Posted by: ronclegg | October 16, 2009

This Performance Tonight- by John Dotson (performed en ensemble at New Stuff Monterey 8/28/2004)

This Performance Tonight
This performance tonight is devoted
To those exact personsWho will die during this momentAnd those who find out their time
Is up during the moment
And the numbers have come out
Against them for keeps

Some are taken without warning

This performance is devoted to
Everyone who is dying with injustice tonight
In this moment
Everyone who is losing her or his life
Right now
By some political miscalculation
Which has judged her or him
To be expendable
For the greater good
That has been calculated
And in heartless abstraction

Tonight this work is devoted to
All whose existence is hated
Just because she or he exists
Not as a person not as having any
Truths or any worth as an individual
Just hated just because
Without cause
In advance
And irrevocably

And for those who are dying
Tonight duped
By a lie any lie
That serves a cause

This performance tonight
Is devoted to all who are in prisons
Of forgottenness
In prisons of ancient brutalities
Descending through generations
Of the greater power
Defeating the lesser power
Because it can
Because they can
Those who do this
Do this
And get away with it
And are getting away with it
In this moment
Over the face of the Earth

This performance is for the
Imprisoned and the forgotten
And the unknown

This performance tonight is
For the abused being among us
Right now in this room
And for all the injured children
Of destroyed hopes and innocence
For whom there is no explanation
No prayer-response that clarifies
Impossible dreams of freedom

This is for everyone and everything
That is lost
For all who suffer more than they can comprehend
And accept the choice of no choice
But acceptance

This is a performance of acceptance
Of the unacceptable
The loss of all loss
In this very hour

Of any being
At any scale
And all beings
At all scales
Of life’s magnitudes
As speaking this
Is spoken tonight

For those who cannot speak
Who are not allowed to speak
For those who cannot speak
Even if allowed to speak
For those who cannot move
Even if able to move
For those losing their lives tonight
By not finding them

May this performance be
Expansive enough
For one instant

Of not-forgotten-ness
By us who hear
And see and move

And are here

Devoted to this
That we are

This doing



Welcome to
A weekly video reading of poetry by the poet.

John Dotson was the first poet-in-residence of the

Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation in Carmel,

California. His book portraying that experience is

The Enduring Voice, A Tor House Journal.

John has published poetry and prose internationally.

He also works in many art forms, media, and


In the fall of 2007, his play WITHOUT WHY will be

staged at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts in

Carmel. John has also worked as an educator in

many settings in California and elsewhere.

See John Dotson’s sculpture, poems, graphics,

andevents at:

P. O. Box 159
Carmel, CA 93921


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