A quarter hour break from Hello Dolly practice leads
to the tunnel under the highway.
A dingy, dark and secluded garrison.
It’s almost dress rehearsal and costumes adorn the leads.
The sight of Dolly flirting with Cornelius
while Horace lights Minnie Fay’s cigarette might
be too much for the blue-haired women who live
across the street. The sanctuary for uncool high
schoolers, made slightly more popular due
to leading roles. Horace’s dreadlocks don’t look quite
as cool as he wants them to and Dolly knows
she looks awkward smoking, but
they do it anyways.
James Dean would feel at home.
Irene would light his cigarette.
If James didn’t have one, hands would come out offering
Marlboro 100’s, Camel Turkish Gold, Luckies.
Irene has stopped bothering to offer her Menthols.
Our Rebel Without a Cause star is the only one
who really looks the part. Funny;
the angst ridden high school kids look unrelated, fake and strange
beside the black and white image of a martyred movie star.
A cigarette dangling from his lip,
a drop of spit is the only thing holding the dry
rod from gravity’s tender pull.
Dolly stubs out her cigarette on the wall.
She writes a short word with the ash.
Why she wrote ‘we’ she doesn’t know.
Horace, Irene, Minnie Fay and Cornelius add
more letters with their finishes cigarettes.
Dolly pushes up her ruffled sleeves,
looks at her Timex watch,
“It’s time to head back in.”
They follow and Dean stays behind.
He reads the note with petulance.
He gets in his fast car and drives away.