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Over the Body of a Dead Actress (Ante el cadaver de usa actriz) [after Luis de Sandoval y Zapata] , By Jack Miles

July 04, 1999

Here lies the royal purple in repose,

The elegance, the carriage, and the flair,

The voice, a clarion whose sweet fanfare

Was tempered in its time by kisses, blows.

Love's page, love's bugle girl, her cry once froze,

Once summoned to the fray. Back then. Out there.

Her stilling binds in prison past despair

A crowd of sorry echoes, fans, lost souls.

The smile, the pout, the legendary leer--

But do we sense a stirring in the dark?

Bravisima, comedienne of scorn:

King Death applauds, then stops confused, unsure

If you are playing dead just for a lark

Or dying live, defying us to mourn.

Miles is the author of "God: A Biography." He is senior adviser to the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

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