A Poetic(?) Farewell

For my last blog post, I want to share three poems that I wrote during the dress rehearsals of the show—and I don’t mean, “during the general time period in which we had dress rehearsals,”—I mean DURING the dress rehearsals themselves. While many of you were busy going through scenes in act one, I was scribbling away in my little moleskine like a good hipster, because I couldn’t let the thoughts that I had while watching the play escape completely into the air without some sort of mechanism with which to capture them (and I asked Jeff before I did it). So I wrote some poems—although in a way, they’re more abstract journal entries than anything else, which is all that the poetry I write ever is. Also, they’re probably bad from a poetic viewpoint, but having been in the show, it is my hope that you all will be able to appreciate them nonetheless. Here goes nothing:

Theatre Lighting

There’s a light in the corner

And it’s got warmth, but it’s bare,


The square above looms large,

it is the primary source,

dull and efficient

I connect the corners in my mind’s eye

tracing the rays along their journey

a geometric construction

from a point to a square,

from sharp yellow to pervasive white

But their relationship confounds me,

mythical and pure necessity

folklore, enspiriting, and canonical

at odds with economy, twisted prioritization.

A pyramidal slant,

barring in the weak tussle

between dynamism and ability.


I’ve been told to swallow my laugh.

it’s too

it is simply too

yes, much too

je ne sais quoi

but, yes, too.

and so I must swallow it,

dampen it,

sandpaper shaping,

and I am not good at dampening things.

It is not a practice in which I often engage,

because it is not often that I find an altar on which

to place myself.

But this is my altar.

An altar on which I gladly place sacrifice,

and so


I place my laughter

to be molded and forged into the proper shape.

And I,

well, I

I fade into I, I, I, I, I

and I, I, I, I, I, love my, my, my, my, myself.

My Room

Plenty of room,

lots of space,

time for reflection,

it’s a good place to live.

small enough for your own identity.

But where’s my room?

my room, a room of my own,

my space.

The quadrangle is only so wide,

and the boundaries

by steeples and spires,

and rush and Rush,

and a starving cat on a crazed rummage.

a fishbone among pizza boxes

marrow-sucking mess.

Yet somehow, a fifty-foot canvas,

blue to brown to black to gray

manages to break beyond the towers and clocks,

time for reflection

amid fibers and paint

and tables that are varnished, even underneath

amidst 45 pegs draped with identity.

and stairs through earth and air.

With overwhelming gratitude,

Jacob Tobia

3 thoughts on “A Poetic(?) Farewell

  1. Jacob —

    My dear. You had me at “I want to share three poems”. I’m sure they weren’t necessarily inspired by the Brecht stuff I kept putting on the blog, but I’m terrifically happy to see you (all of you) embracing different ways of writing about this experience. This is performative writing — writing that DOES something — at its most committed. It makes my little dramaturg’s heart sing.

    I’m particularly drawn to your 2nd poem about “swallowing” your laugh. In high school I dated a guy (no, that’s not the important bit) who gave me the compliment (?) that i was “a cartoon.” Now not being one that got a lot of compliments from guys, I remember gobbling that up as if it was candy but, as with candy, I remember feeling a bit sick afterwards. It was the clearest expression of my tendency towards excess (really, Jules? yes, hard to believe but I was a bit over the top in my younger days). It still stings a little as I remember trying to figure out whether I was willing to mold myself into something that was a bit more inside the lines, to “dampen” (as you put it) myself if I truly felt that “cartoon” wasn’t the image I wanted to present to the world. I guess you can figure out what I chose. I did learn to tone it down (somewhat) for the stage, because that was the one place that was sacred enough (“the altar” as you put it) to require careful transformation. Screw doin’ that in real life. I’d made too much of an investment in being OK with being me to sequester things there, but on the stage … that was a different story.

    I don’t mean to take your work and turn it into mine. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m looking forward to watching you flourish in these different ways in your “real in the world life” (as my daughter says) and in your real stage life. Both seem essential to being Jacob. And anything that allows me *more* Jacob, is a good thing.


  2. Jacob, Loved your poems. I love the perspective of being inside the production looking out.

    Thanks for all your hard work. You are a talented guy, both as a writer and as an actor. I am so looking forward to working with you on EDITH.

    When I heard you guys read it the other day, it seemed to me to be an important coming of age story and handled in your passionate, capable hands, I look forward to it with great glee.

    xo Jeffrey

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