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Winter 2019/20

Scott Hightower


                    “…She is very glamorous”
                                    --Edna Turnblad

The Metropolitan Opera wanted
“After the Ball” in English. I, for
one, am tired of sitting at my desk
and writing elegies. Wainwright
gets routinely criticized for his
fashion exhibitionisms: a foppish
suit, a rhinestone pin. Tonight,
he is sporting a montera.

“Love is not a victory march.
It’s a cold—and it’s a broken—
Hallelujah.” I’ve read the reviews
in other countries: “…baffling …
Prima Donna is monotonous.“

“The one that loves me truly…
is probably down at the stables….
gently polishing my cabriolet.”

It’s Paris, Bastille Day, 1970.
Régine is facing a new resolve.
The devoted, driving butler
is a foppish Baritone; the enticing
journalist, a tenor. The maid
is a resilient, perky soprano.

“Who is this woman?” (Suzuki
to Pinkerton and Sharpless?)
Régine to the journalist,
upon him serendipitously
revealing his Japanese girlfriend.

That the evening fireworks
are fleeting are a part of their beauty.
To me, the opera seems more liturgical
than orgasmic. The public has already/
will or will not clamour.

“I am a man who loved
a woman created by a man.”

From her window, Régine,
having just taken the fireworks
in her gaze—we have just watched
them explode en scene across
her mansion’s façade––confronts
the holy dark. She considers
leaping from her balcony––
the absolutism of Puccini,
the absolutism of a lone swan;

but to everyone’s delight, instead,
she delivers a “Wainwright” song.


Scott Hightower is the author of four books of poetry in the US and two bilingual collections published in Madrid, the most recent being “Tartessos.” He lives in Manhattan and teaches at New York University's  Gallatin School of Individualized Study.


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