Do you know Bertolt Brecht’s The Hammer Throwers?
One hundred men divide on right and left sides
of a stage and throw hammers at each other
for half an hour. Every performance, a different number
of men are standing at the end, twenty nine
or three, and in one performance, the most famous,
one hundred and one men took a bow. Bertolt Brecht
was alone in noticing that his play
had given birth to a man. When asked his name,
the man replied, I am Bertolt Brecht.
But I am Bertolt Brecht, Bertolt Brecht
said to Bertolt Brecht, who responded, then we
are Bertolt Brecht. According to Bertolt Brecht’s
last diary, Bertolt Brecht survived
two more performances, until a splendid flurry
of accuracy hammered the cast down
to a single man. That man ran home
and told his wife, this evening, I was the star
of the show. She looked in his face
for the night sky, and told him that loving him
was a decision like breathing. She had never said anything
like that before and never said anything
like that again. She returned to knitting
the red scarf she’d been knitting since they were wed,
it ran out the door, where it was joined by the other
red scarves so busy existing. The man touched
where a hammer had grazed his temple, it felt warm,
like sleep feels right before sleep
and right after sleep, when he sometimes wonders
if he’s remembering or dreaming. Yes, his wife said
the one time he asked if he was remembering
or dreaming, yes you are.
Bob Hicok is.
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