n. — the act of hissing someone off the stage

Kevin Brown

Produce is preferable,

though it does sting and stain

when it strikes, shows you thought

today would be a pleasant

picnic, an enjoyable

afternoon, carries me through. Catcalls

do not distract, shows your focus,

would not expend effort if you did not

care. Enthusiastic booing

is unsurpassed, the sonorous depths

surround me, support me

during slow scenes, where I am

the background. It is true

that my performance has suffered

lately: not listened for my lines, missing cue

after cue; poor blocking led to supporting

actors shattering shins

on props, trying to avoid me; worst,

I have not properly projected,

leaving my audience of one

to wonder what I’m saying,

what my motives might

be. After so many poor plays,

no need to ask for a refund;

I will cut this performance

short, exit stage right,

let the curtain fall

for good.


Kevin Brown is a Professor at Lee University.  He has published two books of poetry–A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of theViolet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press) and Exit Lines (Plain View Press, 2009)–and two chapbooks: Abecedarium (Finishing Line Press, 2011) and Holy Days: Poems (winner of Split Oak Press Chapbook Contest, 2011).  He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again (Wipf and Stock, 2012), and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories:  Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels (Kennesaw State University Press, 2012).  He received his MFA from Murray State University.