Formication n. 1. a sensation, real or imagined, of insects crawling on the skin, your skin; 2. the idea; 3. the very idea; 4. cause for cessation of opiate indulgence (you’re not Alistair fucking Crowley, you know); 5. soon, you must shit; 6. or die trying.
Fortuna s. the arbitrary goddess of fortune (Rom. Myth & hobo legend).
– Seven Pillows of Wisdom, (ch.7: Sermon of the Fire Ants)
In the epic now known capriciously as,
“Codeine: Your Foster-Foster Mammy and All the Comforts Therewith”
the stage is black, except for some shiny wetnesses here and there, as though the stars have come poking out. a short row of teeth-like apparati hang from the uppermost stage curtain, as a corresponding row forms a fence along the stage-front floor, behind which all the “action” takes place.
(enter Pyjamela, dressed as Henry David Thoreau, serenading an enormous onion, which is festooned with massive eyebrows.)
Pyjamela: your foot agin’ mine
lak the velveteen!
inna many ways
i jus’ seen:
rivers all bin boiled dry,
trees cut down
an’ lef’ tuh die.
smoke done fill
th’ black, black sky
– but gasoleen is 20 cents! –
so we, yes you and i,
let the itching begin. it’s time to seriously consider retirement.
the onion (somehow): whatever can you mean? (exeunt.)
(enter two gi-normous white tablets, with legs like RKO dancers)
Pill 1: water! water! a glass of goddam water!
Pill 2: a thousand cups and a blanketful of water!
(enter Pyjamela and the onion. she/he dances with the Pills. the Pills attempt a sandwich manoeuvre. Pyjamela rebuffs their advances.)
Pyjamela: let the itching begin in earnest!
(enter Pills 3 & 4, who join in the dancey pursuit of Pyjamela about the stage.)
the onion (somehow): 8000mg? that seems ill-advised.
(Pyjamela, attempting to dodge the Pills, begins to lose control of the enormous onion.)
Pyjamela: the place is a mess–who will clean the place?
the onion (somehow): everywhere’s a mess – do be careful! the ghost of Sputnik yet orbits the Earth – watch it! – an eyeless skull going ‘round and ‘round. who shall clean the heavens?
(enter Pills 6, 7, 8 and 5. they join in what is now a moshing of Pyjamela.)
Pyjamela: my armpits, my crotch, my head!
(enter Pills 9 – 16. the stage is filled with white light.)
the onion (somehow): i’m falling! (the onion shatters. all movements cease.)
Pyjamela: (reciting to the fragments of the onion)
to bed and to pillow–
(the Pills drop to one knee, mourners now.)
Pyjamela: to pillow, to pillow,
though seas bump and billow —
All: oh, damselfish fellow,
to bed and to pillow.
(the Pills become prostrate.)
Pyjamela: (gathering pieces of the onion in her/his arms) in the face of the leviathan we fight for our happiness. is this the point of living?
the onion (somehow): not likely. when we fail, what counts most is what we settle for. all this flailing, struggling:
the comforts of the shallows are preferable
to the terrors of the depths.
the Pills: (gleeful, like radio jinglers) chasms! caverns! abandoned places!
the onion (somehow): failure.
the Pills: failure!
Pyjamela: the foundering ruins in our souls: error, haste, fear, sloth, even lust—it’s failure that really counts.
the onion (somehow): failure, it stains the soul.
the Pills: (taking off their pill forms to reveal bearded, haggard men) failure.
Pyjamela: it lasts a lifetime.
(from the rear of the stage, an all-encompassing tongue, probably red-purple cloth, emerges to cover the scene. curtain, as lips.)
In Which We Return To Simpler Times (approx. 6pm)
Marzipan: whew, what a day at the store!
Pyjamela: tough day in the trenches?
Marzipan: i tell ya.
children’s store mannequin: (explosion).
Pyjamela: i managed to get some amoxicillin for my monotuberculasthma —
Marzipan: i’m glad! we should start buying bullion —
Pyjamela: — and an entire bottle of codeine for these darn headaches.
Marzipan: headaches? what headaches?
everywhere i look
screw cap wine
in a motel 6.