Kabuki Sundays: Dancing on a Big Wave under an August Summer Moon – Act I

Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_Women_30
The curtain opens revealing the figures of Esmeralda and Diamante on stage. They are standing on a stone path holding beautiful umbrellas with intricate colored patterns and images. The artwork on Esmeralda’s umbrella depicts a giant fish leaping out of the water after a smaller fish that’s already in the air. On Diamante’s umbrella there is a purple plum tree in full bloom. Esmeralda is wearing a long elegant black ballroom gown with sequins. Diamante is wearing a short bright red strapless dress and bright blue socks.

Esmeralda is about to speak when a turkey enters stage left gobbling loudly. The animal struts in front of the the two characters, staring them down, before sprinting off stage right. A stage hand appears stage left panting and chases after it off stage right.

A light mist falls from above.

ESMERALDA: This rain is bad for my health.

DIAMANTE: Ok.

E: No, I’m serious. I can already feel a cold coming in the back of my throat.

D: Hmmmmm.

E: What do you mean ‘hmmmm’? Do you think I’m making it up?

D: Hmmmmm.

E: Diamante!

D: Well…. HRECH HRECH HRECH!

E: Sorry?

D: I said… HRECH HRECH HRECH!

E: What?

D: You smell bad, Esmeralda.

E: Diamante!

D: Putrid.

E: DIAMANTE!

D: VILE!

Esmeralda yanks on Diamante’s dress and rips a piece off, which she proudly waves in front of the audience. Diamante claws at Esmeralda, but she jumps aside. Diamante slaps her hard in the cheek. Esmeralda giggles and then sits down on a bench. Diamante moans, and then sits down shortly afterwards.

D: I do wish you’d take a bath though.

E: So do I. It sounds nice.

D: Yeah.

E: Yeah.

A phone rings. Esmeralda struggles to locate the phone before yanking it from underneath Diamante’s legs. Diamante sticks her tongue out at her and Esmeralda bats her away. She answers.

E: This is she.

D: I like shoes.

E: Hello?

D: I’m a beautiful woman normally, but with the right pair of shoes… wow, just wow!

E: You bastard, fuck off and die!

D: Esmeralda! That’s no way for a lady to talk.

Esmeralda looks at Diamante with a cold grin.

E: Fuck you, too!

D: What’s the matter with you?

E: It’s a mystery.

D: What do you mean?

E: Some bastard keeps calling me and hanging up before I can answer.

D: Maybe it’s Leon.

E: It’s not Leon.

D: You never know, it could be.

E: It’s not Leon!

D: Maybe you should let me answer next time. You’re probably scaring him away.

E: It’s not… You barely know him anyways.

D: He’s so beautiful!

E: I told you not to fall in love

The phone rings again. Diamante snatches the phone out of Esmeralda’s hand and runs away giggling and hides under a bush.

D: Hello? Hello? You gorgeous devil, are you there?

E: I should buy you your own phone so you stop taking mine.

Diamante, still crouching down, stares at the cellphone and frowns.

E: I told you it wasn’t Leon!

D: Why doesn’t he want to talk to me?

E: It’s not Leon! They probably want my credit card information.

D: So give it to them already! You might win a SmartCooker!

Diamante stands up and paces in front of Esmeralda, who massages her eyelids.

E: I’m not going to ask.

D: Haven’t you seen the videos on Youtube? You can cook an entire chicken and it will come out tasting like a fish!

E: It’s quite a time we live in!

D: It’s quite a time to live!

Inviting brass notes break in from offstage. Calling and responding to each other. Diamante looks at Esmeralda and nods, and they both stand up. Esmeralda sprints to a nearby trashcan, tosses her arm at her side and gallops back with periodic jumps. A drum line sounds. Esmeralda tosses her arm towards Diamante and nods again. Diamante dashes into Esmeralda’s arms, who proceeds to toss Diamante into the air, catch her again and spin around in a circle. An entire orchestra is now playing in the background. The drum is getting louder and louder.

Esmeralda puts Diamante back down at her side, they step apart, Esmeralda raises her right arm and Diamante raises her left, and they gaze off to God only knows where. The orchestra is getting faster and faster: BOOM-bah-bah! BOOM-bah-bah! Esmeralda and Diamante switches places and hold hands. They take two steps to the left and jump in the air, then they take two steps to the right and jump in the air. Then they jump backwards and throw their hands in the air.

Their steps are getting faster and faster. It’s hard to keep track of where their feet are at any one moment. They grab each other around the waist with their right arms and spin in circles. Faster and faster and faster and faster and…

The phone rings again. The music cuts. They stop suddenly and Esmeralda falls to the ground. Diamante hands her the phone.

E: Never mind I’ve got to get to work.

D: Me too!

Esmeralda places the phone on the bench and they both exit off opposite ends of the stage. The phone is still ringing after they’ve left.

(Click here to see Act II)

A raiva do mundo

Singer_Sargent,_John_-_Orestes_Pursued_by_the_Furies_-_1921

A raiva do mundo
é a raiva do mundo
é a raiva do mundo
na distância se ouve algo
é a raiva do mundo

Uma criança pisa em cima de um brinquedo
e chora
é a raiva do mundo

Uma moça rouba 3 pães, 2 maços de cigarro, uma lata de leite moça
e corre
é a raiva do mundo

Um homem compra uma passagem sem volta para Indonésia
e traga
é a raiva do mundo

Dois gatos quaisquer transam em frente da janela
e gritam
é a raiva do mundo

Aquela estátua ali do cavalo com a consciência pesada
é a raiva do mundo

O jornal jogado no chão e os cacos de vidro
é a raiva do mundo

E o ralo
os buracos
furacões
corações parados
sem saldos e vazios
água de borracha
fumaça
açúcar de plástico
garganta entupida
com Deus sabe o que
mais um abraço de chumbo
escorrendo para abaixo
encontro cancelado
com o cafeteiro do lado
mais a cinza dentro da barriga

E eu, sujo, queimado e desarmado, minto para o chefe
e durmo
é a raiva do mundo

Splotches of red on gray

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“I wanted to tell you a short story before I placed you in front of the wall and shot you. I wasn’t always such an angry young man. There were flowers and puppies in my past too, like everyone else. I blew on dandelions and dreamed of holding a girl’s hand.

“Life can be beautiful.

“I haven’t lost sight of that. I wouldn’t be here if I’d forgotten. But death can also be beautiful. That’s why we build countless monuments, big and small, in it’s honor. Even when we’re lying in the ground, we still aspire to soar up to the sky. Nobody gives a fuck about whether the pharaoh beat his wife thousands of years ago or treated his people with compassion or cruelty. No, they care about getting a selfie with the pyramids and ogling some lifeless wrapped up remains in a museum in case it springs to life.

“My father died when I was twelve. Or at least I think he died. They arrested him one day, and on the next day he was neither lying in the earth nor soaring in the sky. He was just inexplicably unjustifiably gone. They wouldn’t even speak his name.

“Sometimes I wonder where the girl from my dreams ended up. Is she designing dresses or mending them? Studying in Zurich or stuck in the same hole where we both grew up, now no longer a child but unable to ever quite reach adulthood? It’d be better if she stayed the young, beautiful, shy but still smiling girl with long dark brown hair and infinite freckles from my dreams. Maybe in another world she would have become my wife. Who can say?

“But I chose a different path. Cruel fate knocked me over and fashioned me into a speedy arrow, and now I must fly.

“Do you remember last year? It seemed like it was five straight months of endless protests and snow. Spring couldn’t have come any sooner, and when it did, it was like a flood. I’d never fired a gun before, but you changed all that.

“Maybe now you wish you weren’t such a coward. You wouldn’t be here in this situation now. And if I’m being honest, it could just as easily be me tied up and you with a gun in your hands. But it’s not. I thank God for that!

“I don’t want to die anymore than anybody else. But I’m a piece of shit. I drink too much, I smoke too much, I never shut my fucking mouth. Maybe I’d deserve it. Nevertheless there is the small fact that I’m right.

“You hesitated. I didn’t. You stepped on the tracks. Now the train to the future is bearing me forward shining its great light upon the patches of darkness. May injustice and barbarism be damned!”

It was an inconspicuous concrete wall, ugly and dull, now covered in splotches of red, and nobody could be sure whether the next rain would wash it off.

On the appropriateness of knives in cathedrals

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I don’t know what you mean
you mean
It’s like
Can’t feel my spleen
I’m bleeding

Came up to me
Said you wanted to worship
Feel free
But it hurts though
Like a dagger in the thigh though

Don’t know what you even mean
you mean
My pain is thirsty
For company to snort it up
Just playin

You’re looking worried
Worried
Don’t mean to hurt you
Just trying on words
Searching for that right fit

Fuck it
Fun is the wrong word
I’m trying to survive
Down on my knees
If it please you

Let go
And I’ll show you what I mean
I mean
I’m not what I seem though
There’s more I swear

It’s not much
But it’ll eat you up
Rawness
Is the name of the game
Or just skin rubbed red on the floor

Why can’t I feel the floor?
Beauty is overrated
When the sun is burning it off
Your prayers are outdated
Open your eyes

Faith in God
And revolutionary dreams
Funny shapes and the color green
It’s why I’m not dead
Busy looking for that tickling breeze

On Being an Artist

goyaSometimes I feel like I’m chasing after my own pain with a butterfly net, so that once or if I catch it, I can put it in a glass box in a zoo for people to come stare and bang at. Am really helping anybody? Or am I just tickling their egos while they jack off mine?

I was fine by myself. I was happy even. You can’t hurt anybody when you’re hiding in a pile of books. Why should I call attention to myself now? There’s too many fucking voices out there already. I despise them. There’s no peace outside. Just pretentious assholes. Do I wanna be another prick contributing to the noise?

What’s the point? I’m not beautiful. Neither are my words. The world is fucking ugly and disgusting. It’s dripping in the green runny mucus of greedy selfish arrogant bastards, who would be happy if some old lady tripped on their secretions and snapped her neck in two, but only as long as they knew it was their snot that’d done her in.

That’s when they tell us that mucus is beautiful. It’s hot. It’s in. It’s trending. Well, fuck me two times! If that’s beauty, I’d rather do something hideous. And anonymous. I’d rather pop my own pimples, thank you very much! NO CAMERAS ALLOWED!!

Everything’s different when I close my eyes. Then I can see. The bastard is tormenting me, wants me dead by 27. The inescapably bright light won’t let me sleep, and I can’t function when I don’t sleep! Is this a muse or my ego in a dress?

Some days all is so beautiful. I just wanna lay on the floor and penetrate my skin with it, rub it in my wounds, shove it up my nose, just get it inside me, burn the pain down to a wisp while the sink overflows and the inside of the fridge rots. Beauty is horrific and delicious. I can easily forget the day still goes by and that there is no one here but me.

Go ahead and laugh! At least my pain is a big fucking joke for somebody. My neuroses must seem adorable. Well, they’re not! They fucking suck! Everything I say sounds different once I’ve said it. My words are like balloons. Either I pop them, or they float away. Everything I create abandons me.

What’s the point? I’m condemned to be clever. This isn’t the 19th century. I can’t die a virgin and moan about unrequited love or die a patriot from tuberculosis. I can merely cry “authentically” while giving you a wink while crying on the inside.

So fuck you very much! I’m an artist.