Dust

a play-poem in one act

Act One

Scene: A Prairie, open and sprawling. A run-down house on a patch of sun-cracked dirt, porch sagging, the screen door hanging by a single hinge. A young boy hanging laundry on a clothes line. A wolfhound old, wild, mangy.

Not far off, a fire raging across the plain, the dry grass fueling.

Wolfhound

Kid’s table or
kids at a table
where they are ignored
by aunts or servers,
hungry
until they are noticed by
annoyed neighboring tables.
Complaints & heavy sighs & eye rolls.
What ever happened to the kid they used to be?

Boy

The kids we once were
are riding their bikes
down alleys of abandon.
You grew up. I refused.
Dilated dialogue into
mazed stories. Tell me, how
High are the bills piled?
What did you make for dinner?
How clean & empty is your plate?

Wolfhound

There is no more trading your
aggie
for their jasper, or for lost
summer days by raging rivers and tempting
river boats.
Whitewashing means something different today.
I can throw away my plate because it
is paper,
or worse.
Cheap ceramic, new ones on sale
at some Walmart.
Plates are no longer treasures to
cherish.

Boy

I fold paper plates into origami swans.
place them in canals disguised
as rivers. Watch them float, and soak
up water until they sink.

I dig graves for all the porcelain
I’ve lost. I break just to buy.

You tell me to clean my nails.
I beg you to get dirty.

Wolfhound

Then promise me secret signals &
passwords, handshakes &
little gifts. What kind of dirty?
There is no drive or need to run whiskey or numbers
these days. Our lives are no longer
innocent, and our heresies are
profitable. Don’t blame
technology for our cleanliness.

Boy

I’ve never taken the time to place blame.
There’s a speakeasy under your floor-
boards where I polish glasses in my down time.
What kind of dirty is there
but teeth gritting – mind numbing self-control?

Day in, day out, I cut my fingers
on dollar bills left as a tip
of impression. I serve with a smile –
but pray to you:
What god judges
heresy other than ones who can’t
hear their call?
My knees are red from bending.
My fingers are cemented in intertwine.

Wolfhound

Birth, or
heaven,
or motherhood, or children, or
child rearing…anything other than childhood.
There is no god of childhood.
Childhood doesn’t need one, except
to tear off tie & Sunday shoes an hour after
service to run barefoot in the mud and chase
river boats. Don’t worship
me.

Worship the child who lets their Sunday best
get covered in mud, who accepts the devil’s punishment
and does it again the following week.

Boy

We worship what we’ve lost.
In unbridled holiness – we’ve lost
everything, watched the House burn
to foundation, cursed the mud
that trapped our sanity.

I watch children play. Suit coats
ruined. Ties sway with gingered wind
and gentle break.

I do not miss what I do not know.

Please, come closer.
Whisper the devil in my ear.
Show me the ease of wanting.

Wolfhound

We’ve too much sanity, and not enough devil
to race again, to rile against.
Sanity is what happens when we no longer need
the devil to regulate us. Mud never trapped it.
Mud helped us to let go of it. I’d be your devil
if you’d turn to rebel against me.

Boy

Rebellion leads to uprising.
I watch – out of focus –
soldiers in empty fields.
I leave the screen door open –
apron on – inviting the breeze
to dinner.

Can you feel the change?
The violation of natural law?
The devil stopped showing up
so much that we stopped setting
a plate.
We transform into
the things we need.

I find myself folded into the shape
of desire.

The only thing I want to raise –
is the soiled flag of unrest boiling
at the brink of you.

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Dust
a play-poem in one act
-by Jess June & Ridire Quinn
photo by Jess June

 

The Space Between Stars

A Play-Poem in Three Acts


Act I
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Scene: A Café. A Tree growing in the middle. A Woman at a table. A Serpent.

Serpent:

Stop!
Don’t eat that.
Please.

Woman:

But it looks so delicious. Why?

Serpent:

The table, it wobbles. It
is missing a leg.
Precarious. Besides,
the light is dimmer;
it is being absorbed.

Woman:

You can swallow light
While the ship is sinking-
You can tap out S.O.S. with
the missing breath of your fingertips.
Consequences make the actions clearer.
The table wobbles- I sit still.

Serpent:

But your hands make no sense!
You have the eyes of a cat, but your
fingers reach through all illusion:
knuckle deep (with such intent!)
Even your stillness is facsimile
as your feet crest.

Woman:

Hands are composed of riddles.
They do not follow through.
They linger. They reach
when told to quit. I am moving
with the passing of minutes.
Have you seen my waltz?
It would stop your heart. You’d
have to kick yourself to keep
breathing. To move back as I come
forward.

But illusions build villages.
I take vacations to towns with no names.
I fly and sing and return with no
difference. As far as you see,
I am checking my watch. Trying
to swap napkins under broken feet.

Act II
Anslem Keifer 1945 Midgard 1982-1985 Mixed Media on Canvas 110x149in

Scene: A hanging-tree growing by a burial mound. A woman, naked, sprawled beneath. A serpent coiled around the rope.

Serpent:

Since that insipid forth day, the sun has set
watches. But the last village you set foot
in was built before that. Its name forgotten
when sunrise first sparked poetry. Don’t you
remember? Don’t you still hear the footsteps
on eternal dew-grass?

Woman:

The footsteps haunt my dreams.
Don’t you forget.
Don’t you remember?
When we leave, we tell ourselves
we’re moving forward.
But distance is a man-measured thing.
I reach my arm out, I still feel borders.

Serpent:

A border is the space between my
table and
yours;
between a wall and the paint;
between the hour and the minute hand;
between the ink and the skin.
There are no other borders,
not even between
an owl and its screech, or
between footsteps and dreams.
How dare you.

Woman:

Build a wall of sugar.
Watch it melt in moonlight.
Light a campfire only to
burn the feeling out
of your core.
My skin walks inches
that grow like wildflowers.
What seems so close in now an echo.
I scream with the owls, watch
my prey run. I told you to block the exits- you
insisted there was no way out.

Serpent:

Only because I saw no way
in.
You already blocked the entrances,
caved in passageways, breathed in
the chlorine gas as you scrubbed
the rock walls and sling-shot the
string lights. Moonlight is something
you have to emerge into.

Act III
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Scene: A desert. A sun-bleached dead tree(serpent skins hang from the branches.) The voice of a serpent. A woman, holding something in her hand. It glows, bright light is seen between her fingers. She cannot take her eyes off of it.

Woman:

You carry it on coat tails.
Did you know that?
It follows you. Aching.
There is always a way in.
You know that too well.
You used the silver spoons
you found to carve
an underground.
There’s no stopping a determined force.
That’s what all my bets are placed on.

Voice of a Serpent:

Palms and knees
are bloody from crawling on
broken glass, the safety features
having failed. The head inspector died
long ago, a croupier in his place.
It’s not true: I lost the spoons
on the same bet. I dug with a
harp strung with catgut once used
to accuse anyone who wore coat-
tails.
Myself included.
I was weak. I confessed and they allowed
me to dig my own grave.
I forgot moonlight. Ate earthworms.

Woman:

I am going to eat this now.

Voice of a Serpent:

There is nothing stopping you.

Fin


The Space Between Stars
A Play-Poem in Three Acts
by Jess June & Ridire Quinn
Originally Published at In Want of Jasmine on Nov 11, 2017

Notes on the Artwork:
-“Alizarine” by István Sándorfi 1994 Oil on canvas 130 x 130 cm
-Anselm Kiefer (German, b. 1945) “Midgard”, 1982–85. Oil and mixed-media on canvas. 110 × 149 in. (279.4 × 378.46 cm)
-“La Vérité sortant du puits” (1896), Jean-Léon Gérôme – Musée Anne de Beaujeu, Moulins (03)