It soaks the dust and stirs it to soil
At dusk the jasmine bloom
their night shade fragrance thick
over the garden
A brown house spider spins her web over our door
If I leave the light on
she will feast

7 thoughts on “More Poems From “The Place Where You Started”

  1. So lonely in my own head. Sorry I’m blowing up your blog with comments. It’s just a little solace on a very bad day.

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