The Melloniad 2019

Migrations! We set our journey into motion
with Martin’s expertise in kochemer loshn
lost beggar-tongue of hobo, thief, and rogue
(might Mad Men help to put it back in vogue?).
Decoding it took shady special ops,
like dictionaries compiled by the cops:
paranoid archives for the gatherer-hunter,
plus boxes of the stuff from Uncle Gunther.
Neoliberalism found its remedy
in brothers Karamazov and Kennedy:
with Reza Abdoh dancing in the street,
no wonder everyone was packing meat.
Who knew extravaganzas this berserk
performed transnational parricidal work?
Patricia’s reading helped us all, forsooth,
migrate our way through theory to see the truth.
Next Gabriela came to duly warn us
the border’s always already performance—
less set of facts than phantasmagorical prism
for misadventures in colonialism.
So how do you make a border disappear?
Some paint, a ladder, and high heels, my dear!
With historicizing as our latest tool,
Lizzy took us back to singing school.
To plumb a civil rights anthem’s mystery
we traced its organizing history—
and though protest singers’ blowin’ might be windy,
“We Shall Overcome” belongs in Hindi.
Could an itinerant art be any sweeter
than multimodal and transnational theater?
Debra helped us all to understand
the Vilna troupe as iconic global brand.
Back on 2nd Avenue, we got our geek on
for gender-bending actress Molly Picon:
if you want to be a global Yiddish star,
have someone somewhere else know who you are.
We let archival dramaturgy ring,
turning loyalty questionnaire to scriptive thing.
When documents interpellate us by name,
Ju Yon proposed a dramaturgical frame:
rather than identify with their mission,
resist the circulation of suspicion!
Helena brought philosophy to calm us,
plus conflicted Officer Juan in striped pajamas.
Open or closed borders? We heard tell
of a brand new pink rocking horse (Marcel),
and frazzled Mom, protecting her son’s booty,
called to distinguish right from moral duty.
The cutting edge of modern ethical theory
suggests “most people are not a*******s really.”
And having made space for tears and celebrations,
we close the Mellon chapter on “Migrations.”


See also: Andrew Sofer