All the World’s a Set

“All the World’s a Set”


Someone, please give me a line!

I don’t know what to do with my hands or feet.

I don’t know who to talk to.

I want to be a real boy, find

that I want something—but something’s in my way.

I want to have something, anything to say.


But the truth is, I know my place.

I’m an extra. Nobody knows my face,

least of all myself.

It’s not like being a Nobody—

then, you can find other Nobodies, too.

Nobodies become Somebodies

in the fact of their pathetic, universal mew.


It’s like I see your body

in the mirror where mine should be.

I have to report to costume and go on outside.

But it feels like a lie, feels like it would be

more honest to stay off-camera and hide,

although that’s not what extras are for.


We’re just here to make the scene look a bit more

like no one is watching, so somebody will.

So much presence to carry a story over the sill

of Somebody’s mind.


But look. Today, I am beautiful again.

What was fat now looks thin.

The body has tricks to hide the self from predators:

kaleidoscope skin, bluetail dissections.

The brain has tricks to hide the praying self from the self of prey:

the chameleon body, a stranger in the mirror every day.


Hush, you don’t need a line.

She might startle. Easy.

She won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt her.

Be kind, move slowly, forget who you think you were.

Beyond the judgment of accusing eyes, flexions.

Behind the hideous torso, shoulder blades like little wings.

The slow sound of a small whir.

Her limbs moving like living things.