(an Ode I wrote to my cast members of Twelve Angry Men)
Oh, rare and radiant men,
With whom I shared a cage;
Tis time to bid farewell,
To this classic of the American Stage.
Quiet, precise, and timely like the Swiss
Brandon was pensive and special.
His gymnastic notation as we improvised blocking;
Any wonder he writes in pencil?
The fire in our hearts,
The master of our cups,
My god, did this woman take a break?
And if it wasn’t ENOUGH,
to know our notebooks by heart,
Everyday, we arrived to a cake.
(Taylor and Niew)
What a thing to do with a book in your hand,
To follow along with your eyes.
I can’t thank you enough for your PAGES of notes:
Though FOUR pages was quite a surprise.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker Jacks,
This Juror had holes in his pockets.
Every NIGHT I ASKED if he’d take me to the game,
He replied (cue eye-roll) “I promise.”
The first white-guy to switch,
An accumulation of facts,
Left this Juror to claim “Not guilty.”
But when push came to shove,
And the WORD he did flub,
It came out sounding MORE like “N-n-n-n-n-yaaa—-UUUUUUPITY.”
Medical clinics, and urgent care,
Make THIS juror’s life diverse.
Though always unsure whether they “lock the door,”
You wonder who made him a nurse?
He’s cool calm and dangerous,
He looks like a star,
WATCHING him STAB gave me fright;
He called my shit “Did you think of it?”
Honestly though? (He was right.)
“It was obvious to me,”
Says the man with the glasses;
Who rides the Dow Jones making hundreds and thousands.
In the opening sequence he offered me a section,
And most nights I said “I don’t READ.”
But PUT on the spot, this man is a beggar,
He’d BLOW every bridge game and night at the opera,
For a date with Miss Bainbridge—GUARANTEED.
Generous, passionate, and years beyond wise,
Eight would seem quite unstoppable.
Hypnotizing looks with his day-dream eyes,
Who COULDN’T agree when “Isn’t it possible?”
But DON’T take him easy,
He’s BORN to oppose—
He’ll chop off your face with an,
“El-line going past your nose.”
PULLING the play THIS way and that,
With the ferocity of a blind TRUCKER.
Well, the play we say, but leave it to him,
And he’d call it “Twelve GUYS, Motherfucka.”
Fighting, ridicule, and going off topic;
Conversations SLIDING down the rake.
Eric, the Hissom, with patience and logic,
Kept his foot (when needed) on the brake.
An elected position, the Foreman is tough,
And yes, there’s Slattery and the touch down;
Though at times he’s unsure, and votes premature,
You’d be wise not to tell him “Calm down.”
Silent but deadly, our bailiff is Paz,
Who CUT through our fights with a stare.
With ALL the exhibits she brought in a hurry,
Not to MENtion the yelling and a flying CHAIR:
We were MORE like a DAY-care, than a jury.
The audience would thunder and RISE from their seats,
Upon hearing “We HAVE reached a verdict.”
The MOST asked question besides “Were you DRINKING real coffee?”
Was “Did Two’s ’leg-bounce’ make you nervous?”
A man who’s confidence is in NEED of a boost,
And SEEMS to think only of eating.
A CARING father, loving ONLY his son,
With a DISEASE that can be CURED by sleeping.
(I googled it) Treatment of Mumps: 1. Rest. 2. Ibuprofen. 3. Liquid.
Your honest portrayal (of the hit song) The Cats in the Cradle,
Was brutal, honest, and moving.
Though I have to SAY, unless on an OPERATING table,
You’re NOT the BABYsitter I’m choosing.
You flashed, you screamed, you danced, and you won!
You GAVE most people a hush;
And when RAGE, no longer, COLORED the BRUSH,
We saw a MAN wanting TIME with his son.
The ONLY man, who didn’t MAKE me feel—as THOUGH I’d overdressed,
Yet, punchy (a term to describe a painter) to this day, EVADES me—I confess.
Your soulful, courageous, and quick to grab whitey,
For picking on a dear old man….
And DON’T think (EVERY NIGHT) I prayed God almighty,
For KEEPING you, from kicking my ass.
There’s a man on the Jury who might have been a pilot,
His eyes, like an eagle, scanned all.
And into our soul’s did he enter all quiet,
Till, harmlessly, Chris rubbed his nose.
For old—he stood up,
He young—he stood up,
You could read in him strength and compassion.
But when you HEAR,
“I’ve been going over her FACE in my MIND,”
You know it’s YEARS, since he’s seen, any action.
The man who changed most in this play,
Is bold, beautiful, a PLUM.
He SAT to the left of me,
An accent unmistakably,
Affected by HEAPS of Vibranium.
CHANGE you say?
His ARC you mean?
And to THAT I say, Why SURE…
When “Anyone live near an el line” was asked,
on OPENING I heard,
“My COUSIN lives near that.”
In the MIDDLE I heard,
“I’m inheriting a HOME near that.”
And YESTERDAY it was,
“I own several APARTMENTS near that.”
His ARC was he WON the lottery.
The only MAN at a FUNERAL,
This JUROR dressed in black.
His only STABS at humor,
Came from the licking-TONGUES of cats.
Some say he’s NERVOUS, SHY, and wishy-WASHY
But one thing he’s NOT is DAFT:
When WE flub a line,
He’S PROFESSIONAL ENOUGH,
To turn upstage, and laugh.
And FINALLY it is—and with GREAT relief,
I LAY Juror 10 to rest.
A man who’s generosity is only matched,
By the hairs he flaunts on his chest.
Yelling, arguing, sucking on sticks
Threatening the weak, waving his fists;
And RIGHT before the lights go down,
And “We have a verdict,”
He SEES into the FUTURE:
HANDS like flowers raising up,
COLORS like people raising cups,
THIS lesson he learned by committee…
Cause ASK if he’ll miss the men in this room,
And WITH his hand RAISED,