The following play Out of the Skillet – preantepenultimate palimpsest, is the second part of Con Forza, variations on music and power in four parts. (Parts I, III, IV).

Gruppo del Laocoonte (CC BY 2.0)

THE MAID, played by a male actor playing a 1930s’ actor playing a
MAN over 40 of blue collar stock playing at being a maid.

THE PAINTER, played by a female actor playing a 1930s’ actress
playing a WOMAN over 40 from old money playing at being a male
house painter.

One late fall afternoon, 1935.

Chicago. A Little Theatre set of a room in a Lake Shore Drive

The final poem is a distilled extrapolation from Alexander 
Scriabin’s notes for his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium which was 
to have been a week-long synaesthetic ritual in the Himalayan 
foothills performed to dissolve the world in bliss.

                      (A largely empty room in a luxury
                      high rise apartment extends into the
                      SL wings. Interior double door ULC.
                      Late afternoon light shines through
                      windows OSL, reaching the SR wall.
                      Canvas drop cloths cover the floor, a
                      black lacquer piano and its bench.
                      The fourth wall, also extending OSL,
                      is a taut gauze.)

               (The uniformed MAID sits at the piano
               watching the PAINTER, in professional whites
               and black tie, pour emulsion from a five
               gallon pail into a smaller can.)

               (indicates fourth wall)
’Case the rowdies get to hurling. Remember?

The late lamented Dil one l Pickle Club, hobohemian hotbed
off of Bughouse Square, Chicago, Illinois.

Squeeze through Tooker Alley. Look for the green light over
an orange door. Mind the garbage. Danger: Step High, Stoop
Low, Leave Your Dignity Outside.

Elevate your mind to a lower level of thinking.
               (plays and sings Joe Hill’s The Tramp1 set to
               George Root’s Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!) 
If you all will shut your trap
I will tell you ’bout a chap
That was broke and up against it, too, for fair
He was not the kind to shirk
He was looking hard for work
But he heard the same old story everywhere

                      MAID & PAINTER
               (play & sing)
Tramp, tramp, tramp, keep on a-tramping
Nothing doing here for you
If I catch you ’round again
You will wear the ball and chain
Keep on tramping, that's the best thing you can do.

               (While the PAINTER huddles up to an
               imagined hobo campfire, the MAID plays the
               chords to Hill’s There Is Power In A Union2
               set to L.E. Jones’ There Is Power In The
               Blood, inspiring and accompanying the

Fellow idlers, in calling to order this convention that
shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working
class from the slave bondage of capitalism, we want to
establish a leisure organization that will open wide its
doors to every man—

And woman.

—that earns his, their living either by their brain or
their muscle. Nature has placed in this earth all that is
necessary to make men and women happy. There is just one
thing we lack: the intelligence to enjoy possession of that
which we have produced.

                      PAINTER & MAID
               (play & sing)
There is pow’r, there is pow’r
In a band of working folk
When they stand hand in hand
That’s a pow’r, that’s a pow’r
That must rule in every land
One Industrial Union Grand.

               (The MAID stretches out fingers one by one
               then clenches them into a fist.)
Happy fightin’ days! And shall we go a-sailing?

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

               (The PAINTER continues prepping while the 
               MAID plays an elegiac It’s A Long Way To 
               Tipperary/Down To The Soupline.)3
                      PAINTER cont’d
“With The One Big Union Or Union With The Big One?” That
was the debatable motion, wasn’t it?

How half the Picklers howled!

Smacked you with an egg, was it?

A palpable hit.

You coped famously, as I recall, what with all that colored
light-show malarkey.

The Chromola. And those scribbly trill-ill-ills.
“Refrain from clodhopping Starvation Army burdens no matter
how ingeniously subverted—


—and perforate your auditory organs with the veritably de

“Pick your adversaries well, for willy-nilly, bellicose
necessity will transpose you into them.”

“Beware the brazen bourgeois, biggest born of earth; to
outwit it trip nimbly.”

Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jump over the

Jack be nimble. Jack be spry.

                      MAID & PAINTER
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

The Cosmic Fessor. Gone. All gone.
               (As THE MAID plays Nearer My God/Job4 To 
               Thee THE PAINTER climbs a stepladder.)

                      PAINTER cont’d
But let’s not to mourn those taken from us, eh, whether by
consumption, wreck, blanket, bullet or booze; in lieu let
us too maximize our re-returns on every flaming foot of
blood-bought soil, b-babbling ever skyward, to be
obliterating, look you, great grandfather sun whose
darkling howls we—
               (a shadow plunges down the SR wall)
What was that?

Twin mattress?
               (THE PAINTER exits SL to the windows. Pause.
               Returns and resumes painting.)

Poor bastard.

A poor fella, bugged by fleas, picks one of ’em off, looks
at it and puts it back. His pal watchin’ says, “Why the 
hell didn’t ya kill it?” And the fella says, “That wasn’t 
the one that was bitin’ me.”

You’re a hard one.

I have my reasons.
               (plays and sings Hill’s The White Slave5 to
               L. Friedman’s Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland.) 
Come with me now, my girly,
Don't sleep out in the cold
Your face and tresses curly
Will bring you fame and gold
Automobiles to ride in, diamonds and silks to wear
You'll be a star bright, down in the red light
You'll make your fortune there.

               (drops role)
Oh, do dry up!

Aw shucks, toots, I was just hitting my stride.


               (resumes role)
And will the proprietors be at home this season?

What do I care? Long as the bacon keeps a-coming.

They keep us warm and dry and fed. Alive.

Boho lapdogs mooching on a slumming old deb and her blue-
collar sponger. I feels like a kept woman. I hate my life.
Take me to the Himalyas.




Ok. Take me there.

               (THE PAINTER paints mountain peaks on the
               fourth wall while THE MAID plays the first
               of Scriabin’s Deux Poèmes Op. 71.)6
                      MAID/MAN cont’d
Show me where the temple goes.

               (THE PAINTER completes the scene.)

                      MAID/MAN cont’d
Now the celebrants gather.

               (While THE MAID plays the second of the Deux
               Poèmes7 THE PAINTER dances.)

               (Finished, THE MAID closes the lid, stands,
               and bows to kiss the piano. THE PAINTER
               stands in front of the double door.)

Once more Infinity
Plummets from light
Casting its image
In dark stone

               (THE MAID takes a candle from inside the 
               bench, lights it, and lies curled up, thumb 
               in mouth. Meanwhile, THE PAINTER exits to 
               the back room from where we hear a 
               phonograph being cranked and the crackle of 
               a 78 rpm recording of Scriabin’s8 Vers La 
               Flamme. This will continue to its and the 
               play’s end. THE PAINTER returns, swinging a 
               smoking censer.)

                      MAID & PAINTER/MAN & WOMAN
Stifling, womb-chafed,
Towards Death’s white sun
We rush to drown
In fiery ecstasy

               (THE PAINTER/WOMAN exits SL. In concert the
               room disappears as the fourth wall gauze
               flickers images of fire and flame, The
               Russian Revolution, US labor strikes, WW1
               trench warfare, swimming sperm, a suckling
               infant, Scriabin’s mother, star formation
               nebulae, etc., on toward the heart of the
               sun. The projections fade along with the
               locked groove at the recording’s end.)

1.	The Tramp - listen on YouTube.
2.	There is Power in a Union - listen on YouTube.
3.	Down to the Soup Line - listen on YouTube.
4.	Nearer My Job to Thee - listen on YouTube.
5.	The White Slave - listen on YouTube.
6.	Scriabin, Poème Op.71 No.1 - listen on YouTube.
7.	Scriabin, Poème Op. 71 No.2 - listen on YouTube.
8.	Scriabin, Verse la flamme - listen on YouTube.