The Mistress of Disguises

Two years ago I wrote a play called Digging Up John Barrymore. At one point I considered a musical version and wrote a few songs for it. This one is called The Mistress of Disguise and here’s the relevant passage from the play (Barrymore’s deathbed scene) that leads into the song:

Steve Izant and Julia Menn reading their lines

JULIA: Do you remember when you kissed me on Errol’s boat?
JOHN: Is that where it was? Yes. I remember.
JULIA: You frightened me.
JOHN: Good. I wish I still could.
JULIA: You do frighten me still.
John smiles.
JOHN: And you still frighten me. Your indestructible beauty, and its overwhelming effect on my
heart, are not the slightest bit dimmed by age like every other goddamned thing. In fact,
it’s never stopped growing.
Julia shows him her sketch. He stares at it.
JOHN: You possess the true artist’s ability to find beauty in refuse.
JULIA: There’s still a lot of beauty left in the world, Mr. Barrymore.
JOHN: Perhaps. But she’s a master of disguises.
JULIA: Mistress.
JOHN: What?
JULIA: Mistress of disguises.
JOHN: Right. Mistress of disguises.

She’s in the dead leaves scratching across my pavement
She’s in the wolf that’s howling outside my door
She’s in the water, in the toilet, in my dying breath

Even though she’s the mistress of disguises
I see all the beauty in the world
And it brings the water to my eyes
She’s the mistress of disguise

She’s hiding in my tired old skin, inside every ache and pain
She’s hiding in the least likely places like the corners of my brain
And I’m still alive because I can feel her pulsing in my veins

Even though she’s the mistress of disguises
I see all the beauty in the world
And it brings the water to my eyes
She’s the mistress of disguise

Published by mikepowernyc

Named one of New York's Best Emerging Poets 2019, my poetry chapbook The New Normal was published by Analog Submission Press. My novel The Zoo was published by Cacoethes Publishing House. Other poems and short stories have appeared in Subterranean Blue Poetry, The Journal of Microfiction, and Sick Lit Magazine, among others. Other works include a staged reading of my play Digging Up John Barrymore, performed by Dreamcatcher Entertainment, and five albums of original music recorded with my band Late Model Humans.

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