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Extract from a Play for Voices

I wrote a sort of Play for Voices last year for something that didn’t end up coming off. I found it the other day and did a sort of rewrite. It was meant to be based on the Spring Heeled Jack myth and when I researched it I sort of incorporated the Mothman (not Richard Gere’s Mothman) myth and Perak in what was Czechoslovakia into it. It was written after the riots and all that rubbish so there’s some of that in there.  I was thinking about wild youth, decay of society, social responsibility and naughty scallywags etc.  I like the final piece. It’s sort of loose and strange but it reminds me of Clockwork Orange or something dystopian.  I’ll post sections on here because, I’m just wildly guessing, I reckon it’ll never be performed. Any-who it’s called Razor/Razor/Razor and the 3 characters/voices are Beresford, Gasser and Perak.  They’re all young boys/scallywags who have in some way been possessed by Springheeled Jack/Mothman/Perak/wanton violence and are now in a cell awaiting their punishment.  The call of a crane is meant to represent the Mothman because (from memory and lacking my notes) that is the sound people claim to hear before seeing it. I’m sure Gasser is a play on some variant or idea of the myth too – maybe something about the apparition giving off a gas or maybe it’s a name variant – I hath lost my notes. Here it is. Act 1 so to speak!

Act 1


Dark room.


3 teenage boys sit against a wall in a dank cell. They might be sleeping.


They are: Beresford, Gasser and Perak.


They raise their heads at the call of a crane.


P – Listen


B – Five calls and we’re done.  Four more left and they’ll come for us.  It’s only right.


G – We’re done in, done over, done for.


B – We’ll get what’s coming.  I can still feel it.  Him.


P – Fitted.


G – A numb suit.


P – Perfect.  Pulsing.


B – The scrape of steel, razors down a blackboard. Our Razor. Chalk of words, wiped away, a palimpsest mess, scar the layers.


P – It’s music.


G – Silence.


P – The sound of life, as it was, as it isn’t.  In the rubble of the ruined.


B – Ruined.


G – Nothing is.


P – Gave me a fire, flicked a switch, struck a match.  Then up it goes.  Burning still.


B – Never doused.


G – Without heat.


P – As hot as the sun.


G – And as distant. Close. Elliptical.


B – As bright as all that and never setting, burning dreams and waking.  This great ball of what’s done.


P – What I did.  What I dream of doing.  I wait for sleep just to remember.


G – Sleep and waking.  Waking and sleep. All the same.


B – Always there.  Burrowing.  Their eyes.


G – Her legs. Cold touch. Nothing.


P – Burning.  Like the world soaked in petrol. Like the sun rupturing. Solar storm. Souls in storms.


G – In ice.


B – In perpetuity.


P – In me.


G – In her.


B – In eyes.


P – In flames.


B – In eyes.


P – Incandescent.


G – Innate.


B – And the voice.  Like a radio, detuned, out of tune, buzzing, the static of in-between words.  Distorted silence.  Distort this silence.


P – The music of white noise.  Perfect.


G – The stillness in gaps.


P – Wonderful shouting.  Wailing.  A prayer of garbles.


G – I was deaf to all else.


B – I can’t get rid of the sound.  The harmony of urgency.  Pulsing.  The fog around the chimney, choking.  The coughing escape.  I saw a fox crushed by wheel and blamed myself.  My hands.  And all the careless touches.


P – Urging.


G – Coaxing.


B – Listen.


Sound of boots on concrete.  Marching. In the distance is military singing – a choir of fascist chanting as of Nazi Germany.


P – They can’t get at it.  It’s locked in us.  Even here, locked up, deep, as dark as this room.


G – I hear that.


B – I hear them.


P – I heard him.  His…


P/B/G together – razors.


G – Scraping.


B – Clawing.


Sound of boots again.


B – How did I get here?


G – You brought yourself.


P – You had nowhere else to go.  Born for it.  Lived towards it.


B – Dragged me here.


P – The drug of it.  I can taste the feeling still.  Smooth pill, slick medicine.


G – Placebo.


B – Parasite.


P – Pater noster.


G – Our own.


B – And it stays.  Stuck.  A thorn in the mind.  Sucked in.  Porous thoughts.  Should have left it alone.  Unfound, unbidden, unbound.


P – Loved it.


G – So it is, so it was, so it might be.  So what.


B – Soiled memories.


P – Planted, blooming.  Listen.


The boots again.  They stop.  The chanting stops and after a moment of silence it is replaced by the call of a crane.  2nd call. The room goes dark.



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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