Kent Shaw The Definition of Curtail

The mirrors were inside the theater. Pointing at mirrors. They put in a sky.

And they painted the sky using a Marc Chagall that was the same color as Marc


but more sky-like. It was Light! Which is a part of the theater community.

As are prepositions. And applause.

And the people attached to applause.

Imagine if Marc Chagall had painted a sky inside a theater.

And the theater was beautiful.

Would it be possible for me to have the name of the theater painted inside me?

Like I was a European. Or I had European inside of me.

Or I was spelling out all my possible shades of voice and demeanor.

I was projecting myself.

As in, that impression of myself that involves carving out whole parts of myself.

“That’s where the sky is” is all that I’m saying. It’s inside the theater

that is inside me opening out to the other people, glamorous people, expensive

people, anonymous people, too.

Mainly anonymous people. Maybe Marc Chagall.

Like if a mirror were pointed at other mirrors and what we were really trying to do

is see what our emotions looked like from every possible angle,

and at first it might seem like it’s tragic or disastrous, because our emotions are such

serious business,

but the emotions we think are possible must be more possible

when there are so many ways of looking at them. I am a theater. I am mirrors

on so many parts of my insides. And the audience loves me.

They love me so much, because they can see themselves while they’re doing it.


I am a jealous man. I was grown a jealous man.

As in the seeds were planted early.

If psychology was a soil that grew continually darker and richer and evenly polluted as

time goes on,

if psychologies grew into one anther like the knotted capital letters that begin an

illuminated manuscript,

or the brasswork at the top of a capitol dome, or the murals on the under part,

where airs are circulating into each other,

and the airs are psychology for each other, holding each other when they need to be


for inside any psychology another psychology should be fit,

so psychology could be used to psychology the psychologies making psychology so


then everyone will feel at last a deeper side is really even deeper than they had first


The top soil is so rich in this country,

but that’s only the beginning of a very long agricultural history.


There is a system of strings I have attached to my insides.

On nights when there is a performance, I organize them into a canopy coming out of

my chest.

With all the other strings attached to those strings.

How would you feel if you heard a map was leading an audience into your insides

with diagrams describing consequences, and string sequences,

and tangents in all directions at the ends of strings that couldn’t possibly be the same

strings anymore

if they have that many places they’re going to.

Aren’t all strings engineered to come to an end?

I am someone who needs to feel like he’s been connected to whatever is “backstage.”

Maybe there’s an elaborate grid back there that the strings are tied on to.

And that’s how I’ll find my way home, where it’s just me and my wife.

We’ve been dealing with strings tangled beneath the sink.

And strings hanging above our mattress connecting me to the home that we’re living


Can I bring the audience to this performance space? Have they been here all along?

Try waking up in here. All you can see is the middle of the night.

Try keeping track of everything living in this house.

It may be the strings aren’t me connecting me to me as much as they are me pulling

me closer

like a jealous lover. Jealousy is so smothering.

I am inside me. I am a ball of string. I am bundled with string.

I am one of those map-diagrams that keeps expanding so fast it might even surpass

the three-dimensional capacity of the warehouse they’re housing diagrams in,

so they’re building a warehouse to house that one.

I assure you, there will be a Singularity, I will be there, with strings strung to even

stronger strings and more capable strings,

and they’ll be waving themselves at my face.


Most days you can find me at home filling out forms online.

They are so kind to me at the end. Thanking me with exclamation points!

How many new strings can I tie around my wrists?

And if the strings are phrased in the form of a question,

should it give me the feeling my life is rich with possibility?

I could be tied in a chair and held under house arrest.

I could be suspended above my life waiting for it to pass me by.

There is an audience inside me waiting to come out. I have locked them inside.

Please, audience, what’s going to happen next?

Is it a comedy? A dark comedy? A tether that just keeps holding me right here the

whole time?

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