THREE FIGURES. Emma, A YOUNG WOMAN WITH HAUNTED EYES. The Red Man, face obscured by a huge mask. The smoke, formless. Emma stands.
I have to tell you something, something you will forget
He won’t let you remember, yet
He’s probably watching
He always sees
Even when I don’t recall; praying or forgetting, he sees it all
I’m howling on my knees
The Red Man stands.
I hear writing
Nails scratch on chalkboard
The folk that fault me
Don’t know how I loved that boy
Come he would say in his gruff gray voice
And I did come
There was no shame in our touch
Swept away by the lingering night
never waking, the merest whisper of my name, I’d run to him
The smoke speaks in many voices, overlapping.
Chant, chant the wicked world, chant the wicked
I was two I wouldn’t care to eat
One knew the other, the other knew nothing
He my protector, I his muse
That relationship of equitable misuse From that same table
Now I have nothing Scent of meat, faintly rotting
No boat, serene on the water
No lap of waves
Mumbling prayers in the naves Clots my nostrils up like glue
Boil, roil and boil the stew, spew it, chew it
Fool, the fool, fly, fly fool, you knew it It wasn’t …
A brief silence. Emma laughs.
Thanks for that. My peaceful moment in the wreckage. I hear …
My brief moment.
Emma puts her head in her hands.
Oh, God, where are they? The wicked world.
They come from nowhere, beseeching Clots my nostrils up.
That squealing howling chorus, entreating come …
Come to life, come to madness, come to Hell with us, come Dance, the wicked
As once I came, as I once came Dance, Clot, Dance.
but then would not, to him.
Is this your vengeance, sweeper, father, teacher?
Because I could not listen anymore?
Because I did not seem to glisten, in your eyes, as pearls glisten?
The folk that fault, fault me. Wicked. The boy I don’t know. Fool. Scratch the boy. Stew. Scratch the boy. Spew.
Emma speaks calmly.
Stop. Say one more thing and I’ll scream. I will.
Sometimes they listen.
I have to go to bed, I have to rest
my head, and neck, and shoulders ache with the pain of a thousand lifetimes.
I have to sleep among the flotsam and detritus
because I would no longer come as he wanted me to. Wicked.
Come to me he’d say. Clot, boy.
Dance with me, girl. Boil.
Scream me to sleep, girl. Nails, meat.
All, in harmony for a brief moment.
I have to tell you.