Caridad Svich

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 –

spicy, salty,

laced with every memory of every brunch we’d ever…

Clink.

We clung to our glasses

Through the screen.

And then we dunked celery into our respective glasses

And crunched.

This was prelude.

Then there was the slipping off of things,

A bra

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…

Her torso,

My cock,

The lingering message at the bottom of the screen:

Do u want me?

Giggle, smile, emoticons at the ready,

Do u,

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)

And then…

Transmission…

Yes

Yes

I am

Here.

U see?

Guard lifted…

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,

Blurry, indistinguishable,

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

Yes

Yes

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…)

Yes

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 mutual

Oh

Oh

yes

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,

For years

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

hard

soft

quiet

crying

bleeding

exhausted

drunk

happy

sad

furious

raging

bloody, bloody hell

bloody music

stinging with everything we’d ever

we could ever…

And then

Blink

The camera would catch us

Blink

The blue eye of forgiveness

Hey,

Hey

That was

Yeah.

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?

Yeah. Uh-huh.

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