J F Quackenbush



i remember it was cold.
"cold, mmmhmm"
but it was sunny. Sunny and cold.
And the walls were white but
Also red
"also red?"
Yes. With holes.
And I can't remember, but
I'm pretty sure there was music.
'What sort of music?'
Twentieth Century. Avant-garde
classical or some jazz or something
There was this burned out car with
'All rust and collapse.'
a hole in the roof.
And on the ground outside.
'Outside... go on."
"There was something on the ground outside."
Rubble. Bricks and dirt and dead vegetables
garbage everywhere. The music
"The music was coming from the car
sounded like Xenakis or Berio
or Harry Partch and the car
was a part of the sound."
It was all a part of the sound.
'you don't sound convinced.'
"you should have seen them."
i'm not convinced.
"there were these children"
'what do you think it means.'
i don't know anything about this stuff
"and they were dancing outside. and there
we were"
it's we now?
'there we were'
we sat on the corner
'tell me about your mother, Elektra'
she used to kill people. with a sai.
"we sat on the edge of the road,
we held hands with the children.
The loudspeakers announced the call for prayer.
The Imam's and sheiks shrieks all crackle & voices"
Praises to the names of Allah.
'And the music?'
"Loudspeakers and tinny am radios vibrate the rusted
hulks of bombed out cars"
The sounds scratched together and against one another in
the harsh white afternoon light. "The children
and we held hands and sat on the edge"
'the moslems laid out their prayer mats on the rocks'
"we knelt with them"
And I watched as a man in tattered fatigues
wash his hands and feet with gasoline
fired his Kalashnikov
"Kalashnikov fire"
'he caught fire...'
"we stepped back, and warmed our hands against him"
his skin split as he ran down the street
a blur in my burned out retinas
"and we heard the sound of the crunching boots
the roar of the flames"
past the moslems on their mats,
'past the loudspeaker imams'
he ran past?
the corrugated zinc words of the prophet
'set to music'
They are the after symphonies after
"apres le fin du monde."
the sound of the death of the

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