Lady Striga & aka “Doc Benway” Do Spirit-Memory Magic & the Object-Monster Explodes

(aka “Doc Benway” stomp-dances under the stars. As dancers go, he’s up there, all alone, on his own gimcrack pedestal. Lady Striga hovers, draped
“like a sofa between tenants.”)

(This dance is not for her benefit.)

(The Object-Monster also hovers somewhere in the space, just below the wavelength requirements of human perception. But this “cloaking” should not be framed as an attempt at stealth or espionage. The Object-Monster merely lives in a separate, parallel dimension. Very objectively, of course! Independent of the Big Bad Who,
or so we can only hope.)

aka “Doc Benway”
I feel like a new
Stretchman Beast
at the bottomeof
Goddes Secrettes

I feel like a seismic rodeo,
that skin between us all:
I want it all back, now, I do
I want it all forever, now, I do, I do

And I walk it all, forever,
like a devil’s orphan walks,
without sin and rolling-rolling,
– across oceans and oceans of serotonin –
And O what a good Phosphene Cascade Commando, am I!

And I’ll sell you fake supernal, unknowing, forever,
and I’ll sell you my spectral, my only bastard buzz
I’ll sell you starry maps to run alive through the wire
to dodge all the traps, to defile the temple fire
I’ll sell you the whole volatile-molotov-tensile-manifest/

(Lady Striga breaks into and enters aka “Doc Benway’s song at /. She shakes her drape with a loud crack and aka “Doc Benway” freezes in place. Lady Striga looms over him
like a “Mother Manta.”)

Lady Striga
Hey, you old Dreamer-Boy-Baby, you.

aka “Doc Benway”
I know …

Lady Striga
Yes. You do.

aka “Doc Benway”
I know that Voice …

Lady Striga
I know you know that.
I know you really do.
I got no eyes, but at least that’s real.
And my Voice means real trouble for you.

(Lady Striga casts her drape over aka “Doc Benway” like a net. She hums and “installs” pictures, photos, symbols, sounds-shards of “other people’s core to die for,” and eyes, lots of eyes – all over the drape like EKG electro-probes, or dermal time-release drug-pumps. In between her humming, she unveils her bricolage / elective affinity theory of memory for aka “Doc Benway’s” future use
while he performs his “mission.”)

(Think: Goody Rigby and her Feather-Topped golem
without any links to Nathaniel Hawthorne.)

Memory’s a made up thing.
That’s what we’re steady doing.
You can dig away at memory, full-bore, like a pit of gold
or copper or yellowcake: that tick, tick, ticks.
You can jig that memory, too, like an itch, and the itch warms up, the warm spreads out, and that old pit gets wider, deeper:
it all goes tick, tick, tick.
Like a clock it makes you dreamy, yes it does,
makes you dream in all four directions, all at once.
Like you walked, fell, jumped, ran
right out of your history into something else
you, maybe, really need to see.
Like an extra chromosome, or secret gene, guards its dire
consequence: like deep pain in a ghost limb you never
earned but, still, must wrap your skin around.
Like “ceaseless, inexhaustible” cold war, forever –
many faces, many voices trapped inside the mire
of their separate fates, the histories of their separate clans
– is, now, the organizing principle.
So now you can watch yourself with many pairs of eyes:
watch you watching you watching you …
then it goes all raw around you.
Then it aches, maybe, like a crushed butterfly aches:
in your very hand that crushed it, now, stigmata bloom.
But, still, you got to jig that itch.
Soon enough, you still outrun your story.

(Lady Striga finishes engineering her Feathertop. She begins a chant to wake all the dead who look like they’re merely sleeping. She also imbeds a command
to move the action into a possible future.
So Who you workin’ this one for, Lady Striga?)

“Nothing left but “Do It” for an old scratchy-man
Crawlin’ like a beetle through the wind-blown sand
Skinny bones a-buggin’ like a hoo-doo tree
Draggin’ back a bacon for baby and me.”

So go get-get-get all the kiddos.
Round up them sonny-boys
and that moon-ish girly-O
“with a dark turn of mind.”

“Wake you up, clang you heels, run you hard, away.”

(aka “Doc Benway” dreams himself back into being.
He “comes to” in fight or flight confusion.)

aka “Doc Benway”
… this blood, new blood …
– Jehoshaphat!-
these memories, new memories.
– Vergangenheitsbewältigung! –
Like my skin’s all crusty with ‘em.
Their past, my past, all stuck together, now,
Ick and ruin, ick and ruin, nothing but ick and ruin, here!
And all so very crusty!

Lady Striga
So Dreamer-Boy, you.
Look outside, look far away long, now: what do you see?

aka “Doc Benway”
I see …
I see … bum and ice and dread.
I see … Where-God-Does-Not-Live.
I see … nothing happening, nothing much going on.
Will I be what I see, forever?

Lady Striga
So Blue-Dreamer. Yes, you.
Look inside, now, look teensy: so what do you see?

aka “Doc Benway”
I see …
I see … gunshots, lightning … fire, more fire …
… I see, maybe … memories, forgeries of memories…
… bad checks, blown warrants, gun-gangs at the border…
I see “the wire’s behind us both, now,
but our feet have turned to wire.”

Lady Storage
Now you got yourself a real quest, you washed-up ghost, you
a true Zanni; now, you got you a duty, now, a gen-u-ine mission.
My own mission so it goes is bringing
this all through, just for you.
And yours is: just go fast, just go faster,
however long it takes: tell ‘em
it’s time to stop that leak and story the stone,
once again, once again.
Flesh or wire, flash or fire: same need’s still the engine.

(Now the Object-Monster senses another presence. Not Lady Striga or aka “Doc Benway,” but some(one or thing) invisible, appearing in the O-M’s field of perception like a dream in flight on furry wings. OK, so we’re anthropomorphizing like your typical dumbass human supremacist here – but – cut us some slack, please. It’s just our temporary heuristic – we’ve got nothing else to go on. To the Object-Monster these beings are all others but this new (invisible?) other is not like the others in its own other-ness. So what will the O-M do? Well probably, wait prudently, of course, for closer reconnaissance and bigger data to prime more nuanced analytics. That’s the default – just like all these other routines we’ve seen unfolding – and the O-M is good with the concept and process of waiting.
The O-M never seems to run out of time.)

(Meanwhile, aka “Doc Benway” wanders like a dazed bug around in a wobbly circle. Beyond these odd arpeggios of gesture and emotion, can he ever
wander again with a purpose?)

aka “Doc Benway”
So where does this leave me? So what, now, should I do?
Don’t want to be a lost man, that’s true enough.
Half-way out of my time into someone’s somewhere’s else:
just ain’t no good no how for me, or you.

(The Object-Monster, sensing a possible paradigm shift in aka “Doc Benway’s” core ontology, quietly “explodes” rather than risk capture and the possibility of humiliation
or even disassembly.
Or so we’ve been lead to think.)

Lady Striga
(Draped again – she does it to herself –
but speaking her own version:
a voice with hot-arc, a voice behind-beyond
the pale of standard protocols.)
You’re buggin’, baby, always buggin’.
You remember yet? You got to go and do.
Ain’t but a few of us left, now, see.
When the bug bites you, no matter where you be,
you’re bit, you’re bit into: you got to go and do.

© 2016, John Sullivan

JOHN SULLIVAN was an American College Theatre Festival Playwriting regional finalist, received the ‘Jack Kerouac Literary Prize,’ ‘Writers Voice: New Voices of the West’ award, AZ Arts Fellowships (Poetry & Playwriting), Artists Studio Center Fellowship, WESTAF Fellowship, was a featured playwright at Denver’s Changing Scene Summer Play (Changing Scene Theatre), and an Eco-Arts Performance Fellow from Earth Matters On Stage / University of Oregon. He was Artistic/Producing Director of Theater Degree Zero, and directed the Augusto Boal / Theatre of the Oppressed focused applied theatre wing at Seattle Public Theater. 

His work has been published in a variety of print and online venues including: Hayden’s Ferry Review, Black Bear Review, Argy-Bargy, Prose Kitchen, California Quarterly, The Lucid Stone, Oddball, OVS, Scarlet Leaf Review, Steel Toe Review, Squawk Back, Razor: a Literary MagazineBeZinePudding Magazine, Birds Piled LooselyMadness Muse PressHarbinger Asylum, Anti-Heroin ChicTumblewords: Writers Reading the West.  John’s latest bookBye-Bye No Fly Zone,has just been published by Weasel Press (Houston TX).


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

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