Arts

Here you'll find some of the plays I've written and performance art pieces I've helped to create.

A short play that asks the question: what if a talk show host followed you around everywhere asking you about your life?

Lunch Date

A short play that asks whether violence is ever justified.

Bleeding Albina

A short play that examines the human cost of urban progress.

Kaleidoscope

A reading of my full-length play Kaleidoscope for Portland's Fertile Ground Festival.  The play asks the question: just how liberal is liberal society, really?

Dionysus Addresses the Ghosts of Humanity

A performance art piece about the end of the world.  It's post-apocalyptic, sure, but it's kinda funny.

Red Flag

A performance art piece about the post-American collective identity crisis.  It's also funny.

Scripts & Scribbles

Various things I've written.

 

THE END

(Previously published in The Dionysian, March 2017)

A scrappy urban alleyway. Concrete walls, bits of rubble, trash strewn. One scraggly bush. Two men enter. Man 1 wears a permanent scowl. Man 2 is relaxed & cheerful. They stop and look about. Man 1 sees a large wooden spool on its side. He turns it over to resemble a table. He takes off a backpack and pulls from it a red cloth. He drapes the cloth over the table and pulls a couple chunks of rubble up to the table to serve as chairs. Meanwhile, Man 2 has gone to the scraggly bush and clipped a couple of sprigs from it. He searches the ground and locates a couple of weedy flowers, which he picks. He reaches into the backpack and pulls out a vase, in which he arranges the bouquet and then places it upon the table. The two men sit. Man 1 pulls out a bottle of something and two glasses. He uncorks the bottle and pours. Pause for a moment while they rest and sip from their glasses.

MAN 1

We had a chance, you know.

MAN 2 

We did?

MAN 1

Of course we did! We just never took it.

MAN 2

That’s funny. I always kind of thought we were fucked and we liked it that way.

MAN 1

Humanity is a child who must learn about hot stoves. About touching hot stoves.

MAN 2

Hm.

MAN 1

Which we do. Repeatedly. Touch the stove. Ouch, that’s hot. We touch it again. Ouch, that’s hot. Well now the stove is very fucking hot and we have our tongue pressed against it.

MAN 2

I think you’ve got the wrong frame of reference entirely. The fact is, we’re organic matter that has taken the unlikely step of rising up into a form capable of self- reflection. I’m not sure that’s for the best. Think of Whitman, his views on animals, et cetera. We’re better off being composted to feed the soil.

MAN 1

What we didn’t learn is that the stove is us. We’ve been touching ourselves – not in a good way – the heat being the heat of our own goddamned endless curiosity and drive. The cure is the poison. Is the cure. And so forth. Forever.

MAN 2

Hm.

MAN 1

It’s maddening.

MAN 2

It’s delightful. What grand spectacle. The hero wants something – what is it? Oh yes! To reach the greatest heights. But he cannot, because he’s fucked. What will he do? He’ll build his ladder bigger and bigger, until –

Man 2 gestures with his hand to indicate falling.

MAN 1

Our only hope now is aliens.

MAN 2

Our only hope now is a good cup of coffee and a handjob. Preferably from someone with soft hands.

MAN 1

Or to preserve our DNA in some kind of soluble form that could be reconstituted when... conditions are right.

MAN 2

The coffee should be a medium roast and perfectly steeped. Just a dab of cream. The handjob –

MAN 1

There is no handjob.

MAN 2

The handjob executed with such precision and tenderness as to come from oneself, but from another.

MAN 1

There is no handjob.

MAN 2

And the two combined, the coffee and the handjob, sufficient to send one to depths of feeling and ecstasy previously not even imagined.

MAN 1

There’s always mass suicide. A ritual exit. To avoid the inevitable descent into depravity.

MAN 2

I miss coffee.

MAN 1

Only, most would object. On religious grounds. Or through some misplaced desire for self-preservation.

MAN 2

Yes.

MAN 1

Necessitating a mass slaughter by anyone who gives a shit. Finally use all those dusty old A-bombs.

MAN 2

Nobody wants all that radiation. Think of the flowers.

MAN 1

There’s leaving, but we’ve tried that.

MAN 2

Gardens take time. It would be a shame to completely foul this one upon our departure.

MAN 1

They’ll keep trying, of course. Whoever can bang together a spaceship to go rattle around the galaxy. Until they run out of food and come back.

MAN 2

I think you’re missing the point. We’re all within the gravitational field of something much bigger than us. Both literally and metaphorically, of course.

MAN 1

We may be the only intelligent life.

MAN 2

We’re being drawn in to a conclusion of the species that began the moment we put our eyes in front of our skulls and started grasping at things with our little hands.

MAN 1

In the galaxy, that is. The only intelligent life in the galaxy.

MAN 2

The moment we stole fire from some lightning-struck tree and scratched our first wee wildebeest on that cave wall.

MAN 1

Possibly the universe.

MAN 2

And now, it’s time for us to take our final little monkey-bow and get off the stage so some other creature can take its shot.

MAN 1

What? What other creature is this? Dolphins? Can you seriously imagine dolphins writing books, building cities?

MAN 2

We’ll never know if we don’t get out of the way and let them try. Anyway, we don’t have much of a choice.

MAN 1

We do! We do! We do! Or we did, anyway. Shit.

MAN 2

Even a cup of decaf. And a flirty glance. Maybe a wink.

MAN 1

A wink won’t save us now. We’re fucked.

MAN 2

And we like it that way!

Pause while Man 1 considers this.

MAN 1

Well then, to being fucked.

MAN 2

I'll drink to that.

They toast and drink.

MAN 1

We’d better go. We have a long way yet.

MAN 2

Always a long way with us.

They gather their things into the backpack. Man 2 scatters the flowers from the vase. They exit. Fade lights. End.

Distant Light
Previously published as Jeremy Glenn in The Heart as Origami: Contemporary Buddhist Poets
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