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An Act too far? Act 4…

Act 4

 

Perak

 

Perak stands up and pushes Gasser down.  He is stocky, tanned, angry, skin headed.

 

P- you’re tripe, your words are coracles sinking in river mud.  Beach your mouths, drown your nouns and stick with this, this our Razor: he’s in you.  Like a mole, pale and smooth at birth, it grows, bubbles, darkens and sprouts hard hairs.  Then you feel the ache, beneath it, dull and always, always and dull.  That’s it.  A word it might become, get a name, but words get forgotten, deeds never fade so soon.

 

G- It wasn’t in my hands.  I didn’t grip it always, hold it always.

 

B- We stumbled on it.  Fell. Fall.

 

P- There’s no falling for the fallen.  The floor hitting hopeless.  Your faces struck concrete and your eyes opened, your slapped faces cried and you were done.  In closed eyes it comes.  Who longs for waking when sleep whispers so well?  Cut.  Become. What steel is needed when fingers can tear?  Batter.  Beat. Break.   All my life I found joy in breaking.  I broke birds. I drowned cats in pans.  I kicked rats into the river.  I leapt out.  I made a girl go silent.  I made a child give up on words.  I longed for it.

 

B – Listen.

 

Sound of boots.  Singing. The mixed sound of song.  The voices of women, almost like psalms being sung.

 

Gasser and Beresford stand.

 

G- My hands are wet.  I can’t get them dry.

 

B- Cry.  It’s the only sound that’s free. 

 

P- You gave your words to guilt.  Why?  It’s a perfect choice, this choice we made.  Spill it.  Spoil it.

 

G-It was already spoilt.

 

P- Spoil it more.  Mark the world.  Spread discord.  Cut the chords, wrap it, pull it, choke the world, drag on its latitude, yank on its longitude until it sputters, begs.

 

G- You’re wrong.  There’s nothing real to any of it but for this wetness.  Water. Wound.  Weep.  I can’t weep.

 

B- Weep then.

 

P- Why weep?

 

G- I can’t weep, I’ll drown if I weep.

 

P- Get drowning then.

 

G- I’m too dry to drown.  It’s all in my hands.  Lake.  Pond.  Pool.  Fool.

 

P- Then listen.  Hear a proper razor scraping you to truth. I had a thorn in my palm, a splinter in my thumb, a spear in my side.  I let them fester.  Heard him clearly.  Our Razor.

 

G- Never stopped.

 

B- Singing.

 

P- Choral.  I sang too.  I sang when I tore underskirts.  I sang when I opened guts. I sang when the whole city cried.  And sang and ran and ran and sang and made the world a symphony.

 

G- It’s phoney.  False and fake.

 

P- I am him.  I can feel the thorn.  Push it in.  Push it deep inside me and let it fester.

 

B- You need to listen.  Listen. Out there there’s no light left. 

 

P- And the night.  And the night.  And the night.

 

B- And the fight’s all gone.

 

G- It’s wet and can’t be held.

 

P- Weld your words to truth.  You made him, you found him, you wanted him, you are him.  Listen.  He’s out there now. Close.

 

B- I sink.

 

G- I drown in my palms.  Face down.

 

P- Pull him up.

 

G- Hold me down.

 

B- Lift him up. We could drown him. I want to drown him.

 

G – Drown me.

 

B- in flesh?  His palms are as dry as his memories.  Let him fall.

 

P- As we all did.  Listen, my head smacking the floor. That was how all this began.  That sound is the first sound I heard.  Thud.  I fell and thudded, thudded and thought I knew I could never stand, never pull myself up. It was last summer, do you remember the heat of it?  That heat was my cloak, my helmet, my flaming eyes and arms, my metal fingers.  Not found, not made, just me.  Me made from me.  And then I knew.  I had to leap.  The city choked.  I choked it.  I gripped it, held it, took its light and brought forward night.  I was everywhere and upon everyone,.  I was the heat that didn’t lessen through night.  Windows open, throats for choking.  I moved from the broken city and I made them wake.  I made them seer.  I made them sing. I made them weep and weep and weep.

 

G- I made her sleep.

 

B- I woke them up.

 

P- We woke them. Shook them awake.  Listen.  They’re out there now, shaking as the world shakes.  It spreads. I spread it, bounded walls to make life whimper.

 

G- Disease.

 

P- Apotheosis.

 

B- Pathetic.

 

G- Pacing up and down.  Boots on sand.

 

B- Over every wall there’s a beach.

 

G- A sea.  Water waiting for skin to be washed.

 

P- You can’t wash steel.  You shine it, smooth it, keep it clean.

 

G- And use it.  The sea is wet. The land is dry.

 

B- And you cry.

 

G- To drown I cry, to catch my end in my palms.

 

P- Give up and listen. You’re it.

 

B- There’s nothing now.

 

There is a sudden banging as of a fist hammering at a door.  Five loud bangs.

 

Voice – Time. Time now.  Time.

 

Silence.

 

Boots marching closer.

 

P- I can hear him.  Hammering the world.

 

G- In the waste.

 

B- Made up.

 

P- Made out of what’s left.

 

G- Over.

 

P- It’s everywhere.

 

The psalm singing returns but now it is the harsh voice of a man, distorted, reversed, confused, mixed up with screams and cheering.

 

P- They can hear him now. Everywhere. Anywhere.  We made this.  Dreamt it. Found it.

 

G- It’s steel cutting at time.

 

B- Bleed a clock.

 

P- Let time drip till there’s no time left. Dry hours. Desert of days.  Let me tell you quickly, I went out, that last night, and I couldn’t stop.  Every leap took me forward, found more rats for the river, showed dull grey eyes, dead eyes, and I made them shut, cut them shut.  But there were others, leaping, everywhere.  The rooftops speckled.  Perching there. Carrion crows. We were a murder. The scent of oilcloth. The stink.  Kerosene night.  And we held our hands out to the moon and cried.

 

Call of crane -5th and final call – the sound doesn’t stop – it echoes and gets louder and louder.

 

G- Five.

 

B- We’re done.

 

P- Done, what’s being done but something ending. End to begin, begin to end. That sound was us.  Our call.  Hundreds.  Beacons spreading.  Infecting.  Perching there I could see the horizon glinting, like flames on steel, and every glint birthed a second glint, a third, a fourth.  So I was stuck there, numb with awe, a stone grotesque.  They came for me and took me here, closed me in, but listen. 

 

Call of crane echoes on, harsh psalms, boots.

 

P- It’s layers.  We palimpsests.  We beginners.  We listeners.

 

G- I’m drowning.

 

B- In clarity.

 

G- I know.  I see it.

 

B- We beginners.

 

P- We begin and the dull world shines.

 

G-Bleeds and begs to drown.

 

B- But makes a sound.

 

P- And silence is gone.  And light returns.

 

G- Not light.

 

B- The mimicry of light is enough.

 

P- Listen.

 

Keys in door.  The door opens and there are figures.  Just distorted shadows.

 

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About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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