Scene Four

You really want to know what is happening don’t you?

Somewhere between these lines you are looking for meaning, for something, for an explanation, a revelation, a glimpse.

Hope. That’s what you are looking for, isn’t it?

A reason – surrounded by the flames you only hope for a drop of water to place on your tongue.

But you didn’t know did you?

You didn’t know that there are places where, when the evening sets, and the roar begins to come – they are afraid. Unable to protect themselves – they run.

You didn’t know that there are people who can tell you stories of lifetimes and generations that lived in terror.

That water can drown you.

But you were consumed by the flames, and in being consumed by the waves you weren’t ready. And because you weren’t ready no one can blame you.

*

It takes about three to four minutes for the average human being to drown. The first immersion in water is often the most shocking – and the most refreshing. The first few seconds are a relief. Especially if the immersion comes from heat – and the drowning is unexpected. Water has a calming, floating, cooling effect.

Once the body begins to run out of oxygen a nerve ending will send a message to the brain which then tells the body to reach for oxygen. This takes about .008 seconds.

It is around this time that the panic sets in. As the body tries to get out of the water and is stopped the imminence of the lack of oxygen begins to set in. Eyes start darting, trying to find an exit. Hands flay, swish one way and another. The body begins to thrash.

A gasp.

The first gasp, one can imagine, is the beginning of the end.

The lungs give up and expel whatever carbon dioxide has built up from all the thrashing and, despite all alarms going off, still expect oxygen from the outside world. After all, this is what they know – and this is what they were designed to do.

Instead a mouthful of water finds its way there.

This, being not right, is rejected. And each cough up leads to another mouthful of water.

It is in the effort to undrown that we kill ourselves.

*

 

You had read it somewhere – or you knew about it. And, even if you didn’t read it you’d still have known. From how they spoke about water in whispers despite the flames.

From how, even as the world burned down they fanned the flames – a defiance of logic.

*

 

The thing is, there is only one way to reach the end – and that way starts at the beginning.

 

You have been trying to reach the beginning but all you could see was destruction. It’s like somewhere there was a point – and then there was chaos.

 

And no one has looked back since.

 

*

 I’m about to drive in the ocean

imma try to swim from something

bigger than me

kick off my shoes

and swim good

and swim good

 

  • Frank Ocean

 

*

 Except you, like a pillar of salt you stare back in defiance. A tribute to the violent nature of memory. To the defiance of memory. A testament to all that dare remember you stand there burning – oblivious to the violence of your flames.

*

In scene three there is a Mexican stand off. A dog holds a carrot, a sandwich maker holds 3 slices of forever and you stand there with nothing but your flames.

The world dares everyone to move.

The night comes and goes as you flicker.

*

Question: How many things do you know that can make the night go away?

Answer: I know only of the moon and its many descendants.

*

Do the children of the moon need the sun? Is it blessed to bask in the afterglow of a star? Or is it constantly pulling to remind us that it is on our side?

Are the waves the moon trying to end its pain?

*

 

Let’s assume that a dog and the moon met in an alley. In this exchange, that may or may not have happened, the moon might or might not have given the dog a carrot.

Now let’s assume, since we are assuming things, that the dog had previously received a picture of a sandwich maker in the mail.

Would the evidence be circumstantial? Or would the sun sentence the dog to burn?

*

You lost your first slice of forever somewhere in the fast paced streets of the city. No one had warned you of the thieves that lurked in the evening. That the period when matatu fares went up and the shadows came out to play was where you’d be at your most vulnerable.

Your second slice of forever went missing when you went on holiday. You suspect that you dropped it running between terminals at the airport but it’s more likely that you forgot it in your hotel room.

The third slice of forever was taken from you. You know exactly where it went. You were there, you watched. Not a night goes by where you don’t remember the violence. But life happens as it does and sentimentality only gets in the way of production – or so you’ve been told.

Sometimes you try to listen. Most times you’re a pillar of salt.

You don’t remember how long you’ve been trying to find the pieces you lost.

*

How many times must we die before we live?

*

In scene five there is blood, plastic and ash.

*

And when the night came back the third time a bark was heard. At first they thought it was the howl of a wolf, calling to the moon to raise water and put the sun out once and for all. Calling once more on a power that was both insufficient and unlistening. Perhaps not insufficient but without listening power is just sporadic flashes.

And then a blast.

And then a blast.

So when then night came back and the barks filled the hollow of the night they paid no attention. Not even when the howl came with the best minds destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets.

When the night came back they weren’t ready. And because they weren’t ready no one can blame them.

*

How much water would it take to extinguish the sun?

Your lungs burn as the moon tries to force feeds you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *