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Updated: Mar 1

Writing by Michael Wu, illustration by Yury Aleksanyan.

The play is done

A long day now I watch

There is rain

Drop, they too read lines as the script runs long

To them perhaps, too few so short

As in fog or ashes, cloud and hail

All those actors make departs

Down streets where

there is no magic or spell

For whom grows idle in hell

Slept under this tower of a theatre

So I am beggar by where stories fell


Oh, look, shadows in this fog do move

Who goes there, I yell into the rain

But faint moves this is a group

Darkness not for one in two

As they diverge and meet again

I fervent from the bench;

Indulged by war commenced


A civil man, tightly dressed,

Armless yet disarming

A handsome face, he laughs a hearty smile

For he sees me from the wrench

“A shy comrade!” He comes,

“Why not partake with me,

need not fear, I am all that’s absent.

On me, are all eyes present.”

And his followers advance I do point.

“And who are they?”

“Who but movements of the People?”

“And what draws theirs arrows?” I peer to their legion,

“Why such haste?”

“Why not quick to claim, when we march to where is faith.”

Says he their Minister, the people

“We have sharp dreams only to craft heaven,

For hard soil this earth, and so crafted is change

By our hands, there will be edges for tomorrow.”


I join him,

In evening twilight and shadows long.

In candid ritual of the starry dance, I must witness

On stage but set to revolve, I think of hope

But in confidence, not of me, but of other things yet to be

Come they should and dream must march in the hearts of men

And women who vanished in the lonely dark, knowing darkness

Feeding void, tasting the foul, dread and smelling fear

To face such army as we do, for one other force it is small and silly.

It is four—round them, a crowned voice:


And they knelt.


Are the king’s eyes golden and pierce the skylines

Of course of fate, of soft and wicked things, because we wield

Good courage and did not fall. “We kneel not.”

Says the Minister of People, “We do not serve.”

Almost lilies, by four the Royal men start to dance-no, they put up with their shields.

Light, we lit almost into a laugh, they are such clowns on patty fields.

“Aim.” Dreamers of our dreams, we have no time; the storm must be passed.

Out the desert, out Seas and Ends of the Earth, out the despair of our Glorious Heart,

And our terrible fire bore into stars.


A thousand thorns on a single crown

Whose corpse rendered on his kneels,

And sword he dropped on heels

Only him, defeated and fell

And crumbled, and claimed.

No mere struggle but obtained,

Death and we remained.

Ever his swordsmen remove sharp sticks,

And pluck my guilty hands from red flowers’ bloom

Whether his subjects unmake what hate we had for him

The King cannot come again.

Yet, rose his crown, his sickly face,

How can blood flow back to vein?

How can the broken cease to break?

Mend the soul, the flesh of the dead again

Crawl back from the pearly gates


“What are you?”

I looked on in terror.

The monster lifted his eyes on mine, a cat before the mice.

“I first pulled sword from stone.

I, dragon slaying, magic killing,

I dream of wilder hunts, and rules of greater making

And I am none at all, if not a fever of those I govern.

A life of providence, it is I who live in death against

Their Infernal World, cursed, so my kingdom shall never despair.”

And so he says.


The sky soon clears, the small rain parts with my city worries

Theater, theater, theater, I retreat back into town, back by my ‘hell on earth’.

Like joy, perhaps none are real

Beneath unending skies, who said those words.

Who asked,  “Where else headed are you? We hath forth to Tomorrow.”

And who hath replied?

“Tomorrow?” he had mocked, “Why march there when we are Forever?”

And yesterday—know that you were blessed.

You were loved.


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