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The scholarship, established in memory of the late actor David Coleman Dukes, is awarded annually to a third-year Theater Arts student working toward a career in stage acting. A bronze plaque commemorating the scholarship benefit held in David Coleman Dukes' name can be seen in the lobby of the Bing Theater, off Queen's Court on the USC campus.
— Madeline Puzo, Dean, USC School of Theatre

 © 2012 Carol Muske Dukes

• Poems: Green River Cemetery & The Grief Game
21 Apr 2009

Carol's poems Green River Cemetery and The Grief Game were recently published in the Winter 2009 edition of The Kenyon Review.

Green River Cemetary

Grace to be born and live as variously as possible.
— Frank O'Hara's epitaph

O his epitaph is happy —
A small shoal of grace: To be
Born and to live variously

Unlike her tragic headstone:
Smooth, with another's name
Appended. They lie in Green

River, near where I off & on
Live. Yet dying takes us far &
Variously, as Frank says, his

Tablet lying fiat, like a toy
Shield cast aside, its carved
Words brightening in sun.

Sometimes I come here
With poets who spend time
Among the names, loitering —

As on the page. Waiting
For a phrase, lighting up
A smoke: a touch of white

Space between characters.
All around us are the wild
Plots of artists: painted boulders,

Signed mirrors. But the poets
Kneel down to read: Frank
O'Hara, Jean Stafford
. Remember

Each dream you believe is
Yours, you who sometimes bide
On the grounds of Green River.

The Grief Game

Some say that all elegies are mirrors —
But I say I'd rather imagine Catullus

Ranting in his brim-back 9th-inning cap:
That you're never going to feel better

About losing the one person you never
Wanted to lose. Habeas corpus. But face

It. We're all players of the Grief Game,
so ante up! Two dead friends are trumped

by one late spouse (and suicides are wild —
like Dead Man's Hand: take all). Grandma

& Grandpa are low-ball vs. one baby at
birth or old enough to Text ... You begin

to tell your tale of loss and they start in
on theirs: the friend with brain cancer

whom you never liked — how can one
cupped match rival your Eternal Flame?

I knew a widower who cheered at
The news of a plane shrieking out

Of the sky one day after he buried her —
Or the widow who told me she'd

Happily see her dear & sympathetic friends
Slaughtered, if that brought Hubby back.

Tell me, Catullus, on what flat stone
Do we barter for their remains &

Sell out the stakes? We say we'd
Bring them back, one by one, by shiny

Hearse-train or that single black chariot?
Or maybe not at all — if we had to snuff

Our own candles-in-the-wind as collateral?
Nights praying he'd walk through the door,

Shouting Hi, I'm home! But, wait! At the
Cost of you, Indispensable You, face-down

In the pantry, stiff? Life tries to imitate
Art, and art Death — but there's that flat

Stone, in this desert here, where, alone, within a
Heartbeat: we are absolutely nothing to each other.

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