Enough is Enough

“Despite everything, I think people are really good at heart.”—Anne Frank

Today is the last show of nine.
I am Nazi #2 in the community theatre production
of The Diary of Anne Frank.
I am alone and confined to the corner of the dressing room
with a prop rifle heavy against my uniform.
I’m trying to take shelter in my headphones
Listening to Magical Mystery Tour,
checking my Snapchat news,
texting my girlfriend, and finishing up my PreCalc homework.

I read about Parkland on my Newsfeed now and how many teens have died—
and I think I am going to be sick.
The girl who plays Margot is glad they got the shooter.
Anne can’t believe he went to Subway and McDonald’s
after the massacre. The kid who plays Peter
puts on his foundation without a word
and Gabbi, the director, chirps that it’s going
to be a full house, likes my hair slicked back,
makes sure my arm band is on properly
so the audience can see my swastika.
She tells me to be more aggressive,
to push and shove and scream
at her Frank family.
The crowd will be crying for real again.

And I do not want to be here
in this costume tonight storming the Annex.

My mom tells me that I scared her—
she fought back tears as I looted the dressers,
broke picture frames and ripped papers.
Yesterday, the crowd booed me as I took my bow.

A half an hour before curtain,
Leonard sneezes into a rag in front of me.
Coughs up some phlegm.
He says he might have pneumonia.
He plays Mr. Dussel, the dentist.
He is a sixty-seven-year-old Vietnam Vet
who hates the end scene
because he doesn’t want to “hold hands with us faggots.”
Wants this country to be great again.
Doesn’t see it happening with “all these Goddamn snowflakes.”
“You are a quiet one, Alex.”
Tells me I’m sketchy.
Thinks I’m dangerous.

Then Mr. Dussel/Leonard asks me if I am doing any more productions.
I ignore him and listen to Nirvana on Spotify.
He answers for me though:

“You’re probably too busy writing death threats to do plays…You look like a real shooter.”

I pretend to not hear him.
And then Mr. Dussel says he oughta “call Homeland Security.”
And he laughs at me.
And I say nothing.
And all the rest of the cast
lets this exchange go by
without protest.

Alexander Nordlund attends Glastonbury High School and Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. His poetry and prose have received recognition in the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards and UConn’s Connecticut Student Writers. This year, he was selected to attend the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Breadloaf and he will be reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. Alex is also a guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose music has been featured on Connecticut’s Radio 104.1. Here is his SoundCloud link: https://soundcloud.com/alex-nordlund.

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8 Responses to Enough is Enough

  1. atenni says:

    Mr. Nordlund, I’m astounded that you are a high school student. Whatever you do, keep writing!

  2. A piercing and visceral write! Well done!

  3. This is a wonderful narrative poem.

  4. Sandra Geres says:

    I saw this powerful and moving production of Anne Frank.
    Now, as I read your poem, I simultaneously sense
    a scene within a scene within a scene,
    as if a scrim is lifted.
    Then another. And then another.
    The acting of the story. The backstage enactment of yet another reality.
    And the thoughts you take away from this experience even now, months later.
    All powerfully sad.
    Like Anne Frank, I also believe people are “despite everything,…good at heart.”
    But some days, I wonder.

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