Postcards from Malthusia DAY THIRTEEN: Christophe Riesco

The Dame


We appear to be surrounded 

by Lady Macbeth, one vast audition.  


It turns out we too are trying for the role. 


Shall I be like Sarah Siddons – 

‘tragedy personified’ – or Charlotte Melmoth, 

‘grande dame’? Perhaps you will be 

like Vivien Leigh, born 

in Darjeeling, that town grown up

between the sanatorium and the ammo dump

like all towns. 


The audition is mandatory, 

but open-minded: Lady Macbeth 

need not be a woman born, 

you can be a fat man or a little boy, 

you can be from New Jersey. 

Your face mask can be functional, 

cute, or printed to look like a skull. 


Perhaps I’ll be like Marion Cotillard, 

the face of Chanel Number Five. 

Perhaps it will be broadcast live. 


How shall I convince everyone 

that I am sleepwalking? Have we 

had enough practice, bending 

among the tea-leaves, in the seasons 

we didn’t realise were rehearsals. 

Lady you know who, the darkness and wetness 

implicit in the name, dangerous dew. 

Have we had enough practice, 

method acting unawares, 

for the lime-light and the curtain-call,

and the notices.




Christopher Riesco lives and works in Manchester.

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