Troy Jollimore


Andre Gregory said
that he wanted to put
a human head
in a play. From a corpse,
that is to say,
as a way
of making the audience feel
that this was real:
lives being lived out
and brought to an end
on this very stage,
which all the world’s a,
as we know,
not merely set 
and struck
to present 
a passing show.
To have us
pass it around, 
fresh death in our hands, 
to see if we 
can withstand 
an art that cleaves 
so tightly to 
things as they are,
if one can stand
another skull
so near one’s own,
one on, one off,
one live, one not,
one more performance
of the plot
(if one can withstand
its demands) that’s never 
quite the same
one night to the next
so there is no question 
of owning, but only 
of being present, 
or rather, of having 
been, and the having been 
having been followed 
by a quick exit
pursued by a fill-in-the-
blank, each actor’s 
pursuer uniquely 
his, death by silence,
death by moonlight, 
death by monologue,
what doesn’t kill you
kills another,
what doesn’t kill you
makes you stronger,
what doesn’t kill you 
now kills you 
tomorrow, takes just
that much longer.