Just, Actors

© Tom Shales

© Tom Shales


When we were like this,

nobody really stepped inside our world.

We could laugh and cry together,

hold one another, count on each other,

and smile for the camera as ourselves.


We lived real lives

beyond the facade of entertainment;

so compelling, so intriguing, so decimating

that our passions were swept up in


Well, perhaps not each of us


we did find our need to cast a persona

on a world around us

counting upon each story, gag, inventive moment,

to help

you, (them)

cycle through your typical day.


Watching us,

how many people realized

we were watching ourselves,

you, him, they, her, we

each ideal


at your (our) expense,

yet all in fun of course,

because we laughed as much as anyone else,

when the camera …


Here we are today

in memory,

simply wishing to evoke another nostalgic

dream come true

of life in America, of love, of fortune,

of delightful entertainment.

Remember us?

We were a household name,

to some,

we gathered in the storms of insecurity

and splayed a comedic shower of tranquility

upon the eyes, the visual masses,

waiting for our next



At the end of the scene, we too had needs,

we simply wanted to be recognized as human beings,

beyond the responsibility,

we wanted credibility,

we were after all,

just, actors.

… and then Carole King Stepped onto the Stage …


I am truly moved to weep

watching Broadway’s talent

dance across the stage

in that venue of endearment

where everything they work for

becomes showcased in a showcase.

I don’t have tears of sadness

they really are filled with joy

Seeing such delightful real lives emote

beauty, grace & elegance

at the highest level

of public entertainment.

… and then Carole King stepped onto the stage …

Do you remember when

all of them were elementary students

star-crossed eyes hoping to

be in the, perform as the, sing with a

passion in the school play,

the fall musical,

that one talent show,

the Christmas pageant,

the dance recital,

their senior project,

in a garage band,

just short of the karaoke bar

before they were swiftly drawn

to that element shadowing Times Square.

Dance across the stage,

sing with all of your heart,

shine in front of everyone,

for deep inside

when you question your ability

because after all

we do know that as humans

we are always wondering;

know you have reached that showcase

and the human condition

no matter the obstacles …

brought your enigma, no anomaly,

to the hearts and soul

of all those real people, all those faces,

all those masses that make our lives real,

emulate our lives on the stage.