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Four players: can be of any age, gender, or accent.

Props: one pencil, one hand-held yellow plastic sharpener/tumbler, something in standing for a “fax machine”, blank sheets of “fax” paper.

Positions: P1, P2, & P3 bent down on the ground on hands and knees (and stomach) always, unless otherwise staged; P1 inspecting the floor very carefully, focusing on the minute things; P2 smushing small things on the ground (later picks at them with pencil); P3 wiping the ground obsessively, like clearing a mirror); they never turning to each other, concentrated, looking down as at an ant farm.

Text in these {brackets} are only for stage instructions, or for translation purposes {not pronounced}



{P1} The sun the sun…{P2 & P3 straining to see it}

{P2} And these puercos {snorts like a pig}{sneering} sin destino.

{P1} “Se busca”?

{P2} “Wanted”—“is sought”—“we seek”

{P1} Ah.

{P3 takes out a sharp pencil; gestures every word (clearly visible to the audience)}

Se busca—
lápiz          {“pencil”}
filoso         {“sharp”}
ambriento  {“starving”}

{P3 matter-of-factly, to no one in particular}

Se busca (por lo mínimo) un Brasileiro mas Mexicano que un Argentino Gringo.

{P2} And these puercos sin destino…qué?

{P1} The moon the moon…{P2 & P3 straining to see it}

{P1, P2, & P3 continue inspecting the floor; P4 comes in from the side, stands near them; P4 is not acknowledged by the others, as they can’t see nor hear P4; P4 is only slightly conscious of the others}

{P4 in the direction of the three, but not directly}

That can’t be the whole of it, folks, come on.

{P3} Se busca—

un fax                         {pronounced ‘fahks’}
del Presidente

de la Republica!

{P4} That’s…if there’s ink…in the Fax Toner. {walks toward the machine}

{P2} And these puercos…sin destino…qué? qué?

{P4} And if I’ve re-ordered a back-up cartridge.

{P3 swoons, salivates, as if seeing an attractive body}

Un Canadiense—fregón! {“kickass”}

Uf!  Dual citizenship, that’s

tight underwear.

{P1} Too tight for me

{P2} Oh my god

{P4 fiddling with machine} Is this thing even plugged in? Let’s see.

{P1} The groom the groom…{P2 & P3 straining to see it}

{P2} We can’t “marry” these {snorts loudly several times} to one another!

{P4} These presets…(tsk) I wonder if (tsk)

{P3 rolling pencil between palms of hands, evil-like}

Se busca
lápiz          {“pencil”}
ambicioso  {“ambitious”}
vicioso       {“vice-prone”}

{P3 quits ‘evil-like’ manner, then very matter-of-factly}

and a yellow tumbler

to screw it into.

{P3 takes out the tumbler and sharpens the pencil; blows on the pencil, and touches the sharp tip}

{P1} The bride the bride {P2 & P3 straining to see it}

{P2} More slop more slop.

{P4} Tsk, I wonder if I even kept the receipt for it?

{P1} Oh my god—

{P2} Qué? qué?

{P3} El Presidente de la Republica! {P2 & P3 straining to see it}

Se busca…
hair gel (mucho)

y una tropa de poetas
worth a culo {“ass”}
to anyone!

{P1 somewhat startled, but delighted, pointing}

The sanctimonious hypocrite twilight

and its
attendant northern
sparkling cluster of

Shine on! shine on!

{P4} I should have priced shopped it (tsk) I mean…oh well{P4 in the direction of the three, but not directly} (—hey, you folks down there getting a little antsy?)

{P2} Watch the gates! Watch those gates, now. The pretty pretty orange…troughs.

{P1} The bride the bride

{P2} We’ve already established “the bride”

{P1} Sorry

{P3 waving hand over ground, marveling}

Se busca

—Cuddle Machines—


{P1 alerted} “I needn’t budge an inch further” One of them just said that—d’ja hear it?

{P2} I’m…right here—right now {gestures erotically, grotesquely, like an octopus)—give me that lápiz—ambriento.

{P2 springs up and grabs pencil from P3, returns to position, and lowers it toward the floor as if trying to stab some tiny moving thing (continues doing this until “#”)}

{P4} I probably should have checked into newer technology.

{P3} Which way’s the sun again? Or the moon for that matter. I’m all twisted up.

{P1} Nationstate up—personal dreams down—got it?

{P2} These puercos, sin destinos…lively bunch.

{P3} “Ethos, lady sovereign, be not my decay!

Tell me tell me

Who are the real Americans of today?”

—What a beautiful songlet.

{P1 lowers ear to the floor} I can’t hear it.

{P3} “Ethos, lady sovereign, lend me some velour…”

—I’ve always liked velour
the touch, the feel of it—

{P2} {interrupts with a very loud snort}

{P1} The border the border

{P2 & P3 straining to see it; # P2 stops picking at floor with pencil}

{P3} Se busca—

{P4} A fax—coming through!

{P3} “Paciencia”?

{P2} —“Patience”

{P3} —Ah.

{P4 reading a fax sheet from the machine; after reading the text out loud, continues silently (perplexedly) mouthing from it}

From the…President…of the Republic (I’ll be).

“Dear Sir / Madam,

With great uncomfortable and unfortunate condolence (my apologies dependent) is denial of transmitted acceptance, yours…for…Zero Card”

Zero Card?

{P2, looking at pencil, as if he’s caught something on the tip of it}

This is…“desvaluado”  {“devalued”}

{P1} What means “desvaluado”?

{P4 and P2 speak to themselves as they are (know each other) in real life, using their real names; P2 stands up and faces P4. The casual conversation is about recent travels they’ve both been on, talk about crossing border, paperwork, lines, patience, impatience, all completely improvised—for about one minutes; P1 and P3 continue their inspection of the floor, P1 ear to the ground straining to hear, P3 delighting at songlets, smiling, delighted}

{Example…“Hi Dan, how was your trip to Canada?” “Cool man, or, maybe no, I waited for my-” “Walmart card?” “nah, they only took Target, plus the visa to Serbia— stamps…you know, there’s these Serbo-Italians—or I-don’t-know-whats, just outside of Belgrade—and you, Stephanie, I heard you were in Dayton, Ohio last week” “Sure was” “heard you had a helluva time getting geo-psychic traction there” “geo-psychic traction is right! couldn’t use my Macy’s card for even play ammo! / etc}

{P2 plops back on the floor, picking at it with the pencil as before (unable to sense P4 in any way)

{P1} The bride the bride the bride. The groom! (I can’t tell which is which)

{P4 reading from another fax that just came through}

“Dear Sir / Madam,

Additionally, a downpour of pleasure mine, to bestow, for 28, 000 Americos, upon receipt of herebesaid, Pick Five citizenship…in exchange for…Zero Card…wallet size pic of me, bonus…{keeps silently and intently reading from the fax until next speaking part}

{P2} Slop, more slop for these…{sneering} puercos de sus republicas.

{P1 ear to the ground} “I needn’t go a centimeter further”—d’ja hear that?

{P3 waving hand over ground, like a medium} Se busca…{matter-of-factly} un Nicaragüense with less of a Castroist mask than the most demasked Chilean, on any Sunday, liberal.

{P3 in a loud, hoarse, monotone voice; P1 and P2 looking at the floor, as if they’re seeing something speaking}









{All players throw themselves on their backs, arms and legs spread out, looking straight up}


{P1} Dário

{P2} Darío

{P3} Darió

{P2} Darió, ok.

{P3} No no, Darío it is.

{P2} I still think it’s Dário.

{P1, P2, P3}


{P1} For the options

{P3} Poetic palmistry

{P4} 28, 000 Americos!? Monster Pants! How can anyone manage that?

{P1 P2 and P3 pop up and link arm in arm with P4, like a phalanx, facing the audience; they menacingly charge toward the audience, stopping just short of collision}

{P2, defiant and sober}

patch of earth

are these angels

{P3, defiant and sober}

Defiant and sober

that’s what

they look like.

{P1} Hell—is me, the way I feel.

{P4} Heaven you too {locks arms even tighter} (here, now) and me, purged of all practical purgatory—cripes…what kind of art-form is this?

{all 4 players}


{P1, P2, and P3 plop back on the floor, on their backs facing up; P4 returns to the fax machine and snatches fax after fax (each one blank) throwing them to the floor after a brief inspection of each sheet (continues doing this until next speaking part)}

{P1} Nationstates up—personal dreams down.

{P2} and mugs

{P3} mugs

{P1} mugs

{P2} mugs

{P3} mugs


{P1, P2, P3, slowly, in a semi-sleep state}

{P1} All I see is…The Great Divide.

{P3} I am the heat.

{P2} The wanderlust…where’d it go?

{P1} “Solo se que dios es Bolivariano” – I just heard that.

{P2} Puerqueros Hammer.

{P4 frustrated, loses interest in machine, shushes it away} Tsk

{P4 slowly walks to where the other three are and joins them in the prostate position}


{All four players (slowly, calmly, peaceably) act as themselves, addressing each other using their real-life names}

{P2} That’s good, [Jocelyn]…it’s good you’re happy…

{P3} So happy…the nest of some missing pretty baby I am…

{P1} Delighted is a goofy word {chuckles softly}…jazzed…is only a little less goofy {all four chuckle softly}

{P3} You’re here, [David], right…some…far-off…other time {all four chuckle softly}

{P4} Borders…silent wars…mirth…gloom.

{P2} Vogue, what’s in vogue.

{P3} May…be…that, [Stephanie]…that

{P1} The way out?

{P2} Art goes art goes

{P3} Away…

{P2} And back…

{P1} In…

{P3} And out…

{P4} “Yo persigo una forma que no encuentra mi estilo,
botón de pensamiento que busca ser la rosa” *

{P2} Contrive
the themelets

{P3} Se busca…

{P1} Songlets of sorts, yeah?

{P4} Yeah…

{P2} Mm hmm…

end of anti-masque


* lines from Rubén Darío’s Yo persigo una forma (“I seek a form”)

“Yo persigo una forma que no encuentra mi estilo,
botón de pensamiento que busca ser la rosa..”

I pursue a form that doesn’t find my style,
mind’s stem that strives to be the rose”

(Trans. R. Toscano)

 Sobre Rodrigo Toscano

Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book is Deck of Deeds (Counterpath Press 2012). His previous book, Collapsible Poetics Theaterwas a 2007 National Poetry Series Selection. He was the recipient of a 2005 New York State Fellowship in Poetry. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Against Expression, Diasporic Avant Gardes, andPoetic Voices Without Borders, and Best American Poetry. Toscano’s Spanish language poetry appears in the anthology, Malditos Latinos, Malditos Sudacas. His plays have been performed at the Disney Redcat Theater and Ontological-Hysteric Poet’s Theater Festival. His radio pieces have aired on WPIX FM, KAOS Public Radio, WNYU, and PS.1 Radio. His poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Catalan. Toscano works for the Labor Institute in conjunction the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. He works out of a laptop, tethered to a Droid, residing in airports, occupying poetics in midflight.