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Little Pistorius in a Sleevelet of Mirrors

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Little Pistorius in a Sleevelet of Mirrors
A ballet performed by the corps du ballet of S——–
to the music of Satie’s Embryons desséchés
in the middle of the opera, Pistorius Rex,
& in the very womb of the theatre
which cannot be located on earth

NO-OUVERTURE:

But an interlude, a Quaalude,
under Europa, an etude, a vein
where the scholar can ride. a pen
assassination, an arbour assignation
in which a nymph snaps her neck and goes cyanic
like a cygnet, her pupils unspooled,
and a poet hangs his lyre amid the branches.
lyre-stage. death of the author.
wearing a gold noise-cancelling machine
for a crown and golden jump rope for a noose.
getting high, lying down like a jock on the highway
with his hands in the curls of another jock
because they saw it in a movie:
how to love and bury their hands in each other:
androphiles on the dividing line.
remember when the jocks all extinguished themselves
in an Illiad of trust, magic, desire and idiocy?
– Our opera’s got too much of these already!
– so bring on the ballet already!

TABLEAUX MORTES:

Ahem. The wealthy men of S——– would like to see their mistresses’ dinner-plate tutus and powdered thighs, teasing calves, ankles so easily cocked between thumb and finger. Leave the slippers on, sister. Tiny spoons for caviar and cocaine. But the bone spoon is the best spoon. Occiptal dishlet, better than Spode or a krater of the moon. Place to sip. Spores and spicules. Dear eyebone! China white! Knockout punch! Fontanel!

Ahem. As patrons of the Opera, these men demand more ballets per Opera. They are refugee princes, pencil manufacturers, salt-peter synthecisers, clockwork organisers, and beaver-pelt hats purveyors.

And also the purveyors of ringtones, Glocks, and daytrading software.

They sit in stalls and boxes with chains hanging down their chests because they are also mayors.

& brewers from New Glarus

and they shall get their wish.

ANNUNCIATION:

The opera parts like a chestwall, the ballet emerges!
beating off like a heart!

TABLEAUX MORTES:

the operating theatre is thick with exudia
just as the ears are thickened with exordia
so thick a god might be born in the thicket
and noone would hear the screams; or else the screams
would enter as spoiled crema
into the brain’s scarred interior. Hear, hear
Pistorius rising on the gorge of Dawn
like a garage door groaning open
to disgorge a Chevy
or a viper in a baby’s fist
a golden froth
Dawn’s clotted hair bulimic
in the sky Pistorius – obbligato –
signals to her chorus of river-nymphs –

When he raises his flute to his gilt mouth this signals
the surface of the river to convulse with nymphets.
He is impersonating a fountain.
He looks like something ripped apart
dragged out of the river, an ill-starred taxi driver,
his fare or her trick. And Isis has to go looking for limbs for it—him—He’s in
the middle of something he
wears the disk of the sun
between his horns, a cow’s horns
his fingers are hammered flat, grip medical tubing.
Each tube connected to a nymph’s heart.

UNNATURAL VOICE FROM THE PIT:

WHAT KIND OF BENEFICIENCE
WHAT KIND OF BENEFICIENCE
CAN FLOW FROM SMASHED PISTORIUS
PINNED UP LIKE A SPECIMEN
FLAT AGAINST A MIS-EN-SCENE
TWIXT SLATTERN DAWN AND HER RIVER STEW
OF SLAUGHTERED NYMPHS?
WHAT NUTRIMENT CAN HE MAKE FOR NYMPHS?
O WHAT PHARMACOEPIA IS THIS?
BUT SLAUGHTER MAKES THE MYTH
AND MYTH MAKES THE CONSTELLATIONS
SO SLAUGHTER MAKES THE STARS GO ROUND
AND CROWN OUR HABITATION
SO SLAUGHTER IS FORTUNE
DAME FORTUNE’S NOM DE PLUME
SO EACH NYMPH IS FORTUNE’S DAUGHTER, TOO
SO EACH MOON IS FORTUNE’S MOON
EVEN EUROPA
COLD EUROPA
IRON-CORED
REMOTE EUROPA…

TABLEAUX MORTES:

– and from his smashed fingers run plastic tendrils each to the chest of a rising nymphet of the River Lymph. They rise limpid as river dolphins from among the muck. They shed rivulets. They are exuded from welts in the organ lining. They are all wet. They rise like the sound spermaceti makes as it crests on air. As it is cleft from the whale skull. As it is crushed, emitting light. Like lime, vinaigretto of the grave.

The nymphets raise delicate legs, patted white with arsenic powder. The effect is like lunelight on frogskin. Before each performance each leg is checked for any knicks or cuts that could let the arsenic in. When each leg is declared impregnable, the arsenic is applied. There’s no real fucking in this opera-cide. Then a cable is laced from ankle to ankle. The effect when the legs are raised is of a world wide web, a line of hobbled cows or a doomed constellation running away on the horizon

like the Pleiades, or Europa the moon –

CORPS DE BALLET:

The galaxy foams like an ocean
of air, hair stopt in a drain or a whiff of nostalgia
The legs of the nymphets are pallisades
The legs of the nymphets are a fusilade
The legs of the nymphets are en plein air
The legs of the nymphets are palinodes
The legs of the nymphets are myopic drones
The legs of the nymphets are exposed
The legs of the nymphets are tattooed with blueprints
of nuclear plants and corporate headquarters
like a squadron or a cadre
like pursers and bursars
like toxins and quasars
like lasers and losers
they are early indicia
they hold up to nature
a cracked compact mirror
when they do the outtake
the splits and the splittake
the blooperreel
the watusi
the death drop
the swoon
when they turn to their patrons
grins widened with razors
when they turn to their patrons
their froggy bouches

 

TABLEAUX MORTES:

– but now, the moon breaks into Dawn’s froggy miasma
to further fertilise the ripe galactic haze!
and PISTORIUS, our pinup sleepwalker, awakes in confusion.
Can it be Dawn, with the moon in the sky?
Or can it be Night, with the sun on his horns?
What way will Time flow? Which way will the sky turn
with the star-nymphs sumberged in the scum on the river?
PISTORIUS fails to assess his situation
PISTORIUS splits into trigger and finger
PISTORIUS panics in an aspect of mirrors
PISTORIUS fumbles his hands into fists
and yanks at the tubes that feed through the nymphs’ chestwalls
PISTORIUS PULLS THE PLUG!

This is a sequence – the opening ballet – from Joyelle McSweeney’s opera-in-progress, Pistorius Rex.



ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR


Joyelle McSweeney is the author of six books of poetry and prose, most recently Percussion Grenade and Salamandrine, 8 Gothics. Her play, Dead Youth, or, the Leaks, won the inaugural Leslie Scalapino Prize for Innovative Women Playwrights and is forthcoming in November from Litmus Press. The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults, a book of poetics, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan in Winter, 2015. She co-edits the international press, Action Books.