A JOURNAL OF EXTREMITY

"White City," Pt. 1

"White City," Pt. 1

Scene I: The White Room

(D wears a white institutional jacket.)

(M wears a white institutional gown.)

(M and D sit across from one another in the White Room.)

(There is a long silence.)

(Then, the slow build of a low sound.)

(M glances back and forth as though to trace its source, but she cannot. The sound is possibly mechanical, possibly human, possibly some amalgam of both. The sound is strange and low and—most importantly—untraceable.)

D:        Describe yourself, as you exist in your imagination.

(A long silence. M does not speak. D writes something down.)

D:        Describe yourself, as you believe others imagine you.

(A long silence. M does not speak. D writes, then sets his clipboard on his lap.)

D:        Describe yourself.

(An even longer silence. M does not speak, but she looks up. D nods, smiles. M nods tersely. Then, she looks back down.)

D:        Describe a space.
        A space that feels like a home.
        A safe space, if you wish.
        Another space.
        A space that only you’ve imagined.

(A long silence.)

D:        I can help you, if you need me to.

(A silence.)

D:        I can help you, if you need me to.
        Help you describe that space.

(An overhead light starts to flutter. It emits a sound—a new sound, different from the other—that is unmistakably mechanical. M looks up at the light. She winces, as though she has realized something. She looks back down—at D—and sighs.)

D:        Close your eyes, now.

(M nods. She folds her hands, closes her eyes.)

(D closes his eyes, too.)

(The light fades in the White Room, dims to black.)

 

Scene II: The White City

(A low, dim spotlight slowly pans over the shapes of a surreal white landscape: the White City.)

(In the White City, it is night.)

(White specks of stars and small windows of houses blink, perhaps.)

(A slice of moon, perhaps.)

(The sound of water.)

(Maybe…maybe not.)

(M’s voice narrates the scene. No characters are present. Nothing can be clearly seen except the low light, drifting.)

M:        I will describe the landscape
        that I have become.
        As best I can.
    
        I live in dreams,
        and there, as anywhere,
        I live just barely.
    
        In dreams, my body has evaporated
        skin from bone, my vital fluids
        rise up, shimmering
        as though
        to join the air.

        The air, here,
        shivers as though filled with dust
        of powdered glass
        of powder, molten
        hot, cold,
        liquid, solid
        lunar vapors
        dark and bright.

        My bones become the beams,
        the pillars of some strange White City,
        where I drift among the clouds,
        among the shapes
        that I once was.

        A sheen of vapor,
        sheet of sky
        dips down its edges into
        fog, thick,
        rising from the blackened
        mouth of the lake
        like it is breathing.

        The forms of towers,
        hardening among
        the mist like curls of water
        flowing, like a sigh, like trying
        to forget themselves,
        their sources.

        Forms of towers
        emerge from the fog.
        Emerging, they are frozen.
        Now.
        Stiff slabs of ice.
        Steel wire, bridges
        and their latticed
        bones.

        The factories,
        the pillars, mountains,
        steaming pale smoke.

        At all times
        at all moments
        all the city
        tries with all its power
        to forget.

        Itself.
        Its source.
        Its sound.
        Its smell.
        Its shape.

        Its shadows
        reflected in the cool
        undulations of the lake.

        At the edges of the city
        is a waterfall, a dam
        that can be viewed from one
        of many bone-white bridges.

        You can stand, clutching
        the long bar, just like a spinal cord
        the lattice, like a ribcage
        as the water rushes harder
        churns a thick, white foam.

(A gentle mist begins to rise as M describes the “thick, white foam.” It gathers into fog, which starts to cloud what little we can see.)

(A gentle sound, like respiration, seeps in with the fog. Perhaps even a literal recording of a person, sleeping.)

        A foam that gathers
        with a sort of desperation
        and accumulates into a sort of
        delicate, translucent skin.

        A skin that bubbles,
        babbling its silent, stupid language
        as the water roars and rushes
        and it slowly drifts
        away.

(The spotlight fades down, gradually, in its flicking, blinking, pulsing auscultations, til the fog has fully disappeared.)

"Brandon's Car World," Part 3

"Brandon's Car World," Part 3

"Gags"

"Gags"

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