A Selection of Poems and Plays by Sara Judge (Part 2)

Early Music



I wish I could kiss you on solid ground

And tell you all the things I know

The way I could know things when I was just

Early Music

Standing in Church

to mark the space

of ritual

Our ancestors

carried through time

our molecules

in their bodies

singing to god.



If only my tongue would articulate

To you the starry things I know.

But I can’t see the sky because

Wildfire Smoke and

My legs feel tired

Standing again

Feels like torture

“We just sat down.”

In ritual

To rise where our

ancestors stood

Worshipping “Him.”

So many Hymns.



Can I make you fall in love with me just

because it feels so good?

I’m nothing but an amoeba,

Pleasure-seeking.

It’s always been so easy to

be this easy.

But watch me now,

I’m the nail that

gets pounded down

For not being

squeaky enough.

For not fighting for my state of being

For preferring disappearing.

I changed my name and cut my hair as a

Form of protest.


I moved to Healdsburg to

be a good servant

I’m a waitress

Starting over

I’m taking a pill that makes me

less want to die.

I want to tell you who I really am

But I lost my voice twice last month

Whispering my love for humans over

the noise of body-shamers

she embarrass

sing to listen

the broadcasts of

idiots, it’s

embarrassing

to confront you

I speak feelings

You laugh at me.


Their real joy was in believing they were

being moved by god.

For us early humans,

cousins 8 and 9,

It was time to sit down again

in Church.

I made fun of Jesus

so we would

both Feel something

Heavenly good

My grandmother asked us why we’re laughing

I asked her, “Why did Jesus wear those clothes?”

Our oldest living ancestor

hushed us

and let us know

“Because it was 2,000 years ago!”

I felt empty

except for the

pleasure I had

in making them

laugh with me.




 

EXCERPT 3 From the play Fucking Coastal Elites

ALLISON retreats from the city to the woods to get over a bad breakup with her girlfriend. She is joined by her oldest friend KAYLIE and KAYLIE’s husband JOSH.

SCENE 4 Back at the Cabin

(JOSH, KAYLIE, and ALLISON have returned from a trip to the nearby river. We hear them outside the front door struggling with the lock.)

KAYLIE: (to JOSH as he struggles to get the door to unlocked) Is that the right key?


JOSH: There’s only one key.


KAYLIE: Try jiggling it.


(The door opens abruptly. ALLISON heads straight for the couch and lies down. KAYLIE gets some water. JOSH closes the door and stares into his phone.)


KAYLIE: I didn’t think the river would be so...


ALLISON: Underwhelming.


KAYLIE: It was surprisingly shallow.


ALLISON: It was full of toxic algae.


KAYLIE: We don’t know that--Josh likes to make wild claims about things he knows little about. I think…to make things feel more exciting. Or it’s an element of his hypochondria expressing itself. I’m not sure. I thought the water was lovely. All those little ducks with their adorable orange feet.

ALLISON: They were starving.


KAYLIE: They weren’t starving.


ALLISON: They were swarming us, like street children in Mumbai.


KAYLIE: They’re used to people feeding them.


JOSH: (reading from his phone, triumphantly) I knew it. Toxic blue-green algae blooms appear as floating mats or scum on top of low flow or stagnant water.


ALLISON: Sounds about right.


JOSH: (continues reading, glorious) Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns caused by climate change are a catalyst for toxic algae blooms. Harmful to humans and especially harmful to dogs as they are prone to swallowing water while swimming and playing and less deterred by green smelly water.


(KAYLIE smells her glass of water.)

ALLISON: I didn’t smell anything foul.


JOSH: (still looking at his phone) Actually, I don’t know. Looking at these photos, it may have been, just, regular algae.


KAYLIE: Well, that’s a relief.


(ALLISON begins to laugh.)

KAYLIE: What?


ALLISON: (laughing) Nothing. I just…love you guys.

JOSH: I can’t tell if you’re laughing or crying.


ALLISON: Maybe both.


KAYLIE: (hands ALLISON a glass) Have some water.


ALLISON: Thanks. Honestly, I feel pretty good right now.


JOSH: We should eat something.


ALLISON: I’m not hungry.


KAYLIE: Allison has forgotten how to feel hungry. For food.


(ALLISON gives a side-eyed glance.)

JOSH: Well, I brought some grass fed burgers. You know I like to get my grill on.


KAYLIE: Please don’t burn them.


JOSH: I won’t burn them.


KAYLIE: I’m just saying, can you please look up, “How to use a grill?”

JOSH: Fine.


(JOSH dives back into his phone.)

KAYLIE: Thank you.


ALLISON: I’m so grateful for you guys. I’m really glad you dragged me out here.


KAYLIE: Me too.

ALLISON: I think I am actually hungry for food.


KAYLIE: Hey! Progress!


JOSH: Nature has a way of getting you back in touch with what really matters.


(There’s a knock on the window. It’s the MAN with the dog from the creek. He continues knocking on the window and looking inside.)


JOSH: Holy shit!


MAN: Can you help me?


ALLISON: Jesus Christ!


KAYLIE: Don’t make eye contact.


MAN: Please!


KAYLIE: (to JOSH) Should we call the police?


JOSH: We can’t, remember?


KAYLIE: Oh yeah. What should we do?


MAN: Please. My dog, he was hit by a car.

KAYLIE: He’s lying.

ALLISON: What if he’s not?


KAYLIE: He’s on drugs.

JOSH: (to ALLISON) There’s nothing we can do anyway.


MAN: Can you help me?


(KAYLIE gathers the courage to speak to the MAN, approaches the window)


KAYLIE: What can we do for you?

MAN: Well, if you open the door, it’d be easier to talk.

JOSH: (to KAYLIE) Don’t open the door.


ALLISON: Why are we such assholes?


KAYLIE: (to MAN) I can hear you. We can talk like this.


MAN: I need help. To carry him down. I need to bury him. (He weeps) He’s dead. It’s my fault.

ALLISON: Jesus, Kaylie, open the door.

KAYLIE: (to ALLISON) Are you fucking kidding me?

ALLISON: Get him some water at least.


(JOSH gets a glass of water. He cracks the door, hands MAN the glass, closes the door quickly. MAN drinks. They watch him.)

KAYLIE: (to MAN) I’m sorry, our phones don’t work. We can’t call anyone to help you.

JOSH: (to KAYLIE) Don’t tell him that.


(MAN finishes the water. He looks inside for a moment not sure what he should do. Suddenly he throws the glass at the window. He then breaks through the window and climbs inside. Everyone screams, scatters and cowers. He has a gun.)


MAN: I’m not gonna shoot you. I just need you to help me bury my dog.

(ALLISON begins having a panic attack. She falls backward onto the couch.)


MAN: What’s a matter with her?


KAYLIE: Um…you just broke into our house and are pointing a gun at us. Gee I don’t know.

JOSH: Allison, breathe.


ALLISON: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.


(MAN starts singing in a low voice, a Public Domain Gospel song like Be Still. ALLISON surprisingly begins to calm down. The three friends watch him for a moment.)


JOSH: (to MAN) Dude, this is an AirBnb, we don’t live here.


MAN: You’re alive. And you’re here.

KAYLIE: He means we’re not familiar with any resources that may be available to you.

MAN: You got a shovel? You got a shed out there.

JOSH: Where?


KAYLIE: We don’t know anything about the shed. It wasn’t mentioned in the listing.

MAN: It’s locked.


JOSH: We don’t have a key for the shed.


ALLISON: (laying on the couch) We could help you break into it.

(They all look at her.)


MAN: O.K.

ALLISON: I’ll help him.


JOSH: We’ll all help you, ok?


KAYLIE: Just put the gun away.


(MAN puts the gun away.)

SCENE 5

(They are all out near the creek. The sun is setting. The man is using a shovel to dig a hole. He is waist high in the hole. The dog is wrapped in a blanket ready to be buried.)


KAYLIE: Ok, byeee.


(The three friends start to go.)


MAN: Wait!


(They stop and turn to him.)


MAN: Can you stay for the prayer?

KAYLIE: We need to get back to the house.


MAN: Why?

JOSH: We’re really uncomfortable because you have a gun.

(MAN takes gun out.)

MAN: This? This ain’t real. I mean, it’s real. But it don’t work.


ALLISON: We helped you carry your dog down here, we got you a shovel. You’re all set.


MAN: Stay for the prayer.

JOSH: We don’t really pray. Sorry.


(They begin to leave again.)


MAN: Wait. What if I’m lying? What if it does work? And it’s loaded. Would you pray then?


KAYLIE: Um…well…we would, and we’d also be afraid that you were going to murder us.


ALLISON: Can we do the prayer now? So we can get back to the house? I’m really tired.


JOSH: She has a health condition.


MAN: What’s wrong with you?

ALLISON: I’m depressed.


(MAN laughs.)


MAN: Ya know, my daddy used to say, “if you feel low, go dig a hole. So when you climb out you’ll be higher than you were before.” Try it.

(MAN throws the shovel to ALLISON, she dashes out of the way, it falls near her and bangs onto the ground.)


MAN: (holding the gun but not pointing it) Go on. Try it.

JOSH: (bending down to grab the shovel) I’ll dig the hole. You can get the prayer over with—

(MAN shoots the gun to the ground. JOSH falls, he is not hit, but scared.)


MAN: Oh shit. It does work. Nah, she has to dig the hole.


(ALLISON picks up the shovel. MAN playfully focuses gun on and off her as she walks to the hole. She is weak and tired. She begins to dig, pitifully. JOSH and KAYLIE are huddled together incredulous.)


MAN: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to Danny Boy. The greatest dog who ever lived. Danny was a loyal companion, a true friend, a watchdog, just an all-around good boy. We forget sometimes in life, what’s really important. We get focused on ourselves. We forget about the souls that make our life, worth living. What I’ll miss most about Danny is his innocence. The kindest soul on the planet.


(MAN chokes up a bit.)


JOSH: Did you…catch the plates…of the car that…hit him?


(There is no response.)


JOSH: I mean…you should call the police or something…to report this.


(MAN looks at JOSH and slowly morphs his face from sadness to a maniacal chuckle.)


MAN: You’re a cute little guy.


KAYLIE: We should walk up the road and find someone to help. To track down the person who did this.


MAN: Heavenly father, bless this congregation of lost souls who have gathered here. Bless the meek, the gay, the inane, the wretched. Bless us in our struggle to walk the perilous road to heaven. Bless us as we long to be by your side.


(ALLISON has been struggling as she digs. She faints.)


KAYLIE: Allison!


(KAYLIE rushes to ALLISON.)


JOSH: Oh my god.


KAYLIE: Allison, wake up. Can you hear me? Allison?


JOSH: (to MAN) We really need to get her back to the house.


MAN: What happened to her?

JOSH: She’s…going through a really bad break-up. She couldn’t even get out of bed two days ago.


ALLISON: What happened?


KAYLIE: You fainted.


ALLISON: I did?

MAN: You went down like a lead weight.

ALLISON: Oh god.


MAN: Have you lost your will?


ALLISON: I think…I’m hungry.


MAN: You think you’re hungry?

ALLISON: Yeah.

(MAN pulls an apple out of his pocket. Motions that he’s going to throw it to her. She shakes her head no. He throws it to her. It hits her and falls to the ground.)


KAYLIE: Please let us go.


(MAN walks over to pick up the apple.)

MAN: Aw man. I hope it didn’t get bruised. That was a perfect apple. Picked it myself.

(JOSH picks up the shovel and holds it like a weapon. He rushes behind MAN as he picks up the apple. He appears to be about to bang the shovel into the back of the MAN’s head.)


ALLISON: (shrieks) Wait!

(MAN turns around to see JOSH holding the shovel about to strike.)

BLACKOUT

(We hear the sound of the shovel hitting MAN in the face.)



 

THE PALINDROME POEMS

02-02-2020

The Sun is still

Burning

Which means

We are all here

For a while longer

As I imagine posting this

on Instagram

Instead of just being here

Now—

Is where I want to be with you

In one room

So maybe there’d be a chance

We’d connect ourselves

I could uncover my shoulder for you

and touch your belly

Feeling how soft we are

In a world with such

Sharp Edges

Sharp Edges

In a world with such feeling

how soft we are

and touch your belly

I could uncover my shoulder for you

So maybe there’d be a chance

we’d connect ourselves

In one room

Is where I want to be with you

Now—

Instead of just being here

on Instagram

As I imagine posting this

For a while longer

We are all still here

Which means

Burning

The Sun is still






1-25-21

I

heard

A calling

Wind

will

I

follow


Untethered

Roots

Severed

Sneaking

out

seventeen

There were

always cops

Close to town


The woods were

Dark

Stars

Smoke

Fire

Embers

Flying

Skyward


The Pines

Grow up out

of sand

The vines

Grow up

to choke

mortar

brick

Abandoned

Villages


We sit

under stars

on

dead

Railroad Bridges

Ghosts of the land

Whisper as we yell


Whisper as we yell

Ghosts of the land

Railroad Bridges

dead on

under stars

We sit

Villages

Abandoned

brick

mortar

choke to

Grow up

The vines

of sand


Grow up out

The Pines


Skyward

Flying

Embers

Fire

Smoke

Stars

Dark

The woods were

Close to town

always cops in cars

There were

seventeen

Sneaking out


Severed

Roots

Untethered

Follow

I

will

wind

A calling

heard

I





1-20-21

The Palindrome

The Paradox

The American Experiment

Continuing

The day

still

and

quiet

The conspiracy fantasy

De-platformed,

finally

400 years

seemed so far away

When I was a child

The salt of sweat on my tongue

as I licked my lips

Playing in the mud

Ghosts of the past

Held me gently

But

Whisper to me now

their voices

Becoming louder as

I move closer to death,

“The Civil War is now The UnCivil War?”

400 years from now will be like

What?

If he had survived

Martin Luther King, Jr. would be

92 years old,

The age of my Grandmother,

Texting us gifs of teddy bears hugging,

Anne Frank would be,

If she had survived,


If she had survived,

Anne Frank would be,

Texting us gifs of teddy bears hugging,

The age of my Grandmother,

92 years old,

Martin Luther King, Jr. would be

If he had survived


What?

400 years from now will be like


“The UnCivil War is now The Civil War?”


I move closer to death

Becoming louder as

their voices

Whisper to me now

But

Held me gently

Ghosts of the past


Playing in the mud

as I licked my lips

The salt of sweat on my tongue

When I was a child

seemed so far away

400 years

finally

De-platformed

The conspiracy fantasy


quiet

and

still

The day

Continuing

The American Experiment

The Paradox

The Palindrome.





 

EXCERPT 4: From the play Mother of God. It is October 2001. ANGELA, 22, returns home to her mother ANTONIA’s house in New Jersey after living on her own for the first time in New York City.

SCENE 3 First Night Home ANTONIA and ANGELA enter through the front door with ANGELA’s luggage. They are in mid-conversation.

ANTONIA: I knew it wasn’t going to work out for you.


ANGELA: You knew nine eleven was going to happen?


ANTONIA: I just knew something would happen and you’d end up back here.

ANGELA: Mom, New York was just bombed. The towers are still smoldering in the ground.

ANTONIA: We just need to get you a job. So you can get an apartment. I’ll check with my school to see if we have any openings. You could be a substitute teacher. Or you could get your teaching license. You know you only need 30 more credits if you already have a degree….

ANGELA: Stop!


ANTONIA: What?!


ANGELA: Just stop talking!

ANTONIA: What did I say?!


ANGELA: I don’t want to talk about getting a job right now!

ANTONIA: Ok.


(beat)


ANGELA: Thank you for letting me stay here.


ANTONIA: You’re welcome.


ANGELA: So, where’s my room?


ANTONIA: Right here.

ANGELA: Mighty!


(MIGHTY, the cat is played by a human actor. She slowly awakens, walks seductively over to ANGELA.)


ANGELA: Mighty! Look at you. How’ve you been?


(She pets her old cat. MIGHTY is loving the attention but then suddenly startles and scratches ANGELA with her back legs, skitters away and starts grooming herself.)

ANGELA: Ah! Ow. Fuck. Why does she do that?


ANTONIA: I don’t know. Because she’s crazy.


(MELISSA, ANGELA’S younger sister enters from the hallway.)


MELISSA: (to ANTONIA) Probably because when she was a baby you got her de-clawed and her teeth filed down and traumatized her for life.

(ANTONIA gasps.)


ANTONIA: When did you get here?


MELISSA: Just now.

ANGELA: Hey Sis.


MELISSA: Hey, welcome back!


ANTONIA: You know, the vet is the one who told me it was no big deal to do all that.

ANGELA: Yeah but you asked him to do it.

ANTONIA: I didn’t want her to ruin my furniture.

MELISSA: Oh my God.


ANGELA: Com’ere Mighty.


(MIGHTY slinks over and purrs to be pet.)


ANGELA: We’re sorry.


(ANTONIA exits. ANGELA unpacks and hangs up dresses, including the one from the first scene. MIGHTY walks around room, sniffing ANGELA’s things and eventually finds a comfy spot in ANGELA’s suitcase.)


MELISSA: How are you?


ANGELA: Fine. How are you? You’re graduating in the spring, right?

MELISSA: I have to take classes this summer and then I’m finished.

ANGELA: That’s so great.

MELISSA: What are you doing next Saturday night?


ANGELA: I don’t know.

MELISSA: Wanna go to Atlantic City with me and some friends?


ANGELA: Atlantic City? Ew. Why?


MELISSA: We sneak into the pool at the Taj Mahal. They give you free towels.


ANGELA: As tempting as that sounds, I’m gonna pass.

MELISSA: You need to get out.


ANGELA: I don’t have any money.


MELISSA: You can drink for free. They want to get you drunk so you gamble all your money away.


ANGELA: Sounds fun.


MELISSA: We don’t gamble, we just get free drinks and go swimming. So you wouldn’t need any money. None of us have any money either.


ANGELA: If there’s a god, I’ll have something better to do.


MELISSA: There’s no God.

ANGELA: I’m not ready to go out.


MELISSA: Come on, don’t let the terrorists win.


ANGELA: The terrorists have already won.

MELISSA: Can I draw you?


ANGELA: I have to unpack.

MELISSA: You can move around. I’m working on continuous line drawings of moving objects.


(MELISSA takes out her sketch book and pen.)


ANGELA: Woah. Cool. How do you do that?


MELISSA: It’s just one continuous line. You don’t lift your pen off the page the entire time.

ANGELA: Draw me and Mighty like that.


MELISSA: Ok.

(ANGELA sits next to her and pets her. MIGHTY goes into cat pose to receive the attention.)


ANGELA: I missed you girl. Yeah. Look at you. You’re so pretty. Look at these beautiful stripes. You’re a tiger. (She strokes her face.) Look at these whiskers.


(MIGHTY shakes her head, sneezes.)


ANGELA: Bless you!

(ANTONIA enters abruptly, dressed in her pajamas.)


ANTONIA: Where are my glasses?


(MIGHTY dashes off the bed spilling clothes everywhere and hides.)


ANGELA: (concerned) She’s so skittish.


ANTONIA: It’s because of the dogs.

MELISSA: She won’t leave this room.


ANGELA: That’s so cruel. Poor girl. Wait, so my room is the cat room?


MELISSA and ANTONIA: Yeah.

(MELISSA keeps drawing. ANTONIA is looking for her glasses.)


ANTONIA: Have you seen my glasses? I think I put them down in here when we walked in.

ANGELA: They’re over there.


ANTONIA: Oh. Ok. (She picks up her purse and glasses.) Alright, I’m goin’ to bed. I have to wake up early for work tomorrow.

ANGELA: What time?

ANTONIA: 6:15.


ANGELA: Why?!


ANTONIA: (gasps incredulously) Because I have to be at work at 7:15!


ANGELA: You do?

ANTONIA: School starts at 7:30.


ANGELA: Oh my god.


MELISSA: Capitalist slavery.


ANTONIA: I’m a school principal.


MELISSA: You’re training future slaves to feed the capitalist machine.


ANTONIA: Whatever.


MELISSA: Why do you think they took down the World Trade Center?


ANTONIA: What are you talkin’ about?


MELISSA: They took down the symbol of American capitalism and greed.


ANGELA: You mean they committed a terrorist act against humanity.


MELISSA: Our country is fucking over the rest of the world and everyone here is too stupid to actually do something about it.


ANTONIA: We live in the best country in the world!


MELISSA: (Big laugh) Yeah right. You’re just repeating what you’ve been programmed to think.


ANGELA: If it’s so bad, why do people from every other country want to live here?


MELISSA: They don’t.


ANGELA: We have more immigration than any other country on Earth.


ANTONIA: Give us your poor, your huddled masses…your grandfather came here in 1937 with nothing but the clothes on his back.


MELISSA: Yeah, they needed more slaves. It’s so evil.


ANGELA: Can you leave please?


MELISSA: No. I’m staying here tonight. Aunt Silvia’s paying me to paint her kitchen tomorrow.


ANGELA: I mean can you leave this room?


MELISSA: Why?


ANGELA: I can’t listen to you anymore.

MELISSA: What? You’re suddenly patriotic?

ANGELA: I’m not patriotic!


ANTONIA: Well, I am!


ANGELA: But I don’t think our country is evil. And I think you should be a little more respectful given everything that’s just happened. 3,000 people fucking died!


MELISSA: It’s not that many compared to the millions of casualties directly resulting from our military interference. Do you know how many civilians died in the gulf war? We just bomb people whenever we want.


(beat)

ANTONIA: Well, goodnight.

(ANTONIA exits. MELISSA is still drawing.)


ANGELA: Can you please leave?

MELISSA: I didn’t even know you were gonna be here.


ANGELA: Well I’m here. So get out.

MELISSA: I was going to sleep in this room.

ANGELA: Get out!

MELISSA: God. You’re such a bitch.


(MELISSA collects her things and exits. ANGELA collapses in bed. Lights change. She falls asleep. MIGHTY jumps on top of ANGELA. They perform a sleep dance. ANGELA dances into comfortable sleeping positions in different shapes and formations. MIGHTY jumps, nuzzles, and shakes the bed while grooming. Finally MIGHTY is hovering above ANGELA, straddling her waist and sniffing her face. ANGELA wakes up.)


ANGELA: Get off me.


(She pushes cat away. MIGHTY runs and hides. ANGELA goes back to sleep.)


LIGHTS FADE