Post 615 - When Mark Rylance accepted a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for Jerusalem last night, he shared this poem with the expectant crowd. In case you missed it — or tuned out in confusion in the middle — the complete poem is below:
Walking Through a Wall by Louis Jenkins.
Unlike flying or astral projection, walking through walls is a totally earth-related craft, but a lot more interesting than pot making or driftwood lamps. I got started at a picnic up in Bowstring in the northern part of the state. A fellow walked through a brick wall right there in the park. I said, 'Say, I want to try that.' Stone walls are best, then brick and wood. Wooden walls with fiberglass insulation and steel doors aren't so good. They won't hurt you. If your wall walking is done properly, both you and the wall are left intact. It is just that they aren't pleasant somehow. The worst things are wire fences, maybe it's the molecular structure of the alloy or just the amount of give in a fence, I don't know, but I've torn my jacket and lost my hat in a lot of fences. The best approach to a wall is, first, two hands placed flat against the surface; it's a matter of concentration and just the right pressure. You will feel the dry, cool inner wall with your fingers, then there is a moment of total darkness before you step through on the other side.
When Rylance accepted his 2008 Best Actor Tony for his Broadway debut in Boeing-Boeing he shared another Jenkins poem, The Back Country.
Louis Jenkins (1942 -) is a prose poet from Enid, Oklahoma. He's lived in Duluth, Minnesota, for over 30 years with his wife Ann. His poems have been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. Jenkins has been a guest on A Prairie Home Companion numerous times and has also been featured on The Writer's Almanac. The author's book, Nice Fish, was winner of the Minnesota Book Award in 1995. His book Just Above Water won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award in 1997. In 1996, Jenkins was a featured poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.