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The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2021

All Issues
JUNE 2021 Issue
Theater

I Forgot to Tell You

a play poem something by Sarah Einspanier




1.
I read a play – earlier – today. One of the characters said something to another character about how we know each other through information, through details – I’m paraphrasing. I don’t want to get up and go get it


It made me think of you – of our game – and all the things I forgot to tell you


It also made me think of this “play,” and how I’ve forgotten to write it


“oops”


Or rather, how I’ve written it, a few times, and then at some point, usually around seven hundred words in, forget what I’m trying to “ask” slash “say”


(…)


Best Friend One – that’s a fake name by the way – once said that someone once said that all plays should have thesis statements. Which: bugged me


I Write Plays Because I Don’t Know How To Write Thesis Statements !?


That said, the thesis statements of my abandoned “attempts” at “something” basically being: I miss you
And/Or: I’m lonely
And And/Or Or (or maybe just: Also):
Fuck. You


(…)


I should dig deeper


“Person 2”
Hey


“Person 1”
   I was just talking about you


“Person 2”
Will you sit with me while I do Connie and not let me go to bed until I write three pages?


“Person 1”
   Okay


--It’s fine. They’re not listening





2.
There are four other “persons” here. At slash on this residency slash retreat – We’re on a residency slash retreat. Just a few days in. The social dynamics remind me of The Bachelor. A lot of “one on ones,” a lot of “group dates.” We’re all “getting to know each other”


“Person 2”
--Capricorn?


“Person 1”
No


“Person 2”
--Cancer?


“Person 1”
Ha


“Person 2”
--Sagittarius?


“Person 1”
No. But ; ) Flattered ; )


--Write


“Person 2”
   …


“Person 1”

I have lunch alone with So and So – that’s a fake name by the way – I’m awed by his intelligence, his articulateness, his “story.” Then So and So repeats same said story, same said spiel, ?!verbatim!?, At Dinner


(!?!?!?)


I wonder:


Have I been duped?


By Some “Personal Slash Artistic” “Statement Slash Script”!?


Orrrr:


Are we all just wandering around saying the same shit to different people? On the perpetual “prowl,” so to say, for someone to narrate our lives to


“Person 2”
I think you should climb the ladder


“Person 1”
   You’re supposed to be writing


“Person 2”


“Person 1”
I climb the ladder





3.


– Every day –
Change:


“Person 2”
“Perspective”/


“Person 1”
   Keep writing


About The Ladder:


“Person 2”


“Person 1”
--There’s a ladder in my studio


The last resident, “November” – that’s how they signed the note they left me – said it leads both “literally” and “figuratively” to “nowhere”


I have these dreams about …apartments… where I stumble upon slash discover New Rooms, New Closets, New Bathrooms, Most often, Most Notably: New Floors
Namely: Sun-drenched Attics


The first few times I have this dream it is V Exciting


“?! I DISCOVERED SOMETHING ?!”


However, a few more times, a few years in, this dream, this discovery begins to feel like a trap


“How did I not know this existed?”


And:


“Why haven’t I been living here?”


--There’s a window at the top of the ladder – to the right –
I’m speaking literally
The window looks unto An Attic. Sun-drenched


When I spy the attic, from the ladder, for the first time, I exclaim – internally:


“I’ve been here”


This is The Moment. This is


!!! ThE MeTaPhOr !!!


I climb the ladder. Reach the top, Position my body, Position myself to open The Window


…dramatic pause…


As dreams and “reality” would have it, it won’t: Mother Fucking Open


This – I gather – is what “November” means by leading both “literally” and “figuratively” to “nowhere”


(…)


I stare down at my detritus
A purple wig, some Post-It notes, a bottle of whisky, a tome or two on …Capitalism… – the evidence of my …existence…
You. Occasionally


--Are you sleeping?


“Person 2”
No


“Person 1”
– I descend –


I wake you


“Person 2”
--shit


“Person 1”
   How many pages have you written?


“Person 2”


“Person 1”




4.

We stay up – every night. Until four? five?/


“Person 2”
six/


“Person 1”
a.m.


The others have “Partners.” The others “Sleep” – whatever that is


We, on the other hand, wait for the sun to rise or whatever, whilst exchanging:


* Information *


On the phone, Best Friend Two – another fake name by the way – asks what you and I talk about for all these hours


What do any of us talk about ever?


Other than, or maybe I mean before: Meyers Briggs, Love Languages, Instagram, Astrology/


“Person 2”
You’re forgetting one


“Person 1”
Artistic Statements ?


“Person 2”
: )


“Person 1”
You’re a:


“Person 2”
Performance artist poet slut editor @ Insert Queer Publishing Press slash Performance Collective/


“Person 1”
– that’s a/


“Person 2”
fake name in a real bio by the way – purple devil emoji, purple crystal ball emoji, purple nail polish emoji, all the purple emojis, they / it / non glitter in the void yr wet nitemare


“Person 1”

            *hawt*


“Person 2”
Your turn ; )


“Person 1”
I’m:


“Person 2”


“Person 1”
In a non-monogamous relationship with myself


“Person 2”
I can work with that


“Person 1”
You do


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
You offer to tie you up     I offer to tie you up


I accept           You accept


You tell me what you’re into. Before we even get in-to “It”


“Person 2”
Anal, Biting, Blood, Bondage, Branding, Choking, DP, Edging, Electricity/


“Person 1”
You’re like a dictionary
You name your likes in alphabetical /order


“Person 2”
Fire, Fisting, Flagging, Flogging, I’m really into: Impact, Leaving Marks, Name Calling, Needles, Scratching, Slapping, Sensory Deprivation, Spanking, Torture (the nipples, and in general), Toys, Watching, Wax


“Person 1”


“Person 2”
--You?


“Person 1”


I’m into:


Dissonance ?


And:


Odd Intimacy ?


“Person 2”


“Person 1”
You wait


– for me to say more –


I want to say:


you


Instead I say:


my right ear is really sensitive


(…)


which is true


“Person 2”
--Do you want me to ?


“Person 1”


oh


“Person 2”
How’s that--?


“Person 1”



--Is it okay if I laugh?


“Person 2”
that depends


“Person 1”
??


“Person 2”
Do you like…


“Person 1”
??


“Person 2”
Laughing


“Person 1”
   ...


   I do


(



























                  )


“Person 1”
We:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
Laugh            Fuck


“Person 1”
We use:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
Protection          Produce


That too          --We do?


“Person 1”
Meanwhile,


You start to call your poems plays/


“Person 2”
It’s weird that I keep doing that/


“Person 1”
I start to “get” poetry


I cut two shirts down middle. You sew them together. We literalize the figurative. We


Twin


We take turns reading random passages from our “Plays”/“Poems”/“Reflections” aloud to each other. We begin each line with:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”


I forgot to tell you


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
--Your turn         --Now you



“Person 1”         “Person 2”


I forgot to tell you


“Person 1”


…dramatic pause two…


A knock on the door





5.


It’s--


“Person 1”         “Person 2”

Whisky           Whisky


“Person 2”
for you


And:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
Coke            “Connie”
(same thing)         (same thing)
oops            – for me –


“Person 1”
– everyone’s asleep –


“Person 2”
shhhhhhhhhh


“Person 1”         “Person 2”


   We Climb:     The Ladder   !
   We Open:      The Window   !!
   We Break Into:     The Attic     !!!


(

















                     )


“Person 1”

The next morning:


!Fuck!


– my head –


--Was that a dream?


“Person 2”
no


“Person 1”
   --How did you open it?


I’m referring to:


   – the window –


You reply:


“Person 2”
I’m an Aries on T


“Person 1”
Which means:


…it’s possible…


I climb: The Ladder. Brace myself, My body, Prepare to lift


ASLKDJFLSKDLKDJF !


One more time:


ASLKDJFLSKDLKDJF !34902$#(*)@#(*$


(…)


It won’t budge. It’s as if:
It Never Happened ?


I try to remember the feeling


I play our game – by myself. Grab an old notebook, Flip to a random page, Close my eyes, Glide my hand across it, Stop, Open my eyes, Read the line beneath my index finger



What is the dark hole you need to reach into?

What is the bright light you need to face?


(…)


I close the notebook


It’s a stupid fucking game





6.

Back “Home,” Back at my “life,” My “apartment.” You back at yours – on the other side of the country


I: Re-acclimate Re-orient Re-adjust
In other words, I: Wash my sheets. Rotate my mattress – something I imagine Virgos do every three to six months in order to improve “performance” and “lifespan,” or rather to prevent leaving an “impression.” Which – according to The Internet – is bad for “alignment”


I lay slash lie – I’m too lazy to google it – on my freshly washed sheets, on my recently rotated (for the first time in years) mattress


I’m not a Virgo, so I stare at the indention next to me:


my twin





7.

Back at “Work.” Zee Zee, also known as Best Friend Three – fake names, plural, you got it – brushes my hair. She likes the strand you bleached. She brushes carefully, really concentrating, one stroke after another, until she declares me “ready” – for Chapstick. Which she then applies ever so attentively to my lips, not so dissimilarly from how you applied lavender lipstick to mine


She looks at me ?deeply? I think:


? She Sees Me ?


Then she looks away. Like I was never even there
--She’s two and a half though, so this probably says more about me and my perceptions than it does about her manner of looking





8.


In case it’s not clear, we haven’t talked in two, three/


“Person 2”
four/


“Person 1”
weeks. Or maybe I mean/


“Person 2”
months


“Person 1”
Which: Might explain the form this is taking
Or maybe that’s giving ?me? comma ?you? too much credit. Maybe it’s just that: Talking about – or to – “You” is easier than talking about – or dealing with – “Me”


For someone supposedly wary of Relationships, I seem to be continually drawn towards finding a certain someone to exist In Relation To


On our last night you tell me you ate your twin – Literally – in the womb. I wonder: What parts of each other will we digest, regurgitate


“Person 2”
consume


“Person 1”
Am I:
Searching for the literal me in the figurative you





9.


In your absence, I “narrate mysel(f/ves)” to ?Best Friend Four? – I’m still deciding on her name
--We’re on a mini residency slash retreat


She tells me she has the same dream about apartments. That she feels the same, actually I think she says similarly about its “recurrence.” (I later learn: We share the same moon)


When I look into her eyes, they’re heart-shaped. Because we’re falling in love – Figuratively


“oops”


– I should clarify –


By “falling in love” I mean Friend Crush and by “friend crush” I mean words and whisky until four, five


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
six/             six/


“Person 1”
a.m. – a recurring Theme, This time without


“Person 2”
“produce”


“Person 1”
Also, she’s wearing sunglasses. Heart-shaped, Heart-framed


“Person 2”
– Literally –


“Person 1”
I realize:
My ?loneliness? predates (me, and) you





10.


I pour myself a glass of whisky – a few drinks slash weeks later. Text you – we’ve resumed “Texting” (Turns out, I’ve missed the literal you)
It’s late but – or maybe So: You call


“Person 1”         “Person 2”

“FaceTime” ?         FaceTime !


“Person 1”
me


“Person 2”
Hey


“Person 1”
   Hey


We exchange:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
       * Information *


“Person 2”
--What? You froze


“Person 1”
I said:


--How’s the writing?


You laugh and say:


“Person 2”
It’s going. Mostly “Dialogue”
--You?


“Person 1”
I reply:


I’m working on a thing about me through the lens of you


(…)


“Person 2”
Oooouuuu ; )


“Person 1”
You ask me to:


“Person 2”
Read it ?!


“Person 1”
– “Aloud” –


(I’m still working on “The Ending”)


I can’t figure out my thesis statement


“Person 2”
Your…???


“Person 1”
   “Thesis Statement”


   “Person 2”
(But I’m “a poet” by trade slash “training,” so I’m less fixated on comma Fascinated by the illusion, or rather Delusion, of “Concrete slash Commodified” “Knowledge slash Meaning”)


“Person 1”
   …


“Person 2”
I’m listening


“Person 1”


I’m sorry I said fuck you






The Next Mo(u)rning,


I remove the Post-Its, Used for plotting this “play” slash “poem,” From my wall
As I: Resign myself, Attempt to: Align myself to
………endlessly beginning………
(I’m interrupted)


The buzzer buzzes. The doorbell dings


Is it:           !FATE!
Or:            ?USPS?
calling…


Downstairs, there’s:    *A package*
waiting...


“Person 2”
I sent you a book


“Person 1”
Of ?


“Person 2”
Poetry


“Person 1”
With:


“Person 1”         “Person 2”
A Post-It Saying,       A Post-It Saying,


“Person 1”
It’s--


“Person 2”
By a Taurus


“Person 1”
(“Earth Sign”)


“Person 2”
Who:


“Person 1”
In an interview, says that she also, or maybe ?often?, feels like





“Person 1”         “Person 2”



“ A floating apparition ”







“Person 1”







I open the book of poetry







I read


Contributors

Sarah Einspanier

Sarah Einspanier has been on several residencies slash retreats. Sarah’s play Lunch Bunch will happen again some slash one day with The Play Company and Clubbed Thumb.

Jana La Brasca

Jana La Brasca is a left-handed art historian based in Texas with a special interest in miniatures.

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The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2021

All Issues