Riffraff

Cohen

*author’s note: I don’t ever share all the things I do in my prep for a role. “Coen” in Justin Robinson’s upcoming film RIFFRAFF was a heavy character: purposeful, dark, singularly focused. I spent hours working through the dynamics of a character who is pretty much the antithesis to all the things I was raised to embrace. Stripping away the facade that society tells me I need to wear to be the “nice guy” was liberating in many ways…also, I listened to a lot of “Slipknot” (I think I’ve pretty much recovered from that, but the jury’s still out). Each character I tackle takes something and leaves something.
This poem is part of what Coen left behind.

‘Tis a story long begot
From simpler times
‘Fore souls were caught
Tormented
Torn
Rendered insensible
Indefensible to the guile
Rolled into the malleable center
Of their view
Eyes like crystal
Full of rainbows
Bright dreams
Capricious bloated fairy tales
Skewing reality
But not
Me
No
My way stood plain
Exposed in the howling rain
That crowned my birth
My revelation
Incarnation
Leading me on a path to liberation
Watching the blood run in rivulets
Through Pilate’s gauntlets
Rupturing the broken shell of a man
A curious thing when robbed of breath
Of spirit
Of light
Embraced by Death
But right
And I never doubted this is who I am
Cavorting in darkness
Transcendent Shiva
Taking the believer
And bestowing the antitheses
Of his dreams
Tell me
What is good
What is right
When there is no dark
For the light to spring against
So kick against
The pricks of a world that is cold and cruel
I am nothing but a tool
In Fate’s hand
Meting brutal beatings
To the soft, tarnished, fleeting
Belief you cling to
Separating the chaff
Riffraff
Truer man was never born
So forget your wings
I’ll keep my horns.
-ijs

RIFFRAFF

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