THE STONE SPEAKS
For crazy actors forced to audition
- Galatea’s Tears
- The Russian Doll
- The Tramp in Technicolor
- A Heratoiran
- White Whale’s Gastric Problems
- If Iago Spoke Some More
- Joseph’s Last Words
- The Deaf-Mute Mother’s Song
- Lady Beth, An Epilogue
- The Devil’s Apologia
Once. Once, I lived inside a rock, buried in earth, under mountains and oceans, and life was peaceful and pleasant. That is, until the day the gods decided to move the world, and slowly, inch by inch, by the year, by the century, by the millennia, I got my first glimpse of the sun. How I hated them! Those haughty creatures who taught themselves better than a thing in a rock! I vowed my cruel prayers against their hubris, they will fall. It would only take a good sized pebble in the right place to bring down a god. And so it was that I ended by the mountainside and not properly beneath it.
Life was made a living hell. Birds would perch and leave their droppings, not a second thought that something sentient was inside. Children, annoying malformed brats, would shout and run and scuttle and dig and piss and fart, not knowing that I was there. And I was there for a long time because even if it might be unknown for things and persons to reside in rocks the popular belief that rocks cannot move on their own volition remains a good solid truth. The last straw in the end were the lovers, who carved their names and little hearts and soon-to-be broken promises, and kiss or make love not bothering to cover up because they did not know that someone could see everything. I saw everything, fat things, too thin things, sweaty pulpy things, bloody pus things, all the things that did and they did, I saw them all.
I would have revenge, sweet, so sweet revenge. In between the spaces, within the soil, I slowly shifted, coiling the energy given to hard things, making my hands and feet ready, so that when I was set free, if I was set free, I would at least have revenge over one living thing. It might not be a god, or a bird, or a couple of giggling dolts, but at least I would have my revenge and that would be the most a rock could aspire to in life, to hit and to make something fall with a clear and definitive thud.
It was about that time, when I have achieved a form apt to smite, that I was found by a greying old man with eyes made of water. This man was strange, different from the rest, he stood a good day under the sweltering sun and freezing starless night looking at me, just looking at me. I swear, he was looking at me. It is not often, and I am not sure if I even did, that a rock blushes, but I think I did. He saw me when no one else did not, pay attention to the lowly thing that I was, even when the gods turned a blind eye. And when he touched me, laid a hand on my craggy flesh, did I shiver. I am sure to this day that he felt it because at that precise moment that layer of ice that kept the water in his eyes gave way to tears.
I was brought to his home, humble and peaceful, warm and quiet. It reminded me of my native place beneath the earth, beside the steady beating heart of the world. For the first time in a long while, I was happy, genuinely ecstatic as a rock could ever be. He looked at me once more and asked me without speaking the question, “May I?” and he heard my reply. He took his tools and started setting me free, making me naked.
Those were perhaps the best days of my life. While he worked, I tingled, remembering those lovers who swooned and cried when they were touched. When he was resting, he sang out of key and told jokes that were not funny. And when he slept, I watched him, his chest moving like the tide, his tummy like the birth and death of the mountain, and his heart much, so much like mine.
He grew old and I watched him grow old. His hair had completely fallen off when he finally unfastened a path to my lips, and I said my first words for human ears. “Don’t,” I said. I am not sure if he understood me, if we were even using the same language but he kissed me nonetheless. He kissed as my arms under rock were shaking beneath his throat. “If you set me free, I will kill you.” My first lesson in the mortal world was that words were no match for kisses. My will softened with his bird bites and I could no longer warn him of my hatred, of that sheer unstoppable cruel intent fostered by the abduction from my home. From the sight and feel of my lips, he found an inhuman zeal, he worked tirelessly, ceaselessly. Finally, I was fully made naked, in front of a man who looked more wraith than man. “I have been made very happy,” those were his last words, and I remember them even now after the sun has died and the lovers have long gone and I stay as I will always stay above the soil, sitting on top of the grave of the man I once loved.
And now, pardon me, as this old rock will give way to tears.
The Russian Doll
Mommy died when I was born. So did grandma when mommy was. And so did hers, my grandma’s, when she was. Cut through the belly was what they said, and there was Minka, another one because the old Minka just died. And this Minka would be lucky too, just like the last one was, rich, and powerful, beautiful, and big so very big that the small tiny town will love her so very much. So the Minkas were loved, maybe because they were so very rich. There was a time that the farm and the grocer and the electric company were in my family name, the Minka family name. We held all the great parties, and knew all the right people. I have the pictures and I can prove it. But then as the greats were heaped up in front of the grandmas’ names did we grow smaller, too small even for a small tiny town. We first lost the electric company and then the grocer and finally the farm. The last Minka, my mommy Minka, was poor but at least she had friends, and in a small town like this, maybe friends are all you need to survive. They gave her surplus food and clothes they did not need, and from the pictures she looked happy, and for that I am happy for her. I am also Minka but I am not great, I have no money, and friends I do not even have. I am so very afraid because I am pregnant and perhaps it is time that I was cut through the belly too.
The Tramp in Technicolor
Are you laughing at me? Are you? Tell me, why are you laughing? A cudgel hits my head, and HAHA. I slip on a peel, and HIHI. What’s so funny about that? What if I get a concussion? This is proper dangerous work and all you can do is titter, giggle, and guffaw. Let’s see you take a whopper on your head. Let’s see you like that.
What really gets me is… what you really laugh at is not the clomps and whoopsies, you laugh at my pain, good and proper human pain. You laugh when I lose the girl, when I am completely and utterly humiliated, my tragedies. You want to laugh at my tragedies?
You know what? I quit. No more to these games. Ha. See, I get the last laugh! A well-punctuated Ha! Ha! to the lot of you idiots. What will do with your Technicolor lives without the old B and W vaudeville?
But wait a minute… Wait a bloody minute. What will I do now? A proper job, a proper life with a proper wife. Hmmm… Not half bad. What do you think? No more chasing after the girl or scrapping up a few pennies for a laugh. Yeah, I can get used to a life like that.
But. But. That’s your life. That’s your inane Technicolor life. There’s no drama, no structure. I never get to play the hero again. Farewell to whimsy.
Oooh. Never to that. Never. Fine have your laughs but I’ll have my stories, I’ll have my adventures. And maybe before the credits roll, I’ll even get the girl.
So here you have it again, ladies and gents, silence.
He rides to battle, and we ride with him. That is the way of the Heratori. We ride for the dream of conquest, for gold and women. Countless wars have passed yet still we are here for that man with the dream. Through hunger, steel and fire, we remain steadfast.
Even now, in front of an enemy we cannot conquer, the army remains intact, an odd legion of boys bedazzled by the fantasy of victory and old legends that can rival the gods, all familied and storied men such as I. We march steadily on, and one by one we will drown or fall over a cliff or walk straight into the beast’s gaping mouth. No man can defeat Death himself. But if someone can, it is him.
Come brothers, let us be fodder or blade, whatever is needed. Onwards to the black night, my Alexander. Lead us to victory.
That is all I have to say.
White Whale’s Gastric Problems
It hurts. It hurts so much. Stop screaming would you? Why are you even inside me?
Get out! Get out! Leave me be.
But it still rings inside me, men of prayer, wooden boys and crickets chirping conscience, and that man with the spear. The noise!
I just wanted to eat what was behind you. Why didn’t you get out of the way? Yes, I was the same whale. Yes. Yes. Argh. I read all the books why does everyone blame me? It’s not my fault I have a mouth and you are tiny. I was hungry for the things behind you!
Oh. It hurts. It hurts so much. And it’s idiots that make me hurt. Are there even whale doctors? Cure me of idiocracy!
If Iago Spoke Some More
I shall speak no more.
‘Twas sheer felicity that mine tongue was held,
Keeping Seraphim words at bay!
Oh now that I am quiet, let me shout,
And free the shackles of my now broken heart,
‘Twas love, great Moor, ‘Twas love, O lord,
That coiled the serpent’s tongue and poisoned
The Damsel Eve, that saccharine red fruit,
That cruel trickster that bends good men’s will.
Never was there a green evil eyed monster,
But only I who adored your pomp,
When you fancied only those who do not deserve such love.
The spider’s web is but a marriage bed,
Yet you make it now to be mine prison cell
And thus you banish me from your side,
Suffer me not death,
I do not fear the Reaper, but only
That which reaps you away from me.
Joseph’s Last Words
I am a father of a child not mine, lowly human thing am I. I taught my son how to shape wood, yet a greater One taught him how to shape men’s hearts. I am a husband to a wife not mine, a wife I could not touch since she must remain pure of heart, she that spent her nights not in bed but in prayer by its side. I am a man not mine for I will be most remembered for agreeing to the angel when he came to me, to be a husband and father to a family not mine.
That is all there is to me, a yes, an affirmative to sacrifice my hands and feet, my loins and gender, the titles father and husband. All else is forgotten.
Oh, one thing more might be remembered, printed one day in some heavy book of platitudes, I once asked my wife, “Where do we sleep tonight?”
The Deaf-Mute Mother’s Song
Lady Beth, an Epilogue
My lord, I have bloodied thy hands,
A red that washing cannot cleanse, and for what
I doth not remember, ‘twas not ambition,
Ambition is a man’s game, and not man am I, nor woman
In that case, but wife to thee, only wife to sweet Glamis.
For mine sake, a hellish spectre must have taken hold,
Maddened to deeds against king and country,
Yet I doth not repent one cruel deed, I am no baby I,
And would, if time permit, drive that blade myself
And claim what doth deserve.
Perhaps there were no witches in the mist,
Perhaps three was one, and one was I,
I that doth reddened the hands of Lord Macbeth, and
So let me say farewell mine heart, fret not,
You shall see me soon again.
The Devil’s Apologia
It’s Him they love, not I, a quandary that has plagued me for centuries. Men are creatures who are easily fooled by songs and lighting effects. My black gospel is for them! Black is not the shade of evil but of fullness, a fullness so dense that no artificial light from the sky can pass through, no false dogmas and heavy maxims. That blackness is but one word, “Live.” Live, man, live! I am not an enemy to men, but its real saviour. I do not resort to cheap theatrics but undergo a real dialogue with, that they call temptation. Oh. Hell is not a place for bondage but freedom, true freedom! A freedom that encompasses the entirety of creation and not just a brand which chains you to that horrible word, responsibility or worse yet faith. How can I watch those things like me be so servile, sheep to the slaughter, when they can be so much more? Tiny gods themselves! My gospel is to want, to desire, to capture every fleeting sensation in their brief and beautiful lives, and they spurn me, use me as a bedtime story for the benefit of morality, an antagonist in the battle of what is right and wrong. If there was one man who listened, he would know that I fight not for myself but for humanity.
So what if man falls to sin, if he kills or be killed? I dare say, life is not the greatest value in the world but living. What is a life unlived but a waste. Piety, poverty, chastity, to me these are all synonymous to the contents of a trash can.
My legion is filled with heroes, men who fully lived and not simply waited by the wayside. Compared it to His which is filled with the humble and meek, martyrs who can only appreciate pain and boredom. Let us see who wins in the end. Let us see who humanity roots for.
But for now, I will wait, there is time and I am patient. Very, very patient.
BJ C. l November 2012