The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School


The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School


The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School


Violent indecision

Rewrite of Macbeth Act 2, Scene 1 soliloquy

What is this that appears before me?

Gunmetal glistens
with the promise of retribution, of rightful reception, of steel vows glinting
in the dim lights of hell.
Yet its intransience defies vision’s declaration
and leaves me trapped in opaque confusion.
Have I entered the bell jar,
so round the earth curves
around the gravity of my purpose?
The pistol, the crown– it beckons
in bloodlust– it invites my hand, yielding,
to grasp it firm and fulfill
Chekhov’s mandate. The buzzing shroud
of black deceit overlies the land
and casts my heart in blood,
my intent in iron. Trapped– they are all
trapped, to each one, chained
at the bone to dead sleep, dead dreams that dredge
only sour regret; their world
is drenched in darkness. Yet
I can see. I can see now, the promise of the scythe &
of the scepter– of the smoke
rising like torn gauze
from the barrel. It smells like hellfire.

–Quiet! Do you hear? Do you hear
that wolf’s howl promising
treachery? The wild
abandon that, drowning indecision,
winnows the night
to the razor edge of the trigger?
My purpose compels silent movement and quieter
execution. And yet–
my mind still roars
in cowardly doubt.
It is true– with this moral fall
I shall rise
beyond prediction–
Duncan’s soul will rise,
too, to the heights of heaven–
will he look
down upon me there? Will
my soul be forever banned
from pearl clouds,
condemned to the depths–
to burn
in gunsmoke flames?

–No! I mustn’t think,
mustn’t pause, mustn’t hesitate–

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and yet, and yet–
corroding doubt whirls within–
is this ascension mere
descension poorly disguised?

–and yet, the gun–
it gleams of golden laurels –or is that just
the blood-slick sheen of madness–

–trapped! I am
trapped here, standing
at the gates of hell,
ensconced in shadow–

Do I dare
strike out
against heaven’s chosen?

[a bell rings]

My breath swells cold–
the crown-gold bell
it summons
–but my coward’s mind
and fearful soul

violent indecision
betrays my word betrays my wife–
and yet–
I cannot seem to set
my own limbs
into sure motion–

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