(Temporarily abandoning his shambolic career disrespecting the life-force and dodging any bolts of self-awareness aimed in his own direction, aka “Doc Benway” resolves to drop the act and turn himself inside-out to see if there’s really anything in there. As far as protocols or formulas for such a project, aka “Doc Benway” employs a multi-cultural (or neo-Colonial, depending on your POV) strategy of bricolage to kludge together a compass and a viable way-of-working these psychic interiors.)
(Speaks directly to aka “Doc Benway”)
Ghosts (or gods) are not at war with beauty, or life,
or rain and gale-winds, or even the oppression
of so many brains tuned to vibrate, all at once.
They are at war with You.
Right Reverend RSV
(Narrates the ritual, antidotes the poison:
aka “Doc Benway” (and the others) respond in kind.)
Ecce homo, and his own personal “Rip, Rig & Panic”:how this weak and delusional raggedy-man chucks off his baby-skin, strips down to his own fat shadow and sings his wilderness to fight for his life, and atone for dismissing or freezing out
both the almost living and the nearly dead.
See the Brood awakening:how his hubris offends and infuriates all the gods and ghosts – they’re always right on top of us – and every hidden realm projects its own goblins like shadows across a heart. Topu, Sidhe, Duppy, Jumbies, Xapiripe, etc., mobilize in a blink to ensure their covert dominion’s immunity from potential human stain. Eventually, he’s struck down for his defiance by ghost-sickness, blurring space and longing, and left “weak with fright.”
Watch him lock: how he stiffens, young people carry his rigid body on their shoulders around in a “widening gyre.”
They smile while they carry him for his body shines – this fever of remembering transfigures most – and
his luck, or lack of it, rubs off.
They say: his story outruns his life.
(Miz’ Chan, Mr. Rougarou, and the Right Reverend RSV stop gyring and set aka “Doc Benway” down – actually straight up, standing still, stiff as a board. Gradually he loosens up, wiggles his fingers, stretches the rest of his body. The Brood disperses like Oberon’s gang
of anarcho-syndicalist faeries, dissolving into
Max Reinhardt’s iris, in a quick shrink to gone.)
Look: his lips move …
Aka “Doc Benway”
O-My-O-My, now that there’s the cookies.
Cross my heart and hope to stake my very being:
I just cut right through the blur.
I been strictly out there on my own for days, you know.
(aka “Doc Benway” throws his own self
on the “mercy of the court.”)
AH! So very much: AH!
So very much hard-used Heaven.
For Beauty’s sake alone I stand convicted,
my star in my mouth,
deaf eyes perched up top my spine
like twee standing stones.
O Happy Brain, flash and fervid,
into the Mother of Heavens unfurled, again.
(After the Brood evaporates, the Object-Monster is left to ponder (through enhanced multivariate analysis, presumably) the what’s, why’s and how’s of aka “Doc Benway’s” recent ascent from the ranks of those “who died as men before their bodies died” into a more rarified community of the duly apologized and more or less shriven, waiting on their next assignment.)
(At least that’s a possibility, though the Object-Monster plays her/his/its cards close to the vest and we have no way of knowing the parameters of any “thought process” involved. Another idea: it’s possible aka “Doc Benway” actually saw, was touched by or in some other sense contacted the Object-Monster when the Broodblew through his body. Maybe he thought the O-M was just another form of astral punisher, like the topu, or one of the sidhe. The O-M’s obvious
recon mission notwithstanding,
is the Object-Monster here to answer any of our questions, or primarily to challenge our theories by beaming back and (possibly) distorting the realities they were designed to reflect in a cognitive ricochet effect?)
© 2019, 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 Magazine, BeZine, Pudding Magazine, Birds Piled Loosely, Madness Muse Press, Harbinger Asylum, Anti-Heroin Chic, Tumblewords: Writers Reading the West. John’s latest book, Bye-Bye No Fly Zone,has just been published by Weasel Press (Houston TX).