Dialogue about croquet in a library is a spoken word piece, set to music by Lili Kung, with language chosen to facilitate acrobatic movement. First performed by Saffi Watson and Sam Wilk in the Cirrus Circus show Acro-biographies in 2017, it is a conversation between a student and a teacher in a library while performing duo handstand acrobatics. Here is a demo recording featuring Saffi and me as the readers.
Dialogue about croquet in a library
by Cliff Watson, 2017
We meet again, you and I
Not opponents, but neighbors in a paged land
Where my chapters lead me down different paths than yours
Curled up with a book I absorb the words and fling myself into the story
Plot twists are satisfying, no matter if the author sometimes overreaches her metaphors
His character is kind of charming, she says something audacious, he responds with venom
Wait – do I like this agonistic protagonist?
There is something to be said for reading the rules of engagement for croquet
One, each point clearly moves the afternoon’s plot forward
Two, should you become confused, you can easily circle back to what came before,
As many times as necessary, and then continue in a logical manner to the subsequent point
Three, portions of the text may be repeated as necessary
For a clear understanding of the nuances of the instructions
Four, when complete, you are ready to lead others in a satisfying game
Without quibbling over misunderstandings of minutiae
I too enjoy a good game of croquet – really, I do!
But I think it would be better if we played inspired by our favorite creatures
What if I hit the first shot as an armadillo?
Would I uncurl and give chase, or, laughing, roll alongside the ball?
Or perhaps I could show how my aim is true
As a seal at the water park
Balancing the ball on my nose’s single point
While I, myself, am balanced in a precarious position
What would most excite me would be to embody a snarling, tail-whipping dragon
With gnashing teeth and a baleful glare
Breathing fire-propelled croquet balls through the gates down the back stretch
I do see your point as well, but I might suggest a few things
One must be careful with colorful language when learning new skills
While one could say one was “spinning like a spider, giddy from a tangy fruit fly snack”
It really would be more accurate to say one was “rotating under one’s angular momentum”
Also, demonstrating one’s physical prowess by being
“Strong as an ox. No, stronger. Strong as a blue ox. Strong as a steam-huffing, throat-rumbling 10-feet tall blue ox named Babe”
Could be confusing for some amongst us
Who might better expect an expression of a pushing force overcoming oppositional resistance.
Is it possible that we could reach greater heights by joining our understandings?
A clear thesis combined with an emotional appeal may encourage more readers
To follow our ideas
Counterbalance, a bridge across time
A wooden-strutted connector from the past to the future
Allowing a family caravan to motor on towards their next camp
With one eye on the adventures of tomorrow
And the other drawn down between each end’s flaming precipice
To the gaping chasm of now
Structural stability, raising our bodies and spirits
Towards the never-ending cosmos
Small people, before buried beneath the moon’s shadow
Now lift themselves skyward seeking the dreams
Of the night’s thousand glittering points of mystery
Interconnected forces, building a basket
A resilient wicker web-work
Holding the succulent pluots and apriums of a farmers’ market
To keep them safe from harm
And their very grit shall keep safe
The bodies now, and the potential, of two persons
Together we can create joyful opportunities for expression
What do you say?
If not today, then maybe tomorrow
I’ll be here