ELYSIUM AT 3 AM
JONAS says: It was always at 3 AM.
My 3 AM. Precisely.
We’d meet –
She in London
I in New York:
We shared virtual Bloody Marys –
laced with every memory of every brunch we’d ever…
We clung to our glasses
Through the screen.
And then we dunked celery into our respective glasses
This was prelude.
Then there was the slipping off of things,
A tank top
A reveal of nipples
And tired foreheads
And oh, this is my new scar…
The webcam watching, impassive,
Its blue light staring at the monotony of night,
Catching our every move,
Surveilling our semi-brazen advances…
The lingering message at the bottom of the screen:
Do u want me?
Giggle, smile, emoticons at the ready,
r u here?
(the stink of stale air, the quiet hum of night, the sleeping city raging its beauteous wonder at our frivolous, casual declarations of love)
Bloody Marys swimming through our bloodstream,
Celery discarded on the table next to…
The laptop next to the tablet next to the…
We nuzzled against each other
Through the screen
And pretended we were
In some city
That was neither London nor New York
But some other city
Different, more magical, less wary,
An Elysium of sorts,
As if Elysium ever existed,
As if we even knew what Elysium was,
But ah, the name…
It made us think of ancient days,
The Greeks, yes
and also too of New Orleans…way back when…before the hurricane…
Before it turned into another city altogether…
Remember? We would say. Almost in unison.
Staggering our lips in our respective time zones.
Remember Miss New Orleans?
And there was this moment,
This faint something,
This melancholy would set in,
And we’d be comforted by it,
By a remembrance that wasn’t really ours,
Because neither of us had ever been to New Orleans
Had ever been to Elysium
But we remembered those songs
And plays and movies
And all those images…somehow burned in our brains,
Ghosted memories of some past we inherited somewhere along the way
And we’d say
I remember Miss New Orleans.
(faint smile, flicker, glimmer, light, her breast ripe, my cock hard, the gentle caress imagined from one end of the… to…)
This was interlude.
And in our pretense
In our mapping of new worlds
We let go of ourselves
And became these other people
These avatars of love
Like some old pop rock song sung by that “99 Luft Balloons” girl
Super old-fashioned cyber warriors
Ready to do serious battle
For a virtual lip lock
And we pretended the city
This new city, this Elysium,
Was the most bad-ass despoiled gorgeous wasteland
Ever dreamt of by Baudrillard in his simulacrum heaven
And all the sci-fi pioneers,
Who have been predicting our histories prophetically,
with a rare and semi-toxic mixture of wonder and shame –
eco-freaks of the world unite! Celebrate the second coming of nothing
that will ever come.
(wet lips, thrust pelvis, limbs reaching for…)
We pretended her electric beaming tattoo of the universe
Was our guide,
As we roamed the AM of the cyber
In our ether slumber party
Designed by nobody except ourselves.
And we laughed at the end days.
Cuz we were in the end days,
And we knew that all there was to do was revel
bloody, bloody hell
stinging with everything we’d ever
we could ever…
The camera would catch us
The blue eye of forgiveness
Let’s just join in the Love Parade (like all the ravers way back when)
Cuz New Orleans is having a party
Can’t u see it? Way over there?
And we’re gonna be there.
Caridad Svich is a playwright and translator. She was awarded the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. Her play Guapa received the 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. Her key works for live performance include: 12 Ophelias, Iphigenia…a rave fable, and The House of the Spirits (based on the novel by Isabel Allende). Visit her at www.caridadsvich.com