From “The Assumption,” a short play based on the medieval Lives of the Virgin. The hero is Mario, a college freshman struggling with his sexuality who mistakes an undiagnosed case of appendicitis for a pregnancy. In this scene, he has been confiding in Lupe, the dorm’s janitress, who reveals herself to be the Virgen de Guadalupe; they are speaking Spanish, which sounds like unrhymed English verse.
Alas! My body teems with baneful torment
And I am fastened sore to this my bed.
It’s been a week. I haven’t been to classes.
I’ve not been up. I’ve not been bathed. And all
That I can eat is rough upon my body.
My body’s core to me is made a torment.
At times I’ve been a purity of pain.
As if a dagger pierced my side within me,
And slowly hauled it ‘cross my abdomen.
My stomach were a sky, and pain a star there–
That shoots across or astrally explodes.
A supernova quenched is a black hole.
What’s more– oh never mind. I’m so ungrateful.
I’m lucky just to be here, and to learn.
And I should try– how can I though! I hate it!
It wastes me and I waste myself and time.
I want to work and build myself and grow up.
I know I’m on the vergeood of a man!
The verge of manhood?
Right: my grammar’s awful.
I never learned my Spanish properly.
And everything around me’s unconducive
To making latent manhood what it could be.
My roommate has no soul (he’s Californian)
He drowns it, smokes it out, five nights a week!
You’ve seen him! My professors each know nothing
And tell me nothing seven hours a day.
The books do too. What shall I do,
But lie here on my bed of bitter pain?
Be comforted, my child, take your comfort.
And cede to me your pain: it’s mine to bear.
You see me now THE MAID OF GUADALOUPE.
An apparition of the Holy Virgin! And just for me?
I am a lucky boy! And not just any Virgin, but my
I’m sorry that I look and feel like shit.
Feel no shame, Mario — naught but love and naught but happy.
You’re such a handsome young man, and so clever.
There must be much to make your life a joy.
Have you a hobby, passion, or a sweetheart?
The girls, I’m sure, are swarming after you!
You think I’m such as they who marry women,
Or sleep with them at least, or hanker to,
But Lupe, friend and mother, I’m less certain:
The last few weeks have gotten me confused…
Are you in love, my child?
I think so!
Or know so– oh, it’s all so very strange.
You are in love, my child. So tell me!
Think of me as a giant, loving Ear.
His name is Gabe, a freshman on the swim team
(That’s quite prestigious, means you’re really good).
And oh– it’s hard to tell, for he’s a picture.
And all my words can nothing but demean him.
I’ll shew him to you, Lupe; your opinion
Is precious and of comfort dear to me.
Opinion’s not the word, for he’s Adonis,
The one who gainsays is deranged.
And Lupe, though my every organ suffers,
And brain as well – but yours, I know, is sound.
MARIO takes up the Book of Faces. He calls before us Gabe’s photo album. We see GABE in tableau as MARIO clicks through them: now in a polo, now in a tux, now at the beach, now drunk, now among friends, etc. Now comely, in a Speedo, GABE steps out of the photograph and into matter. Music is heard (probably Tosca’s first words at the beginning of Tosca: “Mario! Mario! Mario!” Mario may mutter “Son quì.”) They give him strength to stand. He falters forward, transfixed.
Be careful! Less you falter! Lest you stumble!
I will not fall. He steels my frail resolve.
He touches Gabe. Music stops short.
Noli tangere! Not for touching: I.
MARIO bawls and reels back in agony.
You hurt me, bitch, ow! Why did you just do that?
I’m sick, Gabe, really hurting, can’t you see?
Well what? Or don’t you care…
I hope you didn’t hear what I was saying.
Or if you did, I hope you don’t speak Spanish.
‘Cause it wasn’t true– at all–uh huh:
I’m real pissed off at you.
I called you seven times last week and I left
Four different messages and texts on your cell phone.
I tried you on IM; I think you blocked me.
I wondered if e-mail was getting personal.
I didn’t want you to be scared, so I used Facebook.
See: two weeks and ten dispatches to you;
I’m waiting like a jerk for your reply.
And then you show up here, like that, and sting me!
Like what the hell, man: that’s not very cool.
At least I’m glad you’re here and you remembered–
It’s a relief– oh I was so distressed!
And now you’re here! In my room! Where it started!
(Or, didn’t start, but you know, where the thing–
Nay, I’m not bashful; I can say it: fucking,
Where you fucked me and it was kinda weird, but fun.
I hope you had a good time too, and sorry
If I seemed a little tense, or anything– first time,
You know: I know that I’ll get better– even better,
And I’d try other things (like within reason–
Like probably no whips or cuffs or pee).
It’s really good to see you, Gabe: I mean it.
Don’t let this weird you out or anything,
But I think of you a lot, in many manners,
And not just think of you, but see,
Or remember how it felt that time, or could feel
“Next time”– oh, I knew that’s what you said!
When first I saw you, Gabe, I saw an angel,
Your hair was made of sun, your eyes of sky:
I thought I looked on heaven when on you.
And when you touched my knee and murmured “Horny?”
The room around you darked: and it was night;
And you were Day, Gabe, day for me:
My light and time and oh, whatever else
That matters– you were, are. I guess I love you.
Don’t take that the wrong way– I know it’s early–
Oh, whew, I’m glad you’re taking this so calm.
I wasn’t sure I’d tell you right away.
I’m glad I did though, glad you’re here and glad in general.
It’s silly to say now (and probly rude),
But, Gabe, at times I feared that you’d forgotten.
And then I would get really, really sad.
Like really– but enough of that: ‘cause people
Don’t really hook up once and then not talk–
For isn’t Hookup just another word for Love?
Oh, you don’t think so. That’s okay. To each his own.
It wasn’t my intent to speak for you.
Hope that’s okay…
I’ve said a lot now, Gabe, say something.
That countenance– it kinda freaks me out.
At least change that, could you, your expression?
I love you, I adore you, I implore you!
If not, just fuck me then, or take my hand.
He doesn’t hear you, Mario: he’s an angel.
He has a voice, but neither heart nor ears.
But sweet you spoke: my heart rejoiced to hear.
You, Mario, special among all boys!
I am the Archangel Gabriel
(my former name: now Internet I’m called).
My words are forged in Truth and come for you.
So hear and do not talk; be still; remember:
These are the facts:
Your middle’s in discomfort;
Your appetite’s been ravenous of late– and that’s not like you;
You’re throwing up a lot– and not from drinking.
Need I say more?
Aren’t you in college?
(Don’t answer; I can’t listen; and my questions are rhetoric.)
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon– or should I say
An obstetrician– to figure this one out.
An obstetrician? What? That’s like a– Lupe!
Did you just hear that? Hear what he just said?
The pain’s — a child? Inside me is a fetus?
That’s crazy. I’m a boy and–
Besides, I’m just eighteen. And I am single.
I have no job and three years more of college.
I can’t have these things on my mind right now!
And — won’t it hurt, the childbirth? Won’t my stomach
Swell up huge and I won’t ever be this thin?
And who’d support us? I don’t have a job? My parents?
Yeah right! Like — they don’t even know I’m gay!
What will they tell the neighbors? And what could they?
But then, what could they say when he says “abuelita”?
And “abuelito, qué te quiero mucho”?
What human heart won’t break on hearing that?
My God! Just listen to me! I’ve gone crazy!
I didn’t even think I had a womb. I don’t! I am a boy!
“Special among boys”: so said the angel!
What insolence where you should thank the heavens!
How like your generation: selfish, ugly,
And solipsistic to the top degree.
That is why Apocalypse is on us.
You have a promise deep within, my child,
A promise that was given there by God.
And yours to give the world! You are the vessel!
In anguish you have grown this week a womb
Your spasms have been sprouting ovaries.
You’ve felt it! Do you dare now disbelieve?
With God, each thing will come to pass:
There lies salvation. And there this time
Could be inside your womb.
The childbirth’s not so bad, the fat goes quickly.
Besides, I was fourteen when I had mine.
Be happy, Mario: this thing I command you.
The Virgin orders you that you be gay.
Forgive me, please. I sinned not to be grateful.
Ave Maria, benedicta, gratia plena,
Tu, in mulieribus. I trust now and I’m happy,
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus.
I have a burden and a will to bear it.
Is this not what I’ve hoped for all this time?
It is! Oh world, I’m thankful– thank you nature!
I’m pregnant and I’ve never been so gay!
And so I leave you, Mario: gay and pregnant!
Heavy with joy and with the future full.
The Virgin loves you, but has many children.
I’ve ten more sorrows to assume ere noon.