Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kelley Jean White- Street Scene

Street Scene I
Ty is hawking for Furniture Freakout Final.
He is wearing a mattress with a pillow for a hat.
He pushes fliers at all passers-by.
Is it a sunny day? Raining?
Downtown? In the subway?
It’s overcast. Sort of a cheap shopping district. Lot of Dollar Stores.
So who’s going by? Anybody interesting.
Oh, eight or ten people. Assorted members of the cast and stage hands.
            And the fliers? Do they read them?
A trail drips away from him on the sidewalk:
Shawna approaches with a stroller.
A three month old stares blankly ahead.
A twelve month old sits propped on the little fringed roof floppy dozing off.
            Real kids? Is that legal?
No. OK, they’re dolls. But very realistic.
She could use some cheap furniture
            Isn’t that a brand name? Does she read it out loud?
            Or are we supposed to see it from the audience.
She reads it. Ty pretends not to hear.
Two chairs, she could sleep in one
The babies in the other
Actually she could use a place to say.
            Hmm. What’s going on here?
            Are they attractive? Maybe attracted to each other.
Ty’s skinny and a bit cocky.
Shawna’s jeans are a little tight. Her shirt’s tight too. Looks a little slept in.
Ty would like to show her the way
To Furniture Final Freakdown.
But he hasn’t got a car.
            How do we know that?
Isn’t that obvious? He’s hawking things on the street dressed as a mattress.
But he knows someone with a car.
He’s got a Big Screen TV at his apartment.
Also beer and pizza.
They can call Jerome
Wait for him there
Maybe Shawna’d like her chairs
Delivered to his place?
            OK. Now I get it.

Street Scene II
Deacon Reverend Truman Love on the corner with a boom box microphone.
            Man, I’m tired already, can we go home?.
His voice carries over the people at the bus stop.
A dozen or so. Ignoring him. Also not looking at the News Stand.
Except about twenty people lined up for lottery tickets.
            OK, what’s the jackpot?
18 million.
They’ve been lining up all day. Mostly middle-aged men and women.
Clutching pocketbooks. And wallets.
The Rev is getting warmed up. He’s soaring.
Something about putting your money on God.
Something about heavenly gold better than earthly riches.
Something about money not buying you out of sin.
            So is anybody wining anything? Scratch and sniff instant tickets?
No one. Deacon Truman’s got a captive audience.
One girl starts to listen. Tap her foot a little. He’s got a rhythm going.
Call-and-response. He says—Surrender all worldly ambition.
                                                Surrender all thoughts of luxury cars and fancy women.
                                                Bank on the Lord.
            What’s our part? What are we supposed to say?
                                                Bank on the lord.
                                                He knows how much money you got in your pockets.
                                                He knows what’s under your mattress at home.
                                                But I’m talking about spiritual jewels.
                                                Eternal heavenly mansions.
            OK, I’m bored, I’ll go along: Bank on the Lord.
                                                Yes, Lord, Hallelujah!
                                                Your servant hears the sound of Spirit Change in the Cash
                                                            Register of Jesus!
                                                Will you empty your pockets Children?
            Bank on the Lord.
The bus comes. It’s been drizzling. It starts to pour.
Everyone grabs their bags and pocketbooks and umbrellas and pushes into the bus door.
Rev. Mr. Love is left behind.
His face is glowing wet, looking up for lightning.
            Bank on the Lord.
Street Scene III
It is 5 am. Mr. & Mrs. Lee push their heavy cart rack from the Ace Kleaners lot to The Avenue.
            We can see the parking lot? And the Avenue?
Not really.  The parking lot is implied by the sound of trashcans banging and creaking doors.
They take off the tarps and begin to set out items for sale.
            Can we see what they’re selling? Is any of it any good?
White T-shirts. XL-4XL $10.00, 3 for $25.00
            And. . .
Little girl barrettes. 12 colors. One pack of 25 for $1, 6 packs for $5.
            And. . .
Hats. Assorted team logos. $5. Four for $25.
            That’s not a bargain!
Sorry, I read the sign wrong. Six for $25.  And matching scarves. Also XL-4XL jerseys, “Donovan McKnab.”
            That’s misspelled.
Yes. But I read it right.
They set out about 20 boxes of DVDs.
            Pirated DVDs?
Kelley White
Street Scene III. Page 2, begin new stanza
Yes, if you really want to know.
Mrs. Lee unwraps two breakfast sandwiches from Dunkin Donuts and sits under the tarp sipping coffee. Mr. Lee begins to argue with Mr. Low in the next booth.
            When did he show up?
Actually he was there first.
            Are they the same ethnic group?
            I said ethnic group.
What do you think?
            Does it matter?
The first customers appear. Also with coffee. Donuts. It’s about freezing out.
Mr. Lee sells two hats. Mr. Low offers a lower price on hats. Mrs. Lee crosses out her hat sign and writes in $3.00 SPECIAL.
It starts to rain.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Low reach under their carts and take out florist type buckets filled with umbrellas.
            Does it end? Is it still a price war?
The rain turns to snow.
 Street Scene IV
Jerome is wearing a black hat and saddle shoes.
He’s eighteen. Self-absorbed. . He has drumsticks in his hands. 
            What is he, naked?
Is he wearing anything else?
Army fatigues? Kilts?
A black suit.  Loose on his lanky frame.
He leans over his too-tall knees drumming.
            He has a drum? Snare? African?
An overturned bucket. He’s intense. Ignoring street noise.
Jane enters left. Pauses in front of the hat. Tosses in a quarter.
            The hat? I thought he was wearing the hat.
Oh. He’s busking now. He doesn’t see her.
She stands with her hands clasped
behind her back. She has a little nosegay of flowers.
She’s barefoot. Leaning toward him. She’s whimsical. Wistful.
            Is she old? Jane sounds old. Like forty-seven.
            Thirty-two. Fifty.
Young. She’s just about his age, nineteen, twenty.
            What’s she wearing?
A white sun-dress. Her legs are brown.
            Oh. It’s  a warm day?.
Yes, it’s April. Birds are singing.
He sees her. They fall in love.
            Just like that?
Just like that. She throws the flowers in his hat.
This is stupid. I hate this movie..
            I hate love. I want to go home.           
They kiss. Exit stage left. Arm and arm.       
 Street Scene V
Brandi is waiting for the bus.
She waves at everyone she knows and calls out, “Hey, girl.”
She’s by herself at the bus stop.
            What’s she wearing?
Silver high heels. Puffy little fake rabbit fur jacket. Black leatherette skirt.
            She’s a hooker?
What makes you say that?
            Well, look at the outfit.
She’s not. She keeps pulling at her little skirt. Her bony knees stick out. So does the hair pushing up through all her gold chains and pearls.
She needs a shave.
            Oh. She’s. . .
Well, I don’t think you would call her a hooker. There’s some other word for it.
She has a little Hello Kitty pocketbook. She keeps looking over her shoulder with the little mirror in her compact. She keeps re-doing her lipstick.
            What time is it?
3 a.m.
I’m scared for her.
I hope the bus comes soon. Before the bars close.
Street Scene VI
There are bubbles—
gliding in the air above the newsstand
and the bus stop
and the SHOPNOW parking lot
Can we really see them? Or are we just supposed to
imagine them?
Really see them! Over the tops of the police car
            and the man on the bicycle with the white beard
            and the three girls with pushpops
            leaning against the drugstore wall
                        Are the girls blowing them?
I thought they were. But they’re coming from the middle
There’s a man. In a white t-shirt and a black hoodie
and he’s waving something and
                        the bubbles are flowing
                                    BUBBLES are flowing
am I the only one who sees him?
            It’s Ok. I see him too. Mom, he’s got a gun!
Oh my God.
It’s a bubble-gun, Ma. It shoots bubbles. It’s shaped like a fish.
You push the fish’s tail into his stomach like a trigger and out shoot
Can I have one?
It’s not a nice day anymore.
Not at all.

bio note: Kelley White is not watching the Super Bowl.


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