III. My Lookalike Saracen Under the Stars After a steady month ofmeticulous carving, assembling, Sewing on a black and gold-trimmed velvet cape, And crowning my hard-knock lookalike With a shiny, sickle-moon helmet, Marco declares my bearded twin warrior Is prime to hit the illustrious puppet stage, Magically erected in a lovely But mostly roofless building: In your honor, we’ll let you be The parlatore—the voice Ofthe wily Saracen Just for a few performances. It’s good you’re an actor as well, Because, amore, you better soundmean! So into the chivalrous world of Charlemagne, I plunge—the bustling planet of the Sicilian pupi, Brimming with 9 th century Parisians, Invading Tartars, and Saracens, With beloved stock characters: The staunch, always do-right paladin Orlando, The dazzling, clash-inducing beauty Angelica, The ever-scheming witch, Morgana . . . . Look!Here I am relentless, dastardly, Never giving in to the Christians; Here I am dramatic, wheedling, A horse’s ass . . . As I sally into battle under the dog day stars, I laugh and say, Marco, When things get seriously mean: Just remember, puppet master, deep down, Like any steadfast poet worth his salt, I’m a troubadour, yes indeed, A verse-spouting lover, head to toe, Never a harsh foe or a fighter! Page 32 - Nine Mile Magazine

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