Juliet and Rosalind
By Sierra Blanco
This surrealist poem reimagines the events of the classic Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet” from the perspective of Romeo’s ex-girlfriend Rosalind.
Meet me at the white chalk walls, hope all drawn and leaded There to make the dreamers fall, once ‘lost’ is now beheaded. Catch me at night, pale as bone, the comfort fast passed over, There to let the dying crawl, a simple end to somber. Sinner sleep the moon tonight, white as blinding day; Liar turn an eye tonight, wordless what they say. Meet me at the white chalk walls, rhyme all lost and goaded, There to make the dreaming fall, a puppet to devotion. Catch me at that maze’s center, motion left to fester; There to let the secrets tell the way to once and never. Sinner sleep the moon tonight, bright as blinding day; Liar, turn an eye tonight, wordless what they pray. Meet me at the meat-red door, lost and never-ending, There to turn a tail and run, promise worse for mending. Penny for a dream they said, dance along the caverns, There to turn the liar’s head, or maybe worse his masters’. Sinner shake the stars tonight, white as shining day; Liar turn a cheek tonight, lips to hell and pray. Meet me at the rust-bled door, long and always bending, There to make the quarrelers fall, what once and never mended. Penny for your blues they said, tomorrow will be different; Pretty to be used, we met, and bowed before in reverence. Sinner shake the stars tonight, white as binding day; Liar, turn a cheek tonight, lips to hell and pray. Meet me where the lyric ends, though melody forgotten. Long lost is that owl-eyed girl, the body rained and rotten. Liar pull a string she begged, and whisked herself away Off to darker nonsense lands where wraiths and wrongs might stay. Left behind a message, though not far that it could spread The story that she wove herself would barely keep her head. A prayer for the unwitting, the lovers, last the stream; She gave herself a talisman – a promise how it gleamed A stolen tinsel locked away, a draught made out of dare, A place to haunt her years away, a lock of true-love’s hair. Sinner, wake before you go, tonight will last all day; Liar take a gasping breath before you turn away. Meet me in the garden, like the poems she once gave There to take the doubting breath before her lover’s grave Penny for a soldier’s soul, a witch’s mark, a game Sinner steal that angel’s light, and Liar steal the blame Meet me at the white chalk wall, I will not leave it bare Red blood door, I’ve done this before, I’ll replicate each swear White or dark as morning’s turn, I haven’t got a clue Forgive me not, I wrote this plot, and now I’ll see it through.
This piece began as a dream I had that was so vivid I wrote out the major locations and points of it as a poem. Over several years, I revised this piece, making it more and less abstract as my writing-style changed while still paying homage to those original images that stayed with me from my dreams. Finally, after re-reading Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” I saw some tentative parallels between the otherwise completely surreal poem I had been revising for so long and an outsider’s perspective into the romance of the star-crossed lovers. I revised the work a final time to further explore these connections, resulting in the piece as it appears today.
Sierra Blanco won the Sondheim National Young Playwrights Competition, Writopia’s Worldwide Plays Competition, NYC Write A Play! Competition, and was Guest Playwright to the O’Neill Young Playwrights Festival. Her poetry was published in the New York Times and her play “Bang!” in “A Decade of Shared Stories.” Her play “The Smallest Heroes” received a contract with YouthPLAYS. She received the Perelstein Discover Your Passion Scholarship for Musical-Theater Composition. She is a winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Musical Songwriting Challenge. She had three Off-Broadway productions of her work and maintains membership at the Dramatists Guild, AEA, and MENSA.