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.

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,
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.