Sunday, January 31, 2016

Passion Pit


Passion Pit


Boris von Staadt ... Conductor

Melonie Davis ... Boris von Staadt's Niece

Clancy ... Violinist / Assistant Conductor

Linda ... Violinist / Unfaithful Wife

Genevieve ... Violinist / Linda's Bestie

Doc Stanley ... Himself

Passion Pit

Closing night for the season, time for the final curtain to fall.
My, how time flies, from the time of the initial casting call...
Just for good measure, stage area cleaned by a professional crew;
It would not matter next night, for a movie, but for this adieu,
Stage floor so polished, rolled ice leaves not even a water crawl.

Tonight's proceedings will be afforded an informal added caveat.
Boris von Staadt will conduct for the final time; this sought:
His finest hour to stand at the podium, and wave his magic wand,
In hand. On hand, the finest stationary musicians, set to respond;
That his niece is performing the closing song, adds to the plot.

Members of the press and public dignitaries mingle with the cast.
Backstage in the dressing rooms, pictures taken, questions asked,
Are reserved for the stars to be framed by an overhead spotlight.
While not all the cast would move on to bigger things, tonight,
Each was prepared to render a closing performance unsurpassed.

Meanwhile, down in the orchestral pit, our story set to unfold;
Perhaps, there is a veritable multitude of stories to be told?
Hidden, are those who provide prologue, overture and interlude,
Below the stage, at minimum wage, always present, never viewed;
Casual patrons take them for granted, might they ever be polled.

With it hours before the show, Linda can access the threshold.
Her husband offers enthusiastic well wish. She leaves him cold,
for no apparent reason; would have been better had she conceded.
She nudges the door by the booth. There is no ticket needed.
For Linda, the story is a complicated one that runs twofold.

Linda sees Genevieve, sitting patiently in their string section.
Weaving along, encounters an errant cello bow in her direction.
She was an unintended casualty in a childish mock sword fight;
Cliff and Norton, acting like third graders, neither very bright.
Linda growled disdain, making her way through the intersection.

Requesting a report, Linda passed along a look that implied,
Her fears warranted; according to her doctor, the rabbit died.
"Does your husband know this? How did Clancy take this news?"
Linda replied, "Hubby no, and you won't believe Clancy's views;
He is moving on, and it is a good thing I am already a bride."

Clancy was big in their band, and the most eligible bachelor.
Each season, he was wooed by the women; Linda this year's score.
"When I told the news of the child, he refused to take the blame.
He laughed it off, said I could not prove it was his to claim."
Fact: For Clancy, this was a rite of passage, extending his lore.

Performance impending, each member had an assigned seat to sit.
From strings to horns to percussion, arrangement a perfect fit.
Once each member of the local theatre orchestra's home was found,
Several went into mock practice moves, in silence, no sound...
Such as it is, here in the hidden world of the orchestral pit.

The crowd filtered in, dressed to the nines, veritable potpourri
Of all walks of life, to enjoy acting, singing, and symphony.
Bootleggers, gangsters, constables, lawyers and judges of laws,
Came together in peace for an evening devoted to a common cause.
A homemaker wonders, "Is that the mercantile owner next to me?"

Prologue set to commence, Boris front and center, baton showing,
Those in front take notice, he is overcome, his tears flowing.
From section to section, each musician joins in the music flow,
A subtle beginning, dueling melodies cascade, rousing crescendo;
Finally, rumble of drums ceases, as stage dialogue is commencing.

As Boris von Staadt steps away from the podium, time to dismount,
He falls down to the floor, out like a light, down for the count.
As the entertainment plays on the stage behind, in the music town,
Real drama is underway, a tragic scene of real life is going down.
Finding someone in the medical field takes precedent, tantamount.

Hush whispers begin to permeate, "Is there a doctor in the crowd?"
Old Doc Stanley overheard, and he had his bag, as fate allowed.
He eased out to the aisle and down a ramp, his summon a success.
Seeing Boris, his initial assumption was a matter of his chest.
Doc stood for a moment over Boris, then appropriately bowed.

He had them move the maestro over to a makeshift cot, out of view.
Clancy saw the opportunity before him, knowing well what to do.
Stepping from the keyboard seat, made a bee line to the lectern;
Having studied for years there was nothing left for him to learn.
Getting their attention, "We've music to play before Act Two."

"Do it for Boris," Clancy offered, but really, was for his acclaim.
To the unknowing throng in attendance, it was really all the same,
But to those in the pit, they each played as though possessed.
Of all their performances this season, tonight's would be best;
Caught up in this glorious moment, Clancy unaware of Linda's game.

She had reached into her bag of tricks, and under her shawl,
She extended the open end of an oboe, designed to make him crawl.
She waved a Clancy, eventually getting the rounder's attention.
She pointed what he saw as a gun, at his part we won't mention.
Pointing her free hand as if pulling a trigger, caused a fall.

Clancy crawled in panic, avoiding the shot, to who knows where.
Norton whispered over to Cliff, "Must be something in the air."
Norton must have been a prophet that night, little did he know,
Doc Stanley concluded Boris had an allergy. He was good to go,
With antidote in the form of a shot administered to a derriere.

It seems the stage floor cleaning sweeper had an errant plan.
Rather than scoop debris, he swept to edge then over the span.
The sly old doctor, a bastion of calm, saw grime on a trouser,
Deduced it was dust, and administered what was an arouser.
The entire orchestra was spared, due to a faulty electric fan.

Now picture this: Clancy hiding under a tarp, toward stage right;
Boris' rise from the ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in plain sight.
Clancy was so sure von Staadt was destined to lie under clover,
The same place he was heading, if seen by a scorned former lover.
Even as his moments seemed numbered, he could not feign contrite.

The hall then grew silent as wind on a distant sparrow's wing.
This was the time in the show for the conductor's niece to sing.
Melonie von Staadt, whose stage name was Davis, took spotlight.
She wanted to make it on her own, this was her time for flight.
As violins droned, her voice engaged. Boris' tears now were real.

"Quarter moon lights my path, down this trail I know so well.
Clutching your old love letters, I dare not fear the knell.
I pray your safe return from foreign shores, Dearest Friend,
When, as then, we'll walk hand in hand under Sycamore Wind."
She held last note for half an eternity, followed by a quell.

Granted, it had taken the girl an entire season to get it right.
But, all who witnessed were in unison, a star was born that night.
No adult in that room had been spared the ravages of that war,
Be they good, bad or indifferent, all had a time and place where,
A loved one fought Over There, whose lamplight burned bright,

Not a dry eye in the house, theatre rafters shook like thunder,
As with Beethoven's "Battle of Vitoria," hats flew like plunder.
As an aside, Clancy chose this moment to poke his head curious;
A sailing derby smacked him in the eye, as fate was dubious.
In his warped mind, he'd been shot, and tragically going under.

The stars bowed, the audience countered with a final ovation.
The stars had shone, especially Melonie, overnight sensation.
The lights came up, and the partisans vacated, along their way.
The season was over, and for all intents, what a final day...
Orchestra members gathered their wares from respective station.

Linda made it a point to kick Clancy in the groin, fatal shot,
In a cathartic move, and it worked. She was a little less fraught.
"You're dead to me now. Do you understand, you worthless bastard?"
Never underestimate the power of getting in the final word!
At least she'd not be the only one to deal with a lesson taught.

In time, she would confess to her husband, and he would contend.
By the next season, he would be dating Genevieve, her best friend.
Linda would move back to Des Moine, to her judgemental mother.
Clancy would apply for head conductor and be told, "Don't bother."
Good night for now, from Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1930. The End.

Michael Todd  (2016)


  1. My goodness - such a fine piece. You remind me a little of Gilbert and Sullivan. Well done.

    1. That was very kind of you to say, Sallon. Thank you.

      And, of course... Nice FRISTING !!!

  2. Outstandingly great show. A standing ovation.

  3. The final curtain call which gives life to the next act. Brilliant! Although not what they may have stated originally, each one accomplished a goal. However unceremonious it may have been.

    1. Your insight is keen, Stephy... so much so, I never saw the story in that light. Thank you.

  4. Your words paint a colorful last act

  5. superb write and story line!! outstanding Myke!!

  6. I don't know how you do this magic words, possibly I don't want to know. You're a Magician, and I don't want to know the secrets, I just want to be awed by your talent.

    1. Nothing magical, Gail, but I am overwhelmed by your overview, and in wonderful way... I just got a wild idea for a story, and it would not go away until I wrote it out. Thank you.

  7. Wonderful piece indeed. So very talented.

  8. This is inspired! Really love the concept, and you made it sing. -Dave Raider

    1. Thank you, David. The concept was clear. The hard part was making Melonie sing... When I decided to write some lyrics for Melonie to sing, I found it difficult to write a WW1 song lyric. Fortunately, I watch a lot of old movies, and was able to put myself in that place... Sycamore is synonymous with Indiana, the state. That was my springboard.

  9. Bravo! Here is your standing ovation! Big smile for your stellar work!

    1. The big smile for me, Sandra, just came from you. Thanks!

  10. Oh MIKE... This is just so FABULOUS!!

    I love all your works, and have been in awe of you for some time now
    But this one fine Sir, tops them all, so please...take a bow.

  11. Epic - although I have to admit I like Des Moine

    1. I bet I would like Des Moines, too, Tyler, except during their six months of Winter.

      Thanks for coming and reading. I do appreciate that, Sir.

  12. Bravo!! Encore!! A marvelous production from a most talented ensemble.

    1. Thank you so much, Mimi... Lovely to have you in the house.

  13. Poor Clancy...all those tears and he still exits stage left...on his hands and knees...

    1. Clancy was lucky to allowed to walk... crawl away...

      Thanks so much for visiting, Don.

  14. Hark! Hear ye! A bard of or times!
    To spin us a tale in meter and rhyme!
    A maestro of plot, motivation and deed
    Whose whimsical mind will attend to our need
    For enlightened entertainment!

    Bravo! Bravo! (flippers slapping the water's surface...)

    1. Thank you, Michael. This is a wonderful riff.

      Turtle Turtle Time in Tennessee... :)

  15. This is epic! A very original, masterful and artfully endowed write.A lot of effort and thought went into this that is evident. Michael, this is your finest hour!

    1. Dave... I never know when I write a new poem, how it will be perceived. I eventually came to a point where I did not assume how well one would go over. To get such positive feedback is really nice, and I sincerely thank you.

  16. This is poetic proof that all the world is not a stage: Sometimes the real action is in the pit... :)

    Well done, Maestro!


    1. Thanks, Stephen Lee... If this was written decades ago, people might start paying more attention to what goes on down in the pit, but now they would be hard pressed to find one.

  17. What an incredible journey!!! I love this!

    1. Thank you so much, Ellie. I am glad you enjoyed this poem.

  18. You told a fine story sir..All the world is a stage and the participants live the drama both on and off the stage

    1. It truly is, Gail. So many stories behind the scenes to see, or imagine... Thank you for spending time with me.

  19. This from ... Chuck Steffen :

    Well I was going to leave a comment on blogspot but lost it somewhere in my phone...are we too old for these things? Anyway wow this piece was so very ambitious. It made me think of a classic black and white comedy drama...and I am so very fond of the old movies. This has that total classic feel like old Capra movies and the like. And it made me wish I had taken some drama classes in high school. They obviously were much more fun than I realized they would be at the time. Actors and actresses are so very much like poets..they too are just screaming to be heard but they take a much more aggressive approach to the dilemma. Enjoyed this thoroughly and this time of storytelling has always been your strong suit, my friend. Outstanding!

  20. This is a veritable blockbuster! There's more drama going on backstage than there is on stage, or so it seems. This reminds me a bit of Shakespeare's comedies. A cast of colorful characters milling about and, in the process, causing mayhem, madness and malice. I am glad Linda got her's.

    1. For all the bad things that happen to the people, Eliza Anne, the intent of this piece was always about the humor, with the one exception being the actual song sung... Thank you for your precise analogy. :)

    2. I enjoyed the humor, Myke. Very much.

  21. Oh my goodness what motley interesting lil crew of characters you have developed here who have there own show going on seeming to all deserve each other here.. I enjoyed reading this Mike cant wait to see what the the curtain call and next act brings..just keep the violin bows between Linda and Genevieve in a safe place, and Clancy's conductors baton and guns on lock too I wanna see them duke this out with their words :) Well done!

    1. As it stands, Maria, this is the only account we have of these people. I hope things worked out for them all, and they had good lives.

  22. I'd like to step into your mind for just a few minutes. That was AMAZING. Love the characters and the drama!

    1. My mind is a scary place, Carol. But, it is rarely dull.

  23. Dear Myke what a high level of wordplay and imagination, this is fantastic.

  24. Wow Michael! The suspense keep mounting in the story/poem. I really enjoyed reading this. It was unpredictable and held my interest from start to finish. Your talent shines in this one my friend. Keep up the good writing!

    Blessings and best wishes,

  25. Like the real world of the arts! A wonderful work Mike and thank you so much.... I thought that was you in my phone but did not know you could do that.. nah not too old.. just learning to keep up with technology!!! Wonderful piece!!

    1. Thanks... Really glad you enjoyed the poem. You always say the nicest things.

  26. Oh man!!! What an epic tale you have spun here! I always wondered about the orchestra pit, hidden away and rather mysterious. Who knew there would be so much drama? This was a masterful weaving of story, emotions and life lessons. Love it, my friend!!!

    (And a Happy Ground Hog day to you tomorrow!!!!) xoxo

    1. I thank you, Colleen, and Phil thanks you, as well.

      Glad you enjoyed this little tragi-comedy. It was really fun to try to write the story in rhyme form.

  27. Simply marvelous! I love when you write these play-type poems. I could picture it all as I read. Also, I was thinking it'd be great to see one of these about the Blogophilia gang. :)


    1. Glad you are liking this one, Irene. As for the other you asked about, I did a 3 part story on that, and it began on Groundhog Day in 2008.

  28. O my! Extraordinary effort, your story telling skills shine!

  29. Wow, this is a good one Michael. You masterfully managed to transport the reader to the backstage drama. I was there, witnessing the unfolding performance. Bravo! How long was this in the making?

    1. Getting caught up in the mix can be a good thing, Debra. I know what you mean, from when that happens to me.

      I did not keep up with the time, but I would say, about four hours... Thank you so much for reading.

  30. It's always feels good to get the final word, but not always worth it! lol


    1. Final words often come with a heavy price tag, Eric.

      Thanks for visiting.

  31. Oh boy... oh boe... oh no! You wove quite a concert with your magic wand, Sir Myke! Bis bis!

    1. There was a lot of action down in the catacombs.
      Thanks, Sir Ruggi.

  32. This was very entertaining. Bravo!! I think about the many dramas that may have been happening during any of the performances at the Opera House, come alive at the stroke of your pen! To be sure, they performed as expected, and the audience never knew the real drama going on. :) I enjoyed this immensely. -Leta

    1. The older I get, Leta, the more I see and comprehend with my peripheral vision. Thanks for visiting.

  33. These epic poems of yours are always so visual, I enjoyed playing this in my mind, and laughed at the image of Clancy peaking out and getting hit by the hat. And it was fascinating to see that there is a completely different world below stage. Bravo, sir ;)

    1. No matter where we are, there is something happening to, for, with or against someone. Reading your assessment, Dahlia, almost makes me want to attend a theatre just once to see the goings on first hand. :)

  34. This all reads like the news from Lake ought to send it to Garrison Kiellor (sp.) for Prairie Home Companion! Great job!

    1. That is high praise, indeed, Sandra. I am a big fan of Me. Keillor. Thanks!

  35. Brava dearest - nicely penned - sorry it took me so long but glad I did amend :0)

    1. Thank you, Shauna... Any time is the best time to hear from you. Thanks for visiting.

  36. Finally had a chance to read your epic, Myke. This would make a great stage play! Had me riveted from beginning to end.

    1. A play about a play would most def be a horse of a different color, Debbie, and one to admire. Thank you, and glad you are feeling better in time for concert season.