FromTHE FIRE TESTAMENTS

Suggestion of cavernous space. 

Dim pool of light; light falling from somewhere high above.  All else in deep shadow.  Source of light unseen.

In the pool of light: a steel chair, burnt to bare metal. 

Distant, irregular sound of water dripping (continues throughout).

Long pause to establish image.

A Young Man walks slowly from the surrounding shadows into the pool of light.  He appears to be naked: his body is painted, from the crown of his head to his feet, with bold, irregular designs in black and ochre.  These designs suggest no recognisable image: they are marks that hide his flesh.

The Young Man sits on the chair.  His hands are shaking.

After a long pause, the Young Man shuts his eyes, at the same time beginning to rock back and forth.  This goes on for some time.

He finally opens his eyes.  His rocking stops and he speaks. 
 

I come out from ground an there's fuckit nill.  Was dark as all fuck. 

I look back in th hole.  Was a black deep.  An me fuckit glad out. 

I look in th skies and they's black as guts.  I shiver't terrible. 
How am I to get homeways? I sait.  Nill heard me.  I spake loud.  What th fuck homeways? I sait.  I kenned th answer.  Nill fuck homeways now I sait. 

I could see'em in me brains though.  Th towerblocks.  Me fuckit homeways!  Nill o fuckit they now!  All tha's muck an smokeheap now.  I was'n thick as fuckit that. 

I'd been in th hole three darks as a count.  Three darks an nill a sound.  It was all th fuck over.  Th stormfire an th screams all over.  Fuckit screams!  I heard 'em still in me brains.

I stood stock.  What's for me now? I sait.  Fuckit move firstways.

So I go.  No tossit matter whichways.

I acted very sudden.

I run.  Like a low beastie.  So fuckit cold! 

Th ground all muck an shite.  Me bare plates was cut t'fuck.  No th fuck it mattert.  No th fuck would any fuckit thin.  I was tod an all th world gone to fuck.  Me dropt dead as shite an who th fuck to ken tha fuckit knowledge?  What nill knows nill fuckit knows.

I run more.  Me breath a wrack.  I come to rocks sudden. 
Th fuckit wreck of some thing that stood in th afore.  Fuckit what but?  Me brains didn' know. 

I'm up th rocks quick. 

Atop I see she's not a high stack.  Just manheight.  In th fuckit dark I could nay ken much. 

Night or fuckit day I could nay ken. 

O by Jesu muckfuck where was I?  Out of th homeways an lost like a cut fuckit beastie.  I cry me tears.  I howlt me beastie howl with nill any shame. 

Me ma and da an th little cunts.  All me brood los in th fuckit dark afore.  It all came on me.  All afore.

I'd lived.

Th fuck I'd lived.  This fuckit shite?  I might be stood in a hell.

I fuckit run agin.  I had th terrors on me sudden.  I was fuckit loss. 

In me brains I seen th stormfires.  Th fuckit faces o me loves lit up in th windows of th towerblock. 

Where was I at th fuckit kill?  Out t'fuck.  With me cunt face mates.  Fuckit pirates.  On th low cuntless seas.  All on th poison of one type or  other.  High as th fuckit stars.  Like all fuckit-ways. 

Us goggled th rocket streams first up.  So fuckit high.  An no sound.  Lookit!  Th fuck it's on!  Th fuckit war's come't visit at fuckit last!

Us all cockeyed the bigprint in brights past.  War.  Tha was th fuckit go.  Us was open armed.

Us all stiffcocked an laughs an backslaps.  Th fuckit cunt sodjers in for th fuckit shake.  Poor fuckit they.  Th cuntless tuck-me-ins.

Us was no sodjers.  Us were nill.  Us was in th homeways.  Cuntless fisties.  Us was in th open. 

Th first bull's-eye tossed us th fuck sideways.  Some fuckit place not our homeways gets th fuck Jesu tore out.  But she was just a fuckit hand of tower rows away. 

Us were iced.  Wha th fuck?  These was th fuckit homeways!

Me soul was black.  Us is no way th fuck sodjers! 

Run! a cunt shouts.

Jesu muckfuck us run!  Swift as spill from slips.  All th poison in me veins shot to fuckit water. 

Out into th empty flats 'hind th towerblocks.  Where nill was.

An th fires all alit behind us.  Th homeways shot t' fuckit nill.  An us who was running to jesu knew where.  Breeches full of shite.

An then th hole I fell in.  On me fuckit tod.  An I perk to th screams an I see th stormfires in th fuckit skies. 

I saw in me brain th skins of me loves cold in th ash o th towerblock.

An me alive.

In th dark I goggle me hands black with shite.  They shaked. 
But dim I saw.

Dim's all I see now. 

The war's come an all our loves are dead.
 

He falls silent for a long moment.  His hands begin to shake again; he closes his eyes and rocks back and forth. 

His rocking becomes more violent, uncontrollable; his breathing becomes laboured; his face creases into a grimace, a fixed mask; his hands bunch into fists.

He suddenly cries out and stops moving altogether.  He remains completely motionless for a short time, his eyes still closed.  His breathing eases. 

When he opens his eyes and speaks again he has another voice. 
 

Now it's long since th hollow cast.  Us is th fire heap's rubbish.  Us is them not burned complete.  Th fallin skies dark as cockfuck is draped on us dawnless cold. 

On us lips is th cinder flakes of speak.  In us hearts th memorash of th dead'uns.  In th gravepit of th ear th dead screams, in th claw hand th black limbs, on th backs bent with pains th wreck of th homeways . . . .


Dan Spielman in The Fire Testaments, Keene/Taylor Theatre Project, Span Galleries, Melbourne 2001.  Picture: Jeff Busby