A monologue from the play by Caridad Svich
SIMONE (twenties – thirties)
You got to burn things.
Gotta burn ’em so they’ll go away.
You don’t burn ’em, they just stick around forever.
You burn things, they go away.
They disappear down the path of nothin’-ness
where fire and ash and air get all mixed up together
and turn into sky and breathin’.
That’s what they tell me, anyway.
’Cept the more I burn things,
the more they stay in my mind.:
the blue shirt
he wore when we were out by the water,
the way he looked at me then, and took his hand
and ran it along inside me,
so a trickle of sweat stayed, restin’, on his brow
wonderin’ where it was gonna go next;
(Throws shirt into fire.) YOU BURN THINGS, THEY GO AWAY.
the shape of his torso
in the small folds and crisp creases
of his grease-stained work-shirt
fresh with the smell of gasoline, and oil and . . .
all the other mysteries of the garage;
(Throws shirt into fire.) YOU BURN ’EM, THEY GO AWAY.
the softness of his skin
in the white jersey
comin’ up behind me in the kitchen
while I was cookin’ the chicken fricassee,
’n the steam was comin’ up out of the pot
and he was squeezin’ me firm, soft in his white jersey –
jersey he wore with no underpants on,
so that the sweat and smell of his member
became part of that jersey
as much as its frayed cotton fibers and green number 2-1;
(Throws jersey into the fire.)
Things have a way of stayin’ in the mind.
No burnin’ can stop your mind from thinkin’.
Only by losin’ yourself completely
can you stop yourself from thinkin’.
Either that, or by dyin’.
Nobody knows for sure whether you keep thinkin’
once you’re dead, but I figure once you’re gone
from this world, the things of this world
can’t be the same.
And that’s GOT to be comfortin’ somehow.
To NOT THINK.
. . .
(To self.) burn things. go away.
. . .
It’s takin’ myself down that’s hard.
Every time I try –
lettin’ the spark brush ’gainst my skin
holdin’ my breath
’til I feel myself drown in the gulf of fire –
the too-much-ness of this life
calls to me
and brings me back
They’re all of a piece now:
blue, white, sweat, smells –
locked in flame.
(To self.) burn things. don’t go away.