The Words Before I Spoke Them

mez, 2 perc

This piece pre-dates All Nighter by a couple of years (it was premiered in May 2012), but the text comes from the same stream-of-consciousness journal that I kept as a freshman English major. In keeping with the prevailing themes of night, sleep, and sleep deprivation, this piece describes a nightmare that I had as a child and have remembered ever since.

Text:
First dream open the book dried red jacket brown letters, etching of a red sand tornado scientific definition.
The secret set requires we each choose with our eyes
one stone suspended from the arched doorway, palms raised to recite a creed.
The last sentence seals our promise to never pick blue…
I didn’t know the words before I spoke them, I didn’t know
before I chose the polished turquoise hanging beside the shell.
The matriarch quakes like vibrato left hand, the matriarch rises from her cedar throne,
the matriarch raises both fists and cries,
“MAY THE RED SANDS OF TITUS BE UPON YOU!”
I hold the blank curse even now, rubbing clean-and-shine on the microwave turn table;
It bleeds into everything my eyes touch.
My alarm clock is like the curse, and like the boys cursing through the wall next door:
I no longer hear it.