Ourselves, In Cells

A play by Sawyer Estes

play pic 3

illustration by Liz Morgan

CHARACTERS

Lyle: Resides in the middle can. He’s naked and lithe. Boyish. Gaudy. Forties or fifties.

Mona: Resides in the SL can. She has on a white turtleneck. Hair in knots. What was once exquisite has aged severely. Forties or fifties.

Heath: Striking and masculine. Dressed in black dress pants, black dress shirt, and white tie. Younger.

SETTING

The stage is surrounded on three sides by pitch-black curtains. Within this square there is another square composed of a man-made fence; it is a grey wood, picket, and unpainted. The gaps between its boards are terribly slight, and it is absent of any doorway. Two metal garbage cans, placed adjacent to one another, sit center stage. Note the closeness in their proximity. Now, multiply their small length apart by two, and place another metal garbage can just this distance away from them stage right. The separation from the third can to the paired two should neither be obvious nor indiscernible.

The lights begin to rise slowly as if to signify a sunrise. Once raised, Lyle upsurges from his can and begins singing.

LYLE

(rapturous)

Ahh-hhh-hhh-hhh! Bahduh Dum DumDAH!! 

Rest. Dramatic breath.

Ahh-hhh-hhh-hhh! Bahduh Dum Dum… Bah Dum Dum—

Lyle gives himself a round of applause.

TA-DA!

MONA

(From within can; a low grumble)

PLEASE, GOD! PLEASE, GOD!

LYLE

Oh me, oh my! Did I sing? Did I smirk? Did I give myself away?!

On beat, Lyle drops and Mona rises immediately.

She looks forward, left, back, right.

Sees third can, and stares. 

Continue reading

March Feature: An Interview with Kurt Lovelace, Including New Poems

Kurt Lovelace

By Max Gardner

Kurt Lovelace is a junior in the department of mathematics at the University of Houston and a member of the Honors College, where he has been pursuing a new degree in mathematics and classics. During his previous working career, Kurt spent 27 years as a software engineer for Northrup Grumman, General Electric, and Bell Atlantic. As an entrepreneur, he also has been involved in several start-up corporations, guiding their development as the CTO using high performance clustered computing, especially for large data-set seismic image rendering and genetic research using bioinformatics.

First and foremost, Kurt always has been a writer, having published his earliest poetry and short stories while still a teenager. Kurt sees an analogy here between himself and Wallace Stevens —in that they both had full-time careers while they wrote poetry.  Kurt grew up for 5 years on Grand Bahamas Island during the 1960s and moved to the Washington D.C. area where he lived for another 22 years before moving to Houston, Texas.  Kurt is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in the 56th Field Artillery Group as a launch crew member for the Pershing 1B/2 nuclear missile in Germany during the early 1980s.

Please also continue reading after the interview for some new poems from Kurt that were not featured in our fall 2012 chapbook.

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In “Blossoms in the Salt-Sand Waves,” you reveal the narrator’s history by revisiting several different episodes throughout their childhood. With each one, we are given startling and beautiful images that tell us a lot about the character. How do you go about choosing the format for any particular poem or set of vignettes? What led you to choose this particular method for this collection of poems?

Well, this is my first attempt, in years, to sustain a long poem. I find few poems being written that are over a few pages nowadays, so that even short lyrical poems sometimes seem too much for the mercurial attention spans of the average reader. But I know that poetry is mostly read by writers and fellow poets, and so all readers for whom a longer poem might not present a daunting problem but rather be a welcome reprieve from the overabundance of short, tentative explorations present in most lyrics. Continue reading